By Ben Thompson | May 14, 2013

"Ben, I want to get in 2, you know. My goal is to get in 2 solid fights this year. Hopefully some time in September and then come right back hopefully some time at the end of the year. We are preparing for something big in the first quarter of next year. That's what we're looking at," stated super middleweight king Andre Ward, who recently visted FightHype Radio to talk about his future plans, including a September return to the ring, and much more. Check it out!

BT: What's up Dre? What's going on with your training situation? Give us an update.

AW: Man, a lot of good things right now. Basically, I'm doing more boxing training than rehab, so that's a good sign. I mean, I really turned the corner, man. I'm in the gym 2 or 3 days a week right now; we hittin' it hard and I feel good, I feel strong. We're trying to hone in on a date and I'm just excited. I feel like my return is around the corner, so I just can't wait to get back out there.

BT: Are you feeling any lingering any effects or does it feel like you have a brand new shoulder?

AW: No, I feel like I got a new shoulder. I think, you know, I've been documenting this whole process, you know, the good, the bad, you know, being real vulnerable in terms of just how I really have been dealing with this situation and it's going to come out. We're going to put it out in real high quality. My good friend, I call him Squint, man. This guy's amazing, man. He's responsible for all the photos that I put up on Twitter and Instagram, and we've been shooting this whole process from the day that I got the news about my shoulder. He was there for surgery and the whole nine. Throughout that  process, man, we gonna speak about a lot of things that people didn't know about; things that were already going on with my shoulder. I think it's going to be a powerful piece of material that people will really get an understanding about what I've been dealing with throughout the years with my shoulder. That being said, I agree with what you said, Ben. I feel like I got a brand new shoulder, man, and I can't wait. I don't know how to express how excited I am to get back.

BT: Are you punching full force and everything or do you still have to hold back a little bit?

AW: No, I'm good. We're hittin'; we're hittin' hard. We're hittin' and the key was to hit and do what I normally do and see how I feel after that, and I have no ill effects, you know. I still gotta be smart from here on out in my career just because, you know, I've been in the sport almost 20 years now, combined with my amateur and pro career, so I'm always train hard, but I gotta train smart for this last run in my career. I gotta be smart about it.

BT: Dang, that sounds almost sad when you say the last run of your career. I feel like you're just getting started (laughing).

AW: (Laughing) Yeah, I don't know if that's 5 years, 10 years, but whatever it is, I mean, you know, I'm not going to do this as long as guys like Bernard did it. You know, Bernard started late. I started at 9 years old, so, and I'm 29 now. I've been on the grind a long time. I give it everything I got, so I'm cutting no corners, so, you know, I just gotta be smart when it's time to get out. But man, I can tell you this, I feel like I got a lot left in the tank.

BT: I was a little nervous. I thought you were about to pull a Floyd and say, "I got about 5 more fights in me."

AW: No. Hopefully more than that.

BT: That's cool. So you're definitely going to get in another fight this year, right?

AW: Ben, I want to get in 2, you know. My goal is to get in 2 solid fights this year. Hopefully some time in September and then come right back hopefully some time at the end of the year. We are preparing for something big in the first quarter of next year. That's what we're looking at.

BT: Well you know me, my phone is waiting for you to blow it up with the news, so as soon as you find out, let me know.

AW: Absolutely!

BT: How's your weight looking? I know you said you've been staying in shape, so I'm assuming 168 is not going to be a problem and you don't plan on moving up anytime soon.

AW: No. I mean, you know, I'm a super middleweight right now. I don't know how hard it's going to be to make the weight until I actually do it and get into a camp setting, but I have put on a little bit more muscle and that's part of basically what the rehab was. I really not only got my right shoulder together, but just really dedicated myself to just...I've never really focused on the details of my rotator cuff and all that stuff, so part of that rehab was just getting a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, and I'll shed some of that when I get into training camp. I don't see it being a problem. I don't think it'll be a problem.

