Andre Ward on his deal to face Sergey Kovalev: ‘I’m daring to be great’
In constructing a deal for the fall to face IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward said he was “daring to be great.”
While he still has to get by Sullivan Barrera (17-0, 12 knockouts) in his light heavyweight debut on March 26 at Oracle Arena in his hometown of Oakland (HBO, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT), Ward allowed himself to peek into the future and explain why he made a deal to also fight Kovalev in a fall HBO Pay-Per-View main event.
“I didn’t have to come up to this weight class,” Ward said in a conference call on Wednesday. “I didn’t have to be taking these types of challenges but, at the same time, I felt like I did have to. I’m a student of boxing and, throughout the years, all the greats did it. All of them. I can go down a list of 20 guys who took on that challenge and moved up in weight and became multi-divisional champions. And those are guys that I try to emulate and look up to and, man, it really inspires me.”
Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) went on to describe the legacy he hopes to leave behind. So far, it’s a complex one. He was once the king of the super middleweight division but promotional issues and injuries have relegated him to the sidelines more often than the ring, and he’s fought just three times since 2012. Ward is ranked fourth on THE RING’s pound-for-pound list.
“This move right here – it’s not about money,” he said of his transition to light heavyweight. “It’s about just wanting to be great. And I want to be great. I don’t want to be a really good fighter. I want to be considered one of the guys who took on the best throughout his career – throughout the ups and downs, he always challenged the best and that’s what I want to be remembered for and that’s what this move is all about.”
Regarding the undercard and the possibility of an HBO co-feature on March 26, those plans are being formulated, David Itskowitch, COO of Roc Nation Sports’ boxing division said on the conference call.
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