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Andre Ward appears on First Take, talks big upcoming fights

Ward recently stopped Sergey Kovalev to retain his world titles.

Light heavyweight champion Andre Ward stopped by ESPN this morning to talk about his big win over Sergey Kovalev and touch on some other topics in the boxing world. Check out some excerpts of what he had to say below...

Ward on his rematch with Kovalev:

“I mean it was a great performance, not just for myself, but for my team, Virgil my coach, he got me prepared. The first fight was really, really close, I found myself in a place I really don’t like to be - which is the canvas - but it was early, I felt like I showed the heart of a champion, got up, coach kept me focused and we took care of business.

“So now they’re saying ‘controversy.’ Okay. Some people thought he won, some people thought I won, so the natural thing is to do it again. So we did it again and we just took care of business, we executed, and the fight happened just like we thought it was gonna happen.”

On who he thinks win in Pacquiao vs. Horn:

“I mean in boxing you never know. Anything can happen. But you talk about that glassy look in the eyes, you know, Horn may have that before the first punch is thrown - just because of the level of this fight, the magnitude of it. And yes, it’s in [Horn’s] home country but he’s fighting a legend in Manny Pacquiao.

“So first and foremost, can he get past that? Can he not have the deer in the headlights type of thing going on? If he can get past that and try to execute his game plan, he’s still got trouble, ‘cause he’s fighting Manny Pacquiao. And Manny Pacquiao’s getting older but he’s still got a lot left in the tank. And if Horn can pull this off it’s gonna be a colossal upset.”

On what he thinks of Mayweather-McGregor:

“I think, you know, I like the fight. You know, it’s not my job to promote it, I don’t have any vested interest, but as a fight fan — MMA and boxing — I like the fact that Floyd is doing something unique for number 50. I think he’s earned the right to do whatever he wants to do in a boxing ring, and I applaud Conor for taking this risk in saying ‘look, I’m an MMA legend but we’re gonna do it on your terms, all boxing.

“And then when you making upward of $100M, is there really any losers? But tactically in the fight, I don’t think this is gonna be as easy as people think...I’m a Floyd fan, he’s a legend, and he’s gonna take care of business — don’t get me wrong — but Floyd’s 40 years old and McGregor’s a lot younger, he’s naturally bigger, and if he has nothign else he has a big left hand. He has one hand that if he lands can cause some trouble. Now I don’t think he’s gonna land that shot but just the movements that Conor has, the awkward type of martial arts type of movements, It’s gonna take Floyd a few rounds to kinda figure him out, and ultimately he will, but I think it’ll be interesting early.

On if he was working Conor’s corner, would he tell him to try to knock Floyd out early as his only hope:

“He’s not gonna end it early. I wouldn’t focus on a knockout because if he goes out there looking for a knockout he can get knocked out. I think I wouldn’t totally abandon the martial arts moves like I said, the awkward things he does. Obviously he can’t lift his legs and that’s gonna be a challenge in and of itself — to not kick Floyd or grapple Floyd like he would in an octagon — but be who you are. We’re gonna work on boxing but be awkward, be as awkward as you can, make it ugly. Because if it’s a close fight where there’s an argument...that’s a win for him because nobody’s giving him a shot.”

On if it would be bad for boxing if McGregor were to somehow beat the best boxer of a generation at his own game:

“Look, let me say that’s not gonna happen! First and foremost! Let me get that off the table. The goal for Conor, I believe, is to make it interesting. Let the people feel like they’re paying for something - that it wasn’t a 30 second blowout or a one round blowout. And boxing is gonna be here forever! It was here long before I got here, it’s gonna be here long after I left. It’s the pastime, it’s not going nowhere.”

On Canelo-Golovkin:

“I think it’s a good fight, I think it’s gonna boil down to the size difference. You know, obviously Golovkin is a lot bigger than Canelo - is that gonna be too much? Can he take Golovkin’s power? That’s gonna be like the biggest question for me. But Canelo, he doesn’t get a lot of credit for his boxing ability. He’s a slugger, he has an aggressive style, but he can box, he’s very crafty, he’s got a lot of fights. And I think he’s gonna show that and use that in this fight. I think it’s gonna be a great fight and I think it’s gonna go the distance and I think it’s gonna be very, very close.

“...It’s tough to say. Even when I broadcast it’s tough to pick a winner. This is can get hit with one shot that can not only change the trajectory of a fight, but your career. So I just think that with these match-ups, it’s cool to pick a winner, but it’s also cool to say ‘I don’t know what’s gonna happen’ and that’s the beauty of it.”

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