Oakland, CA, United States (4E Sports) – The super middleweight title fight between Andre Ward and challenger Kelly Pavlik was postponed after the champion injured his right shoulder in a sparring bout last week, multiple sports media outlet reported Thursday.
Ward, making his sixth title defense against former champ Pavlik, reportedly tweaked his shoulder during sparring, though doctors did not see any fracture or bone displacement in the MRI. Promoter Dan Goossen said Ward could sit out for weeks until the injury has fully healed.
“He didn’t really think it was that damaging at first but he certainly felt pain. He went to the doctor and followed up with an MRI (on Friday). It disclosed no tears, no rotator cuff injury, nothing of devastating proportions, but there was a lot of swelling and inflammation, so the key to healing is not using the arm for a few weeks,” said Goossen.
Ward is considered as one of the top guns in boxing after unifying the super middleweight division last year and knocking out light heavyweight king Chad Dawson in the 10th round of their title fight on Sept. 8.
This was not the first time Ward suffered an injury going into the fight as he also suffered a nasty cut – that led to postponement – and fractured right hand in his final sparring before the fight against England’s Carl Froch, whom he still dominated in a 12-round decision.
Meanwhile, Pavlik captured another title shot since losing his grip of the middleweight crown. The Ohio native dominated the middleweight division from 2007 to 2010.
Ward’s injury forced organizers to postpone the entire card, which includes the title eliminator showdown between Cristobal Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) and Bermane Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs).
Nevertheless, Goossen is still targeting Galen Center as the host for the championship bout on Feb. 23.