Andre Ward, America's first Olympic boxing gold medalist since 1996 and its third since 1992, has reached a "multi-fight, multi-year" agreement to be co-promoted by Dan Goossen and former world champion Roy Jones, Goosen said yesterday.
Ward, 20, will make his professional debut on Dec. 18, ironically on the undercard of a main event between Jones conquerors Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The fight is the first of what manager James Prince, who signed Ward four days after his come-from-behind victory over a Belarus boxer in Athens, Greece, has planned during an ambitious schedule of eight bouts per year.
Neither Prince, who also manages undisputed junior middleweight world champion Winky Wright and lightweight world champion Diego Corrales, nor Ward could be reached for comment.
Ward, who won the gold medal at 178 pounds, will debut as a middleweight (160).
"We've joined forces with Roy Jones' promotional company, Square Ring Promotions, and we were able to complete the deal," said Goossen, whose company is Goossen-Tutor Promotions. He said he expects to name an opponent for Ward "in the next 24 hours."
Goossen promoted David Reid, the last U.S. Olympic gold medalist in '96. After winning his first 14 fights, including a light middleweight title he successfully defended three times, Reid lost two of his next three fights and retired in 2001 with a 17-2 record.
In a bout last night at Glen Burnie's Michael's Eighth Avenue, Baltimore's Henry Mayes floored Dowayne Molina of West Chester, Pa., three times in the third round of their scheduled four-round, light heavyweight fight, the final time forcing referee John Gradowski to wave an end to the bout at 1:24, giving Mayes his first professional victory by TKO.
Mayes, 31, had been scheduled to fight on tonight's card at Du Burns Arena, but learned late Wednesday he would replace a fighter who did not show to face Molina (0-6).
Mayes cornered Molina once in the second round and twice in the second, each time relentlessly hitting him with face-reddening hooks and crosses.
"Henry had a 50-50 amateur career, but he's been in with some real tough guys," said trainer Jake Smith. "It made him a lot tougher, and that paid off tonight."