With the long rumored rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley close to being finalized, boxing fans and people around the sport are already buzzing about how the second fight might play out. The first bout saw one of the most talked about and controversial decisions involving a superstar boxer, and with so much changing with each fighter since their clash on June 9th, 2012, it will be interesting to see if things will play out any differently in the fight itself, and the result.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” interview with Andre Ward, I get his analyst view on the future of boxing stars Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. Andre gives his thoughts on Mayweather-Khan, and if he thinks Marcos Maidana would have had more of a chance to defeat Floyd. Ward also gives his breakdown of the Pacquiao vs. Bradley rematch and who he’s picking to win it. Additionally he talks about turning 30, and what fans can expect from him in 2014. Here is what RING/WBA super middleweight champion, Andre Ward, had to say.
Jenna J: Andre I want to get your analyst view on a couple of things. There has been a lot of debate on who Floyd Mayweather Jr. should fight next, and it seems it will be Amir Khan. Do you think it’s a bad business move for Floyd to fight someone no one really wants to see him in the ring with?
Andre Ward: You know, again Jenna, it’s not for me to put my mouth on another fighter and say what they should do, that’s up to Floyd Mayweather and his team. I don’t think any of us can argue with the decisions they’ve made, from a business standpoint. I think they’ll figure it out, him and his team, what the next move and what the best move should be.
I think regardless of who Floyd Mayweather fights, at this stage in his career, people are gonna tune in. I don’t really think it matters but I don’t think it really matter as much as people say. People are gonna tune in regardless to see a Floyd Mayweather fight.
Jenna: Let me put it to you think way Andre. Do you think someone like Marcos Maidana would have a better chance against Floyd than a fighter like Amir Khan?
Ward: That’s tough to say. At the end of the day, you gotta favor Floyd Mayweather. I know how sometimes boxing fans and media can do when a guy comes off of a big performance.
I mean if you look at even my fight with Edwin Rodriguez, post fight people tend to tear it down and say, “Oh that guy was nothing,” but pre fight, he was coming off a first round knockout, he was a monster in that fight and people were asking, “Why are you taking such a tough fight coming back?”
It’s the same thing with Maidana. He’s coming off the win against (Adrien)Broner, he did what he had to do in that fight, so he’s the “hot guy” and a lot of people are looking for the next fighter to either beat or how they say, “Challenge Floyd.” The thing is, Floyd has been challenged, he just makes it look easy and therefore people think he hasn’t been challenged.
I think both of those fights are tough fights and you gotta understand, whether it’s Maidana or Amir Khan , those guys are gonna fight above their heads, they’re gonna bring their A game because that’s their opportunity to fight the best in the world. Again, I think Floyd Mayweather and his team are gonna make the right decision on who they wanna fight.
Jenna: Andre, reports are that Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley are set to fight again in April. How do you see the rematch playing out?
Ward: Well I did not see Pacquiao’s last fight, but I heard he boxed a lot and he looked good coming off the knockout. Timothy Bradley is a friend of mine, and I really respect Tim. I actually fought Tim when I was 14-15 years old, I think at about either 140 or 147, and it was one of the toughest fights of my career, amateur and pro.
One intangible that Timothy Bradley has is his desire. You hear a lot of fighters say they that, “I’ll die in the ring, I’ll do this and I’ll do that” and I think he is one of those guys that are willing to go to that place to get a victory, so Timothy came up the hard way, nobody ever gives him credit, he’s always the underdog.
You would think that after he beat Pacquiao, regardless of what you had to say about that win, and after he beat Marquez the way that he did, and after Marquez just came off the knockout of Manny Pacquiao, that he would be the guy, that Timothy Bradley would get the respect that he deserves and he still doesn’t.
That’s the material, that’s the fuel that people don’t realize that push guys like Timothy Bradley to go above and beyond what people think he’s gonna do. So to answer the question I got to favor my friend, I got to favor Timothy Bradley, not necessarily with X’s and O’s and strategy, but just desire man.
I feel he has a desire that can’t be denied and he has the intangibles that you can’t put your finger on what he has. I think he’s willing to go to whatever place he needs to go to not lose what he’s earned and that’s his reputation, that’s his undefeated record and the status that he has, so I got to go with Tim on that.
Jenna: On February 23rd, you will be turning thirty years old and I must ask you, so far you’re undefeated, you’re 27-0, you’re the champion at super middleweight. Before the age of thirty, have you accomplished everything that you wanted to accomplish so far in your career?
Ward: Oh man, big thirty is knocking. It just dawned on me the other day that I’ve already had my last fight in my twenties. My last fight against Edwin Rodriguez is my last fight in my twenties, but I feel like I’m aging gracefully. I feel like, believe it or not, a lot of people will say, “Oh you’re in your prime.” I feel like I’m just approaching my prime, and I can’t complain with what I’ve been able to do up until the point.
I’m fortunate to be an Olympic gold medalist, 2 time world champion and I’m just ready to close the show. I feel like I’m on the back stretch of my career and that may sound crazy to some people, but I’m not gonna be in a boxing ring at forty years old.
I don’t know how many more years I got left in the sport but the last years that I do have, I wanna go out with a bang and solidify my legacy. Hopefully accumulate a Hall of Fame career, and I feel like I’m on my way to doing that, so I can’t complain with what we’ve accomplished so far, but I’m still extremely hungry and I got a lot more that I do want to accomplish.
Jenna: We are in the new year, you only had one fight last year. How many times realistically do you want to fight in 2014 and what is your goal for the year? What are you hoping to get out of this year?
Ward: Well, I feel like I wanna fight two to three times this year. I wanna continue to fight the best like I’ve done and I feel like there’s PPV fights out there for me. I gotta take it one at a time, I know that’s the cliché that everybody uses, but it’s real.
I can get to this by planning out my next three fights and my next three opponents, I lock in to what’s in front of me then we move on to the next one. Right now I’m just excited to see what name pops up in the contract and who that is.
My thing is this, anytime I’m in the boxing ring in 2014, I just wanna take my game to another level, where people say, “Wow the last time was good, but man he turned it up, he took it to another level.”
People haven’t seen my best yet, and I think for a lot of people they think they have, but I feel instinctively as a fighter, I feel like I know that they haven’t. My thirties are gonna be those golden years, my prime years, and I wanna go out with a bang and I want people to be excited and to just enjoy every fight that I have this year.
ANDRE WARD: “I ACTUALLY FOUGHT TIMOTHY BRADLEY AND IT WAS ONE OF THE TOUGHEST FIGHTS OF MY CAREER, AMATEUR OR PRO!”
Part 1 here –> http://ontheropesboxing.com/?p=2921