5. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
The hard-hitting Ukrainian forced Isaac Chilemba to retire from their fight on the Kovalev-Ward undercard with an elbow injury, but prior to that had bossed the action. Gvozdyk had over 250 fights as an amateur and won Olympic bronze in 2012.
He is unbeaten as a pro, holding scalps such as Tommy Karpency and Najib Mohammedi – both of whom he stopped. Chilemba is the third straight world title challenger Gvozdyk has beaten inside the distance, and the 29-year-old looks ready for a title shot.
Though he doesn’t have much star appeal, he would be a stern test for newly-crowned light-heavyweight champion Ward.
4. Artur Beterbiev
The Quebec-based Russian holds a perfect record of 10-0 (10). In that short space of time he has proven his credentials by ruining the likes of Tavoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo. Considered by many as the most dangerous contender in the division, Beterbiev is a terrific boxer with serious power and a real mean streak.
Provided he comes through his next fight in December, Beterbiev could cause Ward serious problems if he were to face him.
3. Gennady Golovkin
The idea was floated while Ward was still a super-middleweight, and Andre’s team claim ‘GGG’ turned down lucrative offers for the fight, while Golovkin’s team refute that. Whatever the case, a fight between these two elite stars would be huge. Once again, Ward would be squaring off with a master technician who holds destructive power.
The weight is an issue, though, as the pair are currently two divisions apart. However Golovkin has previously spoken about a willingness to move up and down in weight, and should they agree on some sort of catchweight (perhaps) Ward could also lose a few pounds to make the fight.
2. Adonis Stevenson
WBC light-heavyweight champion Stevenson took to social media after Ward beat Kovalev to call the American out for a unification fight, which would create an undisputed champion. That in itself makes the fight a mouth-watering proposition.
On top of that, Stevenson is a world class fighter who just so happens to punch like a mule. The big southpaw has not mixed with decent opposition recently but a fight with Ward would be a fascinating affair.
1. Sergey Kovalev
Ward’s decision win over Kovalev was razor thin and many feel the Russian deserved the nod. There’s clearly unfinished business there, plus Sergey deserves the chance to reclaim his titles. His promoter, Cathy Duva, has said they will utilise the immediate rematch clause written into the fight contracts.
For Ward, it’s the biggest money fight out there and a chance to win more conclusively. The first fight was enthralling and provided drama in the second round when Ward was dropped. He rallied in the second half of the fight and insists he would handle Kovalev better in a return. Kovalev, meanwhile, believes he is the better fighter and won the first fight. There’s only one way to find out.