Andre Ward is set to face Sullivan Barrera on March 25th, and despite having fought only once in 2+ years, he has no concerns that he won't be able to perform at optimal level when fight night arrives -- even in official debut at the light heavyweight division.
Ward suggests that as he's matured, things are actually slowing down for him in the ring, and that he's becoming more efficient in how he expends his energy - à la Floyd Mayweather in his later years.
"I think if a fighter stays in the gym, which we try to do year-round, I think you naturally start to evolve," Ward said in a conference call on Wednesday to hype his bout at Oracle Arena in his hometown of Oakland, California. "And your game gets more and more seasoned where as you get older you get more efficient where there's no unnecessary movement. And I think you saw that in Floyd's career where he had a lot of movement at 135, 130, and when he went to 140 he settled down a little bit and then at 147 he was like that. Father time waits on no one. I just think naturally my game is evolving and I feel like I'm still in my prime and things are slowing down for me in the ring."
Andre Ward also warns that people should be fooled by Barrera's size in this fight, as he believes he'll be the stronger fighter in the ring.
"Though he may look bigger and may have bigger muscles, I think he's going to realize that he's not stronger," Ward said. "And I think he's going to have to deal with speed that he never dealt with before and conditioning that he never dealt with before so there are adjustments that are going to have to be made on both sides."
Ward concludes by saying that he's well aware of all the trash talk from Barrera's Twitter account, accusing Ward of being afraid to face him. But Ward promises that it's only motivating him more to make a statement and that Barrera will have to answer for every word he's uttered about him come March 25th.
Even an unmotivated Andre Ward would be a serious handful for any fighter in the world, but a seriously motivated one may well be unbeatable.