Andre Ward said he's "ready" and "fit" going into his fight against Carl Froch in the final of Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic on Oct. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J.
RingTV.com caught up with WBA super middleweight titlist Andre Ward for this Q&A to discuss his clash with WBC counterpart Carl Froch in the final of Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic on Oct. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J.
Ward (24-0, 13 knockouts) is coming off of a unanimous-decision beat down of former middleweight beltholder Arthur Abraham in May in the tournament semifinals. The 27-year-old from Oakland, Calif., won every round on one card and all but two on the other two.
The 34-year-old Froch (27-1, 1, 20 KOs) scored a majority decision over ex-world titlist Glen Johnson in his semifinal bout in June in Atlantic City, and looks to be Ward's most-difficult challenge to date.
Ward has fought only twice on the East Cast, when he stopped Glenn LaPlante in Tampa, Fla., in 2005 and KO'd Andy Kolle in Mashantucket, Conn., the following year.
RingTV.com: Are you ready to come East?
Andre Ward: Yeah, we're ready to do it, man. We're ready to come East. I am up for the challenge, and I'm fit for the challenge. I'm ready to do it. I've fought in Florida and Connecticut. Those are the only other times I've been East.
RingTV.com: Will the venue, being on the East Coast, be different for you?
AW: You know what? It's not really a big deal. There are certain differences where sometimes it's a little harder because you have to find gyms to work out in leading up to the fight, but we have some connections on the East Coast.
People, once again, made a big deal bout me getting to fight in my home down of Oakland, Calif., but I have ample stamps on my passport. I've traveled abroad. I haven't had the opportunity to fight in Atlantic City as a professional.
But I've fought in England, I've fought in London, I've fought in most places in Ireland, been to Greece. I've put in my time. Fighting abroad is fighting abroad, but you've still got to get it done.
RingTV.com: What are your feelings being in Atlantic City for the first time?
AW: Well, I haven't talked to many people, but I've talked to a lot of the greats who have fought in those arenas in Atlantic City, and it's going to be a great opportunity for me. It's an honor and a privlege. I want to be in top form to be able to perform at the level.
RingTV.com: Given the fact that Froch just fought in Atlantic City, do you see that as any sort of advantage for him?
AW: Well, I think that it is an advantage. And I'll give him that, because everybody wants to talk about the advantages that I've had fighting in Oakland, so there you go. Froch has fought in Atlantic City once. I've never been there. Now the ball is in his court. He has the advantage, so now, Andre Ward is at a disadvantage going into a fight.
RingTV.com: Is that your way of making yourself the underdog?
AW: Absolutely. [Laughs.] Absolutely. Every fighter needs something to motivate him. Obviously, the hardware is on the line, the legacy is on the line. There's a lot of things on the line. Those things should motivate us. But you can also use other intricate things that are shared or done.
RingTV.com: For example?
AW: For example, Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello. Aaron Pryor was already motivated, and Alexis Arguello was already motivated. But Aaron Pryor took one thing -- the announcer announcing Alexis Arguello as "Mr." Arguello, and just announcing him as "Aaron Pryor." For Aaron Pryor, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. And that's when he looked at Alexis Arguello and said, "I'm going to get you." That was all that it took. So that's what it takes.
RingTV.com: Are you concerned about the judging in Atlantic City given Paul Williams' recent controversial decision there over Erislandy Lara?
AW: Absolutely, we're concerned. Absolutely. But to Paul's credit, I didn't fully watched the fight. I taped the fight. It was late. I watched the early rounds. I fast-forwarded and skipped half of the fight just to see who won. I saw before they announced the decision, Harold Lederman's official card, and I said, 'Wow, Ok." Lara must have dones something in those last six rounds.
And then they read the scorecards, and everybody had an uproar about it. So I honestly haven't gone back and watched it and judged it that closely. I've just read the post-fight commentary. But with that being said, before the referees got suspended, I took mental notes of their names. Because, obviously, and with all due respect, I wanted to avoid getting those guys again in my fight. But being that the commission responded the way that they did, it's good. I don't think that there is going to be a problem for us moving forward.
RingTV.com: You have said that this is the fight that you and the fans wanted, the best against the best, the American against the Englishman. Can you address the match up from a patriotism standpoint, and in terms of excitement and style?
AW: I think that, obviously, because of the fact that it's the United Kingdom and the United States of America that they have had a running rivalry for a number of years. Obviously, I have the U.S.A. on my back for this one. Carl Froch, you know, he tries to spice things up with some of his one-liners that he likes to use. So like I've mentioned before, let's hope that he sells us a few more tickets with that.
As far as stylistically, Froch has been tagged as a warrior and as being fearless and they like to say that about him. People think that I'm more of a slick boxer and that I kind of try to stay off of the ropes. So I guess that they're looking at the notion of, "Can I outbox Froch and can I stay away from him. Can I stay away from him enough that I can avoid taking punishment, and can I avoid being bullied by him."
I guess that that's the line that most people are using in the way that they're viewing this fight. But, you know, me personally, I disagree with that. I'm just looking forward to being able to talk on October 29 for the last time in this tournament, because Ive been fortunate enough to do very well throughout this tournament. I think that this fight sells itself from the standpoint that we've been battling for a year and a half, two years, and everyone is excited about this as a whole.
RingTV.com: Can you discuss the perception of you as the lamb as opposed to your belief that people eventually will recognize the dog or the wolf in you -- your ability to be a tough, versatile fighter who can "fight" and go to the head and body with power?
AW: This is the thing. As a young man, I've learned this and I'm still learning this. That element of naysayers and the element where people are doubting the different things that you're capable of doing. You need that. That keeps you humble and it keeps you on your game. I can't be concerned about whether anybody's talking well about me or whether they have anything good to say.
When you look at guys like Bernard Hopkins, this is a guy who is only just now getting his just do. How many countless times has he been written off as too old, too slow or had people say that he just doesn't have it? Floyd Mayweather is 41-0. This guy has not been beaten, but yet, still doesn't get his just do. That element is always going to be there. So to answer your question, no.
I still don't feel as though I'm getting the just do or the respect that I need, but to a degree, that is the way that I like it. Because I continue to reach, even though I feel blessed to have accomplished some things in my career. But I'm still reaching because that's my source of motivation.