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Andre Ward to have shoulder surgery, Pavlik fight off


ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - DECEMBER 17: Andre Ward celebrates defeating Carl Froch of England during their WBA/WBC Super Middleweight Championship bout at Boardwalk Hall on December 17, 2011 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) (Credit: Getty/Nick Laham)

Andre Ward doesn’t plan on letting a shoulder injury stop his progress up boxing’s ladder.

The WBA and WBC super middleweight champion had to back out of a fight against Kelly Pavlik which was originally scheduled for January 26, but moved to March because of Ward’s injury.

Now the fight has been canceled with no talk of a future date.

Said Ward: “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.”

A second opinion revealed dire news for the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist.

“It was then diagnosed that there is a small tear in my shoulder capsule,” added Ward (26-0, 14 KOs). “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.”

The setback hasn’t diminished Ward’s resolve. He said he still plans on fighting twice in 2013. He’s scheduled to have surgery sometime next week in the California 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,” said Ward. “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 vaulted to the top of the boxing world after winning Showtime’s World Boxing Super Six Classic. He scored a unanimous-decision win over current IBF super middleweight champ Carl Froch to claim the title. Ward’s most recent triumph was a 10th-round TKO of Chad Dawson in September.

As for Ward’s overall outlook, not fighting Pavlik doesn’t figure to hurt his career. In fact, some viewed the fight as a step backwards for Ward. Pavlik hasn’t fought a major opponent since a unanimous-decision loss to Sergio Martinez in 2010.

But Pavlik, 30, is young enough and has a solid track record, enough to get himself into a big fight against a quality opponent.

Max Boxing’s Steve Kim reported that Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) is eyeing a fight against former IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) in March.

Tags: Andre Ward , Carl Froch , Kelly Pavlik , Lucian Bute , Chad Dawson

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