Photos by Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
Andre Ward and Allan Green met face-to-face at today’s final press conference in advance of their Super Six World Boxing Classic and WBA World Title tilt on Saturday, June 19—live on SHOWTIME, 10p ET/PT—from Oakland’s Oracle Arena. The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, TNT Boxing and Dibella Entertainment and sponsored by Corona, Oakland Tribune and River Rock Casino. While both men were respectful of one another, the tension in the room was nearly tangible. What’s at stake in the final Group Stage 2 bout:
– The undefeated Ward (21-0, 13 KOs) is making his first world title defense (WBA 168-pounds).
– Green (29-1, 20 KOs) is getting his first world title shot and his first Super Six bout (replacing Jermain Taylor).
– Both are seeking one of four coveted berths in the Super Six World Boxing Classic Semi-Finals.
– With a victory, Ward would clinch a spot in the Semis prior to his Group Stage 3 bout vs. Andre Dirrell; Green would still have a chance in Group Stage 3 against Mikkel Kessler.
– If Green is victorious, all six fighters would be virtually deadlocked going into the final and decisive Group Stage 3 matchups.
What the fighters had to say:
Andre Ward: Well this is my favorite part of it right here… fight week baby. The hard work is basically over. All the interviews are basically over and it’s time to go to work. This is what I do best. To quote John Wooden, you know I don’t let the praises of the people or the criticism get to me. Because it’s a weakness to get caught up in either one. I appreciate the praises of the people, I honor that, I thank them for that. And those who… people who have a lot of negative things to say about me, even my opponent, his coach, his team, that’s fine. But I’m locked in on what I have to do. Fight in and fight out. I’ve sacrificed a lot for this moment. I’ve sacrificed my wife, my kids and they’ve sacrificed a lot, too….. I don’t think people realize what’s inside of me and what kind of focus I have. They think when you get this belt that it’s time to relax. They think that I’m the one that’s being hunted and to a degree I am, but I have a lot of desire in me, man. And I got a lot of passion in me. I don’t know if he wants this belt as bad as I want to keep it, but if he does, then it’s going to be a whole lot of fun on Saturday night. We’re going to have a good show.
I have nothing negative to say about my opponent or his team. I’ve listened to what they’ve said; the disrespectful things, even the compliments, and I take it all to heart. I take them for their words and it’s pushed me and it’s driven me. Like I said at the first press conference we had, I train like I’m fighting a monster, period. So, that way mentally and physically that’s what I’m prepared for. It’s his time to show up. He’s done a lot of talking but it’s time to show up. It’s my time to show up and I will give the fans a tremendous performance come Saturday night.
I’m not going to tell you guys how great I am, how great I’m going to be. I’ve got to continue to show you. I’ve been in this game a long time and I understand it’s about putting in the work and showing people. It’s not about these press conferences. It’s not about the interviews. It’s about putting in the work and when it’s time to show up, show up. And that’s what I plan on doing. So, I thank everybody that’s involved with this event, SHOWTIME, Oakland, we are getting ready to do it again. Thank you.
Allan Green: Andre Ward is a good young fighter. He hasn’t lost since he was twelve or thirteen years old. We understand that. We’re not minimizing him or undermining him in any way. There’s no need for me to get chuckling here today. I see children here. I see people here having a good time, but Saturday night I will be the WBA super middleweight champion. That’s what I came here for. I know what I can do.
To dissect me you’ve got to have a hell of a scalpel… to dissect Allan Green, a hell of a scalpel. Because a lot of people tend to think, they want to label me as a puncher. True, I am a puncher, but at the same time a lot of people fail to realize I’m a pure boxer. I do know how to box. I do know how to think. So if anybody’s got it in there mind thinking that I’m just coming to walk this young kid down and blast him out and blow him out the water like Kessler did… Like I said, here’s the problem. Mikkel Kessler is from Denmark. He speaks English. Ward speaks English. Kessler understands English. Kessler doesn’t understand jive, that’s why he couldn’t deal with Andre Ward. I speak jive very well and will Saturday night.
John David Jackson (Green’s Trainer): Everybody’s pretty much picked Andre Ward to win. I don’t know why we even showed up. James Prince said he’s ready to go to war, but one thing you got to remember when you go to war, you leave your head open for punches. And this brother (Allan Green) right here, he’s got dynamite in both hands. So, if Andre Ward comes to go to war, that’s exactly what we want. And if he does that, he won’t be champ anymore.
Virgil Hunter (Ward’s Trainer): The talk is over and we can get down to the grit of it. In my opinion you’re not the champ until you retire the champ. You have to be able to hold on to the title and that’s where our mind set is. Allan Green is not taken lightly. His flaws, we’ve identified them. His strengths we have identified them too. A lot has been said about what comes out of his hands, but if you look at his record, we have the better knockout percentage. Judging from the fighter’s and competition he’s faced, this is the first time that he’s really going to get hit. This is the first time he’s going to find out how violent Andre really is. Everything we do, we do with speed. If he stays where he is in the speed zone, he’s going to get chewed up. We are going to find out who has the dynamite in the fists. We are going to do what we always do. We are going to shock your mind, take your heart and we are going to dissect you down and constrict you and then we are going to give you a venomous bite.
Dan Goossen (Ward’s promoter): This is the first time in history that the Bay Area has ever hosted two back-to-back championship fights within a twelve month period. First and foremost I want to thank the fans for coming out to Oakland and supporting their hometown hero. When this thing is all said and done, you’re going to see your Oakland fighter, you’re Bay Area fighter, become a pay-per-view star.