By Ryan Maquiñana
Super middleweight king Andre Ward returned to the Comcast SportsNet Bay Area studios Thursday afternoon to touch on a variety of subjects, the first being the location of his upcoming Sept. 8 fight with light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson. Multiple sources, including Steve Kim have indicated that Ward-Dawson will take place at the Oracle in Oakland, California.
“Chad and I are in the process of negotiating, and in the process of negotiations, anything can happen, so this is a day-to-day situation,” Ward told CSN Bay Area’s Henry Wofford. “Obviously the fans in the Bay Area know where I want to fight, and that’s Oracle Arena. That remains to be seen, but at the moment, it’s up in the air.”
The conversation then shifted to Ward’s “Son of God” moniker and how his religious values come into play when he’s in the ring.
“Boxing is a violent sport. Everyone knows that,” Ward said. “But when it comes to my faith, when it comes to my nickname, it’s just who I am. It’s not something I try to put on. I think it boils down to a heart issue.
“Believe it or not, even though I’m in a contact sport, a very violent sport, my desire is not to hurt anybody. I hope and wish the best for my opponent. I want him to go home to his family just like I want to go home to mine.
“It’s a competition thing. I’m a competitor, and at the end of the day, I just want to win the fight, get my hand raise, and go home and kiss my wife and kids. And I hope my opponent can do the same thing.”
Wofford then asked for Ward’s take on how Floyd Mayweather’s notoriety has been largely the result of his constantly giving the media “bulletin board material” to work with, and the underlying contrast with the “good guys” of the sport.
“I try to be one of them,” Ward said. “I know Manny Pacquiao is one of them. And believe it or not, I know Floyd personally. I’ve been around Floyd, and Floyd’s really a good-natured person.
“He’s created ‘Money’ Mayweather as a character, and not everyone likes what he does or says, and neither do I agree with it, but it’s made him a lot of money and that’s his prerogative.
“But for myself and even a person like Manny Pacquiao, it’s just amazing to see that you can have a person who’s clean-cut, a person who loves people and who is an ambassador for the sport—and in Manny Pacquiao’s case, and even in my case, an ambassador for their country.
“But then you know when they turn the switch on, when it’s time to go to work, it’s time to do battle. But when the battle’s over, you can turn the switch off.”
The discussion then concluded with a request for Ward to break down Saturday’s WBO welterweight title showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
“It’s tough to say," Ward said. "Timothy is a fighter I fought as an amateur at 147 pounds and he is a warrior. Timothy Bradley, one of his greatest assets is his mind. So I think it’s going to be a tough fight for Pacquiao.
“There’s always some drama in the Pacquiao camp. There’s always something about maybe he’s not training enough or possibly overtraining. I hear Alex Ariza, his longtime strength and conditioning coach, is at odds with Freddie Roach. That’s never good in a training camp.
“So all those different things collectively could come into play in the fight, and then once again, given Timothy Bradley’s mindset, he always comes in tip-top shape. There may be an upset brewing, and it may be in Timothy Bradley’s favor.”
Ward was originally scheduled to travel to New York City for this week’s Boxing Writers Association of America annual dinner to receive his 2011 Fighter of the Year Award, but decided to remain in the Bay Area to be with his wife Tiffiney, who is expecting the couple’s fourth child in the middle of this month.
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.