On when he felt he had Kovalev going
“Probably the round before the stoppage. When he reacted to that body shot where I hesitated and didn’t follow up. I gotta watch the replay, but I felt like that was legit. It was either borderline or it was right on the money. For him to concede like that, I knew he was breaking down. When you do that, and a referee tells you to fight, that’s not a good thing. It shows you were hurt by that.
“I felt his biggest mistake was going to be his arrogance. He just couldn’t fathom me hurting him. When they asked him about me having the power to stop him, he laughed at me. He just wasn’t ready for it. Anybody can be hurt, anybody can be stopped. You always gotta have a sober mind when you enter a fight like that.”
On how he feels about getting the win
“It feels real good. I feel vindicated. I never had a problem with people saying (the first) fight was close, it was. I gotta take ownership for not putting on my best performance. I heard some people say it was home cooking, I didn’t agree with that stuff, I felt like they took it too far. Close fight? Yes. But the excuses were over the top, man. I felt like the excuses showed me so much about him and his character.
“You don’t get to not bring that character into the ring. That same guy is coming into the ring. I told you, I said, that’s a weakness, and I gotta tap into that. I would’ve been concerned if that dude said, ‘I felt I won, but I’m gonna go back to work and figure it out.’ And he got quiet, that’s a guy I’m concerned about. But he did too much talking and he revealed too much about himself.”
On his long undefeated streak back to age 12
“It’s a blessing, man. You can’t predict that stuff or do that intentionally. It’s years of working. We don’t over-celebrate our victories. Because we don’t do that, it forces me to keep pushing. It never feels like enough.”
On winning for Oakland
“It’s big. It’s huge. Oakland doesn’t always get a lot of credit. They say we’re a small market team, but we got a lot of talent and we keep producing.”
More from Ward in the video!