Andre Ward said Bernard Hopkins "took a young fighter to school" in Tavoris Cloud, that Guillermo Rigondeaux "boxed beautifully" against Nonito Donaire, and that Floyd Mayweather Jr. "re-invented himself" against Robert Guerrero.
RING and WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward shared his thoughts on the recent one-sided boxing performances of Bernard Hopkins, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Floyd Mayweather Jr. during an interview with RingTV.com.
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 knockouts) has agreed to make the first defense of the belt he won from Tavoris Cloud by unanimous decision in March against mandatory challenger Karo Murat on July 13.
The win over Cloud extended the 48-year-old Hopkins' own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown, a feat the Philadelphia native accomplished at the age of 46 with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal, in Pascal's country of Canada, for the WBC's light heavyweight belt.
In April, junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs) came up with a unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire, earning the RING, WBA and WBO championships. A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Rigondeaux won by scores of 114-113, 115-112, 116-111. RingTV.com had it for Rigondeaux, 117-110.
On May 4, Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs) ended a nearly one-year layoff with a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in defense of his WBC welterweight belt, earning the RING championship in the process. Floyd Mayweather Sr. worked as trainer for his son for the first time in just over 13 years against Guerrero, apparently ending a widely-reported turbulent relationship.
Ward, meanwhile, has targeted a September return to the ring after having successfully undergone surgery in early January to repair his injured right shoulder, and has listed former WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. among potential opponents.
Below are Ward's comments on Hopkins, Rigondeaux and Mayweather.
Hopkins, Rigondeaux and Floyd Mayweather.
"Hopkins, you know, did what Hopkins has been doing. You know, he took a young fighter to school, period. So you've got to take your hat off to him for that."
"Against Rigondeaux, I think that Nonito got caught up in looking for one big shot. Rigondeaux, though, I think that you have to take your hat off to him because he boxed beautifully. I think that the most impressive thing from Rigondeaux is the way that he was able to take a shot and respond back, because there were certain moments in that fight with Nonito where Nonito would hit him, and I'm thinking, in my mind, 'Okay, it won't be long.'
"But Rigondeaux ate the shot and came back. In a championship fight like that, that was a key moment. To stand your ground and to get your respect, and I think that he got his respect. But you have to take your hat off to Nonito as well, because he never stopped fighting. He kept coming, but it wasn't his night. I would like to see those guys bring it back.
"I have no idea what people are talking about when they say that they think that fight was boring. I mean, there were moments where it was dull and there wasn't a lot of action, but this is a 12-round fight, that's to be expected. But for the most part, that was a matchup of two highly skilled fighters and they are great fighters"
"Floyd, man, you just have to take your hat off to Floyd because he keeps re-inventing himself. He went back to the old Floyd and he boxed, and he used his legs when a lot of people were saying that he doesn't have his legs anymore. I think that his father was a great addition in helping him bring it back together.
"I take my hat off to my good friend, Robert. He got outclassed, but he stood in there. He got in there and did his best, but he got outclassed. It happens in boxing. He got a shot after having toiled in obscurity for years. But he got his shot. I like Robert Guerrero at 147 pounds against anybody -- outside of Mayweather."
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org