Oakland’s super middleweight champion Andre Ward will cancel his title defense against Kelly Pavlik and will instead opt for surgery to repair an injured right shoulder, according to a report.
Cameron Dunkin, Pavlik's manager, informed ESPN.com that he learned about the development from Bob Arum, Pavlik’s promoter. A source within Team Ward confirmed the news with CSNBayArea.com.
"Bob called me up and told me the fight was out and said, 'What are we gonna do with Pavlik?' He said [Ward's promoter Dan] Goossen called him and told him that Ward needed shoulder surgery," Dunkin said.
On Thursday morning, Ward released a statement through his publicist, Julie Goldsticker:
“When I first got injured, there was a lot of inflammation, and the MRI was misread by the first radiologist. I’ve been doing extensive rehab and the shoulder was getting stronger, but after three and a half weeks of rehab, there was still slight pain that had me concerned enough to get two additional opinions,” Ward said. “It was then diagnosed that there is a small tear in my shoulder capsule. It’s not a major tear, but I can either rest it and see if it heals itself or speed up the process by surgically repairing it, and be stronger than I was before the injury and that’s what we opted to do.”
Ward is tentatively scheduled to have surgery late next week in the Bay Area.
“I’m working with one of the best orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists in Northern California, and I know that I will come back stronger than before. I appreciate all the support that I’ve already received and my fans can rest assured that I’m going to be back in the ring as soon as possible,” Ward said. “Despite the injury, I still plan to have a big 2013 and hope to have two fights in the New Year.”
“I was really looking forward to the fight with Pavlik. Everything was on board and situations happen, but I wish Kelly Pavilk and his team nothing but the best in the future,” he added.
Ward (NorCal No. 1; 26-0, 14 KOs) was slated to meet Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) on Jan. 26 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, but hurt his shoulder earlier this month during a sparring session with middleweight Tony Hirsch.
At that time, Goossen informed CSNBayArea.com that Ward had undergone an MRI, but that the results came back negative and that he would not need surgery. Goossen then proposed alternate dates of Feb. 23 and March 2 to stage the bout.
However, the severity of the injury was greater than expected, and the two weeks of rest that his doctors had suggested was insufficient for recovery. Now Ward might be sidelined until next September, according to the source.
CSN Bay Area Boxing Insider Ryan Maquiñana is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and panelist for Ring Magazine’s Ratings Board. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.