Former world super middleweight champion Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) will fight unbeaten contender Sullivan Barrera (17-0, 12 KOs) on March 26 at Oracle Arena in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California.
It will be Ward’s first fight at light heavyweight after he vacated his WBA super middleweight title last November.
“I don’t really have much to say other than this. On March 26, it will be very simple. I’ll be in a new weight class against a tough opponent but I’m coming with the same approach,” said Ward.
“I’ll be in great shape and ready for battle. Sullivan Barrera has had a lot to say lately, and I love it. He’s going to have an opportunity to back up every word that he has spoken. These are the type of challenges I like, and on March 26, it’s go time.”
Ward stopped Britain’s Paul Smith in a non-title bout in June and was scheduled to make his 175-pound debut against Alexander Brand in November, but he pulled out because of swelling in his right knee.
The American has already agreed a deal to fight WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in September. However, he must get past Barrera first.
Barrera, a Cuban now living in Miami, was due a mandatory title shot against Kovalev, after he knocked out Karo Murat in a world title eliminator in December, but he opted to fight Ward.
“We as a team had a tough choice to make – crash the party by taking out Ward first or wait for the mandatory and take out Kovalev,” said Barrera. “We decided that the time is now. Ward will fall first and then we will go after the belts.”