A talented, exciting fighter fans need to keep a close eye on, undefeated, world-ranked Andre Ward of Oakland, Calif., defends his NABO super middleweight title against once-beaten Henry “Sugar Poo’’ Buchanan of Chesterfield, S.C., tonight on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). Ward, the only boxer from the United States to capture a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, will enter the 12-round bout, which is also for the NABF 168-pound crown, with a record of 17-0 with 12 KOs. Buchanan is 17-1 with 12 stoppages.
In the ShoBox co-feature, unbeaten John “John” Molina (14-0, 10 KOs) of Covina, Calif., will meet Ghana’s hard-hitting Joshua Allotey (15-6, 13 KOs) in an eight-round junior lightweight bout. Goossen Tutor Promotions will promote the event from The Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino at Lemoore, Calif.
“I am not a reluctant warrior. I am not afraid to fight anybody. The really big fights haven’t happened, but they will, hopefully in 2009. Lots of possible fights never get made because the higher rated fighters don’t want to fight. I’d fight Jermain Taylor in a second.
“But it really doesn’t matter who I fight. My job is to win, and to continue to win impressively
“I am looking for a good fight Friday. Buchanan is coming in with nothing to lose. I suspect he’ll try and work inside, because all my opponents try to work inside, but I am stronger than they think.
“I have lots of incentive and lots of huge chips on my shoulders. I feel I should be ranked higher. I don’t think I get the respect I deserve, and I don’t know why. I feel, even with the injuries, my career has progressed. I’ve risen to the occasion each time. The guys I’ve fought; they don’t lose after they fight me.
“Buchanan has never been knocked down. The old adage is ‘don’t look for the knockout, the knockout will come.’ But I don’t know any fighter who doesn’t mind going home early. I may switch up and go southpaw a little. This is going to be a fast-paced, intense fight and I am prepared for that. Fans will see a good show.’’
“I am here to fight and to win. No excuses in my last fight against (Jean Paul) Mendy – he beat me fair and square — but the fact is I entered the ring with a broken hand I had broken in the fight before that.
“I am not 100 percent healthy, I am 200 percent healthy for this and I am looking forward to the opportunity to defeat an Olympic gold medalist.
“Ward’s been down. I wasn’t even knocked down in the streets. It is not going to happen.
“My whole life has been uphill; nothing has come easy, my sister died just last week. So I am thrilled to get this fight. No matter what it says on paper, Ward had better be ready for the fight of his life.
“He’s a great fighter, no doubt about that. But if you want to make a name for yourself, and some money, in this sport, if you have bills to pay, you jump at this kind of opportunity and make the best of it.
“And that is exactly what I plan to do.’’
JOHN “JOHN” MOLINA
“I am excited about fighting on SHOWTIME and very anxious to show what I am all about. I am definitely prepared. I am willing and can’t wait to do what I have to do.
“There is nothing that Allotey can show me or do that will deter me from doing what I came to do.
“I have been doing a different regiment all together from what I normally do since I have been training with Joe Goossen.
“We have been working on my output and working out the little kinks in my game that needed fixing up.’’
“I am coming here to win so I can fight better fights later. I am happy to be fighting here; it’s a great opportunity.
“John’s (Molina) father fights better than his son. I would be more intimidated by his father. Me? I fight like lightning – my style will beat John’s.
“I am in great condition and ready to go eight hard rounds if it goes the distance.’’