Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oakland's Ward Ready to Shine in Homecoming

Oakland, California native Andre Ward is ready to come back home and make a statement to the boxing world.

Andre Ward calls Edison Miranda “a bully.”

Edison Miranda claims he's going to do the same thing to Andre Ward that Carl Froch did to Jermain Taylor "because they are cut from the same cloth.”

Both fighters spent some time on Wednesday talking tough and proclaiming that when they meet on May 16 at the Oracle Arena in Ward's hometown of Oakland, California the fans will be treated to a satisfying show.

Ward, undefeated at 18-0, 12 knockouts and only 25 years old, is on the verge of a title shot at 168-pounds. He readily admits that Miranda is the best fighter he will have faced thus far.

“Absolutely, on paper,” Ward said. “The bottom line is we've taken a steady climb up. Not that we've been fighting tomato cans. These guys have six to eight weeks to prepare for me and win. Guys are going to bing their 'A' game. This is right where we need to be. These are the kinds of fights that bring out the best in great and potentially great fighters.”

If Ward, who won a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, is going to go on to become a potential great he knows he has to get past Miranda who is a dangerous puncher with a record of 32-3, 28 knockouts. The tough talking Colombian should pose a stern test because he has only ever lost to middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and IBF middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham (twice).

Edison Miranda is a big talker and a big puncher. If he has his way he'll be doing a bit of both on May 16th.

“This is an event,” said Ward of next weekend's fight that will be promoted heavily in Oakland and televised by Showtime. “This is what me and my team have talked about. This is absolutely the right time and the right opponent. We said, 'OK bring him on' - and we'll do it in my backyard.”

Ward, the North American Boxing Federation super middleweight titlist, claims he's under no pressure when it comes to facing Miranda or fighting in front of a hometown crowd.

“I'm a steady kind of person,” he explains. “I'm steady and consistent in my approach to fights. This preparation leading up to this will have me prepared mentally, emotionally and physically. I've been preparing for nights like this since I've been nine years old. I will deliver.”

Ward's promoter, the indefatigable Dan Goossen, is pulling out all the stops for next week's show in Oakland. “Tickets begin at twenty-five dollars," he said. "We've got a lot of confidence in Andre and we believe he's going to win and win in exciting fashion.”

Goossen said that Ward will be arriving in Oakland on Sunday, Miranda on Monday and that Tuesday will see open workouts by both fighters at Oakland's resplendent City Center Plaza. The weigh-in will be held at the same locale on Friday.

“For me this fight is totally about respect,” said Ward. “Respect from the media, the whole 168-pound division in general. There is always something to prove. I know a lot of people don't expect me to win this fight. A lot of people are caught up in the Miranda hoopla, his punching power. Nice guys do finish first, not last. I'm eating, sleeping and drinking Edison Miranda.”

May 2009

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