Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Q&A Ward: Sidelined champ scores KO from ringside on HBO
HBO's ringside scorer Harold Lederman said Andre Ward was "terrific," and, "sharp" as a network commentator for this past Saturday's triple-header at New York's Madison Square Garden.
"Boy, can that man box. I was impressed from start to finish. I had never seen, in all of the tapes that I saw of Mikey, him box like that. His inside game, his outside game. He showed that he was a veteran, even though he hadn't fought the likes of an Orlando Salido before. He's the real deal," HBO ringside commentator Andre Ward on Mikey Garcia's performance following Saturday night's unanimous decision over Orlando Salido.
RING, WBA and WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward spoke to RingTV.com in the wake of Saturday night's HBO debut as a ringside commentator for the Top Rank triple-header in the Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
The event was headlined by unbeaten featherweight Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia's eighth-round unanimous technical decision victory that dethroned Orlando Salido as WBO beltholder, featured Kazakhstan-born WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin's seventh-round stoppage of former junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado, and, also, a disputed split-draw between Puerto Rican WBO junior lightweight beltholder Roman "Rocky" Martinez and Mexico's Juan Carlos Burgos.
"I've done one or two on Showtime, and I've done several with ESPN. So it's been sporadic. I've done smaller networks. I've done sustained telecasts, so I've done a whole card before," said Ward, 28.
"I thought it was one of the best initial debuts that I've ever seen in my life. I mean, I thought that he was terrific," said Lederman. "You know, personally, listening to him, I learned something that I never would have noticed in a million years. This really showed me how sharp he is. He saw something that I never would have seen, and it just blew me away."
Lederman referenced Ward's interpretation of Salido's "telegraphed movement," which the fighter said was being exploited by Garcia.
"I think that one thing that Salido is doing that is working against him is that he is tipping Mikey off every time he wants to come in," said Ward. "He dips with his left shoulder. Mikey sees it and he either gets out of the way or he counters him."
Lederman was impressed.
"What he saw was that Orlando Salido would drop his head and drop his shoulders before he would move inside on Mikey Garcia. In other words, he was trying to rush Mikey Garcia," said Lederman. "Any time, before he would come in, Andre noticed that he would drop his head, or drop his shoulders and then rush in. I would have never seen that."
Ward (26-0, 14 knockouts) is coming off September's three-knockdown, 10th-round stoppage of RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson, and is recovering from successful surgery to repair his injured right shoulder which forced the cancelation of his scheduled March 2 HBO-televised defense against the now-retired former undisputed middleweight titleholder Kelly Pavlik.
"What I've gotten from Andre's on-air performances, especially from Saturday night, and, quite frankly, we've seen it for many years now, is that he's got one of these personalities and the ability to speak to each individual viewer," said his promoter, Dan Goossen.
"I liken it to a Cris Collingworth or Phil Simms. These athletes that understand all of the aspects of what is happening as their particular event is unfolding. I feel that Andre is headed for greatness, not only inside of the ring, but also, outside of the ring."
Below are some examples of Ward's commentary, followed by a Q&A.
On the vast contrast in their amateur experience: "You can see the difference between just how fluid these guys are. That speaks to the late start of Rosado, and the over 350 amateur fights of Golovkin."
On Golovkin's punch that caused the cut over Rosado's left eye: "That's what we call in boxing the power-jab. I think Rosado can attest to that power. It probably felt like a right hand to him...Golovkin under him, and he can put his weight behind it. You can see the way that it landed that it had all of his power behind it."
Early in the first round: "This is Orlando Salido's 90th championship round in his career; Mikey Garcia's first."
Following Garcia's first of two, first-round knockdowns: "It might serve Mikey to go in there and test him one more time while he's still buzzed, just like he just tried right there. You don't want Salido to warm up."
On Garcia's punch-placement: "Mikey's not only accurate, but he's hitting hard at this stage of the fight, and Salido feels every one of those punches."
On Garcia's movement: "I like the movement of Garcia. He's doing enough, but not quite overdoing it."
But I've still got to do the work. So there were plenty of hours to do that before I got to New York. And then I got to New York by mid-day on Friday, and I was in my room on Friday.
Friday was the work-day, the fighter meetings, the production meetings, the weigh-in, I was in my room the rest of that night and then all day Saturday leading up until the 5 p.m. pick-up. So that whole time, I was preparing.
RingTV.com: What did you see that you liked about Rosado early that he may have gotten away from?
RingTV.com: How were you able to illustrate that Salido was telegraphing his intentions, which Garcia was capitalizing on?
So they've got that look, and I can identify with that look. I remember telling Max Kellerman, "I know that look in his eye, because I've come in the same way."
It's almost this look like, "What are you guys laughing at," and, "What's so funny?" I mean, they're in a different world. They're getting ready to embark upon something.
We're going to be on the outside being entertained, and they're the entertainers and the ones who are actually getting in there.
So, again, that's just from my experience in the sport, and it was great to be a part of such a great team of commentators. They did a great job.
RingTV.com: What sort of respect do you think you get from the fellow fighters?
RingTV.com: Is this what you meant when you said that your injury could have been "a blessing in disguise?"
AW: I just felt like as soon as I got the lay of the land in terms of the overall situation that I was dealing with, from the injury, to the surgery, to the time off, I told my team right away.
I told [publicist] Julie [Goldsticker,] I told my manager and my promoter that I'm getting ready to stay busy and that I'm not going to be sitting around for the next few months while re-habbing.
This is a tremendous opportunity to not only kind of spread my wings and to do some more broadcasting, but, also, to just be around the sport.
It's about the fans being able to see me and to reach out and touch me. I'm not as in a hurry as I used to be. I've got some more time on my hands.
I got less on my mind so to speak. I've got no fights coming up and no training camp around the corner. This is just a good time for me to be around the fans and to spend time in the sport.
Being around the sport keeps my fire burning. It doesn't take much to get me fired up. But being around the sport and not being able to get into the ring, that does something to you.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org