By Jackie Kallen
Following the Canelo/Cotto weigh-in at the Mandalay Bay, Andre Ward gathered a small group of reporters around a table and held a roundtable interview. Obviously disappointed that a knee injury derailed his scheduled fight on the undercard, he sat down to discuss the problems he’s encountering.
Like Rodney Dangerfield, Ward says he gets no respect.
“Both in and out of the ring it’s the same story. I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. If I object to something that’s been written about me, I’m considered to be arrogant and cocky. If I lay back and say nothing, they say I’m boring and have no personality. I can’t win.
“If I fight a smart fight and win every round, the critics will say I’m boring to watch. It’s like I get penalized for being good at what I do.
“I consider myself a good, God-fearing man. Boxing is what I do—it’s not who I am. I love this sport. I’ve given half of my life to it. But it hasn’t been an easy road for me.”
Saying that he feels it’s time to “get real,” he complained that many times he feels he’s misunderstood and misjudged. He compared himself to his idol—Floyd Mayweather.
“I don’t think that man gets his due. Putting his personal life aside, he is a master in the ring. He has fought anyone and everyone. If he makes it look easy it’s because he’s just that good. If that’s boring, than a lot of people don’t realize what they’re seeing. A clever fighter, who avoids getting hit, should not be criticized because he’s smart enough to not engage in a slugfest. I beat guys like Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham.I have always gotten into the ring to put on a good show for the fans.”
When asked about the once-proposed fight between him and GGG, he sounded frustrated.
“I was willing to fight him anywhere, anytime. I can show you the texts between my people and his people. He just doesn’t want to fight me. Period. He can come up with any excuse he wants to, but the fact is that the fans will never get to see this fight and it would have been a great one.”
Now that he has moved up to 175, the target for next year is Sergey Kovalev.
“I know it’s going to be a difficult fight. But I like that. I don’t duck anyone. You can say what you want about me, but I will fight any man. “
When asked about the legal problems he had with his former promoter, the late Dan Goossen, Ward refused to say much.
“I really don’t want to talk about that. It was not pleasant, to say the least. No one goes to the lengths I went to unless they really believe in what they’re doing. I shed a lot of tears and it hurt a lot to be so inactive.”
After signing a three-fight deal with Roc Nation, Ward is expecting his future to be bright once again. He’s hoping the third fight will be against Kovalev. He says he plans to be more outspoken with the media and he hopes they will try to understand him and present him honestly to his fans.