Andre Ward: “I Can Beat a Klitschko”

By Matt McGrain on April 29, 2013
Andre Ward: “I Can Beat a Klitschko”
Son of God meets Dr. Steelhammer has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? (Howard Schatz)

Ward claims that heavyweight twin-peaks Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are possible future targets for the current 168-pound world champion…

There are members of the Transnational Boxing Board who believe Andre Ward the best fighter in the world, and that he should rank above Floyd Mayweather on our pound-for-pound list. Those of us who have more conservative blood running through our veins continue to insist that the modestly nicknamed “Son of God” has some more preaching to do with those mothballed fists of his before he is anointed the best fighter in the world of any weight. But in the meantime Ward has decided to do some wide-open preaching with his mouth, claiming in an interview with ESNews that heavyweight twin-peaks Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are possible future targets for the current 168-pound world champion.

“I want to [challenge for a world heavyweight title], I’ve talked about that since I’ve been a kid,” Ward said, apparently straight-faced. “It seems crazy right now, but I’m not gonna be [one-hundred and] sixty-eight [pounds] forever.”

At six-feet flat, Ward actually has a slight height advantage over the men from the last generation who clambered from primes at super-middleweight all the way up to heavyweight and find success, and Ward seems brilliant enough that comparisons to James Toney and Roy Jones are already reasonable. Ward enjoys some of the same qualities that made the trip north possible for those two men, an elusiveness in the ring that makes bigger men boxable, a healthy dose of self-belief and an apparent knack for winning regardless of who is in the opposite corner.

It is also true that both Toney and Jones benefited to some degree from opponent selection. Neither one of them had to climb into the ring with Lennox Lewis, but rather targeted the more static John Ruiz, a handful for any man who can’t get out of his way or blast him off but lacking the dynamism to close any huge skill-gap. Ward acknowledges this:

“You got to fight the right heavyweight,” he admitted, but added: “As a fighter, I believe I could beat a Klitschko… I’m wired to believe that…I think it could happen, absolutely.”

I have always considered it to be the fighter’s prerogative to lie to himself. He puts his body in harm’s way, something that is deeply counter-intuitive and sometimes for a man to do that, he needs to tell himself the occasional mistruth. Ward is serious about taking on a heavyweight champion at some point in his career, I think, but he surely knows enough to know that either Klitschko would dynamite his ass back to the super-middleweight division with impunity. 

More importantly, Ward has indicated that he is well and truly on his way back from the shoulder-surgery that has impaired his ring ambitions this year and that he “gets to hit stuff again,” with October his target for a ring return. The #2 and #3 super-middleweights, Ward victims both, meet next month to decide who will need to tread water until the king’s return, but both Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler will be glad to hear that the American has a timetable in place. The winner of that fight will have done enough to force a rematch, a confrontation both of those men seem hungry for and whilst Ward has been out long enough that he may care to take an easier fight before matching whoever emerges as his #1 contender, it is hard to see that fight being made any later than early next year.

And if Wladimir Klitschko is still champion in early 2015? Son of God meets Dr. Steelhammer has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?

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Andre Ward: I Can Beat A Klitschko

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  1. B Red 07:17pm, 05/06/2013

    Ted might have a point with fighting Vitali.

  2. B Red 07:13pm, 05/06/2013

    The Klits are too big for my dawg Ward. Ward would spank Adamek and Arreola.

  3. Bea 09:49pm, 05/03/2013

    I want some of what he is smoking, is he crazy? Did he not just get beat by The Ghost?

  4. Ted 11:56am, 05/01/2013

    Point taken, Prov,

  5. Don from Prov 11:27am, 05/01/2013

    Yes, Ted, Page did have great skills—
    But he wasn’t always in shape.
    If you think back, I believe you’ll recall that the HW was known for that then—

    Good fighters not always ready to fight.


  6. Pete The Sneak 04:37am, 05/01/2013

    Irish, great stuff…By the way, did you boink Jackie after you Kayoed the Rock or before? Peace.

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:35pm, 04/30/2013

    Now you got me going…..he’s a cruiserweight…he can boil down to 168 but he’s a cruiserweight and he knows it…. that’s why he has these megalomaniac visions involving the KBros….the last time I checked the weight difference between his weight class and cruiserweight it was eight pounds…..eight pounds! He needs to step up and get some Lebedev…but he won’t because Lebedev would kick his ass right up onto his shoulders!

