Aiming to Reach the Top: Interview with Andre Ward
Interview by Tom Dickey (December 25, 2004) 
Andre Ward
Andre Ward became the first U.S. Gold medalist in Boxing since 1996 when he medaled at this year's Athens games. Many thought Ward had a chance to medal, but few gave him a chance at gold. Since then Ward signed with Roy Jones and Dan Goossen and turned Pro. Recently Ward won his pro debut over Christopher Molina on the Johnson-Tarver undercard in Los Angeles. We caught up with Ward recently and this is what he had to say...

Tom Dickey: What made you choose to sign with Roy Jones Jr.?

Andre Ward: His status as a boxer, his business savvy, and it was the best deal for me and my team. It's a co-promotion with him and Tutor-Goossen. Along with James Prince, who I believe is one of the best managers in the business, we got the dream team. It was the best deal for what I needed to do.

TD: Do you feel that signing with a guy who is a fighter, and knows how a fighter wants to be treated was a plus for you?

Andre Ward: He definitely understands my outlook on things, because he's been there first hand. So, it's definitely a plus.

TD: What are you trying to get out of your first couple of fights, besides wins?

Andre Ward: To do what I do, and to shine, and to do whatever I got to do to get that win.

TD: Has your management set any sort of timetable of goals for you, like a certain amount of time before you're fighting for a world title if everything goes smoothly?

Andre Ward:
You have ideas of where you would like to be, but were just going to play it one fight at a time. Were going to let things happen and leave it in God's hands.

TD: How did you feel when you became the first American gold medalist since 1996?

Andre Ward:
Man, God is good. He's just and he's true. I believe God put that on my heart, and he put that on my Godfather's heart, who is also my trainer. I believe it was pre-ordained by God, and I did what I was supposed to do with my spiritual and physical health to accomplish this.

TD: This year's Olympic team was not getting much respect going into Athens, few gave anyone a chance at gold, and few gave anyone a chance to medal. Did this provide any extra motivation?

Andre Ward: I think everybody did, I think everyone had a chip on their shoulder. I was just fortunate enough to make the necessary adjustments that I needed to make. You're going to hear a lot from each and every fighter at the Olympics, some of them are going Pro and some are staying amateur, it's definitely a great thing for them. To speak for myself, I definitely had a chip on my shoulder, and I still do. I think you have to have that chip on your shoulder to be great, you can never get cocky, and I don't ever want to get comfortable in this sport until I put the gloves down and call it quits.

TD: Do you still keep in touch with your Olympic teammates?

Andre Ward: All the time, it's a life long friendship with them after what we went through together.

TD: Have you talked to any past Olympians who have turned pro, and gotten any advice from them?

Andre Ward: With the exception of Roy, No. I don't really do too much talking. I just sit back and watch a lot. I watch and discern what I could use. I look at guys and see how they did it, and say this is how he did it and this is the mistakes he made, if any, and now this is what I need to do. I'm just trying to reach the top, trying to reach the peak, trying to get as high as I can get from the business end of it, and the physical end of it. This is what my team and I are trying to accomplish. That's my goal, if I take care of what God wants me to do, then he will take care of me.
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