There is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in win, which is what Andre Ward has been doing since 2004. We had the chance to catch up with current WBA (Super), WBC and The Ring Super Middleweight Champion, Andre Ward. We talk about his upcoming bout with Chad Dawson Sept. 8, the current state of US boxing, and being featured on HBO Sports 24/7.
How are you doing today/
I’m doing well, thanks.
You’re 25 – 0. With each fight is there pressure to keep that undefeated status?
It depends on how you look at it. I never want to lose. I don’t look at it like I’m trying to protect or keep something. I’m focused on wining. People talk about my winning streak since the amateurs and I don’t even really think about it to be honest. I just get locked in at goal at hand and do whatever it takes to win.
You’re fighting Chad Dawson this Saturday and he’s dropping weight. Is that an advantage or disadvantage for you?
It remains to be seen. He may drop weight and realized he needed to be fighting at 168 lbs. all along. Anytime you’re preparing for a fight you never put all of your eggs in one basket. It could be a problem for him or could be great. He may come into the beginning of the fight and feel great and then fall flat after a while. I’m not preparing for Chad to not be at his best. He said he’s going to be at his best and I’m taking him at his word.
Dawson has similar size and reach advantage to Darnell Boone who was able to knock you down in the past. How have you been preparing for that?
They are not actually. Boone is much shorter and compact in stature, but I see where you’re getting at.
Switching gears, the Olympics just concluded and you won back in Athens. Tell me about that experience for you?
It’s a wonderful thing to win a gold medal for your country and nothing can compare to it. It was something that will always be a special moment for me.
The United States was not able to medal this past Olympics. What do you think about the current state of boxing in the US and what can we do to improve it?
It’s disappointing because we have some of the best talent in the world. I’m sure it was disappointing to the fighters who went over there and came up short. USA boxing is in the process getting the right things in place. Nobody likes losing. There was time in previous Olympics where the USA was feared and a force to be reckoned with.
What do you think we need to do?
It’s tough to say. There is no one magical answer. It’s a lot of multiple things we must do. Like I said, USA boxing is in the process and one of those things is starting earlier with our talent. We’ve got four years to prepare, so we’ll be ready.
Your nickname is the Son of God and you’re very religious. What do you think of athletes like Tim Tebow and yourself who use their athletic platform to promote their faith?
I don’t use it strategically. When I’m asked a question of how I did this or that or what I’m doing to get by, I give glory to God who helps me do get by. It’s not something myself or other athletes take advantage of, so I don’t use it as a platform. Whether it be a reporter that asks me or a stranger on the street, I give glory to God because it’s my life and it’s real. I love it when athletes are both about their faith. It’s easy to fall to the wayside and do what everyone else is doing. It’s always nice to see someone step outside of that and do something different in my opinion.
This Saturday, HBO 24/7 will premiere featuring yourself and Dawson. How has it been having HBO follow you along so far?
It’s been great. The directors and cameramen have all been great. It’s my first time dealing with HBO like this and it’s been good. It’s going to be a great show. I won’t give too much away, but it’s a good chance for the fans to go beyond what’s happening in the ring. You can read articles online, but to actually see how athletes interact with their families and see their personal lives is exciting for the fans. I’m a sports fan myself and anytime I get to see the athlete away from what their doing on the field, ring, court, etc it’s just exciting to see.
For the kids and boxing hopefuls, what advice do you have for them? What’s the extra thing you did that no one else was doing to get you to this level?
It’s tough. It’s not just one magical thing. I just found my niche. It’s focus and hard work. Focusing when it’s time to focus and not being distracted. When it’s time to prepare, don’t allow yourself to be outworked. When you have the talent, ability and potential but you’re not working hard it’s going to fall back on you. You’ll only have yourself to blame, because you’ll know in your heart you didn’t prepare the right way and you’ll have to live with that. You just need to put in the work, lock in and focus and in the end everything else will work out.
Checkout HBO’s 24/7 Road to Ward/Dawson this Saturday at 12am E.T and catch Ward defend his titles against Chad Dawson Sept. 8.
For more from Richard Boadu, checkout 6Magazine.com.