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Photos/Quotes: Ward vs Abraham Final Press Conference - Boxing News
 
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 Last update:  5/12/2011       Read more by Boxing Photos         
   
Photos/Quotes: Ward vs Abraham Final Press Conference
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BURBANK, CALIF. The final press conference for the kickoff of the Semifinals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic turned tense on Wednesday at Arnie Mortons The Steakhouse in Burbank, Calif., just three days before tournament favorite Andre Ward defends his WBA super middleweight title against former world champion Arthur Abraham, LIVE on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Photos by Tom Casino.

In a detailed and lengthy speech, Wards trainer, Virgil Hunter, told Abraham that his trainer and promoters are displaying a lack of confidence in him to win on Saturday by demanding neutral judges and officials for the Semifinal showdown. Abrahams promoter responded that they were trying to protect their fighter and claimed that the referee in the Ward-Mikkel Kessler Group Stage 1 bout did not fairly officiate the match.

The Ward-Abraham winner advances to the tournament Final against the winner of the Carl Froch-Glen Johnson Semifinals showdown. The tournament champion earns the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup and global recognition as the worlds No. 1 168-pound fighter.

The 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, Ward (23-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, Calif., has emerged as the tournament favorite after impressive triumphs in Group Stage bouts over Kessler and Allan Green, as well as Sakio Bika.

Abraham (32-2, 26 KOs) entered the Super Six as a favorite alongside Kessler. But after emerging from Group Stage 1 as the points leader with a knockout over Jermain Taylor, he is now trying to bounce back from consecutive tournament losses to Andre Dirrell and Froch in Group Stages 2 and 3, respectively.

In a non-televised undercard fight, heavyweight world contender and popular Southern California slugger Chris Arreola will try to stay on track for another opportunity of a world championship when he takes on Nagy Aguilera.

The event is co-promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Antonio Leonard Productions and Sauerland Event and sponsored by Corona.

What the participants had to say on Wednesday:

ANDRE WARD:

Im born and raised here in America and I dont talk that much. I think everyone in this room understands that. Theres not much else to say. Ive prepared the way Im supposed to prepare, the way a champion is supposed to prepare.

I respect Arthur Abraham, its going to be a tough fight. I want to be a great fighter, but Im not there yet. These are the kind of fights that you have to take and you have to win to be a great fighter.

I wont hear the crowd, I wont hear anybody on Saturday night. Im locked in. Im here to defend my belt and to keep my belt right here in America.

My first goal is to win and I know winning in this sport takes care of a lot of problems.

Sugar Ray Leonard came from a totally different time. Fighting on the network that he fought on, having Howard Cosell, it was just a totally different ballgame. Oscar De La Hoya had the Hispanic community and different things like that, so you have to look at those situations because Im in a different time. It might be a little bit harder to get the exposure and the just due.

At the end of the day, the way my father raised me was to put my nose down to the grindstone and keep working and allow God to open those doors in due season. So Ive never begged for it and Ive never demanded it. I just have to understand that I have to keep working and it will come.

I appreciate everyone who attends the fights, but it comes down to going home and kissing my wife and kids, keeping my title and moving on with my career. But with that being said, I think I take the risks Im supposed to take. I think I do what Im supposed to, but if you get enough people saying one thing, people start to believe it. I think my fight with Kessler was a very entertaining fight but its not me taking punishment so people think its not entertaining. From a little boy, I was never taught to get the best bout trophy, I was always taught to get the best fighter of the night. Thats the way it is because whoever I am when my career is said and done, nobodys going home with me.

My coach has always taught me from day one, hes always wanted me to be a master and masters are able to fight into their late 30s and early 40s like Bernard Hopkins and Glen Johnson. Im just going to continue to naturally evolve and I hope everyone enjoys my fights. But, ultimately, its about winning in this sport.

ARTHUR ABRAHAM:

I dont have to speak much. We just want to perform in the ring and we dont have to do much talking. Were here to win in the ring.

Of course my trainer and my promoter respect me. Theres no question of that. In Europe, we dont talk very much. Im here to win.

I have a lot of respect for Andre Ward. Hes a technically sound boxer. But that talk doesnt matter when we get in the ring on Saturday. Im here to win and Im here to destroy him.

Im very happy to be part of this tournament. This tournament started well for me and it will end well.

I had to make some adjustments to my style for moving from middleweight to super middleweight and then we had to make some more after the losses. We have made the necessary adjustments.

