Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward Press Conference Quotes

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NEW YORK, NY (September 6, 2016) – On Tuesday, September 6, No. 2 Pound-for-Pound and WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and No. 4 Pound-for-Pound and Two-Time World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) participated in an official press conference at Le Parker Meridien in New York City, in advance of their November 19 “Pound for Pound” showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound for Pound” will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets start at $55 and are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.

Photo Credits: Khristopher Sandifer/Roc Nation Sports

Tickets for the most anticipated fight of the year went on sale to the public on Friday, Sept. 2 at 11:00 a.m. PT. Tickets start at $55 and are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.

Below is what the fighters, promoters and other dais guests had to say at the press conference:

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion

“It’s a big moment in my career. I want to thank all of the people who are involved with this fight, my promoter Kathy Duva, Roc Nation and HBO Pay-Per-View. Thank you to all of my fans. It will be a fight to remember; one for the history books. I just want to give the fans a really great fight in Vegas and on HBO Pay-Per-View.”

Andre “S.O.G.” Ward – Two-Time World Champion

“I’m grateful to be here today. I want to thank everyone who is associated with this event—the good, the bad, the press, all of it. Obviously HBO, Peter Nelson, Roc Nation, Main Events, everyone who’s associated with it. It’s hard to thank everybody. It’s a lot of people that you guys know of that worked on this fight to get it done. There’s a lot of different nuances that go into getting a fight like this done, but it’s done. That’s what we should all focus on.

“I thank God for this opportunity. I thank God for my career and being able to compete at a high level through the peaks and valleys. Sometimes that gets overlooked, a veteran in the game. I’ve paid my dues and I continue to pay my dues. This is just another opportunity. I’ve been in this position before and so has my opponent. It doesn’t matter what the other side says, how they feel, what they say. He’s got to get it done and I’ve got to get it done. When those bright lights come on who it’s all about who executes and who gets it done. I don’t have to throw chairs. I don’t have to cuss. I don’t have to act crazy. I said let’s fight, lets fight. You’re selling yourself. I know that what I possess and what I have is in me, and not on me.”

Kathy Duva – CEO, Main Events

“Finally. There was a time when fighters didn’t consider preserving their undefeated records to be paramount to engaging in actual competition. There was a time when undefeated fighters who were heading to the Hall of Fame actually sought out greater and greater challenges as their careers progressed. There was a time when fighters were courageous athletes and not simply cynical businessmen.

“The two men who are here with us today—both in their athletic primes, both unbeaten, and, in my opinion, both heading to the Hall of Fame someday—chose to put their 0’s on the line and face each other to find out just which one of them is the very best. That is why they deserve to earn your pay-per-view dollars, this is what pay per view is supposed to be. That is why we should move heaven and earth in order to come to the beautiful T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas where this fight will take place. That is why the winner will earn the title of best pound-for-pound fighter in the ring.

“Since Ring Magazine began to keep records of the pound-for-pound fighters there have only been two occasions when two unbeaten top five fighters have competed in the ring for pound-for-pound supremacy. The first was Meldrick Taylor vs. Julio Caesar Chavez Sr. in 1994, the second time was Oscar De La Hoya vs Felix Trinidad in 1999. That means that on November 19th, this will be the very first time in the 21st century that such an event will occur in our sport. Let’s hope this is the start of something new, a throwback to the way boxing used to be when it was at its best. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 17 years before this happens again. Let’s hope all the up and coming young sweet scientists learn and follow the example of these young great athletes who sit here today.

“So as I said, finally, I’m quite pleased to officially announce “Pound for Pound” and that on Saturday, November 19th, two of the five best fighters in the whole world will fight each other. WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, who is 30-0, will risk all three of his world titles against two-time world middleweight champion Andre “SOG” Ward, who is also 30-0. The fight will take place in Las Vegas, sponsored by our friends at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, at the beautiful new T-Mobile Arena. Tickets are available now, they’re starting at $155 right now because the box office has already sold out all of the $55 tickets we put on sale. You can only get these tickets at the T-Mobile box office and online through AXS.com. I’m happy to report that tickets at other prices are moving much faster than expected and currently there are very few left at the $755 price point and the $155 price point.

