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Andre Ward to explore more options as contract with HBO expires

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Pound-for-pound king and unified light heavyweight world titleholder Andre Ward, who worked Saturday night's Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo undisputed junior welterweight world title fight as an analyst for the Top Rank ESPN telecast, told ringside media following the bout that his television contract with HBO is up.

He added that, contrary to industry chatter, he remains under contract to promoter Roc Nation Sports, even though rumors have swirled that he is gearing up for a jump to Top Rank.

Ward has long enjoyed a good relationship with Top Rank and chairman Bob Arum has always been very complimentary of Ward. Arum also enjoys a strong relationship with Ward's longtime co-manager James Prince, who recently signed heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson to Top Rank. Ward is also one of Stevenson's managers. Ward's appearance as an analyst on the Top Rank card added to the speculation.

"I am still with Roc Nation 100 percent," Ward said. "My contract is up (with HBO) right now so I am a free agent there." HBO declined to comment on the status of Ward's television contract through a spokesman on Tuesday.

Ward (32-0, 16 KOs), 33, of Oakland, California, has been with HBO since he knocked out Chad Dawson in 2012, though Ward has had two long layoffs since because of promotional issues.

Ward has fought six of his last seven fights for HBO, including both of his pay-per-view fights with Sergey Kovalev, his controversial unanimous decision win against him in November to take his three 175-pound world title belts followed by an eighth-round knockout victory in the rematch on June 17.

Ward said he is not sure of what his next fight will be though he said he hoped to fight once more before the end of the year.

"My team is talking and working," Ward said. "Options (for the next fight) will be presented in a couple weeks."