Andre Ward joined Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the latest episode of All The Smoke for a wide-ranging discussion of everything from his childhood to his career in and out of the ring to experiences with Michael Jordan as a Jordan Brand athlete.
Andre recently wrote a book, Killing the Image: A Champion’s Journey of Faith, Fighting, and Forgiveness. Obviously, the book gets into the sweet science, but Matt and Stak had to ask Andre about the state of the game right now.
The former Olympic gold medalist has a number of fighters he thinks are strong. But if he had to bet the house on one? He’s going with Terence “Bud” Crawford. Andre says he and Bud are so much alike in their mentality. When one of them come into a room they start arguing — about basketball, wrestling, anything. Andre says you have to really hurt that dude to turn him away and stop him from doing what he really wants to do.
So yes, Bud’s skillful, but his heart and his head are built different. Andre says there’s not a lot of guys like that out there (and for what it’s worth, Crawford told Dan Le Batard last summer that he’s as good as anyone who’s ever laced up gloves). Andre says he’s seen Bud tested, including outside the ring with how’s he been treated, how he’s been talked about and the with narratives spread about him while still fighting through it.
Andre says Bud is a business and a businessman, and just doesn’t talk about a lot of his stuff. So now, everybody loves him but Andre says he’s always been that guy. Andre says he’s always been marketable, always been a great fighter. Anybody he’s been in the ring with, Bud’s handled them and done what he’s supposed to do. Importantly, Andre says Bud wasn’t ducking any smoke.
Andre says the same with Errol Spence Jr. He says he asked Spence about fighting Bud years ago, but Spence told him that he wanted to get all the belts to have the leverage he needed at the negotiating table.
So, Andre says he’s not really impressed by skill necessarily, although he says it’s cool to see, he’s looking to see how a fighter is built, if he has that dawg in him. That’s the stuff that Andre says gets him out of his seat. It means that when you have to be that guy you can be that guy. And Andre says there’s not a lot of people like that in boxing today. He says there’s a lot of talking but not a lot of walking.
So what fights does Andre think the world needs to see?
Meanwhile, Andre is a longtime member of Jordan Brand. We’ve seen him train in boxing shoes inspired by Black/Cement Jordan 3s and Space Jam 11s. So his sneaker game has always been strong. But, he has also learned a simple fact of life when it comes to MJ — always check your feet ...
Watch or listen to the full episode below and keep an eye on DraftKings Network for new episodes of All The Smoke every Thursday at 6 p.m. ET!
Andre Ward | Ep 214 | ALL THE SMOKE Full Episode
- ALL THE SMOKE has you covered with major interviews with the biggest legends from ALL sports. This week, the guys sit down with boxing hall-of-famer, Andre Ward. The undefeated great opens up about his career journey inside and outside of the ring. Plus, they talk about his upbringing in the Bay Area, his perfect record, the current day sport and MORE!
Check out the DraftKings YouTube page and the All The Smoke Productions YouTube page for more. You can also follow Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on X at @Matt_Barnes22 and @DaTrillStak5 and the show on Instagram.
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