This will be live on HBO Pay-Per-View. The suggested retail price is going to be $54.95. It will be presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions. In addition to the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, the fight sponsors will be Rosneft and Corona.”

Michael Yormark – Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy

“Let’s make something absolutely clear – on Nov. 19, the stakes could not be higher. In a few minutes, you’ll hear from Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. They will be calm, they will be professional, they will be respectful, but make no mistake about it, in 10 weeks’ time they will be fighting for something they have spent their entire life pursuing – the title of world’s best boxer. For a true competitor like Andre Ward, there could not be a loftier goal. To walk in to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the undisputed fight of the year, in front of a capacity crowd and millions watching live on HBO Pay Per View, and to know that Andre has the chance to walk out of that ring as the undisputed face of boxing for the better part of the next decade.

“The Cold War may long be over, but the USA vs. Russia rivalry has never been stronger. It is a battle of world super powers, a matchup of styles as well as beliefs, a collision of two fighters, two cultures, two fan bases. Just like old times, it’s the Americans and the Russians once again. But this is not the space race or Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago. This is for real, and Andre Ward is no underdog. Andre has been training and preparing his whole life for a moment like this – facing an elite opponent on a global stage to find out who the best is. On Nov. 19, I have no doubt that Andre will pick up right where the 100-plus medal-winning American Summer Olympic team left off, with a decisive victory over a worthy challenger in Kovalev, and the title of pound-for-pound king.”

Egis Klimas – Manager, Sergey Kovalev

“I am very proud to represent one of the best fighters in the world, Sergey Kovalev. It’s been a very long road since 2009 when he came here to the United States. He never was pushed by any media, he never was mismatched, he never was protected like many fighters are nowadays. Many don’t know how we used to sit in the van and go from the East coast, town to town, just to get a fight. He never asked me in his career who his opponent is. He just asked when he was fighting and what weight he should be. Again, I’m very proud to represent Sergey Kovalev and I want to thank Andre Ward’s team at Roc Nation for taking this opportunity and putting on the best fight of the year. There has been talk earlier that this is going to be fifty-fifty chance. People also mentioned that they don’t know how it is going to turn out. But, I want to thank a powerful woman, Kathy Duva. She has done a very good job throughout Sergey’s career. I want to thank HBO, T-Mobile Arena, MGM, everybody who was involved in making this fight happen. I’m a little nervous, a little excited, but I am looking forward to whatever it is and can’t wait to see you guys in Vegas on November 19. Thank you.”

James Prince – Manager, Andre Ward

“I’d like to thank God for this opportunity, HBO, Main Events, Roc Nation. I’m really grateful for everyone working so hard to make this fight happen. I witnessed the work and the sacrifice that was made on every side. This fight is kind of simple to me…David versus Goliath. Sergey is Goliath, Andre is David. Once again, I’m really thankful for this opportunity. Andre’s been on this journey for all his life preparing for this moment. So it’s here, the 19th of November.”

John David Jackson – Trainer, Sergey Kovalev

“This fight is one the fans deserve to see. Andre Ward is a very good fighter, undefeated as an amateur. To be undefeated as an amateur is one thing that comes from training. That always speaks volumes for him. On the other side of this we’ve got Kovalev. He’s the Krusher, he seeks and destroys. So come November 19, I expect a great fight between two great fighters. The winner deserves to be pound-for-pound the best boxer in the world. Watch it on Pay Per View, watch this fight. All the talk, all that’s done, now it’s time for preparation and to go to war. And that’s what we’re here for, to go to war. Come November 19th, we’ll see two great fighters trying to be the best pound-for-pound in the world. We’ll see what happens, expect one great fight between two great fighters.”

Virgil Hunter – Trainer, Andre Ward

“I just want to thank you all for showing up and turning out and supporting this great event. A fight of this magnitude is deserving of the fans and Pay-Per-View that are supporting the fight. Obviously, it’s a great fight between two champions and I’m glad to be part of it. See everybody in Vegas.”

