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ANDRE WARD: "I WILL NOT BE DICTATED TO...I DON'T NEED CARL FROCH"

By Ben Thompson | June 03, 2013
ANDRE WARD:

"There hasn't been one phone call made that I'm aware of to try to generally schedule a rematch...I don't think the man wants to fight me. And I will not be dictated to. I don't have to come to the UK. I've stated that and I will continue to state that. I said I'm willing to talk about coming to the UK, but I'm not gonna be dictated to...I don't need that fight. It doesn't matter how many belts Froch has. I'm the champion at 168 pounds...Froch is 35 years old. The time is running out on him. I'm 29 years old. I got time. They need to focus on what they're doing over there and just let us keep doing what we're doing. At the end of the day, I don't care what Froch does or who he beats, he's gonna have to answer the question, what happened in the Ward fight...I'm looking at what's up ahead, and for the record, man, I don't need Carl Froch and that's what it boils down to," stated undefeated super middleweight king Andre Ward, who had a lot to say about Carl Froch and the recent comments that both he and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, have been making to the media about a potential rematch. You don't want to miss what he had to say! Check it out!

BT: What's up, Dre? You know, Froch and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, have been doing a lot of talking lately, saying you'll have to head over to the UK if you want a rematch. Is a rematch something that you think has to happen?

AW: Well first and foremost, I don't have to do anything. I beat Froch fairly easy the first time that I fought him and I moved on. I didn't mention Froch after we fought. The only reason why this guy's name is even coming up when it pertains to me is because after 2 months of silence, he and his team found their voice and all of a sudden they're bringing my name up. So that's why there's even any interest in a rematch, but I don't have to fight a rematch with Froch. It's really not even something at the top of my list, to be honest with you. It's just something that's being brought up because he keeps bringing it up, but when you scratch beneath the surface, I don't really think the guy wants to fight.

BT: Has anyone from his camp ever contacted your team to even try to make a rematch at any point since the two of you first fought back in the Super Six finale? As much as they talk about it, do you think a rematch is something that they truly want to make at this point?

AW: Nah, it's just been a lot of talk. There hasn't been one phone call made that I'm aware of to try to generally schedule a rematch. I think we got our answer when Max Kellerman asked Froch if he wanted to fight me and he went in 10 different directions. We've never known Carl Froch to be at a loss for words, so that was out of character for him. I think that said it all right there. I don't think the man wants to fight me. And I will not be dictated to. I don't have to come to the UK. I've stated that and I will continue to state that. I said I'm willing to talk about coming to the UK, but I'm not gonna be dictated to. It's just not going to happen. I mean, I thought Carl Froch was taking the punches Saturday night [against Kessler], but it looks like a couple of them slipped through and caught his promoter too because he's talking foolish when he says I need the fight and I'm chasing the fight. I think he needs to understand that I wasn't in the building as a fan and I wasn't in the building as a spectator scouting either one of those guys; I was there working for HBO and that's the only reason I was in the building.

BT: Yeah, I saw that Eddie Hearn mentioned something about you being there to scout Froch. I was like, huh? I know you weren't even thinking about that fight until about a week before it took place when HBO called you up to do commentary.

AW: Yeah, I was working for HBO. I mean, at the end of the day, Froch's team and his promoter know that if I come to the UK, it's going to be an even bigger event than it was the other night and I'm not some opponent who you can talk to any kind of way or just throw something on the table and say, "Take it or leave it." I don't need that fight. It doesn't matter how many belts Froch has. I'm the champion at 168 pounds. Really, being in the building, even his fans would come up to me and say that I'm the best 68-pounder and ask, "Will you give our guy a rematch?" He's gonna have to answer to his fans about why he doesn't want to fight. He can go on and fight Kessler another 10 times, but the question is always going to come up, "What about Andre Ward?" He's going to have to answer that question. He can say a lot of things when the cameras are on, but when he's by himself, he knows he has to answer those tough questions. I don't think he's gotten much better. He's still the same Froch. He's still very slow. He gets hit a lot. It's just the same guy.

BT: Why do you think they keep insisting that you have to fight him in the UK? I mean, it's not like there was any controversy the first time you beat him. Truth be told, you beat him pretty easily and with an injured hand on top of it. As far as I know, the location of the fight had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome, so why does it matter if the fight is in the UK?

AW: It's called posturing. There's a lot of politicking in boxing where people say things to get headlines, and if a person is not willing to dig a little bit, they take what somebody says at face value and a lot of times they'll get led in the wrong direction. People forget that I'm from the West Coast and the Atlantic City fight [vs. Froch] was a road fight for me. That's a 5-hour flight for me from California to Philadelphia and then another hour, or whatever it is, to Atlantic City. People don't realize that. It's funny hearing people say that they'd like to see me out of my comfort zone by going to the UK. I'm born and raised in America. I'm from here. You have to come here in the sport of boxing to become a worldwide star. I didn't know you had to go to another country in order to be that star. I'm not going to be dictated to, Ben. I'm not going to be penalized for beating who I beat in the Super Six, so we're going in another direction. Ben, I'm getting ready to get my third workout of the day in and I'm focused on my return in September and that's what I'm locked in on. I'm not interested in all the politicking.

