After a long, reportedly difficult negotiating process, the fight between Andre Ward and Sullivan Barrera is finally 100% official for March 26, at Oakland's Oracle Arena, with HBO televising.
Ward (28-0, 15 KO) is the former lineal champion of the super middleweight division, now moving up to light heavyweight, with the bigger target an already agreed-to fight with Sergey Kovalev later this year. The 31-year-old Ward has fought just one time since 2013, and that came last June against Paul Smith, in a fight that was north of the super middleweight division but not at the full 175 pound light heavyweight limit.
This will also be Ward's first fight on HBO since 2013, after the network brought him over from Showtime following the Super Six World Boxing Classic, which he dominated from 2009-11.
Barrera (17-0, 12 KO) is a top ten light heavyweight himself, and no pushover as a sort of tune-up opponent. But Ward represents a big step up in class from the likes of Karo Murat, too. This is a huge opportunity for Barrera, and if he does upset Ward, one would have to expect that the 33-year-old Cuban would be the one in line to face Kovalev, his Main Events stablemate.