BT: The reason why I asked is only because I know in the past, you've mentioned a potential fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. assuming Chavez Jr. was willing to move up in weight. I know he's got a fight scheduled August 3rd or something like that, but I heard a rumor that he was thinking about not doing that fight and actually pushing back his return. That's why I was kind of wondering if maybe we might see Andre Ward and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the near future.

AW: (Laughing) Ben, I've spoken about it, man. I've got a lot of respect for Chavez Jr. I don't think that Chavez gets the kind of respect that he deserves. You know, I'm a student of the game and I really watch guys, even if they're not in my weight class, but I've watched Chavez. He's a crafty fighter. You know, he's strong. He comes in the ring at 190, so he would be the bigger man even if he moved up to 168. People don't realize that. There's no doubt about it, there is no bigger fight for him right now and there is no bigger fight for me, and I think that's a fight the fans want to see and I think that's a fight that has to happen like real soon.

BT: How does a fight between Andre Ward and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. play out? Obviously it's going to look a lot different than what Martinez did with Chavez Jr., but I mean, is that something where you would move as much as Martinez did? I mean, it seems like you don't have no problems standing right in front of him either.

AW: No, I think that know, I'ma be who I am. I'm not a runner and I don't move a lot. I'm more or less, you know, I slip and slide. I guess if you have to put a tag on my name; I try to know when to be inside and when to be outside, but it would be a lot of action because Chavez Jr. has a lot of his father in him, you know, with his inside game and the kind of shots that he throws, and you know he's not a big mover, so he's gonna be there. I'm going to not only be willing to, but have to, you know, get my respect. I mean, that's how it works. You have to get your respect at some point in every big fight if you want to box, so, I mean, I think it's going to be a lot of action; a lot of action whenever me and Chavez Jr. get together.

BT: I know you're a student of the game and I know that I was the first one to initially ask you about this particular fight, so I kind of want to close it out now that I got you, but give me your thoughts on Mayweather vs. Guerrero, either guys performance; what did you think about that?

AW: Well, I think overall, Floyd fought a great fight, you know, especially at 36 years old and having taken a year off. I mea, I think he fought a brilliant fight. And I'm happy to see him and his father back together because, you know, especially his dad because no father wants to have problems with his son, especially publicly. Just for Floyd to bring him back in, man, especially at this stage of his career when he's winding down, but he's still on top, and his father was the one that started him out, man, I think that was tremendous. So I really liked seeing that. And as far as Robert, man, you know, you gotta take your hat off to Robert for being there for the 12 rounds. I think a lot of people didn't think that. You know, they thought he was the smaller guy coming up, which he was, but I think he's filled out in the 47-pound weight class nice, and, you know, Floyd did what he had to do, man, and got his hand raised. He fought a great fight and I take my hat off to Robert. And that's all I was saying from the very beginning was that I'm happy for Robert and I'm pulling for him, you know, from the standpoint of, man, just getting this opportunity. This guy has won multiple world titles and didn't really get the respect he deserved, didn't really get the publicity, and for him to be able to get the purse that he made and take care of his family, man, I'm happy for him.

BT: Floyd makes a lot of guys look bad, you know, Robert Guerrero, Juan Manuel Marquez, it doesn't matter who you are; he makes a lot of guys look bad, so I hope a lot of people don't look at Guerrero and think that he can't hang at 147 because I think if you put him in with anybody else at 147, he's a force to be reckoned with. He could still beat pretty much anyone in the welterweight division. It's just Floyd is, like yourself, darn good and very difficult to beat.

AW: I think people make the same mistake with Floyd that they make with me. They see a couple of fights and they automatically think he's not strong, he doesn't hit hard, and that's the farthest thing from the truth, man, and they get in there and they find out it's something different. But you gotta take your hat off to both guys, man. Anytime it's a big fight like that, regardless of what the pay-per-view buys are, it's brining attention to the sport of boxing in a major way, in a mainstream way, man, and it not only benefits them, but it benefits guys like myself and other fighters as well.

[ Follow Ben Thompson on Twitter @fighthype ]

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