Andre Ward Ready for the Challenge

By Raymond Markarian: The final press conference for the Andre Ward vs. Ruben Williams fight on Thursday, in San Jose, Ca, took place in the Kings Boxing Gym on Monday afternoon. Although the press conference was one sided, since Ward’s opponent was not there, the Olympic Gold Medalist was a gracious host, and spoke with candor about how he feels going into the fight..

There was a genuine validity coming from the Oakland native, he says all the right things a future champion should.

Andre Ward, 14-0 (9 KO”s) has his own ideas about why he believes the ultimate goal of winning a championship is around the corner.

Ward said “I respect the game of boxing. I believe that is part of the reason why I am successful. I continue to work on my craft and stay in shape in between fights. Hopefully by the grace of God, I will become a world champion.”

The skeptics have spoken clearly about Ward’s rise to the championship level. But the fighter keeps on punching the clock everyday.

“I am very happy with my pace. We continue to put in and work and just keep the ball moving. You know, my job is to win. I let the critics worry about time tables.” Andre said, sporting a red Jordan long sleeve shirt and gray sweats.

In Andre’s eyes, winning an Olympic Gold Medal is an honor but it is also target for criticism.
“Just because I won the gold medal, many people think that I don’t have that drive to be the best anymore. So they try to test you. You know, there is a lot of talk about me being a gold medalist and other fighters coming after me but I am used to it. I had a successful amateur career as well so I have been preparing for this. No one could be an overnight superstar. It takes time, work, and dedication. I am excited to go out and execute our gamelan.

His opponent, Ruben Williams, is no flash in the pan. He will be there to win. Moreover, “Mr. Hollywood,” is by far Andre Ward’s toughest test in his now almost 4 year professional career. The 31 year old Williams, 29-3 (16 KO’s,) lost to Allan Green in his last fight, fought Antwun Echols to a draw, and lost to Jeff Lacy in a 7 round slugfest.

There are many boxing purists that view this fight for Ward as a barometer to future success. The more successful he is in this fight, the higher he moves up the barometer.

Andre was asked about how he reacted to the reports that his opponent Ruben Williams was speaking of putting Ward to sleep on Thursday night.

Andre responded firmly by saying “Well they all say that don’t they? Every other fighter has said that too. That is what they are supposed to say. I am not going to do any talking. All of my words will be spoken on Thursday night.”

When asked about who or when he plans to fight after this one, Ward said. “I could not even tell you right now. The only thing on my mind is Ruben Williams.”

Predictions from Andre do you ask? “I predict a win. I am going for the win.”

Dan Goossen had a clearer out look of the future for the bay area boxing favorite. Goossen said “Andre has all the ingredients to be what anyone of us would want to be at 24 years old. He continues to grow and mature as a fighter and a family man. If Andre wins this fight God willing; I want to get him back into the ring in June. With each fight, providing that we are successful here on Thursday night, we will go up another notch”


Article posted on 19.03.2008

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