With current top pound for pound fighters Sergio Martinez, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao heading into their mid and late 30′s, two younger stars have started to jockey for position as the next big thing in boxing, and the contrast between the two couldn’t be more pronounced. Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner is coming off a stand out showing against Antonio DeMarco. Broner is brash, bold and he backs it up. Likewise, Andre Ward, who goes by the nickname ‘SOG’ for ‘Son of God’, is coming off a dimantling of pound for pounder Chad Dawson. Ward is humble and confident, and he let’s his talking be done in the ring. Both men are in line to be the top pound for pound boxer in the world over the next few years.
Broner operates in the Lightweight division, at 135 lbs, while Ward is a Super Middleweight at 168 lbs, so the two are unlikely to ever meet. They will probably be 1-2 in the pound for pound rankings for years together.
Broner ran his record to 25-0 with 21 Knock Outs this past week when he captured the WBC Lightweight title, his second world title in a second weight class. He has also become a bit of a ‘thug’ star on Twitter, messaging photos and details of his partying and escapades with girls… and the general public is getting to know him! His time on HBO Boxing gave the boxing world a chance to see him fight, and his skills are evident. He is just 23 years old, and his manager is Al Haymon, who is famous for guiding the career of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Ward is 26-0 as a professional, and he owns the WBA and WBC Super Middleweight titles. Ward has been in the public eye for a long time, having won a gold medal in boxing at the Olympics in 2004. He is in fact, the last American to win a gold medal in boxing. Ward is well spoken, humble and confident, and his technique is highly polished. He can finesse and he can brawl, and he has power.
Right now Broner is winning the name recognition game, and that is something Ward is looking to change. Ward takes on former World Champion Kelly Pavlik in his next bout scheduled for January 26th in Los Angeles, California. Pavlik is trying to overcome a lot of personal issues, some involving alcohol, and he is trying to return to the top level of competition. Look for Ward to be a respectable favorite at the books when the line is drawn up for this one, and look for Ward to dominate and get through this fight with his belts still under arm.
Pavlik does have a following however, and Ward hopes a stellar performance will earn him bigger recognition. Broner is talking about one fight to grab another belt at 135 lbs, then a move to the 140 lb division. And he will talk about a lot of other things along the way, I am sure.
SO take your pick, the school boy hero, or the bad boy. In boxing circles, we will be hearing about these to for years to come.