Peter Nelson – Executive Vice President, HBO Sports

“I want to thank all the media for being here. It’s all of you that write consistently about the desire to see this sport flourish, have the best fight the best, that causes fights like this to materialize. I want to thank Kathy Duva of Main Events, I want to thank Michael Yormark with Roc Nation, Egis Klimas, James Prince, Josh Dubin for all the work that they’ve done behind the scenes in putting the fight together. There’s been plenty of times where the politics of the business of boxing have superseded fan’s interest over the actual fights themselves.

“I’m happy to report that this fight has consistently captivated everyone’s imagination. Anyone who says today that they know what is going to happen on November 19 is the definition of a liar. We know that there is no telling what can happen. But that, to Kathy’s point, is what defines great fights. It’s about fighters like Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev who have decided to be in the business of putting unified titles on the line and of putting pound-for-pound records on the line, about putting undefeated status on the line, about putting money, status, power on the line, about putting daring to be great on the line, about putting legacy on the line, and the rest of the business end takes care of itself. That’s what great fighters do. That’s why we are all so proud to be part of this event. That’s why there are all these people on the stage that we are all so proud that we are associated with an event where two great fighters will come together for this on HBO Pay-Per-View.

“I want to thank the T-Mobile, it’s a great arena and we are excited to be back there. It looks to be a great undercard that is going to formulate on the show as well. We are excited to see it all come together and look forward to seeing you all on November 19. Thank you.”

Follow the conversation using #KovalevWard.

Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward “Pound for Pound” New York Press Conference

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Tuesday, September 6 at 12:00 PM – Le Parker Meridien

New York, New York: On Tuesday in New York City, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) will formally address the media with details surrounding their upcoming fight for “Pound for Pound” supremacy and Kovalev’s WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Championships. The event will also be streamed live via KovalevWard.com.

Tickets start at $55 and are available on axs.com, t-mobilearena.com and at the T-Mobile Arena box office.

WHAT:
Kovalev-Ward “Pound for Pound” Official Press Conference

WHO:
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev – No. 2 Pound-for-Pound* and WBO, WBA & IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion
Andre “S.O.G.” Ward – Two-Time World Champion

John David Jackson – Trainer of Sergey Kovalev
Virgil Hunter – Trainer of Andre Ward
Egis Klimas – Manager of Sergey Kovalev
James Prince – Manager of Andre Ward
Kathy Duva – CEO of Main Events
Michael Yormark – Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy
Peter Nelson – Executive Vice President, HBO Sports

WHERE:
Le Parker Meridien – The Estrela Room – Penthouse Level
119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

DATE:
Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016

TIME:
12:00 p.m. ET – Media Arrival and Lunch
12:30 p.m. ET – Press Conference Begins

LIVE STREAM:
www.kovalevward.com

Kovalev vs. Ward will take place Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. “Pound for Pound” is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Kovalev and Ward are currently ranked the No. 2 and No. 4 pound-for-pound boxers in the world, respectively, by The Ring Magazine, making their hotly anticipated fight only the third bout in the history of The Ring Magazine pound-for-pound list to pit two undefeated Top 5-ranked pound-for-pound fighters against each other. Oddsmakers and pundits have this fight evenly matched at 50-50 and it is poised to be a sure-fire 2016 Fight of the Year candidate. History will be made on Nov. 19th!

*According to The Ring Magazine

Follow the conversation using #KovalevWard.

Tickets for the most anticipated fight of the year go on sale to the public on Friday, Sept. 2 at 11:00 a.m. PT. Tickets start at $55 and are available on axs.com and the T-Mobile Arena box office.

Andre Ward Takes his 30th Win Tonight at Oracle Arena, Oakland

Ward dispatched with Brand after 12 rounds – winning all the rounds. Next up is Vegas on Nov 19th. More details coming soon from this fight and Andre’s next fight in Vegas.

Oracle Arena had a good excited crowd tonight; chanting SOG SOG at times, booing Sergey Kovalev, the Light Heavyweight Champion, when on screen.

Before Andre’s fight we caught the 1st round of Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker fight wih Tyrone Barnett for the NABO Junior Welterweight Championship. No other rounds to watch as Hooker beat up Barnett (knocked him down a minute into the fight) and KO’d him at 2:17. Hooker was the fan favorite.

The crowd waits patiently for Andre to enter; and there he is. He’s looking good, and ready.

Round 1
As with most fights, the opponents feel each other. Andre starts forcing Brand back. Nothing much in this round. The best I could give Brand would be a tie.

