Unbeaten world super-middleweight champion Andre Ward will return to the ring after more than a 14-month layoff against Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
Ward (26-0, 14 knockouts) hasn’t fought since impressively defeating Chad Dawson by 10th-round technical knockout Sept. 8, 2012, in Oakland.
The 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist suffered a right shoulder injury last year, scrapping a planned fight at USC’s Galen Center against former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, who has since retired.
Ward has also feuded with his promoter Dan Goossen and was engaged in a dispute with HBO over how much he should earn for a comeback fight against an opponent of lesser stature.
The 28-year-old Rodriguez (24-0, 16 knockouts) of the Dominican Republic lacks the resume of Ward, having last fought in July and knocking out Denis Grachev in the first round.
“I’m excited to get back in the ring,” Ward said in a statement released by Goossen. Rodriguez is a “young, hungry undefeated fighter who doesn’t believe he can lose and it’s my job to change his mind. … I don’t feel like the layoff will hurt me.
“I want to show the fans … I’m better than when I left.”
Promoter Bob Arum has said he’d like to send his fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., against Ward in 2014.
Tickets for Ward-Rodriguez go on sale Friday, ranging from $25-$200.
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