DAN GOOSSEN, Wards Promoter:

I really do believe in the concept of this tournament and think its terrific. Weve had some challenges getting to this point but I really feel its the best thing for this sport because you have the best fighters fighting the best on a continual basis. Because of that, there is no need to sit there and think anything other than that its great for our sport.

WILFRIED SAUERLAND, Abrahams promoter):

We liked the idea of the tournament when we first heard about it. There have been some issues but its still a good idea because it brings together the best in the division. And its still not finished.

There has been a lot of uproar about us asking for a new referee but that was in the contract a contract is a contract.

Virgil, we asked for a neutral referee because the referee in the Ward-Kessler fight gave a very bad performance.

Dan complained that Andre had to travel 500 miles for this fight. Arthur has travelled over 40,000 miles for this tournament.

Dan is a good host and we have a good understanding. We look after him in Germany and he looks after us here.

VIRGIL HUNTER, Wards Trainer:

Ive been appalled as some of the things that have happened to this point. If Andre wasnt perceived as a threat, I dont believe we would have ever heard complaints about the referees like we have. Andre Ward still to this point has not gotten the recognition that he deserves.

Arthur, this is to you: By complaining about the officials, your promoters are saying they have lost confidence in you. Dont let anyone speak to you about the officials. Your promoters have lost confidence in you. Its as simple as that.

JAMES PRINCE, Wards Manager:

We have respect for Arthur Abraham and his accomplishments in boxing, but come Saturday its going to get real hot in the ring. You were a great fighter at 160 pounds but I feel like your advisors have tricked you into placing you into a different weight division where you dont belong. I want to extend my warmest hospitality and welcome you to the States, but thats where it ends.

ULLI WEGNER, Abrahams trainer:

Im really looking forward to seeing an exciting fight on Saturday night.

I know it will be a very difficult fight for us and Im hoping that the better man will win.

I hope that we have a fair fight and we put on a good fight for the fans.

Now were done with the talking and were ready to get inside the ring.

CHRIS DeBLASIO, SHOWTIME Director of Communications

The Super Six World Boxing Classic has been dramatic and competitive as much as its been contentious and compelling both inside and outside the ring since this tournament was announced in July of 2009. The results of which have made the Fight Camp 360 program: Inside the Super Six World Boxing Classic cant-miss television for sports fans. The SHOWTIME sports documentary series has revealed the business of boxing, the personalities in this tournament and of course the tournament fight themselves like no other show has ever done on television before and were very proud of that.

CHRIS ARREOLA:

I cannot overlook Nagy Aguilera. This man is a tough fighter. Im in this shape for him, to fight him. Not to look at two or three fights from now. My main motivation right now is him. Every fighter Ive ever boxed Ive respected and now Im respecting boxing, the sport I love.

I would love to see this type of tournament for the heavyweights. I dont think it would ever happen but it would be a great thing.

Im a Ward guy, always have been. I try to emulate him. Not only his fighting but his training and that he works so hard. I think hes the best American fighter right now. And Im No. 2, but I think Ward by far is the best.

NAGY AGUILERA:

Its a difficult opponent for me, especially coming off of a loss. But this time Im focused and Im training hard.

Arreola said that boxing is his wife. Well, boxing is my life. I had a lot of problems in my fight against Antonio (Tarver) and now Im just focused and ready to win.

My training went well. Weve been preparing for eight weeks.

Tickets are available for as low as $25, with VIP floor seats priced at $200. Other tickets in the 8,000-seat outdoor stadium at The Home Depot Center are available at $50 and $100. Fans can purchase tickets at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.Ticketmaster.com as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets by calling 1-877-234-8425.

Tags: Chris Arreola , Andre Ward , Arthur Abraham , Ward vs Abraham , Ward-Abraham , photos



 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by Jago1986, on 05-12-2011
Andre Wards face has always reminded me of a MIDGET face.Don't know why though

comment by V.WEBB, on 05-12-2011
Let's go SOG!

comment by millcitymauler, on 05-12-2011
Dude, just go to firstrowsports.eu - watch it live on a good stream

comment by Rip Chudd, on 05-12-2011
wish I was in the states to watch this fight. Now i'll have to settle for checking the internet sunday morning to see the results.

comment by WESS, on 05-12-2011
AA will look horrible and just be embarrassed. The fight to see is Ward vs Froch (who got schooled by Dirrell). Problem is, I don't see Froch beating the crafty season vet in old man Johnson. Lets get this thing over with. Bute wants to get his ass whooped. Martinez is thinking about moving up s...

Post A Comment/View More User Comments (10) 

   
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