© Tom Casino / Showtime Boxing
Andre Ward and Allan Green met face-to-face at today’s final press conference in advance of their Super Six World Boxing Classic and WBA Title tilt on Saturday, June 19—live on Showtime, 10p ET/PT—from Oakland’s Oracle Arena. While both men were respectful of one another, the tension in the room was nearly tangible.
What the fighters had to say on Wednesday.
Andre Ward: "Well this is my favorite part of it right here; fight week baby. The hard work is basically over. All the interviews are basically over and it’s time to go to work. This is what I do best.
"To quote John Wooden, you know I don’t let the praises of the people or the criticism get to me. Because it’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.
"I appreciate the praises of the people, I honor that, I thank them for that. And those who...people who have a lot of negative things to say about me, even my opponent, his coach, his team, that’s fine. But I’m locked in on what I have to do. Fight in and fight out. I’ve sacrificed a lot for this moment. I’ve sacrificed my wife, my kids and they’ve sacrificed a lot, too.
"I don’t think people realize what’s inside of me and what kind of focus I have. They think when you get this belt that it’s time to relax. They think that I’m the one that’s being hunted and to a degree I am, but I have a lot of desire in me, man. And I got a lot of passion in me.
"I don’t know if he wants this belt as bad as I want to keep it, but if he does, then it’s going to be a whole lot of fun on Saturday night. We’re going to have a good show.
"I have nothing negative to say about my opponent or his team. I’ve listened to what they’ve said; the disrespectful things, even the compliments, and I take it all to heart. I take them for their words and it’s pushed me and it’s driven me.
"Like I said at the first press conference we had, I train like I’m fighting a monster, period. So, that way mentally and physically that’s what I’m prepared for. It’s his time to show up. He’s done a lot of talking but it’s time to show up. It’s my time to show up and I will give the fans a tremendous performance come Saturday night.
"I’m not going to tell you guys how great I am, how great I’m going to be. I’ve got to continue to show you. I’ve been in this game a long time and I understand it’s about putting in the work and showing people.
"It’s not about these press conferences. It’s not about the interviews. It’s about putting in the work and when it’s time to show up, show up. And that’s what I plan on doing. So, I thank everybody that’s involved with this event, Showtime, Oakland, we are getting ready to do it again. Thank you.
Allan Green: "Andre Ward is a good young fighter. He hasn’t lost since he was twelve or thirteen years old. We understand that. We’re not minimizing him or undermining him in any way.
"There’s no need for me to get chuckling here today. I see children here. I see people here having a good time, but Saturday night I will be the WBA super middleweight champion. That’s what I came here for. I know what I can do.
"To dissect me you’ve got to have a hell of a scalpel… to dissect Allan Green, a hell of a scalpel. Because a lot of people tend to think, they want to label me as a puncher.
"True, I am a puncher, but at the same time a lot of people fail to realize I’m a pure boxer. I do know how to box. I do know how to think. So if anybody’s got it in there mind thinking that I’m just coming to walk this young kid down and blast him out and blow him out the water like Kessler did…
"Like I said, here’s the problem. Mikkel Kessler is from Denmark . He speaks English. Ward speaks English. Kessler understands English. Kessler doesn’t understand jive, that’s why he couldn’t deal with Andre Ward. I speak jive very well and will Saturday night.