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.
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