A Tweet Is Worth A Thousand Words

Many fight fans have learned their lesson regarding big fights and thus refuse to believe Andre Ward will face Sergey Kovalev before 2016 comes to a close. However, if you’re of the glass-half-full disposition, you enthusiastically welcomed this week’s announcement that Andre Ward’s next engagement will take place on August 6. It was long-known Ward wanted at least one more tune-up before facing the Siberian beast, so having that preliminary actually signed and sealed brings us closer to the fight we really want to see, at least in theory.

That said, notification of a tune-up bout usually elicits more yawning than the release of a new set of noodz by a Kardashian. But in announcing his next match, Andre Ward went against the grain by regaling us with an intricately layered tweet that just begs for the attention of a $200-an-hour shrink. Unfortunately–or tellingly–Ward, and/or his team, deemed it best to delete that same tweet less than 48 hours later. But for a few glorious hours, using fewer than 140 characters, the so-called “Son of God” provided a rare chance for those few who care to poke into his psyche, to glimpse his state of mind, and to mark up our calendars, all in one shot. Jam-packed with substance like no public service announcement ever could be, and infinitely more interesting than your run-of-the-mill press release, Andre Ward’s now defunct tweet was a post-modern piece of virtual art:

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Given The Fight City’s budget constraints, it’s fallen to Yours Truly to analyze Ward’s tweet. Let’s break it down then, starting with the text. The tweet evokes, first of all, relief, providing a hint as to the ordeal it is for a boxer of Ward’s stature and name recognition to come up with an opponent, land a date on the network that employs him as an analyst, and collect the juicy checks Jay-Z is contractually obligated to hand over for even the crappiest of matches Ward will accept.

Crucially, the message also portrays Ward’s self-regard as a wise, benevolent, but world-weary figure, one who strives to please everyone, only to be buffeted by a heartless, profit-driven industry that has hurt him so much his default setting is now perennially set to maximum defensiveness. His “You have no idea…” sounds like it should be followed by “…and you don’t want to know. Trust me, you’re better off not knowing what I know. I carry this heavy burden for all of you, fans and haters alike. We all have our crosses to bear; this is mine. You’re welcome.

The Brand tune-up will hopefully lead Ward to Kovalev
The Brand tune-up will hopefully lead to Ward vs Kovalev

Moreover, “How many opponents we had to go through,” has a distinct “How many roads must a man walk down,” sort of vibe to it. And just like a quintessential Dylan lyric–or a biblical quote, for that matter–Ward’s message is also frustratingly vague. What exactly is Andre referring to? Is it the amount of rivals he has bested through a long and winding career to get to be regarded as one of the top fighters of his generation? Or is he talking about the piles of potential opponents that, for whatever reason, weren’t available to fight on August 6?

We’ll likely never know, and thanks to Ward’s consideration towards us, we don’t have to know. There’s no need for us to take a bite out of the fruit from the Tree of Wisdom when the Son of God is willing to choke on its forbidden sweetness for us. Thank you, Andre.

As revealing as the text is, how about that beauty of a poster? It’s impossible to overlook the fact that there’s something conspicuously absent from it. The omission is so glaring it makes you wonder whether August 6 is the date of Ward’s next fight or his upcoming glove-signing session. Where the hell is Ward’s opponent?

Jay Z and defensive genius
Jay-Z and defensive genius

If you’ve been paying attention, there’s a perfectly good reason only Ward is featured on the poster, and it’s that his upcoming opponent doesn’t matter. Not when a showdown with Sergey Kovalev has been penciled in for later in what will be HBO’s leanest year in quite a while. Hopes were “S.O.G.” would find someone who could help him prepare for, assuming it actually happens, what might be the toughest fight of his career after years of legal procrastinating and dismal opposition.

Instead, he found the ironically named Alexander Brand, an opponent whom HBO and Roc Nation hold in so little esteem that they didn’t even give him a chance to photoshop his face out of his driver’s license so that they could paste it on the poster. To add insult to injury, not only was Brand’s name typed in a blatantly smaller font than Andre’s, it wasn’t even given the dignifying glossy treatment that the A-side’s name enjoys.

