Former NFL superstar Marshawn Lynch visits Andre Ward at Training Camp

Former NFL superstar Marshawn Lynch paid a visit to Two-Time World Champion Andre Ward at training camp, ahead of his “Pound For Pound” showdown against Sergey Kovalev on Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

In Ward’s first fight at light heavyweight against the then-undefeated Sullivan Barrera at Oracle Arena, “Beast Mode” was part of a star-studded “entourage” including Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Michael B. Jordan that walked Ward into the ring and then proceeded to rush the ring upon the boxing phenome’s unanimous decision victory. Since announcing his retirement from the NFL, the Oakland-native running back hasn’t missed a single Ward fight this year.

Photo Credit: Khristopher Sandifer/Roc Nation Sports

Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Zappos, JetLux and Monster Products. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.

Follow the conversation using #KovalevWard.

Andre Ward Coin Toss, Bank of the West Classic

Last night, Two-Time World Boxing Champion Andre Ward took center court at The Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University to conduct the official coin toss for Venus Williams vs. Magda Linette, which saw Williams victorious in 3 sets.

Ward calls the toss a “first” in his illustrious career. Prior to the match, Ward also connected with Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams, who was on hand to watch her sister’s match. Ward and Williams share a strength performance coach, Mackie Shilstone, as well as the honor of both being Olympic gold medalists.

Video courtesy of Khari Jones

Photos below, courtesy of Bank of the West Classic

Andre Ward during the coin toss during the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, CA.
Andre Ward during the coin toss during the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, CA.
Andre Ward during the coin toss during the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, CA.
Andre Ward during the coin toss during the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, CA.
Andre Ward during the coin toss during the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, CA.
Andre Ward during the coin toss during the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, CA.

A proud Bay Area native, the undefeated Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6 at Oracle Arena to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs). The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT. Follow the conversation using #WardBrand.

Tickets priced at $250, $120, $90, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Tuesday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m. PT and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

November Fights & Pacquiao’s Return

Pacquiao1With November just around the corner, we have a lot to look forward to, thanks to Andre Ward’s imminent return to the ring. Ward will face off with undefeated challenger Edwin Rodriguez on November 16 in California (with the fight being shown on HBO), and he seems eager to get back into a fight. As quoted in an ESPN article by Dan Rafael, Ward said “I want to show the fans on Nov. 16 that I’m better than I am before I left.” Tantalizing words from a fighter who’s never lost, and about whom many have questions following the shoulder injury that sidelined him for a year.

But in anticipating this fight, it’s also important for boxing fans not to overlook the event that will truly headline the November schedule, which is Manny Pacquiao’s Nov. 23 bout with Brandon Rios in Macao. Pacquiao has not returned to the ring since being knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez, and going back further, to the Timothy Bradley loss (via a decision no one agreed with), Pacquiao is still riding a 2-match losing streak. No matter who the opponent is, this makes the fight on Nov. 23 arguably the biggest boxing event of the year, aside from Floyd Mayweather’s recent victory over Canelo Alvarez. So, let’s take a look at the match.

The Odds
Pacquiao may be on a downturn, and is likely nearing the end of his career, but the odds are still resoundingly in his favor. Specifically, we checked in with the BetFair Exchange, an online sports betting platform with a section devoted solely to boxing. In listing the November 23rd fights, the site provides fixed odds for both Pacquiao and Rios (allowing users to place back or lay bets on either fighter), ant it’s safe to say Pacquiao has a decisive edge. Backing odds for Pacquiao are at 1/6, and for Rios are 4/1.

The Meaning
Naturally, Pacquiao’s legacy is on the line in this fight. We all know that boxing is an unforgiving sport when it comes to legacy – a single loss can make the difference between “all-time great” and “strong contender.” In a sense, Pacquiao’s legacy is already damaged – he could have escaped the Bradley fight with his reputation as the world’s best fighter intact, given the controversy over the decision, but the Marquez knockout was shocking and crippling. An upset loss to Brandon Rios would be the end for Pacquiao; a resounding victory, and we may yet hear one more surge of calls for a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

The Expectation
Pacquiao is probably being a little underrated at this point. The Bradley fight can be scratched from memory, and Marquez landed one thunderous punch that altered Pacquiao’s reputation irreparably. But he’s probably still the 2nd best fighter in the world, and should dispatch Rios with relative ease.