Andre Ward vs Edwin Rodriguez fight preview: Is Andre Ward boxing's next superstar?

Tom Shaw

Tonight, Andre Ward returns to the ring for the first time in over a year to take on Edwin Rodriguez. Ward is being heavily hyped, but is he indeed boxing's next superstar? Fraser Coffeen breaks it down in this Bloody Elbow fight preview. Then join us tonight for Ward vs. Rodriguez live fight coverage.

Saturday November 16, Bloody Elbow presents live fight coverage of Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez, live on HBO. HBO World Championship Boxing Ward vs Rodriguez airs live this Saturday, November 16 with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / PT. Bloody Elbow will have live fight coverage, including results and discussion, right here.

It has been over a year since Andre Ward last fought in a boxing ring. In that time, much has changed in the landscape of the sport. HBO and Showtime drew up their battle lines, with Top Rank and Golden Boy fighters now on either side of an uncrossable chasm. Floyd Mayweather clearly entered the closing stanzas of his career. Manny Pacquiao was knocked out cold, his own career also winding down.

And so now, as he gets ready to take on Edwin Rodriguez tonight, Ward finds himself in a very different position than when he last stepped in to the ring against Chad Dawson. He's now a pound for pound great, with only Mayweather consistently ranked above him. He's an analyst for HBO. And, if HBO gets their wish, he's the heir apparent to the Mayweather/Pacquiao throne.

More Ward vs. Rodriguez coverage:
Bloody Elbow | Bad Left Hook

These lofty dreams from HBO have been made clear in their presentation of Ward, who is routinely hyped by the HBO commentary team, and whose "2 Days" video profile was lavish in its praise. Clearly, HBO thinks Ward can potentially be the man to carry them in the inevitable post-Pacquiao world.

There's good reason for the company to think that way. Ward is a well-spoken, likable figure. He has tremendous credentials, and shows no signs of slowing down. His more technical style makes him the kind of fighter who could stay on top for a long time to come - a contrast to the more explosive style of fellow HBO project Gennady Golovkin, who also has great things perhaps ahead of him, but whose action-packed style often leads to a faster career burn-out. With Ward, there's no sign of that burn-out yet, making him a good bet for the future.

The trouble with this bet is the unrealistic expectations it places on Andre Ward. Ward is a great boxer, but he's not the next Pacquaio or Mayweather. He lacks the in-ring flash of Pacquiao, the out-of-ring color of Mayweather. Few do have those traits - that's what made men like Mayweather and Pacquiao superstars - so Ward's shortcomings in these areas should not be seen as any knock on him. They simply are the reality of who Andre Ward is as a fighter.

If HBO is looking to Andre Ward to be the next in this line, they will be let down. They shouldn't be. Ward is a supremely talented fighter who can make talented men look amateurish, as he showed against Dawson. Expecting more from him is unfair, yet it's also inevitable in the boxing landscape Ward returns to tonight. How he navigates this complex landscape remains to be seen, but we'll get our first step on that path tonight.

Join us here at Bloody Elbow for HBO World Championship Boxing Ward vs. Rodriguez results, discussion, and live fight coverage this Saturday, November 16.

More from Bloody Elbow:

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker