With a little over one week remaining before the highly anticipated showdown between 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward and hard-hitting Edison Miranda, the two talented fighters participated in a media conference call along with promoter Dan Goossen. In the featured bout, the undefeated and No. 2- ranked Ward will fulfill his dream of staging a pro fight in his hometown when he takes a big step up in class to face Miranda, a Colombian knockout artist who has fought top-notch competition throughout his career, on Saturday, May 16 in Oakland, Calif.
The 12-round fight for Ward’s North American Boxing Organization (NABO) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super middleweight titles will be the featured bout on a special Saturday primetime edition of ShoBox: The New Generation, live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
The event will originate from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, and will be promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with Leonard Productions. The Ward-Miranda bout will be presented in association with Seminole Warriors Boxing. Tickets are on sale NOW, starting at just $25. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. PT. The first non-televised fight is 5 p.m. PT.
Fight week (next week) activities in Oakland include an open workout on Tuesday, possibly at the City Center, a final press conference at the City Center and the weigh in at the Plaza at City Center. ALL FIGHT WEEK ACTIVITES ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Ward, a highly touted and talented 25-year-old, is 18-0 (12 KOs) and was the only boxer from the United States to capture a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece and remains the last American to win gold. Miranda is 32-3 with 28 knockouts.
“We’re looking at this as Andre’s coming out party, not only in Oakland, but to the world for 168-pound supremacy.
“Let’s face it; he’s taking on a tough nut to make his statement. But that’s what it’s all about. No risk, no reward. That’s the way that Andre has always conquered everything in his life, even leading up to the Gold Medal. I believe he’s going to be the preeminent 168-pounder in the world.”
“I’ve prepared well for this fight. I’ve trained very hard. I know that Andre is going to be a very tough opponent, but I know I am going to walk away victorious after this fight.”
“I want to thank my hometown and everybody that is involved and working really hard to put this together.
“I’m preparing like I always do, I’m staying focused like I always am. I’m going to win on May 16 for my hometown fans.”
Is Ward the best fighter you have faced in your career?
MIRANDA: “No, Andre is not the toughest fighter I’ve ever fought. Howard Eastman is.”
How will you beat Andre Ward?
MIRANDA: “I’m going to knock him out in the 10th round.”
Is Edison Miranda the toughest fighter that you’ve faced in your pro career?
WARD: “Absolutely, on paper. I put emphasis on paper. We won’t know until I get in the ring on May 16. I think I’m going to be a lot tougher than he thinks I’m going to be. I don’t have any predictions, but I can guarantee you this: I’m coming into this fight, even though I’m in my hometown, I’m the underdog in my mind. I’m always like that. Gold Medal aside, everything else aside, I’m coming in as the underdog. That’s how I prepared, that’s how my focus is. I’m going to shock a lot of people in this fight”
Could Miranda derail Ward’s momentum?
GOOSSEN: “Look, you’ve got two world class fighters fighting one another, so nothing is ever a foregone conclusion. But, we’ve got a lot of confidence in Andre Ward. Edison Miranda is a tough challenge, but I believe it’s going to bring out the best in Andre Ward. Saturday night, May 16 is when it’s all answered. We can sit here and talk until we’re blue in the face, but it doesn’t matter when that bell rings. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Andre. We believe he is going to win and win in an exciting fashion from the standpoint of showing his prominence in this division, but let’s get to Saturday, May 16.”
With this step up against Miranda, is there is a title shot coming soon?
WARD: “People are going to have opinions about my opponents and how tough they think they are. The bottom line is, we’ve take a steady climb up. I don’t think we’ve regressed anywhere in my career. We haven’t been fighting tomato cans. We’re fighting guys that have had ample time to prepare. They’re coming to win. I understand that each and every fight, guys are going to bring their ‘A’ game because they want that win on their resume.”
“Yeah, this is a step up, but at the same time this is right where we need to be. These are the kind of fights that bring the best out of great, and potentially great, fighters. You have to go through the Edison Mirandas of the division to prove that.”
Have you watched his fights?
WARD: If you’ve seen one of Miranda’s fights, you’ve seen them all. Miranda is going to be Miranda and I’m going to be Andre Ward. At the end of the night, May 16, we’ll see what happens.”
Are you excited to fight in your hometown?
WARD: “This is an event. This is bigger than a fight. This is what my team was talking about when we were trying to figure out when was the right time to fight in Oakland and against what opponent.”
“I think this is absolutely the right time and the right opponent. This is a guy that a lot of people are afraid of based on his tactics that he tries to give outside of the ring and even his style inside the ring. But we’re focused and we’ll do it in my backyard. In terms of excitement, we’re very excited, but I can’t be distracted and put the carpet before the horse. We’ll take care of business and then we’ll enjoy everything else when it’s all said and done.”
Is fighting in Oakland an advantage?
WARD: “Fighting in your backyard could either be a gift of a curse. I’ve never been one to get caught up in the lights, camera, action and that whole deal. I don’t really get caught up in the hoopla before the fight. I’m just a steady kind of person. I’m steady and I’m consistent in terms of the way I approach each fight. Whether I’m fighting in the Olympics or I’m fighting at Tachi Palace, it doesn’t matter. I have a job to do.”
“I’ve been preparing for nights like this since I was nine years old. I can’t let fighting in my hometown detour me in terms of my focus. Trust me, there’s going to be a lot of energy in the building. I think a lot of people in Oakland are excited about this and I’m going to deliver on May 16.”
Does Miranda’s tactics bother you?
WARD: “I don’t fear anything in that ring. Miranda is going to be Miranda inside and outside that ring and, I’m going to be Andre Ward. At the end of the night we’ll see who is standing and who’s talking the loudest.”
“In terms of his tactics, I’ve said it before, Miranda is a bully and I don’t like when people try to bully people. He’s going to find out that I’m a whole lot tougher and a whole lot nastier inside that ring than he’s anticipating. It’s going to be a different type of fight than he’s anticipating. I’ve been on that canvas and I’ve gotten back up and come back to win. Whatever he wants to bring, bring it, and I’m going to be ready on May 16.”
How has your difficult (situation with your mother) impacted you as a fighter?
MIRANDA: “No, it hasn’t affected me at all, my past with my mother. What I can say is that anytime that I had a loss in the ring it made me more determined to win my next fight. That’s exactly what I’m going to do on May 16.”
Asked to address his weight issues since he fought at 176 pounds in March and has to fight at 168 pounds against Ward?
MIRANDA: “I’m at 168 right now. I have no problem right now. I’m eating fine and normally, so it won’t be an issue.”
Do you have anything to prove in this fight?
WARD: “To me, this fight is totally about respect. It’s about respect from the media, respect from the entire 168-pound division and just respect in general. There’s always something to prove with each fight. The stakes are higher, absolutely.”
“I know a lot of people don’t think I’m going to win this fight. I think a lot of people get caught up in the whole Miranda hoopla. They get caught up in his punching power and stuff like that. But, I’m not buying it. I respect him for his strengths in the ring, but we’re coming to win. We’re coming to do our job each and every fight. This fight is about respect, and this fight is about proving that I not only belong but that I have aspirations to be the best in this division.
What can this fight do for you if it turns out the way you want it to?
WARD: “This fight is everything. This is going to be a major leap forward or a major leap backward. It’s going to put the winner in title contention and, I know for myself, it’s going to put me in a mandatory spot (for a title challenge). So this is a must win. It goes without saying that we have to win this fight.”
Did you see the (Carl) Froch- (Jermain) Taylor fight (April 25 on SHOWTIME)?
WARD: “I thought it was a good fight. You’ve got to give Froch respect for coming over here and putting his title on the line. He’s 30 years old so he understands that he doesn’t have much time and his window of opportunity is pretty short. I’m sure that had a lot to do with him coming over here (from England).”
“I expected a little more from Jermain Taylor. I don’t understand what’s going on with his conditioning. It was unfortunate the way he went out. I would have liked to see him hold on and get that belt back. He wasn’t able to hold on, but, once again, you’ve got to respect Carl Froch for what he did in that fight. His determination pulled it out for him.”
When asked if he had any words about Froch possibly being his next opponent:
WARD: “I’m locked in on this fight. I’m eating, sleeping and drinking the guy that’s in front of me. When it’s over, we can talk about that. But I’ve really had few to no talks about what lies next for me.”
WARD’S closing comments:
“I can’t wait to see what comes out of me May 16. It’s my time and that’s just the bottom line. As far as Oakland is concerned, let’s do something positive. Let’s buy our tickets, let’s come out and let’s show that good guys do finish first, not last.”
“This is the future of our sport and what better people to go out there and represent us than athletes that we can look up to.”
Are you in touch with your mother now?
“I do talk to my mother; I’ve always talked to her. The question isn’t about my mother or my father, the matter at hand is Andre Ward. I can talk about my mother or my father after the fight, but right now the only thing on my mind is Andre Ward.”
Do you respect Andre Ward?
MIRANDA: “I have respect for Andre outside of the ring as a man. But inside the ring, I don’t have respect for him. In fact, I don’t have respect for any other fighters inside the ring. If I had to say I respected somebody, it would be Bernard Hopkins. He’s been such an example for me. I really can say that he’s the only boxer that I have respect for.
GOOSSEN Closing Comments:
“Andre gets into town Sunday. Monday, Miranda comes in. We’re going to have an open workout on Tuesday, I believe, at the City Center. We’ll have the final press conference on Thursday in the City Center and we’ll have the weigh in on Friday at the Plaza at City Center. We’re doing everything open to the public. We’re going to go out there and put on a great show for Oakland and all of the Bay Area.”