So what?” you might say. “Does it really matter what the freaking poster looks like?” The answer is a resounding Yes! The poster layout and the way Brand was not so much disrespected as glaringly ignored, says loads about the kind of fight Ward vs Brand will turn out to be. That Ward so badly outclasses his upcoming rival in the graphical design department not only foreshadows the imminent mismatch to come, but also shows Ward and his team are not even trying to mask it. Do you still think the poster doesn’t matter? On the contrary, my friend, the poster is everything.

Brand (right) eats a jab from Badou Jack.
Brand (right) eats a jab from Badou Jack.

So there it is. Thanks to Twitter, you now know that on August 6 you’re much better off checking out the new sushi buffet downtown than you are plopping your ass on the couch to watch the main event on HBO. Because Alexander Brand is not just relatively unknown in the same way Donald Trump is relatively unhinged. In fact, more to the point, if Brand, at a lively 39 years of age, is known at all, it is for losing an eight-round decision to Badou Jack four years ago. “You have no idea how many opponents we had to go through to get here.”

So evidently, it is exactly this adversary Ward and his minions endured incredible hardship to finally find and secure. They scoured the earth, tirelessly searching for the lone man who could fulfil their fixed, precise and meticulous needs, much as an exacting oenophile might spend endless hours choosing the perfect vintage, or a genius chef might travel countless miles in search of the remote, secret garden from which to harvest the essential strand of tarragon required for his Coq au Vin. “Seek and you shall find,” sayeth the Lord. And the “Son of God” searched and searched, and finally, at long last, found Alexander Brand. And on August 6, Mr. Brand will provide about as much in the way of serious competition as an organic, free-range Cornish hen would for our eager Gordon Ramsay wanna-be.

file_170769_1_ward_vs_froch_1
It’s been a very, very long time since we saw Ward face top-level opposition

Taking all this into account, it’s hard to understand why Roc Nation and HBO are willing to pay good money for Ward vs Brand, especially given the network’s self-reported budgetary constraints. Ward may be willing to fight Kovalev in the near future, but HBO will pay dearly for it, and in the meantime The Network of Champions must fork up a big chunk of the seven-figures Ward will command for yet another pointless tune-up. In the meantime, someone like Chocolatito Gonzalez, the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and arguably a bigger draw and stronger ratings magnet than Ward himself, struggles to secure half-a-mill for a genuinely dangerous fight. Awesome job, HBO!

Then again, this kind of match-making is routine in boxing now. And the bottom line is, if Ward vs Brand means Ward vs Kovalev actually happens, then we’ll take it. With a big shit-eating grin on our face to boot. Because, let’s face it, given recent history, Ward vs Brand is far from a serious fight fan’s worst fear. That’s reserved for when a truly excellent match-up and big money fight that should happen as soon as friggin’ possible is marinated for so long that it turns to tasteless mush.

Will Ward keep his promise and take on Kovalev before the end of the year? Or will that promise evaporate into thin air faster than you can hit delete on an over-revealing tweet? Alas, in the “Son of God” we trust.        –Rafael Garcia

25 thoughts on “A Tweet Is Worth A Thousand Words

  • July 3, 2016 at 9:50 pm
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    Just like all the rest of the” so called ” boxers who are undefeated or that hold a belt . 90% of them wanna get paid for easy fights. Nobody has the cajones anymore to fight the best to be the best! They all wanna be called the best without the hard competition… I guess that just explains the type of person they really are.. (your promoters are basically running your lives for you) all money aside, whats up? Be the best dont sell out for the $ . any one can fake it to make it!

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    • July 4, 2016 at 4:58 pm
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      Except for the fact that Ward went through the Super Six and beat anyone worth a damn at 168 and beat the guy at 175 before Kovalev and the rest showed up. Ward has the talent he’s not like the rest of the guys except for the fact that he messed up with his promoter and was sidelined when he should have grabbed the spotlight and became the number one guy. Skillwise he probably is, but he could be so much bigger.

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    • July 4, 2016 at 11:08 pm
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      Andre Ward fought and bested every fighter in the super middle weight division and basically cleaned it out . HE HAS NEVER ducked anyone. I am a diehard boxing fan but the writer here doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge what a dirty business boxing actually is and when boxers are done and punchy without their wits about them they have absolutely nothing to show for it. No one takes any care for them and they usually are relegated to some menial job to make a dollar. The great Nigerian middleweight Dick Tiger was a bathroom attendant at the end of his glorious career. So any fighter not concerned about himself is already brain dead and Ward is a pretty smart guy. Let’s try to forego the bashing of a man who has performed at the top of his craft for a long time, defeating some pretty damn good opponents in the process, because basically it’s a lot of BS!

