Before most every fight, the verbal jabs thrown from the camp of each fighter get dissected by fight fans and the media choose.
Usually it is the underdog that talks the most game. But Allan Green, who is the challenger to the heavily favored super middleweight champion Andre Ward on Saturday night in Oakland, CA, says that he is just calling it like it is.
During the final press conference to promote the Super Six fight between Andre Ward and Allan Green on Wednesday, some low blows were being thrown by each camp.
Green made it clear to me that he is better prepared to defeat Andre Ward than any other fighter.
“I will win because I talk jive, he said. (More on the “jive comment later). “I know everything Ward is going through. I was in the same mindset he is in after twenty fights. Everyone keeps saying that I am only a bigger puncher. Yeah, I could punch. But I could box too.
Much has been made about Ward’s amateur career. But Green has an impressive amateur pedigree as well. On the junior circuit, Green broke Mike Tyson’s record for the fastest knockout in an amateur fight. He was also a five time State Champion, and 2002 National Golden Gloves Champion.
When asked if the undefeated Ward believes he is invincible, Green reiterated his point of confidence.
“No, he (Ward) knows he could be beaten. I am telling you, they did not want this fight. No matter what they tell you, they tried to do everything in their power to not make this fight happen. But I am here now. And I predict a victory.
Ward, on the other hand, says he uses doubt as fuel to an already burning internal fire. The Super Six favorite has received plenty of accolades from the Bay Area since becoming champ, including the key to both the City of Oakland and City of Dublin. But no matter how much praise he continues to accept, when it comes to respect from the boxing world, Ward views the glass half empty.
“It is not like I feel annoyed. But when I get the sense that I am being pushed into a corner so to speak, then something in me rises up. I have always been that type of guy. I never picked fights. When I saw someone getting picked on as a kid, something in me would always step up. And that is what you see here, Ward said. “John David Jackson, and Allan Green, they could clean it up if they want to. But I feel like they are insulting me. They take verbal shots at me or call me a ‘good young fighter.’ I feel like they are trying to push me around. My job is to not let that happen. So I am going to take them at their word.
The only blemish on Green’s record is a UD loss to Edison Miranda in 2007 at 160 pounds. Ward defeated Miranda last year at 168 pounds. Green says that he lost the fight because he went into the ring injured and not fully healthy. But Ward does not see any substance in those comments.
“It is an excuse, Ward said. “Every time he does not perform up to what he said he was going to do, there is an excuse. When he fought Ravelo, he leaned over the ropes and told Teddy Atlas, ‘I told you I was going to knock him out. I am just a little rusty.’ When you lose, you lose. Give your opponent the just due. If I beat you, give me my just due.
Even though there are shots being thrown from opposite directions going into the fight, Ward does not feel any animosity, he says, towards Green. “I don’t think it is a dislike thing. I am trying to get somewhere right now and Allan Green is in the way.
But the Oakland native wanted to make it clear to me that he plans to unleash that chip on his shoulder come fight night.
“For some reason people think for the last eight weeks I have been kicking my feet up, and he is the only one working. I think they think he is the only one hungry. But this is going to be the greatest performance in my career up to this point. And you could quote me on that.
Throughout the promotion of this event, Allan Green has stated that he could beat Andre Ward because he knows how to speak “jive.
On Wednesday, Green said, “Mikkel Kessler is from Denmark. He understands English. Kessler doesn’t understand jive, that’s why he could not deal with Andre Ward. I speak jive very well and I will Saturday night.
When I asked him to elaborate on his theory of speaking jive, Green used a 1980’s basketball analogy. “Larry Bird was a great player but he did not speak jive. Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan spoke jive that is why they won.
So let’s break this down together: Mikkel Kessler is Larry Bird. That is a stretch, but OK.
Then that means Green and Ward are Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, got it.
But which one is Magic and which one is Jordan? Michael Jordan won six titles, Johnson won five. Jordan’s Bulls also beat Magic’s Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals 4 games to 1. (Editor Note: Bird did some winnin too. His Celtics won titles in 1981, 1984 and 1986.)
Michael Jordan was 28 years old at the time, Magic Johnson was 32. A four year age gap, interesting, Ward and Green have a four year age gap as well.
I think I am starting to get the hang of this jive talk now. Thanks Allan.