Round 2
We get some action in this round. Andre lands a head shoot; he takes to the center, moving Brand back and circlingthe ring. Brand looks cautious. Andre lands a good punch to Brands face just before the bell Andre wins round.

Round 3
Brand has an unusual style. He keeps his right up by his jaw and his left down across his waist; his arms seem to go all over he place. Jabs by Andre, he continues to bring the fight to Brand, working from the middle of the ring. There is some grappling this round; both respond well to the ref. Andre is more active than Brand.
Andre wins another one.

Round4
Andre backs up Brand, getting minor shots to the head. Seems that Andre is working the head tonight rather the body. He moves to the outside for a short time, still presses the fight. Brand is being tricky with his movement, but Andre lands a head shot and then another. Brand takes them well enough.
Another round for Andre

Round 5
Andre immediately lands a punch to Brands face. Both fighters (one actually is a boxer) circling each other in the center of the ring. Another head shot by Andre; he keeps chasing Brand. Andre connects to the head again as neither combatants is not hitting the body.
Andre takes round 5; looking good out there.

Round 6
They are tying each other up. Now Andre gets some body punches in. Brand get a glove to Andre’s head with no effect. Andre works his jab now; jabbing faster than Brand can block. SOG lands a nice punch to Brands face just before the bell. I don’ think Ward will lose any rounds. He is working hard and continues to back up Brand.

Round 7
Same ring tactics continues and Andre scores again. They grapple and Andre gets some kidney punches in. Andre’s able to block Brands somewhat wild punches. They trade some swings that miss. Brand gets it in the face again but he has been taking these OK. Brand has a small nick over his right eye.
Brand loses another round. It’s going to take a lucky wild KO for him to win.

Round 8
Nice punch to Brands face as the round opens. Andre continues to control the ring. Both fight in the middle now, trading punches with Andre being more accurate. With Brand moving his head so much, need to guess where it will be to hit.
Andre wins the round.

Round 9
Andre working Brands head, landing a hard one. One or two more and Brand goes down for a count. Another good head shot to Brand at the bell.
9th scored for SOG, doing the art of boxing.

Round 10
What can I say; same ol’ chase. Brand is covering up more; has his gloves up by his face. Brand’s probably tired of getting hit on the face and head. Andre lands a strong punch to his face at the bell.
Round to Andre

Round 11
A great shot to Brand’S face, a hard shot. Andre lands a right cross and he continues to move in and move Brand around the ring.
What else! Andre takes the round.

Round 12
Andre takes some ice on his left shoulder between rounds. A minute in, the referee takes time to look at Andre’s face. Blood? NO. Andre stays in the center, pressing Brand back. Some wild punching by Brand. Bell rings and the fighters hug.
Andre wins.

All 3 judges score the fight 120-108. Not a round goes Brands way; not a mark on Andre.

Select Rounds

Press Conference Comments

Here are a few photos from fight night:

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#WardBrand Press Conference, Lake Merritt, Oakland

#WardBrandOakland (12) OAKLAND, CA (August 4, 2016) – On Thursday, August 4, Roc Nation Sports hosted the final press conference for Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) and power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) at Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland, California in advance of their August 6 fight at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Ward and Brand will meet in 12-round WBO Intercontinental title fight televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf sent senior special adviser, Penny Moore, to kick off the press conference with an official proclamation honoring Ward’s contribution to the city and declaring August 4 as Andre Ward Day.

On a dreary day along side Lake Merritt the bright spot was Andre Ward. The champ, the top pound per pound fighter, always is. There was about 20 reporters and cameras there; about double that in the audience. Each fighter had his team, family, friends; along with five other boxers from the undercard.

About four guys sat on each side of the dias, Andre and crew on the left side. One of the opening speakers was Tony Walker, representing HBO. One of the things he said was that Andre was a joy to work with.

Team Brand was up next. Their manager complimented Andre, noting that Andre has never lost a round (True?). Alexander Brand, using a translator, said ” I want to give a good show”, ‘I want a good fight”.

