"I'm already in Beast mode in terms of just preparing my mind and preparing my body. A lot of people are talking a lot of different things about Chad and what type of challenge he's going to be, his height and his reach, and his strength coach is talking from a scientific standpoint; I love when strength coaches get involved. All that's fine. I'm hearing it, but I'm really just locked in on getting my hand raised in a major way on September 8th...I'm locking in on the best Chad Dawson and I will be ready September 8th, regardles of how he shows up physically. I know for a fact that he's going to show up in top form," stated undefeated super middleweight king Andre Ward, who talked about his upcoming September 8th showdown with light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. Check out what else he had to say!
BT: Dre, I know your press conference is tomorrow (Monday), so I had to call you to get a sneak peek at what you guys are going to be talking about.
AW: Yeah, we're announcing the fight tomorrow at the Oracle in Oakland. I mean, just simply put, this Saturday was 10 weeks out, or something like that, and I'm already in Beast mode in terms of just preparing my mind and preparing my body. A lot of people are talking a lot of different things about Chad and what type of challenge he's going to be, his height and his reach, and his strength coach is talking from a scientific standpoint; I love when strength coaches get involved. All that's fine. I'm hearing it, but I'm really just locked in on getting my hand raised in a major way on September 8th.
BT: Do you think Chad may have made a mistake in asking for this fight to take place at 168?
AW: I mean...I guess your first thought...conventional wisdom and knowledge would say that he's got a tall frame and he hasn't made the weight...I can't remember when he's made 168...conventional wisdom would say that he's not having a problem, but, you know, Chad Dawson pretty much made this fight at 168 on his own. I didn't request it. I'm a 168-pounder. I don't know if it's something his promoter talked him into or if it's something else. Apparently he really believes he can fight at both weight classes, and listening to his people, they feel the same way. At the end of the day, that's not my concern. After the fight, of course a lot of people are going to bring up the weight issue, but, I mean, Chad Dawson made this fight on his own at 168 pounds. I never requested it; didn't push for it. I got a call that said, "Hey, the weight situation is done." They wanted it at 168 and that's what it was. I really don't know. Time will tell. I mean, at the end of the day, you gotta take the man at his word, you know? Him and his team, his strength & conditioning coach, whoever the guy is, is talking about how lean he's going to be and how strong he's going to be, so that's what I'm preparing for. I'm not concerned about the fact that he's not going to be 100% and all that kind stuff. That's for the fans and the media to debate. I'm locking in on the best Chad Dawson and I will be ready September 8th, regardles of how he shows up physically. I know for a fact that he's going to show up in top form.
BT: When you were coming up as an amateur and early as a pro, did you keep an eye out on Chad with the thought that some day you two would meet inside the ring?
AW: Of course. I mean, you don't know for sure, but I've always been a student of the game from a very young age, 10, 11 years old, when I first started boxing, so I knew of Chad Dawson. Anybody that's remotely in my range or close to my weight class is a possibility. In the amateurs, Chad was a little older than me I think by a couple years. We never crossed paths in the amateurs; I never saw him fight as an amateur or anything like that. Early on, when he was fighting under Dan Birmingham, I followed him and I watched him. When he switched to Eddie Mustafa, I kept tabs on him because we had the same managers at the time. Then he made the switch to John Scully, so yeah, I've definitely known who Chad was and I definitely kept tabs on him, absolutely. Again, because he was so close to my weight class and I've heard him referencing fighting at 168 before, you know for a fact it's a possibility.
BT: I know as a fighter, you're definitely willing to fight anybody and everybody. That being said, do you feel like this is the right time for this fight or was it more of a situation where you had to take it because there's not much out there?
AW: I think it's a combination of both. I think it's the right time for the fight, but then, on the same hand, I mean, who else is out there? I hear Carl Froch and Kessler try to bring my name up from time to time, but there's no validity to them wanting to fight again. There's some young, up-and-coming guys, but in terms of what a network like HBO is looking for, this is really the only viable option that I had, and I'm fine with it. I'm not going to allow myself to be forced into a fight, or anything like that, that we don't think is the right situation, but collectively as a team, why not fight now? I'm not going to be fighting in my 40's, so this is the right time to get it on.
BT: Obviously every fight is an important fight, and this one is no different, but just how important is this fight to you in terms of your career?
AW: I mean, obviously it's a big fight. It's on a huge network. It's two big names in the sport. It's the biggest American name that I've faced. I think it's a lot of excitement within the boxing community, but also outside of the boxing community. I mean, with the Super Six, not just in California but across the country, when I would tell people the European fighters that I had to fight, they didn't know who they were and I had to explain who they were. I haven't had to do that with Chad Dawson, so that let's me know that this is a big fight. People know who Chad Dawson is, they know who I am, and of course, at the end of the day, the only way you progress in this sport is by winning, and that's what I'm locked in on. For me personally, I don't really put too much stock into how big the event is or what's going to take place for the winner. At the end of the day, all I'm focused on is winning. If I would've fought a tune-up in June, which I tried to do, the end goal would've been to win and to look good doing it. That's why I'm locked in and I got like one single focus and that's prepare for the fight. I don't really get caught up in the mechanics of everything and what people are saying. I mean, obvioulsy I'm aware of it, but I don't focus on that. I mean, it's another day that I gotta go out there and I have to perform and I have to prepare myself to go to war. At the end of the day, I need to get my hand raised in order to continue to progress like I want to.
BT: You guys are going to be doing a 24/7 for this fight. Does it ever get annoying or are there ever any concerns about having a camera crew follow you around that much?
AW: I wouldn't say it's a concern. I mean, you gotta understand, I've had cameras in my face for the past 2 years with the Super Six, and Showtime, they're no joke. They're intense. You have a whole crew with you throughout the year, not just for 8 weeks or whatever, so it's not a problem and I'm not concerned about it. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to the world and the American people just really understanding who I am and just being able to get a better understanding of who I am as a person and what I stand for and how I prepare. I think it's a beautiful thing. This is what I train for and this is what I have trained for all these years, to get to a certain point, and I feel like I'm on my way.
BT: That's wassup. Well I know you gotta save some for the press conference, so we can end on that note, but real quick, the Olympics are coming up. I know you're going to be watching, right?
AW: Oh yeah. The Olympics is coming at the perfect time with me being in training camp; I got stuff to do. I'm happy about that.