Oakland’s Andre Ward, boxing’s reigning super middleweight world champion, is reportedly seeking to opt out of his contract with Goossen Tutor Promotions.
Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) has worked with Southern California-based Goossen Tutor and CEO Dan Goossen since 2004, when the Oakland native turned pro following his gold medal performance in the Athens Olympics.
Under the Goossen Tutor banner, Ward has amassed three world title belts and is ranked second only to Floyd Mayweather on most pound-for-pound lists as the best fighter in the world regardless of weight class.
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BoxingScene.com first broke the news about the potential split. Sources have informed CSNBayArea.com that if successful in breaking away from the contract, that a move to Las Vegas-based promoter Top Rank would be at the top of Ward’s list.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has developed a strong relationship—some would say outright alliance—with premium cable giant HBO in recent months. Moreover, HBO has begun to push Ward as one of its marquee fighters in the wake of Mayweather as well as the entire Golden Boy Promotions stable crossing the street to rival network Showtime earlier this year.
Above all, Top Rank also promotes Mexican attraction and former middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KOs). Chavez possesses the type of star power that would generate enough interest to allow Ward, a budding mainstream force in his own right, to make his HBO pay-per-view headline debut.
However, the degree in difficulty that Ward will face to gain his promotional freedom is up for debate.
Though Ward had signed a multiyear extension with Goossen in May 2011, precise terms on the length of the agreement were not disclosed. It is certainly possible that the dispute will end up in arbitration before the California State Athletic Commission.
Last year, lightweight contender John Molina Jr. took Goossen to arbitration, but the two sides ultimately resolved their differences and have continued their working relationship.
Goossen and matchmaker Tom Brown would not comment on the matter to CSNBayArea.com, and a message to Ward was not immediately returned. Despite the uncertainty of his promotional status, sources say Ward will maintain the same nucleus of trainer Virgil Hunter, manager James Prince, and co-promoter Antonio Leonard.
LOCALS GO WINLESS IN NEW JERSEY
With a WBA bantamweight world title shot on the line, San Leandro’s Jundy Maraon was stopped in seven rounds on ESPN2 by Juan Carlos Payano last Friday in West Orange, N.J.
Though Maraon floored his fellow unbeaten southpaw Payano in the third frame on the strength of a one-two combination, the East Bay fighter was unable to sustain any of his attacks.
Payano (14-0, 8 KOs) was able to outmaneuver his foe with his head movement and ability to counter; in the seventh frame, the Dominican sent Maraon (15-1-1, 12 KOs) to the canvas for good with a five-punch combination highlighted by an overhand left. Official time was 0:39.
On the undercard, Hercules light heavyweight Paul Vasquez (9-4-1, 3 KOs) recovered from a first-round knockdown, but lost to Lavarn Harvell (13-0, 7 KOs) by six-round unanimous decision. Scores were 60-53, 59-54, and 58-55.
REGION 11 AMATEURS HEAD TO NATIONAL JUNIOR OLYMPICS
Region 11, the area encompassing Northern and Central California, will send a talented contingent to Mobile, Ala., next week for the National Junior Olympics.
On the men’s side, Napa’s Brandon Trejo and Daly City’s Suray Mahmutovic are among the local Bay Area-based amateurs with international experience. Katrina Nahe, who fights out of the USF Boxing Club, is one of three women on the roster.
The team as a whole is projected to win multiple gold medals. The tournament takes place from June 26-29.
101 lbs.: Ivan Varela (Lindsay)
106 lbs.: Derek Ochoa (Sanger)
110 lbs.: Evan Sanchez (Parlier), Jacob Flores (Selma)
114 lbs.: William Young (Pittsburg)
119 lbs.: Ruben “Dracula” Villa (Salinas)
125 lbs.: Isidro Ochoa (Fresno)
132 lbs.: Charlie Sheehy (Brisbane)
138 lbs.: Brandon Trejo (Napa), Joseph Murrieta (Selma)
145 lbs.: Angel Rios (Sacramento)
154 lbs.: Amisael Jimenez (Sacramento)
165 lbs.: Suray Mahmutovic (Daly City)
101 lbs.: Jackie Corona (Arbuckle)
114 lbs.: Odalys Camacho (Bakersfield)
119 lbs.: Katrina Nahe (Antioch)
Goossen-Ward photo courtesy Alexis Cuarezma