Andre Ward Vs Gennady Golovkin And The Weight Divide

It’s possible to think of better unmade fights right now than Andre Ward vs Gennady Golovkin, but the list only goes a couple fingers, tops. The two have danced around each other for the last couple years, each side accusing the other of not really wanting to lambada. But at this precise moment, it’s easy to pinpoint the perpetrator.

This month Golovkin’s team made explicit that they want the fight at 164 lbs. with a 50-50 purse split. The split is perfectly reasonable, and only has gotten more reasonable over time; there was a period when the idea of Andre Ward vs Gennady Golovkin at 50-50 was goofy given how much better ratings and how much larger crowds Ward (above left) was drawing, but Golovkin (above right) has caught up pretty well on those metrics by staying busy, looking impressive and becoming a fan favorite.

The 164-pound thing? Ludicrous. Golovkin, as we’ve said here a million times, is under no obligation to move up from middleweight. But he has indicated a willingness to fight Carl Froch and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. at the full super middleweight limit. As a source (apparently one on Ward’s side) told BoxingScene:

“Ward wants to fight Golovkin and he wants to fight him next. But it won’t happen at 164-pounds. By accepting 168 with Carl Froch and Chavez Jr, but then demanding 164 with Ward – it’s their way of saying ‘we don’t want to fight Andre Ward.”

There’s really no other explanation other than a version of that one. Ward has said repeatedly he couldn’t get below 168 if he tried, and his last fight was at 172. With Golovkin’s side saying they’ll only take the fight at 164, they’re either trying to make it look like they want the fight at all, knowing it won’t happen at that number; or they’re saying they’re only willing to fight Ward if he cripples himself.

And yes, you can point fingers at Ward about being guilty of this kind of thing for the Chad Dawson fight. The situation was slightly different there because Dawson, the light heavyweight champion, volunteered that he’d be willing to fight at 168, but given the catchweight Ward has taken some abuse for what was otherwise a win over a top fighter, and it’s not undeserved.

The other major difference, though, is that Golovkin is a fan favorite where Ward is a more divisive figure, so he probably won’t catch as much hell. As a fan of both Golovkin and Ward, I’d rather neither of them sought any catchweights, or that anyone else did, even when they’re more fair or reasonable than what Golovkin is requesting. This is just my reminder to all the boxing people out there that when it comes to advantage-hunting and trying to weaken opponents and trying to force the blame for a fight not happening, some fighters play a bit dirtier than others, but almost everyone is playing the same game, no matter how much their reputation is as a fearless warrior.

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.