LAS VEGAS — Andre Ward, regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport today, believes the pressure will be on Floyd Mayweather to defeat Conor McGregor in easy fashion and that there is “zero room for error” if he is to live up to his heavy favorite status.
“Floyd is arguably one of the greatest of all-time and I just can’t wrap my brain around McGregor having any answers for Floyd, even at 40 years old,” Ward said Thursday before his light heavyweight championship fight against Sergey Kovalev on Saturday. “It’s just another level. But on the flipside [McGregor] is not a guy that you can just not train for. McGregor is a big guy and he’s got pride and he’s coming and he’s got a dynamite left hand. It’s a sneaky left hand. So it’s tough. It’s a type of situation where the pressure is really on Floyd because there’s zero room for error.”
Many in the boxing world that have descended upon Las Vegas this weekend for the highly anticipated rematch between Ward and Kovalev have panned the Aug. 26 fight between Mayweather and McGregor as a glorified farce. Main Events CEO Kathy Duva called it a “circus” during Thursday’s media conference.
Ward, however, was one of the few actually looking forward to the fight.
“I’m going to watch it,” Ward said. “I’m interested in it. I look at it for what it’s worth. You always have the option to not buy it. That’s always an option. But I don’t think you should not buy it and then complain about it. If you don’t want to watch it, then watch something else that night. I’m going to watch the buildup because I’m a casual MMA fans so I know about McGregor but I want to see it. The buildup is going to be insane. I’m a fight fan. I’m a combat sports fan. I’m interested in it.”
There was a feeling in some circles that the announcement of the Aug. 26 fight between Mayweather and McGregor, which will be on Showtime pay-per-view, on Wednesday, was an intentional shot at Ward and Kovalev during their fight week leading up to Saturday’s clash on HBO pay-per-view. Ward, however, didn’t feel the timing would impact Saturday’s fight.
“The timing of it, we’re in the middle of a fight week, it is what it is,” Ward said. “The people that were going to buy our fight are still going to buy our fight. The people that were going to come out are still going to come out. I don’t feel like it affects me one way or another, honestly.
“If you can put one Instagram video out or one Instagram post and its national news for the next 2-3 days, he’s earned that right and that position. Those are things that come with the territory.”
While Ward thinks the fight could potentially be more competitive than others think if Mayweather takes McGregor lightly, Ward is still picking Mayweather to win handily.
“It’s going to be tricky for McGregor not to be able to take down and kick and he’s got to work on that over the next 2-3 months but that left hand is the main thing Floyd has to be able to watch out for,” Ward said. “That’s the main asset McGregor brings to the table. Floyd should take care of business and do it in fashion.”
“At the end of the day I applaud them, I’m glad they got it done. I didn’t think they were going to get it done. Me, personally, maybe I’m in the minority, but I think it’s a good thing.”