Andre Ward Dominates, But Something Is Missing

2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward captured the NABO super middleweight title by systematically pounding Jerson Ravelo into submission Friday night in the Caymen Islands.¬† Ravelo, a former Olympian for the Dominican Republic, was completely out-classed in this contest with his awkward style enabling him to last as long as he did. ¬† It was perhaps the finest performance of Ward’s young career but I must admit that I am not completly sold on his star potential in this sport.¬† Sure he is as technically sound as you could ever hope to have in a young fighter and he puts his punches together well and with great hand speed.¬† His power is so-so in my opinion but his speed and accuracy will make for many an opponent laid out horizontal.¬† Still to me Ward just does not posses the intangible “it” factor.¬† His personality is that of a humble family man, which I applaud and welcome but let’s be honest his vanilla persona is not going to put butts into the seats.¬† It’s a shame as I really, really like Ward.¬† He has awesome ability, a very humble and polite persona, and best of all he hails from the Bay Area like yours truly.¬† After all we NorCal natives have to stick together (see my fawning of Robert Guerrero as further proof) especially when so few fighters hail from the¬†region that God favors.¬† The problem is that without a intriguing personality or concussive one-punch power Ward will always be a good fighter that really doesn’t bring an impassioned fan base with him.¬† I believe a lot has to do with the color of his skin, African-American fighters just don’t resonate with the populace these days unless they have something special like a Mayweather or a Tyson.¬† Ward may be doomed to be cast in the mold of a Shane Mosley or a Bernard Hopkins.¬† For all the accolades and ability there two sure-fire Hall of Famers posses they never brought with them a rabid following that ensured¬†mainstream¬†success.¬† Sure both fighters made it big and have more money then they could spend in one lifetime but that has more to do with HBO and their desire to fight the best then with the masses clamoring for their performance in the ring.¬† With Hopkins¬†that is understandable given his slow, overly cautious ring style, but with Mosley, an all action fighter¬†it is a¬†shame that his fan base is not greater then it currently is.¬† Should¬†Ward continue on this trajectory and go on to establish himself as one of the best fighters in the super middleweight¬†division¬†don’t expect¬†his supporters to show up in throngs and that is a damn shame.¬† ¬†

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.