By all accounts, it's happening.
After much jawing and prolonged negotiations, The Ring reports that Andre Ward and Sullivan Barrera will, in fact, square off on March 26th in the first fight of Ward's three-fight HBO contract.
Ward will have home field advantage in Oakland's Oracle Arena.
Ward (28-0, 15 KO), once the undisputed ruler of the super middleweight division and a mainstay on pound-for-pound lists, has seen his star dim somewhat as various issues slowed his career to a crawl. "S.O.G." has fought just twice since his September 2012 drubbing of Chad Dawson, beating the grievously overmatched Edwin Rodriguez and Paul Smith. He was set to face Alexander Brand on the undercard of Miguel Cotto vs. "Canelo" Alvarez before pulling out due to injury.
Unlike those three, however, Barrera (17-0, 12 KO) is a legitimate light-heavyweight. The Cuban, once slated to take on Artur Beterbiev in a title eliminator before a series of unfortunate events occurred, beat down Karo Murat last month for a career-best victory. Though his overall strength of schedule is lacking, he is a far better opponent than the likes of Brand, one who can give us a clear idea of Ward's chops at light heavyweight.
Assuming Ward wins in March and Sergey Kovalev wins tomorrow, a fight between the two is currently in the works for the end of the year; however, since Kovalev's planned summer bout with Adonis Stevenson recently disintegrated, it would make sense to move the timetable a bit.
Of course, this being boxing, when has making sense ever been a compelling argument?