Andre Ward spoke at the post-fight press conference following his dominant TKO win over Chad Dawson last night in Oakland. Video's above, and here's the transcript.
"I just want to thank everybody for coming out. This promotion has been like no other promotion that we've ever done. I've been grinding, focusing on training, so I haven't seen all the billboards and all the posters and everything, but I've been getting a lot of feedback. The weigh-in yesterday was unbelievable. I've never been at a weigh-in in my hometown like that. It looked like a mega-fight. There was a ton of media. It was packed.
"I couldn't get caught up in it yesterday. I had to stay in the moment, because obviously I still had a fight that I had to fight, but this was huge. This was big. And it was against a big-time opponent, on the big stage on HBO, against probably the biggest crowd that I've ever had here at home. So it was either rise to the occasion or get my belts taken, and I didn't want to go home without my belts.
"I take nothing away from Chad Dawson, Gary Shaw, and his team. It was intense leading up to this fight, but as it should be, because there's a lot at stake. Chad's trying to feed his family, I'm trying to feed my family. In this business, I've said it once and I'll say it again, a loss -- there's a lot of repercussions for a loss in boxing. It's not like other sports where you can take your time and recover and play the next game and everything will be OK.
"There's a lot at stake. I take my hat off to Chad. He risked a lot coming down to fight me. He called me out, and you gotta take your hat off to Chad for that. He has nothing to be ashamed about. Chad Dawson is still the light heavyweight kingpin in my opinion.
"It takes these kind of fights -- I was telling one of the guys that I was with yesterday, that stage in my career where you're fighting guys that you don't know where they come from, they got everything to gain and nothing to lose, that's the hardest stage in a career. I like this stage where you're fighting other accomplished champions, because I feel like personally, I rise to the occasion.
"And as a champion, you gotta rise to the occasion every time out. You can ill afford to have a bad night in this sport. That's what I tell myself when I'm training. Training camp was -- we trained hard like we always do, but we had some trees. We had a lot of trees in camp this time -- 6'2", 6'3", 6'4". We went through eight sparring partners this time. We've never had that many. We got a bunch of different looks, and I was ready.
"I felt like if Chad Dawson beat me, I'll take my hat off to him. But I knew it wasn't gonna be easy for Chad, and it wasn't easy for me either, regardless of what it looked like. I just thank everybody for coming out. I'm glad we pulled it out, and we did it in a major way tonight."