Super-middleweight king Andre Ward has laid down the gauntlet to Carl Froch, declaring he can knockout the ’delusional’ British star in a world title unification rematch.
The WBA Super and Ring Magazine world champion has opened the door to a potential blockbuster matchup against the reigning IBF world champion Froch, should both men come through their upcoming battles.
Ward faces off against the unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez in Ontario, California this weekend, a fight you can see live and exclusive on BoxNation, with Froch taking on the rising George Groves in a grudge match later this month.
Should both prevail, Ward is convinced that a super-fight could be next up for the 168-pound division’s two top dogs.
"I think a fight with Froch is definitely something that could happen," said Ward.
"I’ve said this so many times but I’m not chasing that fight. I won the last fight hands down, and I would be secure moving on. But it’s something that he feels he wants to get another crack at and I’m open for that, absolutely," he said.
The Olympic gold medalist is also of the belief he can make an early night of it should he share the ring with the Nottingham man again, especially due to the fact he fought with a broken left hand in their first encounter.
"I think I could stop Froch in a rematch. I don’t believe the hype that Froch is invincible. I think he has a really good chin, has taken some big shots and stood up under them and I give him credit for that," Ward said.
"But sometimes the media makes him out to be some iron man who can’t be stopped. He can be stopped if he gets hit with flush shots.
"It’s only natural to think that if you come into a fight inhibited, injured and limited and you’re still able to do a certain amount of work - if you’re fully healthy just imagine what would happen," he stated.
The bad blood between the pair has grown ever since their fight in December 2011, due in part to a perceived lack of respect from Froch who has questioned his contemporary’s drawing power.
"I don’t look at it as disrespect - I think he’s delusional," Ward stated.
"Look at Carl Froch and some of the stuff he says and it doesn’t always add up. One aspect he talks about [is drawing power], if you look at his last ratings on HBO and my last one, it’s night and day.
"He had a few hundred thousand people watch his fight in America and we had over a million watch my last fight with Chad Dawson, so I think he needs to focus on what he’s doing," said Ward.
The 29-year-old from Oakland has also thrown into question Froch’s apparent warrior tag and has asked why he never brought it to the fore when they clashed.
"It’s funny when a guy says you’re boring but he had 12 rounds, 12 rounds, to make it interesting, to be the monster that he says that he is and get a war going," he said.
"If you watch that fight I didn’t run, I didn’t duck, I didn’t dodge, I was right in the pocket with him. It was tougher than he thought it was going to be, so instead of giving me my just due he makes excuses," Ward added.
"Now he’s turning into a TV executive, and then a promoter, when he’s talking about no one wants to watch me. Well, his fans in the UK want to watch me as well as fans in the US, so I just don’t think the stuff he says is accurate or adds up," he said.
Ward believes that the three-time world champion should take a leaf out of Ricky Hatton’s book and give credit where credit is due.
The fan favourite ’Hitman’ suffered defeats against two of boxing’s household names in Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao but was quick to praise both following his losses, something which Ward thinks Froch can learn from.
"It’s really sad a champion of his calibre can’t give a guy his just due and say ’you know what, he was the better man that night’," said Ward.
"I think the fans would respect him a lot more if he did that, American fans and UK fans. Look at Ricky Hatton, he was that type of guy, he lost and he said ’no excuses, it was my fault’ and then moved onto the next one," Ward said.
"I think that’s why Ricky Hatton is so beloved the way he is because he was going to give it his all, 100%, and if it didn’t go right he wasn’t going to make excuses. And that’s what Carl Froch specialises in - making excuses," he said.