BT: So it's not that you have a problem with fighting in the UK; it's just that it has to be something that's discussed and/or negotiated. At this point, however, no one has even attempted to start those discussions, correct?

AW: Because they don't want the fight, Ben. See, the thing about boxing is this, if two fighters really want to fight, I don't care about the location or the amount of money that's on the table, that fight will get done. If a fighter or both fighters don't want a fight to happen, it's not going to happen. There's so many different ways you can get out of making a fight if you really want to, and these guys are not interested in making a fight, period, so I'm moving on. Froch's team keeps talking about I don't have options and stuff; well, they just need to let my team do what they do. Don't worry about who we're going to fight! Froch is 35 years old. The time is running out on him. I'm 29 years old. I got time. They need to focus on what they're doing over there and just let us keep doing what we're doing. At the end of the day, I don't care what Froch does or who he beats, he's gonna have to answer the question, what happened in the Ward fight? That's it.

BT: One thing that I've seen some people in the media try to bring up is that since losing to you, Froch has gone on to beat Bute and now Kessler. At the end of the day though, that's still not you, so...

AW: (Cutting in) Not to cut you off Ben, but I feel like my victory against Chad Dawson eclipsed the Bute win and the Kessler win. Chad Dawson is a real fighter and he's been on top for a long time, so to beat Chad Dawson, I think that speaks for itself. So it's not like I haven't had a victory since I fought Froch. But again, you can't pay that stuff much mind. You gotta keep working, Ben. You gotta keep grinding. Ben, if I stop boxing today, I'm satisfied. Of course I've got more things I want to accomplish, you know, but if I had to stop boxing today, Ben, I'm secure. I'm happy with my legacy because I haven't cut any corners in the sport. I've given the sport everything I have from day one and I got the results, from a Gold Medal, two-time world champion, you name it, so I'm satisfied. I'm looking at what's up ahead, and for the record, man, I don't need Carl Froch and that's what it boils down to.

BT: They also like to point to the fact that his rematch with Kessler sold out the 18,000-seat O2 in 3 hours, implying that he's a bigger draw than you. To my knowledge, however, his fight with Kessler, a long-awaited rematch, is the only fight where he did those kinds of numbers, so do you think that's an accurate statement to make?

AW: I look at it like this, Ben; I did roughly about 9,000 with my last fight with Chad Dawson, but those kinds of things aren't talked about. They'll say that my 9,000 is modest, but that's all Froch has been doing up until his last fight. He's been selling 9,000 tickets at Trent FM Arena, the same arena he's fought at his whole career, and they'll praise him for selling that arena out. That arena only holds 10,000. My arena that I fight at in Oakland is 19,000 plus; doing 9,000 is with minimal promotion and just word of mouth. They'll say things like, "Ward needs to come out of his comfort zone and go to the UK." Well like I already said, the last time I checked, an American fighter doesn't have to go to Europe to become well-known. European fighters have to come here and stay here to be well-known. Froch has fought in his hometown 16 or 17 times, but you can count on one hand the number of times I fought in Oakland; five. They'll say things about Froch like, "He's got a granite chin." Well he's been wobbled, he's been dropped, and I fought the biggest punchers in the super middleweight division. I went into my fight with Froch with a fractured hand, we got through it, and I took my glove off and my hand was three times the size of the other one, but yet, they give him the warrior tag. I don't read a lot of these articles, but I'm aware of what's out there; so you see these things, Ben, and people wonder how fighters stay hungry. Well there you have it; that kind of material right there. That's the difference between me and Carl Froch. He wants to win and I have to win because I haven't been given anything in this sport. Everything that I've got, I've earned and I'ma continue to earn, but those are the contradictions that you see. It's unfortunate, but it's part of the sport.

BT: Okay Dre, I hate to ask again, but I want to make sure people understand this. As far fighting in the UK, in order for that to even be a topic of discussion, there has to be some type of negotiations taking place, but since the first time you beat Froch, that's never happened.

AW: Ben, Carl Froch and his team, they don't want the fight. They're politicking right now and I'm gonna tell you exactly how it's going to happen. If discussions do open up, it's going to be some outrageous demand that I'm not going to go for, so that's going to be their out to say, "Oh, Ward doesn't want to fight." A lot of times, what Froch says on camera and what he says off the record times are two different things. It's funny how the game goes because I think he came on the record the other day and said we had a discussion. He's right, we did have a discussion, but it's the same discussion we always have off the record. When the camera's on, he talks loud, and then as soon as the camera goes off, he wants to be nice and sweet talk me and ask me how my shoulder was and how am I feeling and say, "Man, you look big." My only response to him was, "I'm ready!" Then he said, "I know you're ready, Champ." And that was it. Froch's promoter needs to understand that this ain't the dart business, this is boxing, and they don't run this.



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