Andre Ward: Fit, Fast, Strong, Explosive

By Robert Ecksel on December 12, 2011
Andre Ward: Fit, Fast, Strong, Explosive
“I’m not going to change for anybody," says Ward. "I’m going to be myself.” (Howard Schatz)

“I’m expecting a very physical fight. You don’t just win these types of fights. You’ve got to take them…”

In anticipation of Saturday’s Final of the Super Six Boxing Classic at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City between WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) and WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch (28-1, 22 KOs), Andre Ward recently met with the press via teleconference call.

Ward, aka S.O.G. (Son of God), is one of the best boxers in the world today. He isn’t blessed with extraordinary power, but that’s not Ward’s game. He doesn’t need to overpower opponents when he can outthink and outbox them. Ward, perhaps more than any other active fighter today, does exactly what he needs to do to win—neither more nor less. Victories over Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, and Mikkel Kessler have shown what a terrific performer he is, and Ward is ready for whatever Carl Froch brings to the table.

“I’ve done everything I need to do to prepare for a huge fight like this,” said Ward. “I’m pushing my body to the limit where only my coach knows when to pull me back. Because if it was left up to me I’d continue to just grind, grind, and grind. We’ve done everything we’re supposed to do. I’m physically fit, mentally fit. I feel fast, I feel strong, I feel explosive.”

Ward isn’t flashy. He may “feel explosive,” but the truth is that he’s a quiet, smart, methodical and clever fighter. He’s also as composed and consistent out of the ring as he is inside it. He doesn’t resort to trash talk, but maintains his poise with a soft-spoken, polite demeanor. Ward knows exactly what he is capable of doing and stays within himself in order to do it. He’s not out to impress anyone. Ward focuses on winning each of his fights round by inexorable round. It has worked for him time and again, and he expects it will work for him Saturday night.

“I’ve set out from day one to do things that I’ve been raised to do,” he said. “I’m not going to change for anybody. I’m going to be myself. You’d be surprised how many people outside of boxing have come up to me and said, ‘Hey, I appreciate the way you carry yourself. I’m going to have my son or daughter look to you as an example.’ That kind of stuff right there means a lot more to mean than gaining a few more fans or writers saying, ‘Hey, this guy is crazy and we love him.’ Because if you look at a guy like Ricardo Mayorga, for example, he was a shooting star. He came in and made some noise and then he was gone. And people take shots at him and say he’s ignorant. Then when you have a fighter who comes in and tries to carry himself the right way, not as a front or an act but just has a clean lifestyle, then that’s not accepted either.

“So at the end of the day I’ve got to live my life in the middle. I can’t get caught up in wondering if people will like it or not. When it’s all said and done my children are going to look back on my career and I want to be able to point to my career and say, ‘Follow your dad. Do it the way he did it.’ Once this is all done and I hang them up, the legacy that is there will be there forever. So that’s more important for me to get a few pats on the back or for them to say you’re exciting outside of the ring. When you tell people you’re a fighter they expect you to be ignorant and to act a certain way. Like I’ve said many times I wasn’t raised that way.”

Although Ward is the favorite, one can be dead certain that Froch is coming to win. He’s got power, and is a good boxer in his own right, but will it be enough to defeat Ward and his bag of boxing tricks?

“One of my goals has always been for me to be Fighter of the Year and to get my coach (Virgil Hunter) Coach of the Year. It’s been a long time coming, almost 15 years of grinding and toiling when no one is around patting you on the back and there are no lights, camera, action. The lights and the cameras have just been coming around the last five, six, seven years, but we’ve been grinding for many, many years. It would be icing on the cake for winning this tournament.”

When asked to make a prediction about Saturday’s fight, Ward, in his typical, thoughtful fashion, wasn’t about to be pinned down.

“Well, if you’ve seen my fights you know I do a little bit of everything and I also have the wherewithal to make adjustments throughout the fight. There are ebbs and flows in big fights like this. I’m expecting a very physical fight. You don’t just win these types of fights, you’ve got to take them, because you have two guys who have belts and you’re in a tournament that no one wants to lose. So you have to go take it and that’s what I’m prepared to do.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Andre Ward Vs Arthur Abraham - Part 1 of 4

Andre Ward Vs Arthur Abraham - Part 3 of 4

Andre Ward Vs Arthur Abraham - Part 3 of 4

Andre Ward Vs Arthur Abraham - Part 4 of 4

Froch 'I'll Walk Through Ward's Feather-Duster Punches'


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  1. JC45 05:45pm, 12/16/2011

    Great points about Ward by Robert and Yank. Its called ” boxing ” , not ” knockouts ” . As long as you win thats all that matters in the end.

  2. the thresher 12:04pm, 12/15/2011

    The undercard is dreadful. Only decent fight is: a special welterweight attraction as Great Britan’s rising star Kell “Special K” Brook (25-0, 17 KOs) takes on Tennessee native, Luis Galarza (18-2, 14 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Otherwise, zzzzzzzz.

