NEW YORK (Dec. 13, 2011) – With four days remaining until the dramatic conclusion to the Super Six World Boxing Classic, finalists and world champions Andre Ward and Carl Froch assembled with their camps at the Edison Ballroom in New York City for the promotion’s final press conference before the teams head 100-plus miles down the road to Atlantic City. The Final will air LIVE this Saturday, Dec. 17 on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Press traveled from around the country and across the pond to attend today’s press conference, filling the midtown Manhattan venue with writers, photographers and cameramen. Froch arrived more than fashionably late but Ward stayed poised as usual. Once on stage, the two men agreed that Saturday’s fight is unequivocally the battle for the super middleweight supremacy – but on little else.
Here’s what the principal participants had to say during today’s media gathering:
Andre Ward, WBA Super Middleweight Champion
“This fight should be dubbed, ‘No Excuses.’ If Carl Froch beats me, there won’t be [any] excuses. I beat Carl Froch, there shouldn’t be any excuses. No judges, no referees, no nothing. May the best man win.
“There’s been a lot of talk, too much talk in my opinion. This is my favorite time, when it’s time to get down and showdown. The fight is a few days away; I love to speak the loudest on the night of the fight. I love big moments like this. I love big fights like this. Carl Froch is the self-proclaimed best fighter in England. I love it. I want to fight the best and I want to beat the best.
“A lot of people keep talking to me about being the favorite. We’re not the favorite. I still have that chip on my shoulder, but that’s how we prepare. For some reason, there seems to be questions from Froch’s camp and the media about toughness, physicality, things like that. There’s a sense that I’m looking to squeak by in this fight. You don’t squeak by fights at this level. You take them and that’s what I plan to do.
“I’m the way that I always am. I’m always like this: firm. It is a few days away from a big fight. But again, just like my fighting style, people will throw things out there – like I’m a ‘nice guy,’ which I am. ‘He’s a family guy,’ which I am. And people will get caught up in the press what they read rather than looking at me for who I am. I’m a warrior. But people only give the warrior tag if you get cut every other fight or you’re in a Fight of the Year candidate every other fight. But I’m a warrior and I’m coming to win something and take something. I’ve been away from my family. This is the purpose of training camp, to get you in this mode.
“Lucian Bute needs to fight the winner of this fight to be the best. That’s just the bottom line. No disrespect to Lucian Bute but he’s fought B- and C level competition. He’s done what he was supposed to; he got them out of there. But it’s like he’s preserving himself, just trying to wait for the winner of this tournament while [Carl and I] have been putting in a lot of hard work. He has to come to us. We won’t have to go to him.”
Carl Froch, WBC Super Middleweight Champion
‘I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed with what you see on Saturday night. I am in the best shape of my life. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been on the weight now for a couple of weeks. I feel sharp, strong, confident. Physically and mentally, I could not be in better shape. I know I’m ready and I know that Saturday night is going to be my night.
‘I’ll be trying to hit Andre Ward in the face – very hard and very often. Will I be targeting the right eye or left eye or wherever his cut was? To be totally honest, no. It’s too difficult to target a square inch on somebody’s cranium.
‘The delay in the fight did me a favor. My trainer, Robert McCracken, also has a great responsibility with the Great Britain amateur boxing team preparing for the 2012 Olympics. He would have had to leave camp for a bit but now it’s a non-issue.
“Lucian Bute isn’t even in the discussion. I know he’s the IBF champion but the two names on his record are Brian Magee and Glen Johnson, that’s it. He lost to a guy named Librado Andrade. He actually got KO’d. The referee picked him up off the floor, washed his windshield 40 seconds later and the bell was rung and he won on points. But in my opinion, he was knocked out. Lucian Bute needs to fight some of the top level people before he can call himself the best or in the top three in the world.”
Dan Goossen, Goossen Tutor Promotions
“Every fight is a different level for Andre Ward. The American public will recognize his face, his faith, his clean life, his family life, loyalty and a viciousness inside the ring that I believe is second to none. It’s been an honor to see him get the gold medal for America. On Saturday night, it will be an honor to see him lift that cup above his head. We have a lot of respect for Carl Froch but the best is yet to come for Andre Ward.
“Thanks to SHOWTIME. I felt this tournament has been a whole different direction for boxing, one that can’t be accomplished that often because I don’t believe it’s an easy task to get six of the best fighters in any one division to pre-agree to fight one another in a continual tournament – win, lose or draw.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport
“I want to thank SHOWTIME for, without a doubt, the most groundbreaking boxing experience of all time. I wish we could have this in every division. Eliminate the politics and just let the best fight the best every time. These two guys, you can’t take your hat off to them enough. They’re the last two standing from a world class field and you have to give respect to both guys. When you take off your vests and you take off your head guards from the amateurs, you dream of nights like this Saturday. It’s what boxing is all about: two of the most prestigious belts in boxing on the line, the Super Six Cup and the RING magazine belt.
“There are not many places I’d less like to be than in the ring with Carl Froch this Saturday night. He’s hungry. He’s stubborn. He’s motivated. He’s got the backing of our team. He’s got the backing of his family. He’s got the backing of the whole of Britain behind him. He’s Britain’s No. 1 fighter, without a doubt. And now we’re looking to do a job. This is chance to go out and dominate boxing, not just in Britain but in the world. This is a fight between two of the best super middleweights to become the best super middleweight in the world. And it’s not often in sport you have an opportunity like that.”
Virgil Hunter, Ward’s Trainer
“This is a fabulous event going on between two great gladiators. We’re definitely proud to be a part of it. I never doubted that Carl Froch would be that type of opponent [who won’t quit]. We’ve got our bags packed for the ride Carl’s going to take us on. He’s got his bag packed. He’s got his camera. He’s got all of his sightseeing things in his suitcase and he’s prepared to go along on that ride – and go places that he’s never been before. And, I think, that as he goes along on the ride, he’ll recognize that the terrain is very familiar to him. Andre has been there before. So I look for a great fight and anything that arises within it.”
Robert McCracken, Froch’s Trainer
“Carl’s got a great résumé. He’s fought the best fighters on the planet. He’s a real winner. Obviously, he’s got another big fight with Andre Ward, who is a real good fighter. You can’t get to The Final of this tournament without being a really good fighter. But Carl Froch is a different kind of fighter; he’s a real prizefighter. A couple of the other fighters [Ward’s] fought recently stopped fighting halfway through the fight when they realized they weren’t going to win. They went into survival mode. I can guarantee you that Carl will fight the fight and he will fight until the bitter end.”
Chris DeBlasio, Vice President of Sports Communications, Showtime Networks Inc.
“The Super Six World Boxing Classic has delivered the most important divisional matchups at 168 pounds. It has accelerated the pace at which these fighters would face the top opposition. It’s dispelled the notion that one loss on a fighter’s résumé could sidetrack his career. And it’s allowed you all in the press, and fans around the world, to sustain conversation about these boxers – both inside and outside the ring, when they were fighting and when they weren’t – as they progressed through the gauntlet that is the Super Six. It’s provided a steady diet of compelling matchups for fans and it has led to arguably the most significant fight in the history of the division, a fight between the No. 1 ranked and the No. 2 rank super middleweights in the world.”
The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Matchroom Sport and Antonio Leonard Promotions, in association with Caesars Atlantic City and sponsored by Corona.
Tickets are on sale at the Boardwalk Hall box office or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com. All tickets purchased for the original event date will be honored on Dec. 17. If ticket holders are not able to attend on Dec. 17, refunds are available at the point of purchase. The non-televised undercard begins at 6 p.m. ET.