The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, Ca will host the upcoming super middleweight championship bout between Andre Ward (23-0, 14 knockouts) and Arthur Abraham (32-2, 30 knockouts) on May 14th. I spoke with both Andre Ward and his promoter Dan Goossen on Thursday to confirm the venue which will not be officially announced until next week.
Los Angeles is perhaps the most logical choice for both combatants. Ward lives in Oakland, and has built a solid fan base throughout California, and Abraham, who is of Armenian descent, has a huge following in the Los Angeles area where many members of the Armenian community are located.
Dan Goossen said, “The way I look at it is, with Andre being a Californian and doing what he is doing in Oakland, it is about time to get him back out here to Southern Cal,” Goossen said. “I should know exactly what is happening by no later than Wednesday. But it is looking like L.A.”
Ward and Abraham are competing in the semifinal round of the Super Six World Boxing Classic presented by Showtime Championship Boxing. The undefeated Ward is the favorite to win the tourney. He is also the preferred choice to beat the once feared Abraham. The Armenian has lost two of his last three fights. On February 12th, Abraham won a tune up bout against Stjepan Bozic by second round TKO. He didn't look stellar in the abbreviated clash, which ended when Bozic couldn't continue because he hurt his hand.
Despite all of the signs pointing towards victory in his favor, Ward feels like he has plenty to prove on May 14th. He is already working out four days a week and looks forward to fighting away from his hometown for the first time since 2009.
On fighting in Los Angeles, Ward said, “I think it is good. He is going to have a large contingent of Armenian fans and I am going to have my fans. So it is going to be fun.”
Ward has fought three of his last four fights in his hometown of Oakland. And the champion has dominated some stellar competition in the process, including Edison Miranda and Mikkel Kessler. Ward says that he will embrace the potentially hostile crowd he might face in Los Angeles.
“You know, I could use this. Everybody says ‘Hey, Ward doesn’t want to fight on the road.’ But I think it is fun to fight on the road,” Ward said. “You have to learn how to fight under any circumstances. He might have a lot of fans over there. It is my job to go over there and quiet them down.”
The super middleweight champ said that he did not watch Abraham’s fight against Bozic last weekend but he will get around to it eventually. “I did not get a chance to watch it but my coach saw the fight,” Ward said.
He appears to be ready to get it on against Abraham on May 14th. Ward seems to have a chip on his shoulder, wanting to prove his worth by any means.
On being the favorite against Abraham, Ward said, “Everyone wants to give me this fight because he is coming off of two losses, but at the end of the day, he is going to fight hard. But I am trying to take my game to another level. So whether he comes in the same, or not the same, or he has more motivation to fight this time, or he is not motivated at all, I am not worried about none of that.”
What does he mean by ‘another level?’
“I am not satisfied with 2010. I am trying to get better in 2011. You know, I am thankful for everything that has happened to me, but there is work to be done. Everybody is talking about how bad he looked in his last big fight against Froch and he has to redeem himself. But I feel like I have to redeem myself because I was not satisfied with my last performance. I was not happy with it. So, I am trying to continue to grow. That is why I am not sitting around waiting for this date to come along. I’m working. And I am highly motivated.”