Andre Ward goes in-depth on Floyd Mayweather’s recent comments, HBO cutting ties with Golden Boy, Adrien Broner, and much more

Andre Ward ringside with HBO’s Max Kellerman prior to the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado rematch in Las Vegas

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By Chris Robinson

There were no shortage of boxing luminaries sitting ringside during Mike Alvarado’s impressive rematch victory over Brandon Rios on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During some down time, I was able to have a few words with one of the sport’s finest talents, WBA and WBC super middleweight titlist Andre Ward.

Regarded as one of the sport’s classier champions, Ward touched on a variety of topics during our conversation and spoke with great insight and interest along the way.

Read below for Ward’s thoughts on overcoming a recent shoulder injury that has sidelined him briefly, his feelings on Adrien Broner’s challenge of Paulie Malignaggi’s WBA welterweight title, his take on the recent rift between HBO and Golden Boy Promotions, his response to the recent comments Floyd Mayweather made about his career, and much more.

Following the sport of boxing…
“I’m a fan of the sport. I was a fan of boxing before I even started boxing. Number one, I’m a fan, but number two, there’s always something to learn. There’s always something to pick up from anybody. I come and I watch the prelims, the younger guys, all the way to the main event.”

Seeing his fight with Kelly Pavlik fall apart after suffering a shoulder injury…
“At first it was extremely difficult, very difficult. But I understand this business and there are things that happen. Once you get past the shock of it actually happening, you’ve got to start trying to figure out how to come back stronger and that’s what I’m in the process of doing right now.”

How much of boxing is mental…
“It’s hard to give a percentage, but you’ve got to have the mental in the sport of boxing. There’s a lot of guys that have skill, there’s a lot of guys who have just those kinds of intangibles. But it takes a mental game to further the skill game sometimes.”

His history with his trainer Virgil Hunter…
“We started when I was nine years old. I trained with another trainer at a gym, and his style was to get hit two times and give one shot. And my Dad, he always wanted me to learn, to be a master of the sport of boxing. I was training with that guy and Virgil saw me boxing and him and my Dad started talking and he started working with me and we’ve been together ever since.”

HBO’s decision to stop taking fights from Golden Boy and how it impacts the sport…
“You know what? It’s hard to say right now. At the end of the day, I wish everybody could get along. There’s big fights that can be made for the fans, so they can be treated to the type of matchups that they’re supposed to be treated to. At the end of the day, that situation is out of my hands. I’m not too concerned about it. I’m with HBO and this is my home right now. I just want to make sure that when I step into the ring that I’m putting on the kind of performances that people want to keep tuning in to see.”

Hearing the news of his friend Robert Guerrero’s arrest for gun possession while in New York’s JFK Airport…
“I woke up to people tweeting me about it and I thought it was a joke or something. I’m not even in a position to talk about it at all, because I only know what’ I’m hearing. But I know Robert Guerrero is a great guy and it seems like it was a situation where they got a technicality. It’s just unfortunate that he would have to be associated with that kind of news when he’s not that kind of person.”

His desire to be the best…
“I look at it. I look at it simply because I’ve always wanted to be the best. And even right now, being fortunate to be number two, with all due respect to Mayweather, I’m not competing for the number two spot. My goal has always been, since I started boxing, to be the best.I think Mayweather deserves that spot right now. He’s had a lot more championship fights, he’s accomplished a lot more. But my goal is to be in that top spot.”

Floyd Mayweather’s comments that questioned his overall popularity…
“First, it was false. If you do your research and you look at ticket sales and that kind of thing, I’m a tremendous draw in Oakland. I’ve never been to Vegas, so we don’t know what kind of draw I would be in Vegas. But it’s unfortunate that a person where Floyd is and his status; I didn’t disrespect Floyd. I’ve been following Floyd for many, many years and I’ve been more than a fan, I’ve been a supporter. Like I said through the media, if he had a problem with me, the way I go about things is to pick up the phone and talk about them and we get it worked out like that. But it’s no love lost for Floyd. I understand Floyd, I understand where he’s coming from. It’s a big fight coming up, but I wasn’t being disrespectful when I said what I said, that I’m going to support my friend in this fight and I stand by that.”

Adrien Broner’s outlandish personality and abilities as a prizefighter…
“I can’t speak on his personality. Adrien does what he does and if that’s how he feels is going to get him where he needs to go, then that’s Adrien’s business. I’m going to go about it the way I go about it. But in terms of in the ring and what Adrien Broner possesses, he’s got the goods. All Adrien’s got to do is stay focused and I think he can become a great fighter one day.”

Broner’s June 22nd challenge of Paulie Malignaggi’s WBA welterweight title…
“I think that’s an interesting matchup. I think that’s a tougher matchup than people think. Paulie is a 147-pounder no matter how you swing it and like Paulie said himself, people can talk about his lack of punching power, but that’s a 147-pound man hitting you. That being said, it’s a great fight for Adrien to step up and show what he can do against a 147-pounder, another champion, another opportunity to win a title, become a three-time champ. It’s Paulie’s chance to try to beat a hot guy that’s coming up and put himself in position.”

How he’s changed during his recent run of success…
“I mean, I feel like I’ve changed but mostly changed for the better. You’re going to change as you keep elevating and whatever it is that you do. Because people around you change, situations change, and things change, so you’re going to change. But hopefully you’re going to change for the better.”

PLEASE  CHECK OUT more Rios-Alvarado Fight week videos below…

Bonus comments from Joel Diaz on Bradley vs. Marquez, HBO vs. Golden Boy, Mayweather vs. Guerrero

Juan Manuel Marquez on Rios’ decision to work with Angel Heredia and his rematch with Alvarado

Andre Ward talks Rios-Alvarado II, Floyd Mayweather’s comments, the HBO-Golden Boy drama, more

‘Everybody wants my spot’ – Tim Bradley on the Provodnikov victory, Rios-Alvarado II, and his future

Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado II Official Weigh-In [Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas - 3.30.2013]

All-access with 2012 US Olympian Jose Ramirez ahead of 2nd pro bout [Interview and mitt work]

Bob Arum on Rios-Alvarado II, the return of Manny Pacquiao, and Tim Bradley’s war with Provodnikov

Behind the scenes with Brandon Rios and Robert Garcia in Las Vegas ['Aint nobody got time for that']

Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com and www.HustleBoss.com

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