After undergoing surgery, Andre Ward expects to ‘return to the ring even better than (he) was prior to the injury’

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At only 28, Andre Ward is already a prizefighter for the ages.

After undergoing the knife to repair a small tear in his right shoulder capsule on Friday, The Ring, WBA, WBC and super middleweight champ Andre Ward will soon begin rehabilitation and likely return to action within four to six months.

Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), who became the first American to capture boxing gold in eight years as a light heavyweight at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, suffered the injury in November while training to scrap past titlist Kelly Pavlik on March 2 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.

“My surgery went very well and I am definitely pleased with the outcome,” said Ward, 28, who is rated by Ring Magazine as the second pound-for-pound boxer in the world and is now in position to become a national superstar and household name like fellow American gold medalists Muhammad Ali, “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya. “I had a fantastic team of surgeons overseeing everything on Friday morning and they did a great job of repairing the injury. I am confident that I will return to the ring even better than I was prior to the injury.”

Most recently, the Bay Area native easily retained his belts by battering formidable Ring Magazine and WBC light heavyweight titleholder “Bad” Chad Dawson en route to achieving a 10th round TKO on September 8 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

Prior to dominating Dawson (31-2, 17 KOs), Ward unified two crowns and won The Super Six World Boxing Classic when he trumped Carl Froch by unanimous decision on December 17 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

With rumors swirling of a rematch against the Englishman, it is now uncertain if Ward, voted last winter as the 2011 “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), will be able to throw fists with Froch (30-2, 22 KOs) in 2013.

Accordingly, the 35-year-old Froch, the current IBF super-middleweight champion and former two-time WBC super-middleweight king, is now expected battle Danish scrapper Mikkel Kessler for a second time in May or June.

Roger “Pit” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton (Mass.) who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brothers Boxing and Training.

Perron raved about Ward and predicted “The Son of God” will recover and outclass all challengers for the foreseeable future.

“Ward clearly sticks out in the division,” said Perron, 75, who worked with International Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the Petronelli Brothers Gym. “He had just a great performance his last time out. There’s no telling when, or if, he’ll next lose. With his age, his shoulder won’t be a lasting issue.”

In contrast to the thoughts of Perron, it’s concerning that an orthodox boxer like Ward, especially one who displayed newfound power against Dawson, has sustained such an injury.

Regardless, a unique talent for the ages like Andre Ward, a man who has unbelievably not vacated the squared circle on the losing end of a bout since he was a 12-year-old amateur, will undoubtedly find a way to “return to the ring even better than (he) was prior to the injury.”

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