Andre Ward has a lot on his mind this weekend.
On June 17th in Las Vegas, he'll look to silence the naysayers when he defends his WBA (Undisputed), IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titles in a rematch against Sergey Kovalev. The first fight between two of the top five pound for pound fighters in the world was a closely contested fight that Ward won via controversial decision.
But the recent announcement of an August showdown between Floyd Mayweather and UFC champion Conor McGregor has cast a bit of a shadow over the promotion for what is one of the biggest fights in boxing. Despite the fight being billed as a farce by many boxing pundits, Ward tells Champions.co that he doesn't see it as doing any damage to the sport that he loves.
"At the end of the day people will decide how much they care about it and that’s what it boils down to," he said. "If it does amazing numbers and you’re able to bring in MMA fans as well as boxing fans then you can't help but say it was good for the sport. But you have some that will say it’s a bad fight but this is an event. Guys with the stature of McGregor and Floyd aren’t fighting fights. This is an event and supposed to be a spectacle. People have to acknowledge that the build up alone is entertainment."
Ward recognizes that entertainment is the name of the game and has no qualms with McGregor coming over to boxing and trying his hand against one of the best that has ever done it.
"You hope it is what it's being built up to be but just the spectacle alone of a top MMA fighter coming over and being willing to scratch his rules and just fight standup against arguably the greatest of all time that alone is worth the price of admission," he continued.
Perhaps Ward isn't so down on the fight because he spars with an a pair of MMA fighters from the 209 who have a history with McGregor. When asked if he thought Nate and Nick Diaz could fare well in the sweet science, Ward didn't hesitate to give his stamp of approval.
"Oh for sure. No question," Ward said. "Whenever I have a left handed opponent I bring them in. They have tremendous conditioning. You can hit them with the kitchen sink and they will keep on coming. They have a high volume of offense. They definitely can do it. It’s unfortunate because these guys have tremendous fanbases but they don’t seem to get the notoriety that they should. I would feel comfortable with either one of those guys turning pro. At some point fighting some the top fighters in whatever division they decide to compete in."
Perhaps that vote of confidence could help push the Diaz Brothers into a boxing ring sooner than later. As for the spectacle known as Mayweather-McGregor, Ward knows where he'll be on August 26th.
"I probably will watch it just to see what happens."