Boxing fans have long waited to see Andre Ward fight again. That wait is almost over.

Going Home

Ward’s camp announced last Wednesday that the super middleweight champion will return to action on June 20th against an opponent not yet determined. But one thing is certain in Ward’s comeback fight: it will be held at the Oracle Arena in his hometown of Oakland, California.

The fight will mark the 6th time in his pro career that Ward will be fighting at the Oracle Arena which is also the home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. The undefeated former #2 best pound for pound boxer will be fighting for the first time since winning a unanimous decision over Edwin Rodriguez in November 2013 in Ontario California.

Contract Dispute Over

Ward’s hiatus from boxing was self-made rather than by injury. The 31-year old California native had a long court battle against Goosen Promotions over his promotional contract. But after Dan Goosen’s death last September, Ward and Goosen Promotions settled the dispute for undisclosed terms.

Shortly after his contract with Goosen Promotions was ended, Ward signed with music mogul Jay-Z’s new sports promotion Roc Nation in a highly publicized affair last January. Not long after bringing Ward to their fold, Roc Nation also signed Puerto Rican superstar and middleweight champion Miguel Cotto to bolster its new stable of boxers.

Long Lay-Off

Ward rose to superstardom when he dominated and won the Super Six Boxing Classic super middleweight boxing tournament of 2011. Ward defeated world class boxers like Mikkel Kessler, Alan Green, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch in the tournament. In between the tournament, Ward also made a successful title defense against Saiko Bika.  Although Ward won all those bouts on points, his victories were so decisive that he was named The Ring’s 2011 Boxer of the Year.

He’s only fought twice since dominating Froch in the Finals of the Super Six tournament and unify the 168 pound titles.  Ward wanted to fight a tune-up bout this month or May but HBO wasn’t willing to pay a hefty sum without a guarantee of a big fight following it. Without that agreement, Roc Nation decided that Ward will not fight on HBO for the first time since 2009. Instead, they are eyeing to hold it over BET.

Rematch with Froch?

While Ward has been stripped of his titles because of inactivity, he is still the WBA “Super” champion and was ordered by the organization to defend the belt against Froch in June. Unfortunately, the Cobra is injured and won’t be able to fight on that date although the rematch could be scheduled later this year.

As for his June 20 opponent, Roc Nation said that they will make the announcement shortly, although the names of England’s Paul Smith and Mexican Marco Antonio Periban have floated in the rumor mill. For Ward, the opponent’s name doesn’t matter. What he wants is to get back in the ring and prove that he still belongs to the upper echelon of boxing.

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