Andre Ward: “I Love Boxing”

By Robert Ecksel on August 24, 2011
Andre Ward: “I Love Boxing”
“For the record, I never want to get my hand raised if I didn’t win” (Howard Schatz)

Ward shuns trash talk. Others can complain about headbutts, elbows, questionable refereeing and judging all they want. That’s not Ward’s style…

The Super Six World Boxing Classic Final traveling road show hit Manhattan Tuesday afternoon. The media was out in force, as were the Showtime execs, the two fighters, and their handlers.

When WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) and his WBC counterpart Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) meet at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Oct. 29, it will be a contest between a boxer versus a slugger. Froch has the heavy hands. He’ll be thinking knockout every second of every round. Ward, by contrast, will be on his toes, gauging the distance between him and Froch, anticipating his every move, gliding stealthily around the ring with cat-like precision and cunning.

Ward knows what Froch has to offer. He’s as well versed in Froch’s ways as Froch is well versed in Ward’s. But Ward isn’t about to be pigeonholed. He believes he can adapt to whatever his opponent brings.

“I’m a chameleon,” said Ward. “Regardless of what Froch brings, the key is to have an answer, and that’s what makes a great fight and that’s what makes a winner. I can’t get into specifics because we haven’t fought yet. The key is, in the moment, when it’s all on the line, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Froch has accused Ward of many things, including being a dirty fighter. But Ward doesn’t buy it and thinks his opponent has ulterior motives.

“That’s his opinion. He’ll probably say something else from now until fight time. I’ve heard it before. Carl isn’t the first person to say it and he won’t be the last. On one hand he says that I fight on my back foot, that he’s too strong, he’s too aggressive for me. On the other hand he says that I’m dirty. I mean which one is it? I don’t know. But nothing he’s said has taken me in a different direction or changed my focus. It’s just not. So he’s going to have to come better with that. And I understand what he’s doing too. He’s not just shooting out at me, but he wants to put that out in the air for the potential referee and judges too. And my hope is that, my belief is that, the referee and judges will have a clear mind and still be able to officiate and judge the fight accordingly.”

In light of the last big fight at Boardwalk Hall and Russell Mora’s refereeing at the Home Depot Center, officiating is one everybody’s mind, not just Andre Ward’s.

“For the record,” he said, “I never want to get my hand raised if I didn’t win. I wouldn’t be able to live with that. I think it’s going to fair and everything like that, and I think New Jersey’s going to do a great job. But I share the same sentiments as everyone else. I have the same concerns. I watched the Mares-Agbeko fight. I saw the situation with the Paul Williams fight, where the judges got suspended. So that’s always a concern because a referee who likes a particular style doesn’t let you work the way you like to work or a judge who sees things in a particular way can influence the fight and change the night. So I hope it’s fair, I believe it’s going to be fair, and we just have to go from there.”

Ward doesn’t like being falsely accused, by Froch or anyone else, and traces of anger seeped into his voice.

“This is boxing. This is not a tennis match. This is not track, even though I respect those sports. This is boxing. Things happen. But do I intentionally go out there and do things? No. I’ve been on the wrong side of headbutts. I’ve been on the wrong side of elbows. I’ve got the scars to prove it. Right here,” said Ward, pointing to scars on his cheeks below both eyes, “right here. I’ve been on the wrong side of those. I don’t know how to headbutt a guy without putting myself in danger of being cut. It just happens. But he’s going to say everything he can and I could do the same, but I’m not.”

Ward shuns trash talk. Others can complain about headbutts, elbows, questionable refereeing and judging all they want. That’s not Ward’s style. He hears the scuttlebutt, but doesn’t dwell on negativity—and he hasn’t soured on the sweet science a bit.

“I love boxing,” he said. “I’m not just in boxing. I’m a fan of it. And you can’t box and not be a fan of it. I’ve seen guys who can’t stand to watch boxing—but they box. I was never that way. Even as a kid I would always watch, I think it was Tuesday night Gillette fights. I’m a big fan of Friday Night Fights and any other fights that come on the air. It doesn’t just have to be a big fight. And of course I look back and take a lot from the guys who came before me.”

Ward is the master boxer, whereas Froch has the advantage in power. But the game is called boxing, it’s not called knockout, even though we love KOs with the same intensity as we love our mothers and pets.

“Just in my last few fights I fought big punchers. I fought the biggest punchers in the division. I fought Arthur Abraham, who a lot of people told me he had bricks in both hands. And he does. Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Edison Miranda—I fought big punchers. But championship boxing is more than just being a big puncher. It’s more than that, because if you break it down it’s about angles. A lot goes into it. I’m not going to stand there and let you hurt me. But if you connect, I believe I can hit you and come back.”

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Super Six Nov 27th Recap: Carl Froch vs. Arthur Abraham & Andre Ward vs. Sakio Bika - SHOWTIME

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Andre Ward vs. Edison Miranda 1/4

Andre Ward vs. Edison Miranda 2/4

Andre Ward vs. Edison Miranda 3/4

Andre Ward vs. Edison Miranda 4/4

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