Andre Ward wins Fighter of the Year Award
Dan Rafael of espn.com has confirmed that WBA/WBC Super Middleweight champion ANdre ward has been named the 2011 Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
“I want to thank God for giving me the strength to put in the work year after year to get to this point. I also want to thank my manager, James Prince, my promoters Antonio Leonard and Dan Goossen, everyone who is a part of Team Ward, as well as all of my family, friends, and loyal fans who have been behind me all these years,” Ward, 27, of Oakland, Calif., said. “This award is just as much for them as it is for me.
“Even in the midst of receiving this tremendous award, Team Ward is not going to let up. In 2012 and beyond we’re going to push forward and, God-willing, we can be considered for these awards every year. It’s easy to get comfortable at a time like this, but I can assure everybody that I’m going to continue to put in the work to be the best that I can be. I’m going to stay humble, keep God first and, with that, the best is yet to come.
Ward, who was also named ESPN.com fighter of the year, won the award over nominees Nonito Donaire, Wladimir Klitschko, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I’m very proud of all of what he has accomplished since the day we signed him,” said Goossen, who has promoted Ward for his entire career. “He’s been a joy to work with and a tremendous fighter inside the ring. It’s been a great ride, but the irony of it all is I think we’ve just begun. There’s a lot more to accomplish and showcase with Andre. You don’t have an athlete like this that comes around too often in the history of our sport. He has the fabric and makeup of the great ones. I just think he’s headed for greatness.”
Ward will have familiar company when he receives his award. Virgil Hunter, who has trained Ward since he picked up gloves as a boy, won the Futch award for trainer of the year.
“I’m very happy for my trainer and Godfather, Virgil, for winning this prestigious award,” Ward said. “I’m probably more excited for him than I am for myself. I’ve always wanted him to win this award because he is one of the hardest working trainers in the game.”
Said Goossen, “As proud of Andre as I am, I am equally proud to see Virgil get something I believe he is due. He’s a different breed of trainer. From the fundamentals to the mental aspect, he is right there with the best.”
Junior middleweights Delvin Rodriguez and Pawel Wolak will share the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier award for fight of the year. Their first bout, which headlined on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” on July 15 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, was a rousing all-action slugfest that ended in a majority draw. Many view it as the best fight in the history of “Friday Night Fights” and it will be remembered as an intense battle during which Wolak fought through massive swelling that closed his right eye.