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?
RingTV.com: Will the venue, being on the East Coast, be different for you?
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.
RingTV.com: What are your feelings being in Atlantic City for the first time?
RingTV.com: Given the fact that Froch just fought in Atlantic City, do you see that as any sort of advantage for him?
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?
RingTV.com: Are you concerned about the judging in Atlantic City given Paul Williams' recent controversial decision there over Erislandy Lara?
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?
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?
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.