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ANDRE WARD: "FLOYD IS ON TO SOMETHING...I WANTED TO TAKE THINGS A STEP FURTHER"

By Ben Thompson | June 28, 2011
ANDRE WARD:

"I think Floyd is on to something. That's kind of a reoccurring theme right now, the fact that everybody is saying that all fighters should take the tests. It's not only great for the fans and people to know, but you're talking about people's lives...I wanted to take things a step further and impelement it, not just talk about it, and be one of the first to actually do it outside of Floyd Mayweather. I believe Carl is a clean fighter, but I just think that with a fight of this magnitude, it would be great for the sport to implement something like Olympic-style drug testing. The goal is to go through with it even if Carl doesn't want to, but again, the cost could be an issue, so we'll see," stated WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward, who shared his thoughts on the use of Olympic-style drug testing in the sport and the possibility of implementing it in his title unification with WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch. Check out what else he had to say about the impact of the Super Six tournament on his career, the possibility of future bouts with IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute or middleweight king Sergio Martinez, and much more.

BT: Well the end of the tournament is almost here; there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I think it's definitely been good for boxing because it's cleaned up the Super Middleweight division and there's been some really good fights, but how beneficial has it been for your career? I mean, a lot of people got an opportunity to see a wide range of your talent and skill on full display. What do you think this tournament has done for you?

AW: I think the Super Six has been a tremendous asset to my career. Obviously I had to go in there and fight the fights and win the fights in order for this train to keep moving, but I'm thankful to have been in the tournament. I could have easily been outside the tournament because I was an up-and-comer and a young guy. The toughest fight I had was against a contender, Edison Miranda, before I got in this tournament, so I really could not have argued if I wasn't in this tournament. Being in this tournament has given me great exposure, obviously, on Showtime when I was fighting, but also in Fight Camp 360, where it draws and attracts the casual fan, people who don't even really watch boxing. It shows the other side, the family side and basically the real side to the fighters. All the exposure as a whole, man, it's definitely helping me become, along with the work in the ring, a household name.

BT: Obvously you're not looking past Froch, but after this tournament is over, I would think your next goal is to become a pay-per-view attraction. What kind of pay-per-view fights do you see out there for yourself in the future?

AW: It's tough to say. I look at it like this, there are two fights that I can envision after the tournament. One is obviously Lucian Bute because the delay of Bute fighting another top middleweight has been so long. I think that could be a pay-per-view fight regardless of where it's held. And two, if Mikkel Kessler is still doing his thing, I think a rematch with us is fitting because things were said after that fight and I feel like credit wasn't given to me like it should have been, so I think we can clean up that mess. I think those are two realistic fights that can come right after this tournament and I think those can be big fights; I really do. And then from there, I've always wanted to be a multi-division champion, but I have to look at my body after the next year and a half, however long this takes to finish up the work at 68, to see how I feel to see if it makes sense. The beauty of this day and age is that you can have catchweights. I think there's a lot of opportunities out there, but those are the two that come right off the top.

BT: Is it hard for you to make 168 or are you making it comfortably? Can you get lower than 168?

AW: I think 168 is right where I need to be for a lot of reasons. I could physically make 160, but I wouldn't be any good. 168, I can't go any lower than that. Right now, I'm 27 and at 28 or 29, I may not be fine anymore making that weight. It could be a slight struggle and when it gets to that point, it's not worth it. It makes no sense to go in the ring 75% or 80%. Fighters take a lot out of themselves to make weight and whether they believe it or not, you can't get it back in 24 hours. If it doesn't make sense to be at 168, then we'll move up and just kind of go from there.

BT: I was asking because, well, obviously the biggest fight in boxing is Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but in my opinion, the second biggest fight that can be made is Andre Ward vs. Sergio Martinez. I know Martinez's people have been saying they don't want to move up any higher in weight, but I was curious to know if you thought maybe you could get down to maybe 165 and meet him at a catchweight.

AW: I think something like that could be reasonable. I would have to really take my time and see if that makes sense, but Sergio Martinez, I would love that fight. I think it would be a great fight for the sport; I really do. I respect his skills, I respect what he's done and what he's doing, and I say this with the utmost respect, man, that's a fight that, if it can happen, it should happen. I would love that.