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  • July 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm
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    He’ll be crushed by the crusher if he fights him!

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  • July 3, 2016 at 11:46 pm
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    KOV will chase Ward down and totally destroy him and he knows it.That is why it won’t happen,he doesn’t possess the heart or drive.There will be an excuse like he will claim he dropped a bible on his big toe.SOG my ASS.

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  • July 4, 2016 at 12:19 am
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    Ward/Krusher is a totsl mismatch Krusher will KO Ward before the 5th.Who in the hell rates this Ward guy as #1.????

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  • July 4, 2016 at 9:17 am
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    Joke of an article. Clearly this writer doesn’t acknowledge the accomplishments of S.O.G. Ward is thev only fighter in recent history to clean out his division, plus he moved to light heavyweight and fought the number two contender. It’s not a secret that no fighter wants to step in the ring with Ward. As for the Kovalev fight, well, we’ll see…..

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    • July 4, 2016 at 9:37 am
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      Thanks for reading.

      I guess you missed the part where I call Ward one of the top fighters of his generation.

      This is a site for hardcore fans. A large majority of people reading this are well aware of Ward’s accomplishments, even if it seems like they took place ages ago. We’re not going to revisit them every time we mention his name.

      As for cleaning his division: did he, really? He refused to fight Bute and notch what could’ve been a relatively easy win against the only titleholder he hadn’t yet defeated. Instead, he let Froch take Bute’s scalp and the credit for it. It was just the first in a series of bad business decisions in Ward’s career.

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  • July 4, 2016 at 10:20 am
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    This sight is becoming a joke. Many of the lists reek of blatant favoritism towards white and non-black boxers and it seems many of your articles as well. Brand is 25-1 w/ 19kos and is on a 6 win streak. Kovalev has fought nobody of that caliber in his last 10 fights, aged as Brand may be. Who has Kovalev fought been fighting? I’m not taking anything away from Kovalev but who is Ward supposed to fight to meet your criteria? An aged Hopkins? The feather fisted Pascal? Nadjib Mohammed, who looked lost while fighting Kovalev. The poster is obviously a reference to his difficulty finding opponents, egocentric as it may be. And yeah this is obviously meant as a tune up for Ward before Kovalev but nobody ever seems to complain when Kovalev gets fed sheep. We just sit back and enjoy the carnage. So how about giving some credit to the man who agreed to fight the most dominant (and incredibly dangerous) light heavy for his 3rd fight after a layoff while moving up a weight class.

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    • July 4, 2016 at 10:43 am
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      Please keep the racist BS to yourself. We don’t have time for it. We give everyone who doesn’t step up a hard time around here.
      Ward can fight whoever he wants. We don’t have to like it or even watch it. That’s what this article is about.
      You say Ward has agreed to fight Kova. You believe it will happen. Good for you. Many of us will only believe it when we see it. Boxing has made us sceptics like that, for good or ill.
      For what it’s worth, this article contains more than just a pinch of sarcasm. It’s called a sense of humor. You should try it sometime.

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      • July 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm
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        I will say that the article was at least semi-interesting trying to break down a tweet that was very vague and had little information in it. However I definitely would not say that it was humorous and anyway I felt like it was basically attacking Ward for not being able to find any good opponent you know I don’t believe that is his fault that he doesn’t have anybody that wants to fight him he said that he’s going to fight KOV, I hold the man at his word, he has a contract , let’s see if it’s going to happen.

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  • July 4, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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    I do think Ward’s tweet would’ve been more appropriate after he dispatches Brand and is starting training camp for Kovalev (who could either potentially end his career or be his biggest win). I guess Ward’s “You have no idea how many opponents we had to go through” is referring to the Nathan Cleverly’s and Skorlunds (I think) who turned him down. I like Ward, but heard that he makes/made things very annoying and prolonged in negotiations, so if that’s the case, I can only blame him for failing to secure opponents. His statement may also refer to his being just a single fight away from Kovalev, which is a bit more excusable, but still makes light of Brand.

