Andre Ward makes his official light heavyweight debut next weekend when he takes on Sullivan Barrera on HBO. Looking ahead to the fight, Barrera's trainer Abel Sanchez gives his thoughts on what he sees in the current version of Andre Ward and how he asses the match-up.
Abel Sanchez on whether or not Andre Ward is still at the same level as when he knocked out Chad Dawson:
"I don't think he was at a peak with Chad. I think that he boiled Chad down to a weight that was not good for Chad. I think that five years ago when he was winning the Super Six, that's the Ward we have to worry about. This Ward is a little easier, still a difficult fight."
If Sullivan Barrera has what it takes to make it hard on Ward:
"I think we have a lot of pluses and few minuses with this Ward. If It was Ward, like I said, from five years ago, difficult fight. This Ward has been inactive. This Ward has had some injuries. This Ward is moving up from 168 to 175, and we have a kid in Barrera who's been busy, who's a full 175-pounder...so I think it evens it out. But we're still fighting one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world...even if we lose we really don't lose.
"The motivation for Barrera, being 33-years-old, knows that this is probably his last opportunity at the big stage. So it's up to us to make it a fight. It's up to us to make sure that Ward understands that he's moving up into a different division."