Andre Ward, Arthur Abraham, Chris Arreola press conference

(Left to right) Henry Ramirez, Chris Arreola's trainer, Chris Arreola, promoter Dan Goosen, Andre Ward, and Ward's trainer Virgil Hunter.

Tuesday, the Super Six World Boxing Classic semifinalists Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham participated in a press conference at Sisley Italian Kitchen in Sherman Oaks, CA, to formally announce their May 14 fight at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, live on Showtime.

Ward will be defending his WBA Super Middleweight title against the former world champion to kick off the semifinals. Abraham, who is in the middle of training in Berlin, Germany, hooked up with the group via video conference. The Ward-Abraham winner advances to the finals to fight the winner of the Carl Froch versus Glen Johnson showdown.


Ward (23-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, CA, has emerged as the tournament favorite after his impressive wins over Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green, as well as Sakio Bika. If you recall Abraham (32-2, 26 KOs) entered the tournament as the favorite. After emerging from Stage 1 as the points leader with a knockout of Jermain Taylor, he is now trying to bounce back from consecutive losses to Andre Dirrell and Froch in Stages 2 and 3.

Also participating in the press conference was Chris Arreola who is from Escondido. The heavyweight contender will be on the undercard facing Nagy “Dominican Dynamite” Aguilera in a non-televised bout. Aguilera (16-5-0, with 11 KOs) is a 24 year-old, righty who hails from Newburgh, N. Y. by way of the Dominican Republic. He stands 6’3” tall and is currently ranked #85 in the world.

Some say Nagy Aguilera just got lucky one night because he hasn't really beaten anyone of note before or after that round one TKO victory of Oleg Maskaev.

Aguilera’s claim to fame? In December of 2009, at the age of 23, he upset 40 year-old Oleg Maskaev, the former WBC Heavyweight champ, after catching him early in Round #1 to register a TKO victory. Maskaev had won the title in 2006 with a 12th round TKO over defending champion Hasim Rahman. On Maskaev’s second defense he lost the title to Samuel Peter. In Aguilera’s first fight after beating Maskaev, it was Peter who knocked Aguilera silly to earn a second round TKO victory. Last year, Aguilera lost three of his four fights.

Memorable quotes from Tuesday’s press conference:

Andre Ward: “I’m fired up as always. I’m not buying into what people are saying that Abraham is not the same. I know Arthur and his team are preparing for a storybook ending but it won’t be at my expense.  I’m ready to defend my title. It’s the same story every time – people doubting me and asking if I’m ready. I think people forget that I have a family to feed. I need to win just as badly as anyone else. I have two more fights before I’m the best super middleweight in the world and I plan to win both of them. It’s as simple as that.

“In my preparation I’m probably giving him more respect than he deserves. My job is to put him away from the opening bell. My job is to make him feel the same way he felt right after the Carl Froch fight as soon as possible. On May 14 we have 12 rounds to get to know each other. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I want to be the last man standing. I always knew it was in me to succeed. I didn’t come this far for no reason. I had to grow up real fast in this tournament or I was going to go home early. And I didn’t want to go home early. It’s great to be on the same card as Chris (Arreola). He has the heart of a champion.”

Arthur Abraham: “I’m looking forward to May 14 and having a great fight. I am feeling okay. I was a little sick but I just started training again and I should be fine. The tune up fight didn’t give me as much as I wanted but it was okay. It was good to get back in the ring.

“It’s not my style to make big predictions. I want to show you inside the ring. I know he’s the favorite but that motivates me even more. I will give 120 percent. Together, with my Armenian fans, I will win the title and reach the finals. The Armenian fans will motivate me. I will not disappoint them.”

Virgil Hunter (Ward’s trainer): “We’re going full-tilt now. We have a great game plan. More than anything, we want to make sure we make a statement and give you something to write about. I’d like to say that Arthur is scared to come here and face Andre face-to-face, but it’s a long trip over here. I understand.”

Chris Arreola: “I do look a little bit better. The main thing with being 30 years old is you only have a little window of opportunity and it’s time for me to do it. I let everyone down when I showed a lack of dedication to the sport and I look forward to showing myself again.

“The main thing is after my last fight I didn’t go back to living like I used to. I’m a family man now. I’m good and just living the life. I can train at home without all the distractions. I’m more focused and dedicated. The turning point was around December. I realize that 2010 and 2009 were terrible. It was my fault. Now it’s about what I want and what I’m supposed to do to win. No more games. I’m 20 or 30 pounds ahead of the game, so I’m not worried about weight anymore.”

Henry Ramirez (Arreola’s trainer): “Obviously, you can see that Chris is at a lower weight. The maturity is finally catching up with the physical ability.  The sky is the limit for Chris and the best is yet to come.”

Dan Goosen: “Last time I saw Chris like this was five years ago. When everything is said and done, I don’t think there’s a better heavyweight out there when he’s doing the things he needs to do. I always thought the fight with Chris was more outside the ring than inside it. You have to be dedicated and willing to push yourself. I wanted everyone to see Chris with their own eyes, not to tell you in a press release. This is the new Chris Arreola.”

The event is co-promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Antonio Leonard Productions and Sauerland Event and sponsored by Corona. Tickets go on sale tomorrow and will be available for as low as $25, with VIP floor seats priced at $200.


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