Updated 07:25 AM EST, Fri, Dec 14, 2018

Andre Ward Wants to See Sullivan Barrera Back Up His Taunts in March 26 Match

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Either Andre Ward or Cuba's Sullivan Barrera will have a loss to his name next month and the former super-middleweight champion is confident that it won't be him.

Speaking about his light-heavyweight debut against Barrera on March 26 at Oracle Arena, Ward said he will step into the ring fully prepared and in peak condition. The match had just been made official this week after a grueling negotiation process that lasted two months, ESPN reported.

"I'll be in great shape and ready for battle. Sullivan Barrera has had a lot to say lately, and I love it," said the 31-year old American. "He's going to have an opportunity to back up every word that he has spoken."

While both camps were still ironing out the details of the March 26 match last month, Barrera had already been teasing his social media followers about a possible showdown with Ward.

The Cuban has been referring to the San Francisco native as "coWard" on his official Twitter account. He has also been sharing funny memes depicting Ward as a wimp. Barrera even hinted of the March 26 fight with the American by posting a picture of a lion with the caption, "A Lion never turns when a dog barks #march26 #bigbear #boxing #seriousbusiness."

Ward, who has done most of his damage below the super-middleweight limit of 168 pounds, sees the Barrera match as an introduction to the world of light-heavyweight boxing. The American eventually plans to take on unbeaten three-belt light-heavyweight kingpin Sergey Kovalev later this year.

Boxing Junkie reported that Barrera became the next mandatory challenger for Kovalev after he beat Armenian-German boxer Karo Murat in December 2015. However, Los Angeles Times mentioned that Ward and Kovalev had already verbally agreed to fight.

The Russian pugilist is coming off a seventh-round victory over Canada's Jean Pascal last month. He is still recuperating from the bout and will likely be ready to step into the ring again this fall. Needless to say, the lull has triggered debate as to who should challenge Kovalev.

Barrera said he and his camp had to decide whether he should wait out the mandatory clash with Kovalev or use the extra time to prove he is a worthier opponent than Andre Ward. Barrera ultimately picked the latter since he wants to be the undisputed light-heavyweight challenger first before he sets off to collect titles.

Boxing Roc Nation Sports executive David Itskowitch assured fans that the March 26 clash will be a no-nonsense high-stakes affair as Ward and Barrera are both eager to book a title fight against Kovalev.

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