The casual boxing fan may not love the way Andre Ward fights. His never-flashy, defense-first style is textbook; he methodically picks hit spots and surgically capitalizes on low-risk opportunities that add up over time. The problem for Ward, who boxed his way to gold in the 2004 Olympic Games and as of this writing was ranked No. 2 in the world pound-for-pound behind only Floyd Mayweather, is that he may be too effective for his own good.
The 30-year old undefeated super middleweight champion wins too easily. Ward has been so good that he’s struggled to find challengers willing to take him on. Additionally, an ongoing contract dispute has kept him out of the ring since last November. But he’s remained busy, parlaying his charisma and knowledge of the sport into a gig as a boxing analyst for HBO. Even without a clear challenger ahead of him, Ward says he’ll be ready when he needs to be.
FIT FACT: One of the surprising ways Ward stays fit: pilates. “Pilates is phenomenal,” he says. “I go hard in my boxing training, strength and conditioning training, and track work, but [pilates] keeps me supple. It keeps me injury-free, and it also keeps me strong.”