BT: I'm telling you man, that's the second biggest fight in boxing right there. I think we could put that fight together faster than we can put Mayweather-Pacquiao together (laughing).

AW: (Laughing) I hear you on that, man. I'm hoping they get that together because I'm one amongst many who want to see that and see it like now.

BT: Who do you like in that fight?

AW: Well, I'm going with Floyd all day. I mean, that's just the way it is. He's the guy that I've grown up watching, respected, and he's an American and I'm riding with him regardless of what happens in the fight. But I have a lot of respect for Pacquiao. You gotta respect what he's done, but I'm riding with Floyd Mayweather. I mean, he's 41-0 for a reason. I think people forget about Genaro Hernandez, Angel Manfredy, Jesus Chavez, Diego Corrales, and all these guys. Floyd has been doing this for over a decade. He didn't just start winning and winning in spectacular fashion. The guy started very young at being a champion and he proved himself and he continued to prove himself. He's kind of reinvented himself several times as far as his style. I think at 130 or 135, that's when he started getting a lot of heat about his style and not being exciting, but he was winning. I thought it was very exciting. I mean, I'm sitting there with pencil and pad taking notes every time I watched him fight. Then he went to 140 and he did what he did to Gatti and that wasn't really supposed to happen. Then he went up and fought De La Hoya on De La Hoya's terms. People forget that De La Hoya picked the gloves, he picked the ring size, he picked the weight, and De La Hoya was big and strong at the weight that they fought at. Floyd had to bulk up. I thought Floyd lost a little speed and that extra mass kind of effected him, but he took the fight and he won. I look at the intricate details because I'm a fan of the sport and I just feel like you have to give a guy, who's been doing it for a long time, his just due. But sometimes we have short memories and we forget. Inside the ring, Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter in the world.

BT: What do you think about Floyd wanting Manny to take additional Olympic-style tests? Good? Bad? Don't care?

AW: I think Floyd is on to something. That's kind of a reoccurring theme right now, the fact that everybody is saying that all fighters should take the tests. It's not only great for the fans and people to know, but you're talking about people's lives. If somebody is taking something or doing something that's not right, and they beat a fighter or beat them up, that's just not right, so I think it should get implemented, but getting that information that I just got recently about how much it costs, something is gonna have to give if that's going to be implemented as a whole.

BT: You said you got some information on how much it costs to do Olympic-style testing for a fight?

AW: I was able to do a little research and kind of dig a little bit deeper and actually reach out to the United States Anti-Doping Agency to see how much something like that would cost and the price is staggering. It costs $50,000 to $100,000 for 7 to 8 weeks to do random testing for both fighters.

BT: Wow. Really?

AW: That's what I recently found out because that's something that I want to implement in my fight with Carl Froch, whether he wants to do it or not. That's not something that we've talked about because we're still doing our research, but when it costs that much, it's kind of hard because fighters already have a lot coming out of their purses in many different ways, from sanctioning fees, to managerial fees, to getting taxed on it and so forth, so it's hard to pay that kind of money unless you're making mega-dollars like Floyd and Manny. So I don't know, unless there's some help somewhere, I don't know how fighters are going to foot that bill.

BT: So you're looking to help bring about change to the sport by shedding more light on the subject of improved drug testing policies?

AW: I wanted to take things a step further and impelement it, not just talk about it, and be one of the first to actually do it outside of Floyd Mayweather. I believe Carl is a clean fighter, but I just think that with a fight of this magnitude, it would be great for the sport to implement something like Olympic-style drug testing. The goal is to go through with it even if Carl doesn't want to, but again, the cost could be an issue, so we'll see.

BT: It's funny you mention that because I believe the governor of Nevada just signed into law a bill that will help pay for drug tests for boxers and MMA fighters. You might want to look into that.

AW: That would be awesome. I think that's beautiful. Again, this is something that I came up with on my own, you know, as far as doing the extra research. We actually called and reached out to them, me and my publicist Julie Goldsticker, who works hand in hand with USA Boxing, so she had a contact and we called them. I think if something like that can happen, where the price can be offset or there can be some help, man, if we can implement that, I think it has to be done, especially in this day and age with rumors going around and people wondering and guessing. That way nobody has to wonder and nobody has to guess. Everybody knows.

CLICK HERE IF YOU MISSED PART 1 OF THIS INTERVIEW WITH WBA SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION ANDRE WARD



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