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Andre Ward to return against Paul Smith?

It appears that Andre Ward is close to finalizing a deal to fight Paul Smith on June 20th, to end his long layoff.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Ok - so maybe Andre Ward does deserve a bit of a tune-up after a year-and-a-half layoff, but his proposed fight with Paul Smith certainly won't stoke any fires. The Daily Mail is reporting that Ward will be finalizing an agreement to face UK's Paul Smith by the end of the week, but it doesn't appear that Ward's WBA title will be on the line. How Ward is still holding onto any title after such a long layoff is quite another story - but as his promoter Jay Z would say, "politics as usual."

Smith (35-5, 20 KOs), is coming off two consecutive losses against fading Arthur Abraham, so really, no one will likely give him a chance against Ward here. But truth also be told, Ward probably doesn't have a whole lot of options since signing with Roc Nation, who don't have much of a stable to guarantee Ward any semblance of a decent fight.

Hopefully, though, after this fight, Ward will get right back into the mix fighting the top guys in or near his division. He's been terribly inactive the last few years, and doesn't have many prime years as a fighter left. He'll need to make the most of this run with Roc Nation.

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