First off, a big tip of the cap to Scott and Bad Left Hook for their thoroughly enjoyable Andre Ward coverage yesterday. This video is courtesy of one of their Andre Ward Day posts as they did an excellent job conveying just how far this young man has come in his boxing career. On the heels of Manny Pacquiao's defeat of Shane Mosley this past weekend, BLH wanted to get people pumped up to see a rising star in Ward this coming weekend.
In this particular video, discussed by Scott at BLH, Ward's promoter Dan Goossen discussed the character and qualities of super middleweight champion Andre Ward. Early in the video he talks about Ward reaching the level of excitement that surrounded last weekend's fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley. It's good timing that Bad Left Hook conducted an Andre Ward Day at their site.
If Andre Ward is going to develop into the next great American boxer, or even overall athlete, more people need to know about him. The super middleweight division is not exactly one of the glamour divisions, although there are some excellent boxers in the division. Head over to Bad Left Hook to learn more about Andre Ward.
Goossen talks about how Ward is similar to Pacquiao in terms of his general character, and specifically his humble nature. He goes on to talk about how Ward could reach Pacquiao type popularity and mentions Pacquiao's overwhelming popularity in the Philippines. While Andre Ward's popularity has room for growth, the current sports landscape in America and boxing's place therein makes it difficult to see him developing some kind of Pacquiao level of mania.
Of course, if any American boxer was going to reach that level of popularity, Ward would have to be in the running. While he foughts a less than pretty style of boxing, his non-boxing attributes are a marketing dream. He won an Olympic gold medal, he hasn't gotten into trouble like many fighters, he's got a generally clean cut look, and seems to have a solid moral fiber.
If he can win his next two Super Six contests, he could be in a position to really boost his Q rating outside the ring. While boxing fans may not care about the marketing end of things, it's a reality of the business that a fighters ability to draw at the gate and on PPV becomes just as much a part of their legacy as what they did in the ring. Ward is still working on that and if he does win on Saturday, it will be interesting to see how his promotion company builds on that outside the ring.