Andre Ward told SkySports that he is hoping to create a legacy when he takes on Sergey Kovalev in their light-heavyweight showdown on Saturday:
Tell us how you’re feeling in just days away from the fight.
Andre Ward: I’m excited. I’ve been to so many fights here, coming up countless amount of times. I know a lot of the security here at the MGM Grand, a lot of the staff workers. They know me by first name basis, so to be here now and to be able to headline now is very special.
You’ve stepped up from Super Middleweight not because you can longer make 168 pounds but because you want to take on the best and take on new challenges. Do you think you’re daring to be great by taking on unified champion, Sergey Kovalev?
Andre: Yes. That’s what you got to do. I’m a student of the game. Just look at the era of Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler. Those guys fought each other. They fought each other. Roberto Duran. They put reputations, they put records, they put all those things on the line to say that I’m better than you and none of those fights were easy for any of those guys but they did their part to etch themselves in boxing history where guys like myself have watched them for years growing up and I want to do my part to do the same.
What sort of emotions does that stir inside you though when you mention names like that?
Andre: I get goosebumps because I’m living right now what they lived. This big fight is about myself and another great champion. He obviously feels like he’s going to leave with his titles and I feel like I’m going to take his titles, and it’s a fight you can’t miss.
You called him a great champion there. There seems to be a huge amount of respect between the two of you. It hasn’t needed a huge amount of trash-talking to sell the fight?
Andre: To a degree, if that’s who you are and that’s what you do, do what you do. But I don’t think that should always be a prerequisite. I think each fighter should be okay to be who they are and they should be accepted as who they are. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing soft or weak about me or Kovalev but when you’re confident and you know what you bring to the table, you can stand on that. There’s really nothing I don’t think anybody can poke holes in about this promotion and say it’s not what we say that it is. Just sit back and relax. It’s going to be a great show Saturday night.
The promotion’s called ‘Pound for pound’. Do you think the winner of this can roughly be called the ‘Pound for pound’ king?
Andre: I think so. It’s going to be hard to argue.
A lot of people are also calling this ‘a boxer against the puncher’ but do you think it’s more than that? Do you think that he’s got better skills than people are giving him credit for and you hit harder than people are giving you credit for?
Andre: That’s the best way you can describe it. I think he’s a much better boxer and nobody talks about that. I think I have a lot of grit, a lot of fight in me that people don’t give me credit for. They try to tag you as a fighter. “He’s a fighter. He’s a puncher.” It’s a lot more going on than just those one attributes. Again, it’s going to take all of that to win Saturday night.
We’ve had you numerous times on Sky Sports. The fight will be on in the early hours. You’ve got a lot of fans in the UK. Have you got a message for people that are going to stay up and watch the fight?
Andre: I’m just excited that they get a chance to see this and witness this. I’m happy that Sky Sports is covering it. I love Sky. They’ve always been good to me, and just appreciate the continued support. The UK fans are unmatched and to have their support is just unbelievable.
Andre Ward, unified light heavyweight champion of the world, it’s got a nice ring to it, hasn’t it?
Andre: I got to have it Saturday night. I got to have it.
Watch Sergey Kovalev v Andre Ward live on Sky Sports for just £6.99 with a Sky Sports Day Pass.