Andre Ward returns this weekend on HBO World Championship Boxing for his first fight in 14 months, facing undefeated super middleweight contender Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez.
Ward (26-0, 14 KO) tells BoxNation -- which will be the UK TV home for the bout -- that he knows from his own experience what it's like to be a young, hungry fighter getting a big chance for the first time, and because of that, he won't overlook the underdog Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO):
"Edwin's a good fighter, he's undefeated, he's a hungry challenger but he's also dealing with a hungry champion. So you've got to look at that side too. I've not just got to deal with him, he's got to deal with me. I don't think its just being an undefeated fighter but the fact that it's his opportunity. I had my opportunity in 2009, now it's his chance and you can't underestimate his mindset going into the fight.
"But at the same time you're not dealing with some guy, speaking of myself, who's underestimating this kid or doesn't know who he's fighting. I'm well aware of Rodriguez's strengths, and his weaknesses. At this level you want to take away your opponents strengths and expose their weaknesses and that's what I'm planning on doing."
Ward compared Rodriguez to Carl Froch, though not for any glowing reason:
"He's never been 12 rounds before and he makes a lot of mistakes. His eagerness is his strength but it's also his weakness, similar to Froch. He doesn't regard his defense, he's reckless at times but if you're reckless you can be caught out."