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Andre Ward says contract with HBO has ended

Andre Ward is going to check out the TV landscape in boxing before moving forward.

Andre Ward v Alexander Brand Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Reigning light heavyweight champion and top pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward may have a new TV home for his next fight, as the fighter says his contract with HBO has ended, and there’s rampant speculation that a jump from Roc Nation to Top Rank is in the cards.

Ward made clear to reporters, via ESPN, that he is still under contract to Roc Nation, but he has a solid relationship with Bob Arum and Top Rank, and he worked as a TV analyst for the Crawford-Indongo card last Saturday night on ESPN.

Ward (32-0, 16 KO) made the jump to HBO five years ago, which at the time was seen as a big get by the network, as Ward was coming off of high-profile wins in Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic, which many felt had made Ward a star.

But “star” has perhaps never really been the word for Ward, fair or not, and he and HBO failed to take his brand, if you will, to the next level. He beat Chad Dawson in September 2012, then Edwin Rodriguez in late 2013. He was then out of action until mid-2015, when he beat Paul Smith, a fight that HBO didn’t even televise.

2016 wins over Sullivan Barrera and Alexander Brand returned to the network, and then he went to pay-per-view for a pair of fights with Sergey Kovalev, which both sold pretty poorly despite their significance to hardcore fight fans.

With the TV game changing rapidly in boxing thanks first to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and, perhaps as a reaction to that, Top Rank taking their big fights to ESPN this year, HBO seems less and less a player in the sport, something almost unfathomable just a couple of years ago. Ward could still return to HBO and, when the time comes, re-up with Roc Nation, or maybe promote himself, if he wanted, but right now all signs are pointing to Ward winding up an ESPN fighter with Top Rank, when the time comes.

Right now, Ward is mulling a potential move to cruiserweight, but with zero titles available to be won — all four titleholders are taking part in the World Boxing Super Series — that would seem to leave him with a fight against Tony Bellew, a former light heavyweight, to test the waters first.

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