Andre Ward: Paul Smith doesn’t care if he bleeds

Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO’s) – Olympic Gold Medalist and WBA Super Middleweight World Champion

“I haven’t felt this feeling, fight week in Oakland, in awhile. Last week those emotions started to set in. I’ve been focused and getting ready, but fight week is just different. No matter the magnitude of the fight you should feel like this. I’m excited. I’m used to this kind of pressure.”

“Smith is a European champion. He’s got no problem traveling. He doesn’t care if he bleeds. If you knock him down, he’s coming to win, and that’s why we picked him. We didn’t pick him because there was anything soft about him. We picked him because he’s a tough competitor. I’m glad that all of a sudden he started talking like he did last week. I was almost getting offended that he wasn’t saying anything. I’m so used to guys talking a lot. So, he finally started talking and I loved it. It’s not that I needed more motivation, but it’s just a little bit extra.”

“I’m coming back off of two layoffs. During this past camp, I felt a lot better than I have in the past. I did more. My shoulder feels stronger and I think you all are going to see that on Saturday night.”

“Each fighter has their own personal struggles. You can’t predict what those challenges and struggles are going to be and you can’t predict how long they are going to be. I was able to persevere through that. Paul Smith is not just fighting Andre Ward off of an eight week camp, he’s fighting Andre Ward off of everything I just went through. All the frustrations, all the delays, all of those emotions…he’s fighting that guy come Saturday night.”

“Every fight for me is a Super Bowl. I haven’t lost in a very long time. We prepared for everything that Paul Smith is going to have and everything he’s going to bring to the table. It’s a beautiful thing when fight week comes around and you know that you didn’t cut any corners. Every rep counted for me in this camp. Every round counted for me. I pushed past what my coach wanted me to do. There was nothing light about this camp. I hear Smith’s camp talking a lot about ring rust and if that’s what they are banking on, they have the wrong game plan come June 20.”

“The game plan is to razzle, dazzle, be explosive and do it all. I have to be aware as a professional. Virgil has told me this whole camp ‘There is no game plan for Paul Smith. Let it come to you. You’ve been boxing long enough that when you get in the ring you’ll know what to do.’ We’ll make adjustments along the way, but there isn’t a specific game plan for Paul Smith. I think you are going to see everything come Saturday night. I’m not going to force it. I’m just going to let it flow.”

“This town is a major fight time. It’s not just Oakland. It’s San Francisco. It’s Haywayd. It’s Stockton. It’s all the surrounding cities. Any time they have one of their own in the forefront, they support and that’s what I love about the Bay Area.”

Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KO’s) – Former World Title Challenger

“The last big gym session I had was this past Friday. Everything I could have possibly done happened during my training camp. The last week is all about relaxing, resting, getting your energy levels up and your weight down.”

“When [trainer] Joe [Gallagher] gets in [to Oakland], we’ll sit down and he will point out things straight away that we need to work out…what needs pushing, the game plan. Concentrate on the game plan and tactics. We’ll be watching tapes of Ward and dissecting them.”

“It’s great having people in the gym today. Yesterday, we came to King’s Gym to do a work out and it was a bit more quiet. It’s nice having a good atmosphere like this in the gym. Everyone knows there’s a fight this week and it’s great having the kids (from the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland) here.”

“I love Oakland. It’s tough, but it’s tough where I am from too. Liverpool is tough. I’m really hoping that the Finals go to game seven so it’s a big weekend for Oracle Arena. It would bring some atmosphere to the arena the night before the fight. I probably won’t get any sleep because of the noise.”

“There’s not much more I can do to prepare now. There’s nothing Andre can do today to help beat me on Saturday night. Whatever we have both done in the weeks before is what we are going in the ring with. I can’t get any more fit. The game plan is done. I’m in a position where I’m getting to fight the best fighter in my division on the planet. I know that more than anyone. No one needs to remind me of that, but I also know I have a chance of beating him. I know that I just have to do what I have to do and stick to the game plan.”

Aaron Coley (9-1-1, 6 KO’s) – Junior Middleweight Prospect

“I have been training in the same gym as Andre Ward for this fight. It’s very exciting for me to fight in Oakland. I have about 200 people coming to the fight. I’m looking for a stoppage in this fight, for real. I’m coming off of the first loss of my career and I’m fighting for the first time in Oakland, so I’m looking to impress. I want to get that stoppage early.”

Meng “Cold Blood” Fanlong (1-0) – Light Heavyweight Prospect

“I’m very happy and honored to be on this great event at Oracle Arena on Saturday, June 20 featuring Andre Ward. I am very honored to be fighting on the same card as World Champion Andre Ward.”

Wang “Jimmy” Zhimin (9-1) – Junior Welterweight Prospect

“I’m looking forward to my fight on Saturday, June 20 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. I am very happy to be on this great card with Andre Ward and Go Warriors.”

Ward vs. Smith, a 12 round bout presented by Roc Nation Sports, takes place Saturday, June 20 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, will be televised live on BET and streamed globally on TIDAL.com at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT and is presented in association with Matchroom Sport. The fight is sponsored by The Waterfront Hotel, Venue Kings, Shoe Palace, CTMS Travel, U-BOAT, FanDuel, Fandango, Q 102.1, 95.7 the GAME and KBLX 102.9. In addition to the great action inside the ring, the event will feature several notable Roc Nation touches that will further serve spectators with an enhanced fan experience, including Nipsey Hussle taking to the ring for a special performance prior to the main event. The event will be hosted by notable emcee Sway Calloway and will also feature hit master DJ Franzen who will serve alongside Sway throughout the night. Tickets priced at $250, $125, $90, $60 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are on sale now and available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. Doors open at 3:00 PM, the first fight begins at 3:30 PM and the BET telecast and TIDAL.com stream begin at 10:00PM ET/7:00 PM PT.

For more information please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

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