World super middleweight champion Andre Ward spoke with Chris Robinson of the Examiner, and gave his thoughts on a potential matchup between Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux, as well as what's next for his own career.
On Donaire vs Rigondeaux:
"Nonito is clearly a friend of mine but he’s a beast. When the lights are bright he shows up and I don’t think that will happen. If Nonito Donaire fights Rigondeaux, he’s going to bring it. He’s fast, he’s powerful, he does a lot of different stuff. It’s going to be a different night if Rigondeaux fights Nonito."
Apparently the lights at the MSG Theater weren't bright enough in October, when Donaire faced Omar Narvaez and struggled to show any of his normal flash and highlight reel material. It may have been the only time where a guy has won 12-0 on the cards and been kind of disappointing.
The Narvaez matchup leads many to believe -- myself included -- that Rigondeaux could be terrible for Donaire. Like Narvaez, Rigondeaux isn't a risk-taker, and doesn't screw up in the ring and give fighters big openings.
Unlike Narvaez, Rigondeaux has speed and power, and isn't a dwarf compared to Donaire, though Donaire is the bigger man. But it's interesting to see Ward's thoughts here; if you had to bet your last dollar, listen to the world champion fighter and not me. He's very friendly with Donaire, but he was also ringside for Rigondeaux's thwarting of Rico Ramos last Friday, so he's seen both men up close.
As for his own career, Ward is saying little:
"We’re just trying to put the pieces together. There’s a lot of moving pieces right now and we’re just trying to figure out what’s realistic. Hopefully, within the next three to four weeks, we’ll have something to give to the fans and give to the media."
That's a lot of words about moving pieces being put together to find out what's realistic and all, but Ward is clearly uninterested in fighting Lucian Bute in April, and there's just not many interesting fights for him at 168 pounds besides Bute. That's the curse of the Super Six -- Ward has already beaten guys like Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler, and so convincingly that rematches aren't really thrilling on paper.
After that, and without Bute, you're getting into what, guys like Brian Magee and Glen Johnson? Ward's already beaten Sakio Bika, too. His WBC mandatory is Anthony Dirrell, who isn't top ten in the division. Until proven otherwise, you can forget about Ward and buddy Andre Dirrell hooking up, since they already went to great lengths to avoid that once.
Without Bute in the mix, there really aren't very many "pieces" moving at all.
This idea that Ward has occasionally, sort of quietly tried to sell that Bute doesn't deserve the shot since he didn't compete in the Super Six is complete bullshit, too, if you'll allow me to be totally honest. Along with Froch, Ward has beaten guys like Sakio Bika (Bute beat him first), a reeling Arthur Abraham, and Allan Green within his last four fights.
That's really not that much better than Bute's last four over Johnson, Magee, Jean Paul Mendy and Jesse Brinkley. It is better, yes, but it's not so much better that Ward has any legitimate case, just on the basis of what's been "earned," for not fighting Lucian Bute right now. Bute is the worldwide No. 2 in the weight class, the fight is worth money, and Bute has said he'd travel to do it, even though really it doesn't make sense for him to leave Quebec, even to fight Andre Ward.
Hopefully Ward does announce something within a month or so, but I'm not going to hold my breath. I think he really wants that "break" he was talking about.