When Andre Ward steps into the ring with Sergey Kovalev on November 19, it will be only the third time a pair of top five pound for pound fighters will face each other in Ring Magazine’s 26 year history. It may not be as high profile as Floyd Mayweather’s showdown with Manny Pacquiao, but the stakes may arguably be even higher.
Although the boxing world was excited when the fight was announced, Floyd Mayweather didn’t appear to be a fan of Ward moving up from super middleweight to light heavyweight to make the fight.
“I want to see (Gennady Golovkin) fight Andre Ward. I don't want Andre Ward to go up to 175,” Mayweather said in an interview with FightHype last December. "I want Andre Ward to be very, very careful because when I fought Arturo Gatti, they wanted me to get beat. They really wanted me to get beat. They, and when I say they, I'm not saying who they are, but what I believe is that they're trying to get Andre Ward beat.”
But on the eve of the fight, Andre Ward offered his take on Mayweather’s advice he decided to make public. And he didn’t seem too pleased with what Mayweather said.
“If you’re a veteran in this sport and have some advice to give a young fighter, just pick up the phone,” Ward said. He and Mayweather have had a relationship but Mayweather has been critical of how Ward has handled his career. And S.O.G. felt the need to address the situation and question Mayweather’s motive.
“I’ve talked to Floyd several times so if he felt that I need to make different moves -- if he really cared, pick up the phone,” he continued. “Being that he didn’t, that’s his opinion. He may be right. This may be some kind of setup for me to get beat. But that’s doesn’t mean it’s going to work.”
Ward has no concerns putting his unbeaten record of 30-0 on the line against Kovalev, who is also unbeaten at 30-0-1. The weight difference doesn’t appear to bother Ward and it also hasn’t affected the oddsmakers, who have Ward as a -140 favorite, according to Sportsbook Review.
Ward stated matter of factly that his fight with Kovalev was about “chasing greatness” and he doesn’t need anybody questioning his decisions through the media.
“If you have something to say to me, pick up the phone bro. It’s 2016.”