Super middleweight world champion Andre Ward has canceled his 2013 fight with Kelly Pavlik, choosing to undergo shoulder surgery after suffering an injury in training camp. The bout was originally scheduled for January 26, but was postponed when the injury came up in early December. The fight was being rescheduled, with February 23 or a March date likely, but now the fight has just been scrapped.
It was reported before that Ward would not need surgery, but realistically, a 28-year-old prime athlete with a shoulder injury that could probably only get worse without being fixed might as well get the surgery, particularly when the fight in question isn't exactly one the public is dying to see.
Ward (26-0, 14 KO) last fought in September, dominating Chad Dawson in Oakland. Pavlik (40-2, 34 KO) went 3-0 in 2012 under the tutelage of new trainer Robert Garcia, slowly building himself back up.
Pavlik, 30, will now need to find a new opponent, and manager Cameron Dunkin tells ESPN.com that he's not sure what they'll do next.
The cancellation of the main event also means that the Chris Arreola-Bermane Stiverne fight is probably pushed aside once again. One option would be to run that fight without major TV backing from HBO or Showtime, or perhaps try to slot it in on another promoter's card in the Los Angeles area in the coming months, perhaps a Golden Boy show.
Update: Andre Ward's statement on his shoulder injury
When I first got injured, there was a lot of inflammation, and the MRI was misread by the first radiologist. I've been doing extensive rehab and the shoulder was getting stronger, but after three and a half weeks of rehab, there was still slight pain that had me concerned enough to get two additional opinions.
It was then diagnosed that there is a small tear in my shoulder capsule. It's not a major tear, but I can either rest it and see if it heals itself or speed up the process by surgically repairing it, and be stronger than I was before the injury and that's what we opted to do.
I'm working with one of the best orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists in Northern California, and I know that I will come back stronger than before. I appreciate all the support that I've already received and my fans can rest assured that I'm going to be back in the ring as soon as possible
Despite the injury, I still plan to have a big 2013 and hope to have two fights in the New Year.
I was really looking forward to the fight with Pavlik. Everything was on board and situations happen, but I wish Kelly Pavilk and his team nothing but the best in the future.