James Prince, noted that Brand has has over 400 fights and will not be taken lightly. Prince was corrected by the audience when he said that Andre hasn’t lost a fight since he was 13. Lots of “12” were hollered out. But he had the best line of the day- “We’re going to put a SOG brand on Brand” That got the audience going!

Virgil Hunter, Ward’s trainer, was up next: a man of few words. He wasn’t at the press conference after the last fight. It was good to see him and here a few words from him. Virgil encouraged everyone to buy tickets- the more we sell the more fights can be had in Oakland.

And then we had Andre Ward. He thanked everyone for coming out. He talked about how hard boxing is: leaving family and friends to train hard. ” It’s best to be here [Oakland]”. Andre wanted us to know how blessed he is.

Andre talked about the criticism he’s had in the past, such as around his law suit. ” I want to set the record straight- I don’t regret anything I went through. It’s not about where we’ve been, it’s about where we go”.

Andre stayed around a bit after the press conference for pictures and autographs. He looked good, relaxed.

Below is what the fighters and dais guests had to say at the press conference:

ANDRE WARD, Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter:

“The Bay Area is a beautiful place. I’m blessed to be here in my city and to represent you all. I’ve gotten a lot of heat in the press about fighting here but I won’t apologize. I dreamed about fighting here and being a headliner. We’re going to continue to headline. I’m thankful for all the sponsors that were named, HBO and everybody who supported on a small and big level.

“I’m excited about the future. I want to be the lightweight champion of the world, a two division champion. Everyone knows that, but it’s impossible for me to overlook this man (Brand). I’m not built like that. I wasn’t raised like that. I wasn’t groomed like that. As a young fighter, I don’t operate like that. This man is coming, this is his super bowl. Because this is his super bowl, it has to be my super bowl. My ribs are showing, I’m hungry. I’ll see you all Saturday night.”

ALEXANDER BRAND, Former WBC Latino Super Middleweight Champion:

“I want to thank you all for being here today. It’s a pleasure for me to be in this wonderful city. All I want to do is give a good show and make sure that I give that to my fans here in Oakland. I want to have a good fight and work hard. It’s really a true honor to be in the ring with a champion like Andre Ward.”

MICHAEL YORMARK, President and Chief of Branding & Strategy – Roc Nation:

“Over the last year and a half this city has become our home away from home, with Saturday marking Roc Nation Sports’ third big Bay Area fight in the last 16 months. More importantly, Oakland is also the home to the world’s greatest pound-for-pound boxer and Olympic gold medalist, your very own Andre Ward and now the new home of another Roc Nation star athlete, Kevin Durant. On Saturday at Oracle Arena and live on HBO, Andre looks to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand.”

VIRGIL HUNTER, Andre Ward’s Trainer:

“Thanks to the city of Oakland for coming out and supporting Andre. We hope you continue to do that as we continue to grow in his career and his journey. Much respect for Team Brand. We consider him a very formidable opponent. He cannot be taken lightly. We know he can fight, we know he is a great competitor. It is also an honor for us to be in the ring with him and his team.”

JAMES PRINCE, Andre Ward’s Manager:

“I like to thank God for this opportunity, HBO, Roc Nation, Antonio Leonard Promotions and Team Alexander Brand. Alexander Brand has over 400 amateur fights so this is an opponent we’re not taking lightly. Anybody who has 400 fights has a lot of experience so we look forward to fighting him. We had him on our radar a few months ago but we didn’t reel him in. We were injured and he got away from us. Come Saturday night, we’re going to put an S.O.G brand on Alexander Brand.”

ALEX CAMPONOVO, Alexander Brand’s Manager:

“It’s been a long road for Alexander Brand. He’s worked very hard to get where he is today. He was given the opportunity by HBO last December for a fight in Florida on HBO Latino and he showed his true colors. This is a great opponent, one of the greatest of all time, in Andre Ward. We know that this champion probably has never lost a round inside the ring and that is what Brand is here to do, to prove himself and to show that if you try and work hard, you can go very far.”

TONY WALKER, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View:

“On behalf of our executive Vice President Peter Nelson and the rest of the HBO Sports staff, I’d like to say that we’re very happy to be here in Oakland. We are looking forward to a great card on Saturday night. We’ve done three shows from Oracle, and each time, Andre Ward has put on an outstanding performance and showcased his skills as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. We consider Andre one of the HBO family as he’s been able to showcase his skills, become one of the best boxers of this generation, recognized as a champion and he’s all done it with great character and great professionalism. He’s a joy to work with us at the network.