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:18pm, 04/30/2013

    Reminds me of Uncle Rico in “Napoleon Dynamite” when he told Kip that back in ‘82 he could throw a football a quarter of a mile! Which reminds me that I once dreamed that I decked Rocky Marciano in a bout and that I boinked Jackie Kennedy and she loved it!

  9. zack david berlin 02:53pm, 04/30/2013

    Fighters have to believe they can beat anyone. It’s part of the game. One of the guys who’s a security guard where I live is a young pro welterweight and he says with great conviction that he’d smoke Pacquiao, Mayweather, Bradley, etc. But I really agree with Irish Frankie Crawford. i think this stupid talk from Ward is more of the disrespect we’ve seen towards the Klitschkos. I also believe it’s partly racial. Bernard Hopkins was on about them being nothing special, just “lucky”. Hopkins is of course, by any standard, a flagrant racist, who gets away with a lot of racial madness that his white counterparts would never get away with saying about blacks or anyone else. A couple years ago, Hopkins was on the David Haye band wagon, proclaiming that he’d KO Klitschko. Then when Haye got embarrassed, Hopkins pounded him mercilessly in the press. Ugly stuff. And with Ward, as great a fighter as he is, he should know better. But who knows? The Klitschkos are bored. Maybe they’ll take Ward up on his boast. And he’ll get what all the other Klitschko opponents get…

  10. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:09pm, 04/30/2013

    Rikers-You read my mind….I was thinking the very same thing this morning as I was polishing off my greasy bacon and egg sandwich which I washed down with two ice cold Dos Equis Ambers…that perspicasity has never been my strong point!

  11. Rikers 10:34am, 04/30/2013

    Looks like Irish Frankie’s drunk - again. Soo unlike an Irishman.
    I have yet to see you post anything insightful on this site.

  12. Ted 10:14am, 04/30/2013

    Don, now you diss poor Page. WTF. He had great skills in his prime.

  13. johnny yuma 09:00am, 04/30/2013

    Love to see ward vs. Klit. You know Andre REAL modern fighter!Complete to me. Klits both havemany weakness. But hard training not one of them. Just feel their size offset Andres talent.

  14. Don from Prov 08:53am, 04/30/2013

    raxman: I agree that Ward is doing a little dreaming here, but I always remember what the trainer Kenny Weldon told me on another site.  He said that no one in the heavyweight division was schooled enough in the employment of footwork to get inside on the Klits—and when I saw their fights, I started watching for that.  Ward has better footwork than any heavyweight contender and also knows about slipping punches.  Now, if he had the pop of Langford or Fitzsimmons, he might just make some noise.

  15. Don from Prov 08:47am, 04/30/2013

    Ted: What do I have against The Bomber?
    It’s more that it’s just fun pushing your buttons—

    But I would say this: I think that the HWs are abysmal.  Wilder has a hell of a right hand, but he fights more like a large drunk at a bar than like someone who has trained at even an amateur level.  The decade of the Greg-Page-Out-of-Shape heavyweights was bad enough, but a lot of the heavyweights I see now don’t seem to have even bothered to learn to fight. 
    So, that’s what I’d hope for Wilder—

    That he actually learns the art of boxing.

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:58am, 04/30/2013

    Olympic Gold Medalist with an Olympic sized ego….heck yea!....but guess what…only one problem when turning pro….he couldn’t hit worth a shit!....what to do…..what to do….c’mon now… let’s use our noggins and come up with something to overcome this very serious power deficit. Wait! you’re a dadgummed genius….noggin you say? that’s it….use your noggin!....and as they say the rest is history.

  17. Jason 06:45am, 04/30/2013

    Andre, SOG, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” It’s in the Book of Proverbs.

    Stop with all that silly talk, champ.

  18. Mike Casey 06:10am, 04/30/2013

    Just to be on the safe side, Andre, keep a shotgun craftily concealed in your corner if you decide to pursue this career path.