    At the end of the day, Brand is a crap opponent, but Ward is doing more than most fighters at this point. Because we’ve seen too many mismatches from all fighters regardless of weight class, promoter, or country. At least he’s got a great opponent signed. If he defeats Kovalev legitimately, he’ll have proven there was a method to his “madness” (boringness). If he gets krushed, well then we can all laugh at him for taking on Brand and making it hard to secure a better opponent.

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  • July 4, 2016 at 4:27 pm
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    You probably should have mentioned that Kovalev is fighting the same level if not lower type fighter in his next bout as well.

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    • July 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm
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      A misleading statement. First of all, Chilemba is a full-fledged light heavy. Second, he’s faced better opponents. Third, in his last outing he gave Eleider Alvarez a very competitive fight.

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  • July 4, 2016 at 4:46 pm
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    Rafael… Great piece man. Insightful & entertaining… You’re a talented writer. Keep up the good work!

    M

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  • July 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm
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    “The Krusher” will meet his Waterloo when he fights Ward. Even with him not having fought regularly in recent years, Ward is miles ahead of KOV in ring manship and boxing savvy. If a close to 50 Hopkins went 12 rounds with KOV what will a much younger Ward will be able to do. Ward is not a stiff human punching bag like most of KOV’s opponents, he has mobility, stamina, intelligence, experience and a date with greatness. Ward will defeat KOV when ever they fight.

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    • July 6, 2016 at 6:02 am
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      Wouldn’t put it better, l wonder what all the haters (Writer of this article included) will say when Ward wins against Kovalev

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    • July 7, 2016 at 6:36 am
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      That’s right MM,a 50 yrs old Hopkins went the distance with him. Ward will outbox Kovalev. Split decision win for Ward.

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  • July 5, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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    If you all think Ward will lose, you’re wrong big time! He couldn’t get a 51 year old Hopkins out of there and Ward would whip Hopkins, all due respect to Bernard. Ward by decision over Krusher, all day long and it’s gonna happen this year!

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    • July 5, 2016 at 6:15 pm
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      Sorry but you are wrong ,of course there is a lot of boxing ethusiasts who put Ward on a pedistal when all the guy has done is barely won a little tournament.Really he is so herky jerky in the ring and in his career ,now he is in no way on THE KRUSHER’S level.At one time he may have been able to go 12 rds. with Kov.but now he can’t stand the pressure or power of such a desroyer,Krusher will put him away by the 5th.

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  • July 5, 2016 at 5:42 pm
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    Ward has not lost a fight since his young teens..for any fighter who hasn’t lost will not let them selves get beat..Andre has exceptional hand speed ring generalship..he’s beaten big names and even bhop said himself he would not fight Ward…right there tells you that Ward is no one to play with..I myself am a big Ward fan and think this fight will happen..Ward by ko 9rh round

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  • July 5, 2016 at 5:54 pm
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    I don’t understand how easily some folks look down on Ward and say that he has never proven himself. Well, what in the heck was the Super Six all about? The best of the best fighting to determine whom was #1 in the world and who won??? Non other than Andre Ward, better known as SOG! I can’y truly say whom is going to win this fight but I feel that it will be just that…a fight to the finish and I will be pulling for Ward!!!….Just Sayin~~

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  • July 6, 2016 at 3:43 pm
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    Ward is the best fighter of our time he destroyed my fighter roger Cantrell and his kind of talent only comes once in a live time I believe ward will retire undefeated no matter who he faces he has a great trainer and ward has a lot of respect for every fighter he faces he knows what it takes just to step in the ring which most writers don’t have a clue keep up the great work s o g you truly are the best

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    • July 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm
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      Thanks for reading, Bill, but with all due respect, that line putting down fans’ and writers’ opinions because we don’t box is as tiresome as it is fallacious. At TFC we call things the way we see them, and when a “once in a lifetime talent” (to use your words) steps into the ring against an unranked 39-year-old, that’s as disrespectful of Ward’s talents as it is of his opponent, who will expose his health to a far superior fighter. If you had known in advance how good Ward was compared to your fighter, the one he “destroyed”, would you still have allowed that fight to go on? What is the point of Ward “destroying” Brand in the same way, when we all know in advance that’s the most likely outcome on August 6? That’s what this article is about.

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  • August 3, 2016 at 11:32 pm
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    Great article, funny as f**k. Keep up the good, and sarcastic work mate.

    Reply

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