WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward has confirmed his withdrawal from the November 21 Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez pay-per-view due to inflammation in his right knee.
Ward has reportedly been unable to train for several weeks due to constant pain and restricted mobility. His decision came on the recommendation of a physician that he immediately begin rehab.
“I’m extremely disappointed that I’m missing this opportunity on November 21, but at the same time, I’m encouraged,” said Ward in a statement. “I’m looking forward to a big 2016. Thank you to all my fans for your support and patience.”
Ward signed with Roc Nation Sports in January. His only fight of 2015 came in June against Paul Smith, where he scored a ninth round TKO. The November 21 opponent, Alexander Brand (24-1, 19 KOs), was the first of a newly inked three-fight deal with HBO. The final contest of the agreement is a pay-per-view superfight between Ward and Sergey Kovalev.
“Andre’s injury is a huge disappointment not only to him, but all of us involved with this promotion,” said David Itskowitch, COO Boxing of Roc Nation Sports. “We have no doubt that Andre will come back stronger than ever once his knee heals and that he will be a force in the light heavyweight division. We are working diligently to make an intriguing fight that will deliver a level of excitement commensurate with this great event.”
At press time, a replacement bout has not been announced for the Cotto-Canelo card.
Ward can’t catch a break. Since the specifics of this injury and the rehab required haven’t been disclosed, we have no idea how long it’ll be before Ward gets back in the ring. Worst-case scenario, the proposed Kovalev fight could get end up getting pushed to early 2017.