Ward Gains Entrance to Semifinals with Win; But Green Confident of Upset
Super Six World Boxing Classic competitors Andre Ward and Allan Green participated in an international media conference call on Tuesday to discuss their crucial Group Stage 2 12-round bout on Saturday, June 19, on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m., ET/PT, same-day delay) from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
Ward (20-0, 13 KOs) will be making the first defense of the WBA belt he won on a convincing, 11th-round technical decision over Mikkel Kessler in their Super Six World Boxing Classic opener. Oakland’s Ward, who has emerged as a tournament favorite following his win in Group Stage 1, is currently listed as a 1-1 favorite to win it all by USA Today sports analyst Danny Sheridan. A victory over Green, of Tulsa, Okla., will catapult the last American to win an Olympic Games gold medal into the tournament semifinals.
A winner of six consecutive fights, Green (29-1, 20 KOs) is making his debut in the tournament after replacing Jermain Taylor. He enters the Super Six World Boxing Classic with zero points. A triumph by Green, who is challenging for his first world title, would turn the tournament upside down. If victorious by knockout, Green would tie Arthur Abraham for first place heading into the final Group Stage bouts before the semifinals.
The Super Six World Boxing Classic bout will be co-promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions and DiBella Entertainment.
Here are some highlights of what the fighters had to say on Tuesday.
“I don’t know if I can compare Allan with anyone I’ve ever fought before. At the end of the day each fighter has his own strengths and his own weaknesses. If you’re going to become a great fighter you have to learn to exploit his weaknesses so that’s what we’re working on. But I don’t get caught up in trying to compare this guy with that. At the end of the day I look at June 19 as a fresh night. And it’s all about showing up on that night. So even though we’ve studied tape I expect a better Allan Green than what I’ve seen on tape. I’ve prepared myself mentally for this to be the toughest fight of my career.
People say you used your head as a weapon against Kessler. Can you address that?
“I think people who saw the fight know that I was ahead in that fight and there was no reason for me to intentionally start using my head. I don’t know how to intentionally use my head and not be cut. If I’m up 10 rounds to nothing why would I start intentionally head-butting? It doesn’t make any sense. On the websites and on the message boards people need something to talk about so I guess this is just something they want to talk about.”
Allan Green has had some negative things to say about you. Has that bothered you?
“Bother me? No. Use them? Absolutely. I don’t read a lot of press before the fight but I get people coming up to me all the time saying, ‘Did you hear this or did you hear that?’ I’ve been like since the amateurs but for some reason I live like a lamb before the fight. I’ve heard his comments on Fight Camp 360 and you better believe I use that. It bothers me in a good way because I constantly have something to prove and that’s what not a lot of people realize. I think a lot of people think I’m coming in here really well rested and really enjoying the fact that I’ve got a championship. But it’s been all work. For me, I try to say as little as possible before a fight. I’m not going to stand there and get pushed down or get bullied but at the end of the day I just shut my mouth, work hard and take care of business. So that’s what I plan on doing 11 days from now.
“It’s a huge deal for me to be fighting in Oakland. There’s a lot of negative things that come out of this city, but there’s also a lot of good. In this economy people are coming out and spending their money on these fights and having a good time. It’s exciting to see people excited about these fights; for fathers to be bringing their kids. Even women who would never go to a fight come up to me and my wife and say I bought a ticket and I’m coming to the next fight. It’s a lot of positive recognition and it’s one of the reasons I’m in this sport. It’s not to make money or build a legacy but to make a positive impact. We’re slowly and surely doing that and it’s very dear to my heart.
“If he (Green) has a chip on his shoulder then that makes two of us. I’ve been away from my family for a long time. I’m a bit irritable. He’s desperate to win but I want to keep my title. I don’t know if it’s now or it it’s later but I know eventually I’m going to get respect for the dog that’s in me and for the bite down that I have. It’s about going out there and taking care of my business. I expect him to have a chip on his shoulder because I definitely have one on mine. It’s just go time. At some point the talking just stops and it’s about just showing up. If Allan Green beats me I’ll take my hat off to him. I don’t make excuses. And I expect the same from him if I beat him. What I’m prepared for is a dog fight. I’m prepared for anything he’s got.”
On his knee:
“My right knee is fine. We’ve had no issues with the knee throughout our entire training camp. Coming off of surgery there are certain things you need to do in rehabilitation just to keep the muscles and the hamstring and all the different muscles that wrap around the knee; just keeping them strong. The knee has really been a non-issue in this camp.
“Andre looked great against Kessler but I’m not Kessler. Mikkel Kessler really couldn’t deal with a lot of things that Andre was doing. I’m slick guy and I’m a sharp guy. I’ll fight however my opponent wants to fight. If I have to be slick I’ll be slick. If I have to box I will box. If I have to brawl I’ll brawl. I expect a thinking match. I can’t give my game plan. Andre is not the easiest guy to fight with his style but I understand how to fight him because I fought a lot of those guys in the amateurs. I understand his style.
“I think I belonged in the tournament originally. As far as (Andre) Dirrell goes I don’t think he was ready. The thing I didn’t understand was Jermain Taylor getting into the tournament. No offense against Jermain but we fought on the same show and I won my fight and he lost his fight. I got pushed back to ShoBox and he got put into the tournament. That’s what I didn’t understand.
“I’m not coming into this tournament thinking about points. I’m thinking about victories. With victories come points. I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself than I already have. The only points I’m worried about are the points in the fight. And that’s up to the judges. So I can’t worry about that. I can’t put pressure on myself like that.