More Than Magnificent

By Clarence George on September 8, 2013
More Than Magnificent
Andre Ward can't maintain his reputation by resting on his laurels. (Chris Robinson)

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to call someone magnificent who today marks the one-year anniversary of last stepping into the ring…

“It’s more than magnificent – it’s mediocre.”—Samuel Goldwyn

Super middleweight Dimitri Sartison isn’t magnificent, but he isn’t mediocre either.

The 33-year-old (31-2, 19 KOs), a 10-year pro, has fought twice this year, beating Artem Solomko on points in January and stopping Baker Barakat by second-round KO in August. He also fought twice in 2012, stopping Carlos Caicedo by fifth-round KO in February and losing his WBA world super middleweight championship to Karoly Balzsay by 12th-round TKO in April. He’d won the vacant title in 2009 by stopping Stjepan Bozic via sixth-round TKO.

The Hamburg resident’s second career loss came by way of Mikkel Kessler, who won via 12th-round KO in 2008.

WBA, WBC, and Ring super middleweight champ Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) thought Sartison a sufficiently worthy opponent for a bout originally slated for September 28, but now tentatively pushed back to November 16. HBO didn’t see it that way, deeming the Hamburger more of a slider than a Big Mac.

Gennady Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, agrees with HBO, telling that “The public is now demanding better fights. The public is now demanding fights that are entertaining and will keep you glued to the TV. And I think with Andre asking for these easy fights, the public is having a hard time with that. We’re in the entertainment business and if you don’t want to entertain then you shouldn’t be on TV.”

Sanchez added that he hopes Ward fights this year, “so that he’s ready next year for what’s discussed (a fight with Golovkin). But that’s up to Andre.”

Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, told that “What people have to realize is, we’re not looking for a soft touch coming back off an injury (while training for a January 2013 bout with Kelly Pavlik, Ward damaged his shoulder, requiring surgery). Out of Andre’s last six fights, five of them have been world champions. Froch, Abraham and Kessler have been two-time world champions, and Bika is now a world champion, and Dawson was a champion. I don’t think it’s a situation where we have to justify that we want to come in and ease off this injury. The guy that we were initially asking for, Sartison, he’s a former world champion. It’s not like we’re asking for a slouch.”

Both trainers make valid points. But the bottom line is that 29-year-old Ward, regardless of the reasons, hasn’t fought since September 2012, when he stopped Chad Dawson by 10th-round TKO. And the last time he fought prior to that was when he beat Carl Froch by unanimous decision in December 2011.

Ward is almost universally recognized as the best super middleweight in the world, but he can’t maintain that reputation by resting on his laurels. If Sartison isn’t good enough, and Edwin Rodriguez wants too much money, then how about Brandon Gonzales, who fought highly regarded Thomas Oosthuizen to a draw just three months ago? Somebody, anybody, because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to call someone magnificent who today marks the one-year anniversary of last stepping into the ring.

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Mikkel Kessler vs Dimitri Sartison (Danish)

Kessler vs. Ward

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  1. Koolz 12:59pm, 09/10/2013


    True about Ward and his amazing inside talent.  The guy beat people with one arm in the super six which is very impressive.  I don’t think anyone knew he had broken his hand in the Super Six.

    I wonder if Sanchez would devise a new plan for Golovkin to fight Ward.  Golovkin faints and throws short punches as faints to see where his opponent is going to land a punch.  I know that if Those two fought Ward would be creating a fight that he wants to fight, not Golovkin’s fight.(Sanchez’s fight)
    Golovkin still would come forward cutting off the ring and going for body shots.  He hasn’t fought anyone that has the speed of Ward that is true.
    But how many times would he catch Ward with his Jabs?

    I actually think Golovkin would KO Froch with in five rounds if they ever fought.

    A lot of people don’t realize that Golovkin had as a sparring Partner Kovalev.  Golovkin really hits hard.  He has even been told during sparring to not hit the head of sparring partners that are going to be fighting soon.

    Stevens Arrg I have no idea why this guy is even getting in this fight.  I don’t know if people even see this but Stevens has no reach advantage and he has no height advantage at all.  He is little guy.  He is really flat footed and he is Green as Sanchez has said.
    Golovkin will destroy him in two rounds.
    Ward can’t even be allowed to fight someone of that level.
    Ward has already beat everyone in his division yet he isn’t getting the respect he should as a Super World Champion.
    I honestly don’t know who Ward or if Ward is fighting this year.
    Mayweather did pick Canelo after all and we saw how that Trout fight went.
    yea Ward would not be able to pick someone like Stevens.

