|09-28-2011, 12:37 AM||#1|
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Virgil hunter discusses andre ward's sparring injury
VIRGIL HUNTER DISCUSSES ANDRE WARD'S SPARRING INJURY
By Doveed Linder
In this interview, WBA super middleweight champion Andre Wardís trainer, Virgil Hunter, discusses what happened the day Ward suffered a cut in sparring, which lead to the postponement of his fight against WBC champion Carl Froch in the finals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic. He also talks about recent remarks made by Froch, the possibility of a Ward-Bute fight, and his thoughts on Mayweather-Ortiz, Pacquiao-Marquez, Hopkins-Dawson, and Cotto-Margarito.
DL: How exactly did Andre Ward get cut? What took place in the gym?
VH: It was just a freak accident. I didnít see a punch or anything. He had his face guard on and the whole bit. Itís really unbelievable and mind boggling how he sustained that cut. Itís nothing that I can identify, where I can say this situation here is probably how he got cut. Itís not something I can put my finger on, so I just let it go. I just have no clue.
DL: So heís sparring and at one point you just realized that he was cut?
VH: His sparring partner saw it first. Heís sparring and the next thing you know, Brandon (the sparring partner) said, ďDre, you're bleeding.Ē And when he came back to the corner, I saw blood on the bridge of his nose. And my first reaction was, ďHow in the heck did you get a scratch on the bridge of your nose?Ē because he was wearing the face guard. And then as he got closer, I saw blood in other places and then I saw the cut and I wasnít expecting to see that. So thatís pretty much all I can tell you.
DL: Is the plan now to break from camp and rest until itís time to get ready for the later date?
VH: We have a routine that we have that calls for rest AND activity. So weíre going to stick to our routine and then weíll ease back to where we were at the appropriate time, whenever they come up with the new date.
DL: Carl Froch has gone on record that he is dissatisfied with the situation. He puts the blame on Andre. What are your thoughts on some of these remarks?
VH: Iím not surprised at his response, but Iím kind of disappointed because heís displaying an abundance of amnesia. If you go to his fight with Arthur Abraham, he stalled Abraham for months. Five days before the fight, he came up with a back injury that was never verified that put the fight back two months. He came up with a back injury AND a chest cold. And his statement was, ďIíve done some things in the past, but in a fight like this I would be foolish to fight in this condition.Ē So it sounds pretty foolish for him to comment like that (on Andreís cut), but thatís who he is, thatís what heís about, and you just take it for who he is. But he needs to remember his situation with Abraham.
DL: What is your assessment of Carl Froch as a fighter? What makes him effective and what holes do you see in his game?
VH: Heís been effective against guys who are shorter than him, guys he has a reach on. But guys who have boxing ability, Iíve seen him lose to them. They gave him the [victory by split decision] against [Andre] Dirrell, but Dirrell [deserved to] beat him. And Mikkel Kessler beat him. They gave him the Dirrell fight, because they were in Nottingham [Froch's hometown]. So really, heís 2-2 in the tournament [Editor's note: Officially, Froch is 3-1 in the Super Six. He beat Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham, lost to Mikkel Kessler and beat Glen Johnson in the semi-finals. Except for Abraham, which was a clear victory for Froch, all the other fights were close]. So what do you look for? I see a guy who boxes shorter guys and I see he has problems with boxing ability and speed. So somewhere along the line, we find our niche.
DL: Provided you win the Super Six, are you looking at a fight with Lucian Bute if Bute beats Glen Johnson?
VH: Not necessarily. Showtime promised Mikkel Kessler a fight with the Super Six winner. I think Bute should really beat a Carl Froch or an Andre Dirrell, because it would make the fight more interesting [Editor's note: Dirrell has not fought since defeating Abraham and has health concerns]. He should either fight the guy who loses in the finals or he should fight a guy who is Super Six caliber. I donít think he should get rewarded with the Super Six winner and just hop, skip and jump over high end competition. Kessler is the [WBC] champion emeritus and Showtime promised him the fight. And we intend to keep that obligation if we win. For two reasonsÖ Number one, itís the obligation. And number two, weíre not pleased with him using the excuses that heís used on why he lost to us. So we want to give him an opportunity to prove that the fight was a fluke. We want him to really be there this time, so there are no more excuses. Heís lived off of excuses for two years now. [Editor's note: Kessler was defeated by a wide points margin by Ward but complained about head butts]. We want to give him the opportunity to prove that that wasnít the real Mikkel Kessler. If that wasnít the real Mikkel Kessler, then we want to beat the real one.
|09-28-2011, 12:37 AM||#2|
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DL: As far as Bute goes, do you not consider Glen Johnson an opponent that catapults him to the winner of the Super Six?
VH: I would see that as a fight for him to fight the loser of the Super Six, but not the winner.
