Tom Hogan/Hoganphotos/Roc Nation Sports
ANDRE WARD won’t lose sight of his next fight, Alexander Brand at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on August 6.
He didn’t watch Sergey Kovalev’s latest fight, against Isaac Chilemba on Monday, but he admits, “That’s obviously the end game and where we’re trying to get. But I didn’t watch it. I have to compartmentalize what I’ve got to do right now. That’s just how I operate and how I stay focused. I don’t want to juggle two opponents right now. I literally have to focus on one guy and that’s Alexander Brand August 6. I will not take him lightly. If I’m not successful August 6 there is no fight down the road with me and Kovalev and I’m very clear about that. Furthermore it’s not just a fight for me, it’s very important for me to look good in that fight, to my standard and to my team’s standard. I have a certain amount of pressure on myself just to go out there and perform and hopefully look good doing it.
“Come August 7 I will begin to think about Sergey Kovalev and what needs to be done to beat him and to get those belts.”
On Brand, Ward reflected, “It’s easier fighting the top guys with more form, more technique than it is fighting a guy like this, who literally has nothing to lose. It’s a dangerous fight. It’s a fight that I have to be on point with. That’s just how the cookie’s crumbled. Just for the record we fought long and hard to get some other guys and they just fell through.
“[Brand] swings for the fences. He loads up on a lot of shots. He doesn’t have a lot of nuance about him, he’s not trying to set things up. He’s swinging hard. That’s what he does. He’ll try to move and give some space when he wants to rest and different things like that. I think that’s why even if he gets hit with a good shot, something like that, he’s able to survive, he’ll use his legs. He does various things and he’s awkward. That’s something I’m going to have to overcome. I’m going to have to be disciplined. I’m going to have to be really determined just to let him do everything he’s going do, however he does it and just stay locked in on hitting him and hitting him until the fight is over and hopefully be the first to stop him.“
But Ward concluded, “I’m preparing my body and my mind and my spirit for war. In this case it will be August 6.”