“I’d like to welcome Alexander Brand to the network as he’s here to spoil the party. Anytime you get in the ring, anything can happen as we’ve seen in boxing over the years. We welcome him and know that he’s going to give a great performance as he tries to elevate his own career.

“There seems to be an opportunity that people have been talking about this fall for Andre. With what we’ve seen in boxing over the past few years, I think we should wait to see what happens Saturday night, then start talking about what happens after that. The telecast starts at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT. We have a great broadcast crew, we guarantee you some informative and exciting discussion on boxing and a great night of television.”

——————–

Ward vs. Brand is a 12-round fight for the WBO Intercontinental title, presented by Roc Nation Sports and sponsored by Corona Extra, Verizon, ProSupps, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (CTMS), Jordan Brand, Shoe Palace, Kingsford, Autocom Nissan, Ticketmaster and The Clorox Company, supporting the Bay Area Community for over 100 years. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $250, $100, $70, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

For more information, visit www.hbo.com/boxing, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing.

Follow the conversation using #WardBrand.

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Andre Ward + Alexander Brand Media Workout

SHOWDOWN SET FOR SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 AT ORACLE ARENA IN OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA TELEVISED LIVE ON HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING ®

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OAKLAND, CA (August 3, 2016) – On Tuesday, August 2, Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) and power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) participated in a media workout at King’s Gym in Oakland, California in advance of their August 6 fight at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Ward and Brand will meet in 12-round WBO Intercontinental title bout televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

After shadowboxing in the ring and a few rounds on the punching bags, both fighters participated in interviews with media members in attendance. Also on hand to catch the hometown hero were a dozen members of the West Oakland Boys and Girls Club chapter. Ward surprised the group of local youths with tickets to Saturday’s fight.

Below is what the fighters had to say during the final media workout:

ANDRE WARD, Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter:

“It was good to get back in camp right after the last fight. I was a lot sharper early in camp than I normally am. The last couple of years, typically, you have to get the rust off first, then work on getting sharp, work on technique and the game plan. This training camp was continuous of the last training camp, I probably put in over 130 rounds. I feel really good.

“I know enough about Brand. He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose. He swings for the fences with every punch. He’s a dangerous guy to fight.

“It feels good to be back at Oracle Arena multiple times this year. I don’t know how much stock you can put into the last couple of years. A lot of people are talking about it, but people have to weigh in the amount of time I have been doing this, which is all my life. You look at Floyd Mayweather, he took a couple of hiatuses and it may have given him two or three more years. It was a mental break and it was a physical break. Taking those couple years where maybe you’re not fighting as frequently, it’s not always a bad thing, especially late in your career.

“I came up a little different in my Olympic days. Virgil Hunter is the type of coach who will get you away from everybody and turn your phone off. We didn’t have snapchat in 2004, we didn’t have Instagram in 2004. We had a room that we all had to huddle around with desktop computers where we all had to get news about what was going on. But now, in 2016, I see the USA team snapchatting and Instagramming. Part of you wants to tell them to shut it down and do it like I did it, but that may not be the right thing. Understand why you’re there, understand you’re not going to get this moment again. You don’t typically repeat when you go for the Olympics. Understand why you’re there, take it seriously and everything else will fall in place.

“The key is to have a good team. I’ve got a great lawyer, a great manager and a great promotional team in Roc Nation Sports. They are going to make sure the details are right. This is a very much a business, and before there’s combat, business has to be handled and taken care of. I think fighters and all athletes should be unapologetic about taking care of business. That way, when you get into that ring or field or court, your mind can be free.

“Unfortunately, our women don’t get the respect they deserve, they don’t get the notoriety. They don’t get the exposure that they probably should get. Raquel Miller, who will be on the card, and other female fighters, they do what we do. They’re training and grinding but they are not always noticed. I remember the Christie Martin days where she fought on the Mike Tyson undercards with Laila Ali. They got some good publicity and shine. However, there are so many other young female fighters coming up, ones who are established and have been fighting, whom people don’t know about. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m happy for Raquel and excited to have her on the card. I don’t believe when people say there is no market for women’s boxing. Let’s create a market then, let’s create some buzz!

