Sorry sports fans, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s reigns as boxing’s top dogs are almost up. With both fighters aging, dealing with many issues and being on the brink of retirement, someone else has to be the new face of the sport and carry boxing into the next generation.
Allow me to introduce you to super middleweight champion Andre Ward.
In a sport that features a large number of international fighters, the 28-year-old Ward is considered boxing’s American hero. The gold medalist from the 2004 Athens Olympics is just as humble as Pacquiao (his nickname is “S.O.G.” — the Son of God), yet has Mayweather’s dominance and is undefeated after 26 professional fights. Ward is coming off a huge 10th-round technical knockout victory over light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.
Many boxing writers consider Ward as a better pound-for-pound fighter than Pacquiao, as Ward is consistently ranked in the top three of many lists.
Although he was featured in the latest “24/7” documentary series with Dawson on HBO, Ward hasn’t really been marketed as a mainstream sports superstar just yet. Once Pacquiao and Mayweather hang up the gloves for good, don’t be surprised to hear Ward’s name everywhere.