Press Conference Report by Victor Perea
Photography by “Big” Joe Miranda
Saturday morning, before most fight fans in town rolled out of bed in preparation for the super showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, members of the media sat down for a roundtable discussion with the undefeated NABO super middleweight champion Andre “S.O.G” Ward (18-0, 12 KOs) along with his promoter Dan Goosen inside the Central Park room at the New York New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Ward spoke about his preparation and anticipation for his May 16th date with Columbian contender Edison “Pantera” Miranda (32-3, 28 KOs) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The fight card, which is being promoted by Dan Goosen of Goosen Tutor Promotions, will also feature unbeaten lightweight John Molina (16-0, 12 KOs) against a fighter yet to be announced.
Ever the gentleman, Ward opened up to the press about his life outside of the ring, his eagerness to perform in his hometown, and his burning desire to beat up a bully.
The well spoken Ward made no bones about why he has accomplished what he has accomplished “God is my guide my life is in his hands,” said Ward who believes his faith gives him strength both in and out of the ring.
“I just keep in mind that I’m a Christian that just happens to be an athlete. There are many athletes out there that try to show that they are something but stumble and let those that looked up to them down. I am who I am,” added the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist. “I try to let people see Christ through me. I’m not out here to play up a role and get people to follow me I try to live right by Christ and set a good example I don’t need to talk trash or behave irresponsibly.”
Ward made a point that he has empathy for the life struggles of his outspoken and hard hitting opponent but that while he keeps Miranda in his prayers he still sees him as a bully. “Edison is a bully and I was taught never to bully anybody and to stand up for those who are getting bullied,” said Ward. “I pray for Miranda literally, I pray for him. I pray that both of us are safe and will get to go home to our families at the end of the night. I’m not here to hurt anybody. I don’t wish anything bad on him. I’m here to do my best and make the most of my talents in the ring.”
Ward’s promoter Dan Goosen of Goosen Tutor promotions agreed. “His actions speak louder than anything else. We need to take Andre’s words ‘a breath of fresh air’ as he continues to show that you can be a good person and still bring attention to yourself,” said Goosen. “How many times have we seen a big mouth talking fighter out on his back in the ring? Andre doesn’t need to talk loud and tough he just shows it in the ring.”
Andre will welcome Miranda to the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California where Ward spent a part of his youth before moving outside of the troubled city. The bout will be broadcast on a special edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on the Showtime network. “There are a lot of people struggling right now in Oakland. Not just blacks but my Hispanic brothers, Filipinos, whites everybody is hurting right now. I hope I give them something to come and be proud of I fight for everybody.”