Former WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) will reportedly be fighting on March 26th against an opponent still to be determined at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. There are two potential opponents that could fill that date with the 31-year-old Ward in unbeaten Sullivan Barrera and Marco Antonio Periban (23-3-1, 15 KOs).
Barrera’s promoters at Main Events were initially contacted by Ward’s promoters at Roc Nation Sports, and they were very interested in facing Ward. However, Ward’s management next reportedly went after 2nd tier fighter Periban as an opponent. Main Events CEO Kathy Duva is in the dark about what Roc Nation has in mind for Ward, but she plans on contacting them so see if they can work a deal.
“I have no idea what Ward’s team is doing,” Duva said to “They made an offer to us and we plan to speak to them again later today.”
It’s hard to picture Ward taking on a dangerous opponent like the 33-year-old Barrera for his next fight because it’s such a big jump up from the last guy Ward faced in Paul Smith last June. Ward seems to want to inch his way back to facing quality fighters. He just signed a 3-fight contract with HBO, and it looks like they’re going to allow Ward one throwaway fight against a soft opponent before they light a match under him and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports and start demanding quality opposition for the last two fights of their three-fight contract with him.
It would be sad if HBO allowed Ward to take two soft opponents in their three-fight contract before he finally gives them a good opponent in Sergey Kovalev. I can’t imagine the ratings for Ward’s next fight in March being good if he takes on the 31-year-old Periban, who was recently knocked out in three rounds last year in November by James DeGale. To be sure, Periban has won his last three fights, but he’s done it at the expense of weak opposition. He’s beaten Joshua Okine, Carlos Adan Jerez, and Octavio Castro.

If Ward does select Periban for his next fight, then you can imagine that he and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports will argue that Ward has fought only once in the last two years, and because of that he should be allowed to fight a couple of soft opponents. In that case, I think HBO should have held off signing Ward to a contract until he got the soft tune-up opposition out of his system first before signed him.

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