Unbeaten world super-middleweight champion Andre Ward will return to the ring after more than a 14-month layoff against Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. HBO will televise the bout.

Oakland's Ward (26-0, 14 knockouts) hasn't fought since beating Chad Dawson by 10th-round technical knockout in his hometown on Sept. 8, 2012. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist suffered a right shoulder injury last year, scrapping a planned fight against Kelly Pavlik, who has since retired. Ward has also feuded with his promoter Dan Goossen.

Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs) stopped Denis Grachev in the first round in July.

Rodriguez is a "young, hungry fighter who doesn't believe he can lose, and it's my job to change his mind," Ward said in a statement released by Goossen.

Motor sports

Ryan Newman set the New Hampshire Motor Speedway qualifying record with a lap of 136.497 mph to win the pole for Sunday's NASCAR race. Chase for the Sprint Cup championship drivers filled 10 of the top 12 spots. Kasey Kahne was second, followed by Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch for the second Chase race. Newman, eighth in the standings, is leaving Stewart-Haas Racing for a 2014 ride with Richard Childress.


Advertisement

Martin Truex Jr. starts fifth at the 1.058-mile oval in Loudon. He found out Thursday that NAPA was dumping sponsorship of his Michael Waltrip Racing No. 56 Toyota after the race-fixing attempts at Richmond, Va. "This is not the time of year you want to find out that you really don't have a ride next year," Truex said. Michael Waltrip said he's willing to let Truex leave MWR if the team is unable to find new sponsorship. NAPA is Truex's primary sponsor at $15 million a year. NASCAR booted Truex out of the Chase, replacing him with Newman.

  • The merged United SportsCar Championship Series will have a 12-race season in 2014, including a race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May 4.

    Miscellany

    A source says the NHL's Winter Classic is coming to Washington in 2015 (site TBA). A New Year's Day opponent for the Capitals hasn't been decided. ...

    Edmonton signed forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a seven-year, $42 million contract extension.

  • Diego Valeri scored in the 13th minute, leading Portland to a 1-0 MLS win over Colorado. The Timbers (11-5-13) moved a point ahead of the Rapids (12-9-9) for third place in the Western Conference.

  • France ended Spain's reign as European basketball champion with a 75-72 overtime victory behind 32 points by Tony Parker. Spain led by 14 points at halftime in Llubljana, Slovenia. Lithuania defeated Croatia 77-62 in the other semifinal.

  • Chicago's Elena Delle Donne got all 39 first-place votes to win WNBA Rookie of the Year award. She was presented the award before the Sky opened the playoffs with an 85-72 loss to defending champion Indiana. Minnesota beat Seattle 80-64 in the other opener. Also, Washington's Mike Thibault was voted coach of the year.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.