  3. Don From Prov 05:16am, 12/14/2011

    ...very physical fight. You don’t just win these types of fights, you’ve got to take them, because you have two guys who have belts and you’re in a tournament that no one wants to lose. So you have to go take it and that’s what I’m prepared to do.”

    THOSE will likely = very true words.
    Physical, and someone will have to “take” it.

  4. the thresher 03:00pm, 12/13/2011

    Gosh, good stuff and sage observations and welcome to

  5. Gosh 09:13am, 12/13/2011

    I must add that I do think Ward’s approach is refreshing, however, because the question becomes: what can the opponent do to ensure that they stay focused inspite of the mayhem in front of them? lol

    Froch will have a lot on his hands on saturday. I pray that both fighters finish with no career ending injuries. Go Andre!!

  6. Gosh 09:10am, 12/13/2011

    I think Ward has a lot of skill, but I do appreciate how he can be seen in the ring to be a rhythm spoiler i.e. when he fights, it seems more like he is more focused on making sure that his opponent’s game plan is messed up. Fans don’t appreciate that as much. So he is ‘unexciting’ I agree.

  7. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:11am, 12/13/2011

    Robert—We all like some excitement.  But some really fine talent has stepped into the ring without obvious waxing attributes. Here is a very incomplete list of some talent who all shared one thing in common—fans willing to overlook their lack of regularly applied waxing power: (KO ratios attached—compare to Andre Ward’s KO ratio of 54%)—Sergio Martinez (52%); Timothy Bradley (42%); Bernard Hopkins (52%); Robert Guerrero (55%); Lamont Peterson (47%) AND THEN SOME FROM THE PAST—Ezzard Charles (44%); Tony Canzoneri (25%); Carlos Ortiz (43%); Dick Tiger (33%); Harry Greb (16%); Benny Leonard (32%); Willie Pep (27%); Sam Langford (41%), Emile Griffith (21%) and the list goes on and on. I see technical skills in Ward that transcend my need to see him waxing people. But I also get the desire to see some waxing going on in this 168 pound division as well.

  8. Robert Ecksel 03:32pm, 12/12/2011

    The Thresher—I can’t think of anyone more deserving of Trainer of the Year. But I wonder how boxing politics, the great, all-knowing, invisible hand, fits into the equation. Insofar as Ward’s inability to wax anyone, others in the past, all-time greats in fact, were superlative boxers whose lack of KO power was overlooked. I’m thinking Willie Pep, who “only” had 65 KOs in 229 wins. (The comparison between the two fighters, however, starts and stops there.)

  9. the thresher 03:06pm, 12/12/2011

    Could Hunter get Trainer of the Year?

  10. the thresher 03:03pm, 12/12/2011

    Bk Don raises solid point about Ward’s opposition. I’ve never been overly impressed by it, nor have I been impressed by Ward’s inability to wax anyone.

  11. AKT 02:33pm, 12/12/2011

    When all is said and done, the boxer walks away from the ring and faces his responsibilities, just as everybody else does. Ward is about 25 years old right now; if he keeps doing what he is doing what he does (safety first), he’ll have a long enough career to command the sums that ‘exciting fighters’ earn (just before they get KO’ed or thoroughly outclassed).

    I like Ward’s game.

  12. Bk Don 02:08pm, 12/12/2011

    I respect, and in some ways agree your counterpoint, Robert. With that said, if your opponents aren’t going to force you to dig deep, then you need to need to do something else to make yourself an attraction. If Ward isn’t willing to do more things outside the ring to force the casual sports fan to notice him, a la Money May, then he needs to step up what he does in the ring. This is a guy who went 24 rds with Allan Green and Edison Miranda. He barely lost any rds to those guys, but not once did I ever see him try to step on the pedal and ko them. Both fighters have been stopped in their careers, and to lesser fighters than Ward. They were there for him to shine against, and though he dominated them, he didn’t shine. Roy Jones Jr, who got tons of slack for fighting “lesser” opponents, rarely ever carried them to the end. He outclassed and eventually knocked out guys like clinton woods, glen kelly & eric harding. I need ward to at least do that.

  13. Robert Ecksel 01:34pm, 12/12/2011

    BK Don—You raise many good points. Let me counter that since no opponent has pushed Ward “to the point where he has to dig deep,” that’s his opponents’ fault and not Ward’s. And if he has the skills not to engage in a back and forth battle—Floyd Mayweather, who I know you support, has made a specialty of that—why should Ward when he can simply box beautifully and win? But I think you hit the nail on the head about Ward and the general sports fan. Someone like Ward, in my opinion, is for the connoisseur, the cognoscenti. The general sports fan, who may know something about sports but little about boxing, will never get Andre Ward.

  14. BK Don 01:05pm, 12/12/2011

    I’m still waiting for that career defining performance from Ward. Waiting for that one fight where his opponent pushes him to the point that he has to dig deep. Waiting for him to either ko a top guy, or engage in a back and forth battle with them. Until he does one or the other, I don’t see how he really captures the attention of the general sports fan.

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