“Sergey Kovalev is not on my mind at all. I’ve got a job to do. I haven’t even talked about Kovalev. We can talk about Kovalev on August 7th, that’s what I told my team. I didn’t watch his last fight, he’s not my next opponent but I know what happened and what people are saying about it.

“I’ve never seen Brand in person. It’s tricky, in my last fight, Sullivan Barrera was a little bit bigger than me. Everyone made a big deal about that, and Brand is smaller than me. You’ve got to be able to get it done, short or tall, explosive or wild. Brand is wild, so it’s going to take a few rounds to break him down and tame him before we start doing what we want to do. As a championship-caliber fighter, you’ve got to be able to deal with everything, every style and size. I’ve never seen the guy in person, so it’s hard to gauge.

“Taking away my opponents’ best weapon away is a skill that I developed as a kid, right here at King’s Gym. Virgil was a really, really good coach. He’s probably the last of the great teachers. I’ve been in here with pros at 13 and 14 years old. Seasoned veterans hitting me on my head, trying to discourage me, trying to bully me. I would go back to the corner and say, ‘Man he hit me on my head. Man he’s pushing my head back.’ And Virgil would say, ‘Then make him stop.’ In other words, I had to figure it out. Having those sessions here year after year, I had to get my respect in here first before I could even fight others. I had to learn to adjust here first before I had the chance to adjust in a big fight. So, it started here. And, it carried over. Even today, we bring in top sparrers. Sparring is different than a fight, but we bring in top sparrers to make sure my senses are on point. I don’t like to lose a second of a round so even when I am tired, I try to figure it out mentally. What can I do to offset him? How can I take that away from him? Exploit his weakness? That is constantly on my mind. I think it shows when the lights come on.

“Being back at home, it’s two-fold. Part of me wants to stop and take it in. Go down memory lane and remember all the times I’ve walked into the gym, all the battles I’ve had in here. Remember the good days and the bad days. Then there is another part of me that doesn’t like looking back too soon. I’ve got to stay in the moment. It’s kind of surreal. It’s surreal to be in the arena that I have driven past for years. Driving down 880 and wishing I could headline. I’m blessed. Not a lot of people get the opportunity. I know a lot of great fighters who didn’t get the opportunity for one reason or another. And to have that opportunity, I don’t take it lightly.

“I’ve been given a tremendous opportunity. God has blessed me a lot. There’s an inscription in the bible that says to whom much is given, much is acquired. He’s given me a talent, and I’m probably not the most talented, but I want to make sure I use it the best I can. I’m running my race right now in this professional game, and when I look back I want to say that I didn’t cheat anybody, that I gave everything that I had, and this is what I have to show for it. Finishing strong is really important to me. Becoming an all-time great is really important to me. I’m just giving God a return on his investment, because he’s invested a lot in me. I’m thankful.”

ALEXANDER BRAND, Former WBC Latino Super Middleweight Champion:

“I didn’t want to show too much at this media workout but I’ve got something in store for the day of the fight.

“It doesn’t really matter that the fight is in Ward’s hometown, it’s going to be a fight. Wherever it is, whether it’s in his backyard or anywhere else, I’m coming to fight and that’s the most important thing.

“It’s nothing new for me, I fought at 175 pounds in the amateurs. My last fight in December was at 175 pounds against an undefeated Russian when Andre Ward got hurt and couldn’t fight me on the Cotto-Canelo card.

“Whatever Ward brings, I’m going to have something for him.

“Ward still has 12 rounds to fight before he can think about Kovalev.”

Ward vs. Brand is a 12-round fight for the WBO Intercontinental title, presented by Roc Nation Sports and sponsored by Corona Extra, Verizon, ProSupps, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (CTMS), Jordan Brand, Shoe Palace, Kingsford, Autocom Nissan, Ticketmaster and The Clorox Company, supporting the Bay Area Community for over 100 years. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $250, $100, $70, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

For more information, visit www.hbo.com/boxing, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing.

Follow the conversation using #WardBrand.

Photo Credits: Roc Nation Sports/Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos

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