  2. raxman 02:50pm, 09/09/2013

    koolz - SOG rarely instigates the clinch, its when his opponent pushes in chest to chest, their arms around his body that he holds. if the fight is just an inside, phone both, hook/rip/uppercut style fight he smothers; he uses his forearms, his shoulders, his chest even (and his head of course). what ward does on the inside is old school brilliance
    and lets not forget why his opponents choose to fight this way - its because of ward’s hand and foot speed. fight on the outside and be picked off, on the inside and its worse.
    its very hard to judge how GGG will go with an opponent both the style and quality of SOG because he just hasn’t fought talent in the pros - however when in with the best amateurs in the world GGG struggled when the fight got scrappy. its how he lost the gold medal match in Athens. Its hard to say if its still a fault or one rectified and it was nearly 10 years ago. I use the term “its hard to say” because as yet GGG just hasn’t fought anyone resembling good. Curtis Steven isn’t going raise any questions Golovkin has trouble answering that’s for sure!
    am I truly the only person who is just astounded that a victory over Saul Roman 37-10 (7ko ) is what earned Stevens the fight against the most talented fighter in the middleweight division.
    imagine the criticism Floyd would get if he had fought someone like stevens in his 28th fight. yet Floyd is known as the cherry picker. btw in his 28th fight he fought Castillo for his 135 pound title. in his 25th the unbeaten Corrales and in his 18th Hernandez for his 130pound title.
    based solely on GGG’s amateur career I place him in the same talent league as Floyd - so why can’t he be judged as harshly? just because he has a crowd friendly KO style?
    come on people I know 160 is a shallow talent pool but Curtis Stevens? its embarrassing that so many people are on the GGG train and that’s the opponent he chooses.
    and don’t go on with ducking and the most avoided fighter in boxing spiel coz I don’t see him going after these guys so as to be avoided. he’s not making noise about unifying the titles. there is no calling out Quillan
    so Koolz, how would GGG go against SOG? its a moot point because as disappointing as Ward’s long lay off is he does have runs(ie world champion scalps) on the board (Kessler, Abraham, Froch, Dawson and Bika ) while there is absolutely no evidence that Golovkin can handle the level of skill we KNOW that ward has! evidence mind you - yes we all think he has the talent but I’m asking this be graded on evidence not supposition.

  3. Kurt 01:43pm, 09/09/2013

    Andre Ward has had one fight in the past 22 months, that against a weight drained washed up Chad Dawson. These people that say he has beaten/ cleaned out his weight class are simply lying.  His weight class has not been frozen for the past 2 years,  there are several deserving top fighters that have been active while Ward has been mugging for the HBO camera. Be a man. Manup dude. Fight GGG or A. Stevenson.  If you want to be called a PFP best,  manup and fight the best or step aside.

  4. Koolz 01:21pm, 09/09/2013

    There are fighters that are just on other levels compared to other fighters. Ward and Golovkin are two of those fighters.

    The problem with these guys is they really can’t find any fighters to tune up to fight someone better there isn’t anyone at there level.

    I forgot about Ward doing the Head Butt thing that B-hop liked.  But Clinching Golovkin doesn’t work to well anymore he will leave an arm out to able to hit the body at close range.  If you watch Ishida fight Golovkin is slipping punches and doing double combos right in the phone booth.

    Who is Ward going to face that is going to give him a challenge?  Froch 2?
    They probably do a Kessler 3 before that fight happens.
    Ward will have to go to light Heavy Weight at some point.
    He needs tune up fight though before Golovkin.

  5. FrankinDallas 12:49pm, 09/09/2013

    Chuck Norris disrespected on For shame!

  6. Clarence George 05:51pm, 09/08/2013

    My own view, gents, is that Ward is the only member of the three middleweight divisions who could (which doesn’t necessarily mean he would) beat Golovkin.  Since both men are stymied at their respective divisions (though Golovkin is fighting and Ward isn’t), a match might happen next year, maybe at a catch-weight of 164.  But Ward has to get one or two fights in first.

    Speaking of mean streets, Irish, I watched “Killer’s Kiss” last night.  I recommend it.  I liked the dance hall (taxi dancers) on 49th and Broadway, the type of wonderfully seedy place that, sadly, pretty much disappeared by the ‘60s.

