In this video interview caught by FightHype, Andre Ward talks about his preparation for his world title rematch against Sergey Kovalev while admitting to the personal grudge between them. Check out some excerpts of what he had to say below...
On if the energy heading into this fight is different from the first:
“Every fight has its own narrative, its own story, and the build-up that we’ve had since the first fight, the bad blood that’s there, things that have been said — you can’t make that stuff up, it just has to be organic. It has to be real and based on everything that happened over the last four months, here we are. And I try to be what I need to be, you know what I mean? I try to be what I need to be.
“And I love these types of moments, you know they’re big moments, there’s a lot of pressure, but this is what I signed up for, man. This is what it’s about, this is what I’ve dreamed of doing. The greats I’ve seen, they’ve fought rematches...I’m ready for the moment and it’s time for this dude to be silenced — simple as that. You don’t have to get upset about it, you don’t have to spit and scream, I just internalize it, man, and go to work. You know we disappear and then we show up fight night, ready to go.”
On if he genuinely dislikes Kovalev:
“Yeah I don’t like a lot of what this dude does and what he stands for, you know what I mean. And I’m just gonna put that out there. And I certainly have disdain for him. It’s not that serious to go so far as to hate another person, I got to stay away from that, because I know a lot of the stuff he’s saying — a lot of stuff is out of ignorance...He’s been very successful being a bully. So when the pressure hits him, what is he gonna do? He’s gonna revert back to what got him there — being a bully and pressing harder, trying to be more of a bully.
“And it’s not gonna work, man. I’m not giving you an inch, before the fight or during the fight. And we set the tone early and, you know, that’s just what it is. That simple.
“At the end of the day he doesn’t have to respect me because I never asked for his respect. So, you know what I mean, this is the fight game. I took something from him. And part of his reputation was hit and part of his persona, what he stood for, was cracked. And in times past he always reverts back to reasons and excuses if things don’t go right.
“See I don’t study him inside the ring, punch for punch. I want to understand his psyche - who is he? What’s behind ‘The Krusher’? What’s behind the reputation? And he was consistent with how he’s always responded when adversity comes which is make excuses.
“So they’ve got a campaign, him and his team — which I don’t know was well thought out — and, you know, they trying to make a push via social media, it’s just all kind of stuff that’s not even really creative. It’s not crafty. It just is what it is. Really, the gist of it is A) if he thinks he presses harder, some how some way he’s going to sway people to think ‘oh Ward lost’ or ‘he’s afraid of me’ — that’s not the case.
“And just in case it’s a close fight again, he’s trying to sway the commission and sway the judges that it go their way because they made such a stink about it. And I feel like the judges are going to do the right thing and my job is to make sure that it’s not that close this time.”