DL: How do you see Bute-Johnson playing out?
VH: First of all, Iím a Glen Johnson fan. But from what I saw in the Froch fight, heís slowing up. I canít say heís slowing up because of his age. But you can only go back so many times and make this weight after all these years. The first time he did it, it was okay. But the second time he did it, it had an impact. He faded in the later rounds. I donít care who you are. You just canít go back and take your body through this at his age and expect to perform at the highest level. No matter what kind of nutrition, no matter what kind of conditioningÖ So I see Bute winning that fight based on the fact that Johnson has to go through a lot of changes to make 168.
DL: I would like to get your thoughts on a few other fights, starting with Floyd Mayweather's win over Victor Ortiz. There was quite a bit of controversy in that fight. Whatís your take?
VH: Itís very simple. If Ortiz hadnít blatantly butted him, we wouldnít have had that conclusion. Iím not going to judge the conclusion, because the average person on the outside of the ring, in their right frame of mind so to speak, as a fan and as a spectator, quite naturally, theyíre going to comprehend it negatively. But you get a person whoís been fouled who has that adrenaline flowing, heís going to respond differently. You have a fanís response, you have an anti-Mayweather response, and you have an opinionated response. And if he did something wrong, he should have been penalized. But if he wasnít penalized, he didnít do anything wrong. So people have to draw their own conclusions. But thereís a written rule in boxing: Protect yourself at all times. Ortiz left himself open and it was a bone-headed move. He should have been ready to fight and he shouldnít have head butted the kid. And not only did he head butt him, he threw a punch after that. He instigated a situation that caused the fight to end that way. So me personally, I put the responsibility on Ortiz.
DL: Whatís your take on the third fight between Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez?
VH: I think itís a matter of size. I think the size difference and the age difference. Marquez is a great technician and I expect him to have his moments. But heís in a situation where he could literally be overwhelmed. Heís just giving up too much. I donít expect him to weigh 144. He might come in at 139. Itís just too much for him. I might be wrong. But if I have to make a prediction, I just see him being overwhelmed in this situation.
DL: How about Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson?
VH: You can never count Bernard Hopkins out of a fight. And we really see that now. Although, Chad Dawson and Jean Pascal are two different fighters. Given the best Chad Dawson Iíve seen, you still canít count Bernard Hopkins out of the fight. There are just some things he understands and he knows that he can exploit. It just depends if Chad can impose his youth on Bernard and if Bernard can impose his guile on Chad. And the reason Iím saying this is because Chad did fight a lackluster fight against Pascal. So once you see a fighter fight a certain way, the potential that heís going to fight that way again is there. Itís not like a faucet where you can turn it on and off. I havenít picked a winner in this fight. I think itís going to be a great fight and an interesting fight. I do think Chad is motivated. I think itís good that heís staying at home (for training). He needs to be with Scully (his trainer), he needs to be who he originally was. But you can never ever count out Bernard Hopkins and Naazim Richardson. Naazim is a chemist and he knows what to mix up in the lab. Itís going to be an interesting fight, but I have no clear cut winner. But Bernard has found his niche. Heís standing his ground. And itís very interesting to see a guy like Archie Moore, when Moore stood his ground at that age. At forty-six, he was knocking people out. So itís going to be youth versus experience. Simple as that.
DL: Lastly, what are your thoughts on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch?
VH: I donít think Margarito is the same fighter he was when he fought him the first time, and I think Cotto knows what he has to do. There are a lot of questions as far as, what if he did and what if he didnít (referring to the possibility of Margarito having a plaster-like substance in his handwraps in their first fight). It was shocking to see Cotto go downhill all of a sudden and the way he looked in that fight. He looked like he was mugged with a black jack. But thereís no proof, so I canít say in fact that Margarito was out of compliance. Cotto seems anxious to get on with the fight. He has the confidence to know that this will be a fair fight. If he feels like he was cheated in the first fight, heís not saying. But I think Margarito has definitely slowed up. I think heís burned out. And the way he moved against Pacquiao, I think he over-trains. Although heís at a weight that he can make. But you donít recover from the kind of punishment he took against Pacquiao. Not at that age. That stays with you. That really affects you. You just canít get beat on like that and be the same person. He is NOT the same fighter. I donít care how he looks, how he trainsÖ He is not the same fighter after taking that kind of punishment. And now heís getting ready to spar and do everything else and you take punishment in sparring. At that age, it catches up to you. So Iím favoring Cotto in that fight.
DL: Anything in closing?
VH: No, nothing really. Weíre on track. And Iíve been saying all along that weíve only been seeing seventy percent of Andre Ward. And when he fights Froch, I think heís going to be ninety percent. Every time people think heís one thing, every time they put a definition on him, they always end up being wrong. And this is the fight thatís going to prove that. This fight will not go the distance. Heís going to stop Carl Froch.
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