Saturday, November 3, 2012
Ward, Kessler could meet again
By Dan Rafael
Andre Ward would consider a rematch if Mikkel Kessler wins on Dec. 8 to become Ward's mandatory.
While the promoters for super middleweight champ Andre Ward and former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik continue to work toward finalizing their fight in January, others are lining up for a chance to face Ward, assuming he beats Pavlik.
At this week's WBA convention in Jakarta, Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) was ordered to face the winner of the Dec. 8 fight between Brian Magee (36-4-1, 25 KOs), the organization's "regular" titlist, and former titleholder Mikkel Kessler (45-2, 34 KOs).
Ward, who hasn't made a mandatory defense, would have to fight the winner by June 8, six months after the Magee-Kessler bout.
Kessler was happy about the order because he believes he will have an opportunity for a rematch with Ward, who took his title in the opening round of the Super Six World Boxing Classic in November 2009. Ward manhandled Kessler and was beating him easily when the fight was stopped because of an accidental head-butt and ruled a technical decision in the 11th round.
"I did not think it was possible to be more motivated to beat Magee and become world champion again on Dec. 8, but now I have found a reason," Kessler said. "Andre Ward knows that he owes me a rematch. That was not the real 'Viking Warrior' in the ring on that night. I was at my best against [Carl] Froch and Allan Green, and I will be at my best against Magee. Now I just have to regain my title on Dec. 8, and then we will have the rematch. Ward had better get ready."
Naturally, Sauerland Event promoter Kalle Sauerland used the ruling to hype the Magee-Kessler fight.
"This makes the Magee clash Mikkel's most important fight ever," Sauerland said in a massive overstatement. "Ever since that dubious night in Oakland, where Mikkel suffered cuts only from elbows and head-butts, he has wanted nothing more than a Ward rematch on even terms. Now, if he can reclaim the world championship against Magee -- and that's a big if, because Magee is an accomplished fighter -- we will finally have the rematch."
Whoever comes out on top, Ward promoter Dan Goossen told me Friday that Ward would entertain the fight.
"We're always happy to see someone go out there and fight their way to another opportunity, so if Kessler can do that, it is one of the options we will have," Goossen said. "I know that Andre and the whole team talked about Magee before. He was someone we were looking to fight at one point anyway. So if Magee beats Kessler, he'd certainly earn his right. We always need options, and the winner is an option."