  7. raxman 05:43pm, 09/08/2013

    Koolz - don’t forget the ward head though - and by that I don’t mean IQ. I mean head. coz as we know ward will do anything to win. and I won’t hear that he didn’t butt Kessler deliberately - ok he may not have aimed to headbutt but when you lead with your head on the inside you’re gonna win. that said I actually think he is good enough to smother anyone’s attack on the inside, including GGG. I see him as having B-hop level skills in that department. and golovkin will want to get into the ring with a better level of opponent to prepare for ward

  8. Koolz 05:24pm, 09/08/2013

    Raxman no I am not comparing the Great Ward to Ishida and Ward he is Great!

    What I was comparing to was Golovkin’s Inside game that he has.  That game would give Ward a lot of problems as he tries and ties up GGG during the fight and fight on the inside.

    Ward hasn’t fought in a year now and has had to have surgery.  I can’t honestly see him beating Golovkin’s Ring IQ until he is fighting a few times.  Even then I don’t know where the fight would go, of course not like Ishida.

    Does Ward move up in weight to fight Kovalev then miss fighting Golovkin.  Does he stay at his weight and fight the few who are left waiting to fight Golovkin.  Heck at the rate Chavez Jr is going he should him.

  9. raxman 04:16pm, 09/08/2013

    Koolz - you did not just compare Ward to Ishida????? Puhlease. its bad enough he was even thought of as an opponent for GGG let alone fed to him. ishida = second string, feather fisted 154pounder fighting at 160. ward = conqueror of best 168 pounders in the world, Olympic gold medallist and undefeated since a kid. I don’t know what would happen in ward vs golovkin but I can guarantee it won’t be like golovkin vs ishida.

  10. Koolz 04:06pm, 09/08/2013

    Not sure whose side I am on on this one.  I think HBO has a point but I also think they’re being really pathetic by not letting him get his tune up fight on HBO.  Ward has already beaten everyone in his division.  Time to go up in weight and fight Kovalev.

    As for Golovkin at 168 sorry no Ward isn’t beating him.  yes I know how good Ward is I know what he can do I have seen his fights and Golovkin’s Inside game would destroy Ward like Ishida.

    I think Ward needs a few fights before he even steps into the Ring With Golovkin.  Would love to see Ward fight Gonzales!

    Edwin is asking for too much money he hasn’t earned that amount of money.

  11. raxman 03:25pm, 09/08/2013

    if ward had a knockout punch HBO would have no trouble putting him in with anyone. a ko artist can be sold vs anyone. a brilliant technician needs a challenger that can challenge. personally I’d like to see the ko artist in with a challenger who can actually challenge. but that’s just me. coz like the clown with his pants falling down/ or the dance that’s the dream of romance/ or the scene where the villain is mean/ seeing a guy, never had a chance, get ko’d…...That’s En-Ter-Tainment!!!

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:05pm, 09/08/2013

    Clarence George- Your point is well taken….for my part I’m a primitive….when I see his noggin in the accompanying photo I flashback to him stepping to Kessler in a crouch and coming up just in time to get some serious face time with Mkikel….and to my working years when I would find myself from time to time in Oakland neighborhoods that even then would have made the hair stand up on the back of Chuck Norris’ neck.

  13. Clarence George 10:55am, 09/08/2013

    Has he been missed, Irish?  Perhaps not.  But I want guys who fight for a living to do just that, especially when they reach the lofty heights Ward has. 

    There are still opportunities for him at super middleweight.  In addition, how ‘bout Golovkin at middle or Stevenson at light heavy, or an agreed-upon catch-weight for either? 

    Inactivity was hardly the norm in the old days, as opposed to today, where getting some of these guys in the ring is akin to pulling a tooth with a Q-tip.

  14. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:07am, 09/08/2013

    Clarence George-Sartison?....that galls..why not Kovalev….what’s seven pounds to an ATG P4P fighter….hell…..why not Baby Huey Chavez Jr. If he can’t find a suitable opponent retirement is always an option…..has he really been missed this past year…no seriously….has he been missed? I’ve always felt that travel would do this legend in his own mind a world of good….why not Kessler in Copenhagen where a ref just might enforce the rules or even Froch in Sherwood Forest for a fight that all those Andy Cappers would suck up along with their dark, foamy, full bodied, Guinness pints..