Fight Hype caught up with former boxing champion Andre Ward. Ward examined tonight’s Spence-Crawford mega-fight, insights on the business of boxing, and his personal anticipations of the match.
Ward started off with a simple question for the fans: “Who are you with?” The ultimate choice is, of course, between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. But what’s striking, according to Ward, is the divided loyalty among the fans. He stated:
“I think it’s even. I think it’s split, really. I see a lot of love for both guys. I don’t get the sense that any one fighter is the fan favorite.”
In a profound shift, Ward moved from the sport to the business side of boxing. He expressed frustration with the quick-to-judge fans who dismiss the strategic negotiations that occur behind the scenes. He remarked:
“Fans don’t really care about the money part. But the fighter does. I understand the frustration, but it was a lot of stuff being said about both fighters.”
In the Spence-Crawford fight, he praised both boxers for demonstrating business acumen. This fight, he explained, only became a reality because both fighters were willing to negotiate. He further emphasized the need for young boxers to learn the business aspect of boxing, stating that it’s not just about putting your life on the line, but also understanding that you are the business.
Paying Respect Where It’s Due
Andre Ward implored fans to give credit to Team Spence and Team Crawford. He stressed the importance of acknowledging the business decisions that went into making this fight happen. He remarked:
“We gotta stop for a second and give team Spence and team Crawford credit for a mega event we’re getting ready to enjoy tomorrow night. This fight got done because both of these fighters picked up the phone. I’m not gonna get into who picked up the phone first and all of that. But they picked up the phone and they had a conversation and they got a mega fight on their hands and this got done because two fighters got on the phone and said bro I’m willing to take this.”
Moving from the business side of things, Ward confessed to feeling nervous about the match, even though he isn’t the one stepping into the ring. He expressed his anticipation of at least two fights from this matchup, with the possibility of a third if there’s a split decision.
“I don’t see them going, what, the winner of this two fights or three fights, depending on how long ago, what they’re gonna do, go to 154 campaign and start all over?”
Finally, Ward expressed his thoughts on the fight. Although he refrained from predicting a winner, he did state that he doesn’t believe the match will go the full twelve rounds. He hinted at a potential knockout between the ninth and eleventh rounds, creating further anticipation for the fight.
“I don’t think it’s going the distance. I think between 9 and 11, I think it’s going to be a lot of dangerous work going on.”
As the interview came to a close, Ward signed off by expressing his own nervous excitement and his respect for both fighters:
“Man, I’m excited. I’m nervous because this is one of them fights, man, you got love for both guys and you may be closer to one than the other, but this is going to be a big one.”