  19. raxman 08:03pm, 04/29/2013

    I’m certain guys like haye (and now ward - puhlease!) watch the tapes and are convinced they’ll have no trouble getting inside the klits reach. its one thing to have a plan, but when vitali is bouncing around, 6’7 and 240, his hands by his waist shooting out bombs from weird angles and wlad firing the most accurate and hardest jab in boxing - those plans go out the window. andre! you don’t have the pop to ko a super middleweight and you fought dawson at your weight not his. stop talking in tongues

  20. Bk Don 08:02pm, 04/29/2013

    Kudos to M. McGrain for being the first to run with this on the web that I’ve noticed. With that said, I’m glad Ward has confidence in himself but there is no way he could get inside of Wlad’s reach w/o getting hit and you can’t convince me he could take one of Wlad’s punches. I’m just talking about one of his jabs, not even going to mention a power punch. Now, if you’re going to tell me you’re confident that Ward couldn’t beat Arreola? Or Tomasz Adamek? How about Manuel Charr?  Kevin Johnson would outclass him? Those are some recent title challengers. Ward would have to be at least a live underdog to any of them and probably a favorite over a guy like Kevin.

  21. Koolz 04:12pm, 04/29/2013

    All I can say is WHAT!

    Ward couldn’t beat Golovkin now at 168 and is talking about moving up in weight saying he could beat Wladimir!? 

    Ok look I shall say how this fight will go:

    Ward using feints nice movement, getting hit with the jab, a strong jab.  More Ward feinting and moving, trying to get in the inside and getting hit with the jab.

    Sooner or later there is going to be a left jab a few times to bring the right for huge power shot!  and if Ward is hit by that.  KO!

    Ward is never beating any of the Klitschkos.  Great he thinks that but really that’s not reality!

  22. Ted 03:19pm, 04/29/2013

    Prov, what have you got against The Bomber. What is your major malfunction?


  23. Don from Prov 02:50pm, 04/29/2013

    Better opponent than the giraffe on crack

  24. NYIrish 01:14pm, 04/29/2013

    Snap some salts under his nose and pour ice water down his trunks. He’ll come around.

  25. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:06pm, 04/29/2013

    Here’s what I’m thinking….if he fought Mayweather at a catch weight and the referee didn’t countenance his head butting (he probably would be afraid to head butt Floyd anyway for any number of reasons and thereby diminish his arsenal) he would get the money he’s reaching for by downgrading the KBros and he would lose his “0” in the process!

  26. Ted 12:41pm, 04/29/2013

    In the new norm of Heavyweight giants, there will be no more John Ruiz’s. So Ward can dream on.

    Guys like Pulev, Fury, and Wilder would mash him into grits. Just too big. Not as skilled, but just too big. Not as smart, but just too big.

  27. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:25pm, 04/29/2013

    Let’s see…I wonder if he’s wired to think he can beat Haye…. or Wilder….or Stiverne….for that matter how about Audley…..I wonder…but oh yea… a Klitschko…easy pickins!

  28. Pete The Sneak 12:14pm, 04/29/2013

    SOG? OMG. Have you been smoking PCP? Peace.

  29. Ted 11:17am, 04/29/2013

    If he stayed outside and fought in spurts like Haye did with Valuev, anything is possible, and Ward has the ring smarts and speed to know how to do that. He just has to avoid being hit with Wlad’s punch. His best bet would be against Vitali, but that will never happen as he is close to retirement.
    That said, Klit is a pretty smart guy in there on his own part but is subject to some fits if he doesn’t get his way early so that he can go into his methodical breakdown and stalk, stun, and kill scenario. To do that, he would have to hurt Ward early.
    Interesting to envision.

  30. Matt McGrain 10:50am, 04/29/2013

    I certainly wouldn’t dream of lecturing you about his skillset, but I do feel I need to reference his nature.  “I’m wired to believe that.”  He a fighter, yes he is.

  31. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:25am, 04/29/2013

    This would be funny if it were not so insulting to the two best fist fighters in the world….yea that’s right geniuses….who can beat them? Even more insulting than all time lists that don’t include the KBros…. which only prove that bias trumps expertise and sound judgement. First Hopkins then Jones Jr. and now more of the same gibberish from the Oakland Billygoat…no lectures about his skill set please….if he’s in a fight and he’s not sitting on his stool…he’s butting someone. He needs to be prompted that head butting won’t be nearly as effective below the belt against the 6’7” brothers.

  32. Ted 09:35am, 04/29/2013

    Delusional, though RJJ did beat Ruiz.

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