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Andre Ward

The boxer loves John Varvatos, Instagram and ‘Fresh of the Boat’

On Nov. 19, super middleweight boxer Andre Ward risked his perfect — now 31-0 record — in an attempt to be called the light heavyweight champion of the world, a title his opponent, Russian light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1), had successfully defended for three years. “These are the fights people don’t get to see a lot of lately,” Ward said. “A lot of times, the best don’t fight the best. They don’t want to risk their undefeated records or don’t want to risk their legacy or their status, but in this case, we’re both putting it on the line, and we’re going to see who’s the last man standing.”

After 12 rounds at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and a unanimous — yet controversial — decision, Ward added another victory to his flawless record and jacked Kovalev’s light heavyweight title in the process.

Before the fight, we asked some hard-hitting questions in what he described as “the most challenging interview he’s ever had.” If Ward can handle blows to the face, he can surely tell us the most embarrassing music he’s jamming to, right?

Do you ever compare past fights to future ones? Or is each a brand-new challenge for you?

I’ve definitely [watched] fights of his. You do what you gotta do. You study, you watch it, but at the same time, instincts and being in the moment is a big part of what I do, so I try to leave room for that. I watch it up to a certain point. I’ll get a game plan up to a certain point, but the thing about boxing is that you’ll have a game plan, but sometimes that game plan will go out of the window and you gotta be able to adjust. And that’s also something that I try to make sure I’m able to do, which is make adjustments on the fly and just change up my game plan as many times as I need to get the job done. If you’re one-dimensional, a lot of times you’re not going to last long when you’re fighting on the highest level.

Do you have a prefight meal, superstitions or traditions?

No superstitions, but I pretty much eat the same type of meal the day of the fight. I eat a heavy, heavy breakfast like oatmeal, orange juice, omelet, fruit. I eat until I don’t want to eat anymore and then I take my walks. I’m big on walks the week of the fight. Then I’ll eat lunch — some chicken, vegetables, some potatoes or something and then my prefight meal is always fish, spinach and another potato. That’s pretty much a given for every fight day.

Are you most about Twitter/Snapchat/Facebook or — what is your primary social tribe(s)?

I love Instagram. Instagram is my baby. I can control it, my team can control the comments and different things like that. I’m big on pictures. I love visuals, so that’s a great platform.

What Instagram feed are you currently obsessed with?

I like to follow a lot of the young, up-and-coming boxers, because it just reminds you of what that hunger looks like, and it reminds me of where you were when you started this. I like to watch their videos and their photos and that keeps me motivated. I love fashion, so I like some different fashion pages and different stylists who obviously do their thing and post their pictures.

What’s your current fashion obsession?

I just like to look nice. I’m a perfectionist in a lot of areas and that’s part of what makes me who I am and kind of can get me in trouble, too. When I dress, I’m big on looking clean, looking professional and looking sharp.

What about a favorite brand?

[At the press conference before the fight] my suit was a Ted Baker. I had on a Ted Baker suit, Ted Baker shoes at the press conference and that was right off the rack, European cut. I like John Varvatos suits, those are really nice — another European cut. Really, just anything that looks nice. I’m not big on a particular brand, but if I see it and I like it, expensive or not expensive, if it looks good on me and I love it, I’m gonna get it and I’m gonna wear it.

What question are you asked most by fans?

‘Are you ready?’ It could be like two days before the fight, I run into a fan and he’s like, ‘Hey, buddy, are you ready for the fight?’ It’s like, I better be! If not, it’s too late. That’s the question we get that’s probably the most asked question and probably my least favorite question.

What’s your most frequently used emoji?

I like the thinking emoji, kind of with his hand on his chin. And the wide-eyed emoji with the shocked face.

What’s the last show you binged?

There’s two of them. Superstore and Fresh Off the Boat.

Which pro athlete would you never want to trade places with?

Oooh. Aw, man. I don’t want to throw him under the bus. I feel like I’m about to throw somebody under the bus with my answer. The athlete I probably wouldn’t want to trade places with right now is Tiger Woods.

If you could go to dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Muhammad Ali.

What is the last thing you Googled? Why?

I was sleep-deprived and up late last night and I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to spell the word ‘scowl,’ so I Googled it. I was posting pictures to my IG and I just couldn’t figure it out. Thank God for Google.

What is the worst purchase you ever made?

Early in my career, I didn’t know much about the suit game or how it worked and I kind of got talked into buying this old, three-piece suit, socks, gator shoes, everything and I was charged double the price. I didn’t realize it until a year or two later when I kind of got more mature with my money and quality of suits and things like that. That suit that I bought was not worth it and they got me on that one. But I learned!

Who would you want to play you in your biopic?

Cuba Gooding Jr.

What is one thing you did in the past year that you never thought you’d do?

My team gotta start giving me prep for these interviews! I didn’t know you were gonna ask such tough questions. Fly on a private jet.

What’s the last stamp on your passport?

Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

What is the most embarrassing music you have to admit you listen to?

Even though she’s popular, probably Adele and her song Hello. People wouldn’t think that I’d have that in my playlist.

What songs are at the top of your playlists these days?

I got a strong list of gospel rappers. People sleep on those guys. Lecrae, KB, Tedashii, Bizzle, Eshon Burgundy, these are guys that are ultratalented and gifted and people are finding out about them. They got dope music.

Where does your courage come from?

My faith in God and my relationship with him. We all have to face fear, we face it in different ways, but I constantly pray for courage and he gives it to me.

What’s the one app you love that no one else loves?

That’s a good one. Probably WebMD mobile. I’m big on self-diagnosing. It’s a medical app that you can go on there and put your symptoms in there. My wife is always like, ‘Enough already!’ I’m like I’m sneezing and I’m scratching my arm so I feel like I got — so, yeah, the WebMD app.

What keeps you undefeated in life?

I think it’s just about effort, regardless of what you do. It could be sports, you could be a garbage man, you could be a CEO of a major company and still not give your best effort or still not be maximizing your potential. I’m really big on that. If you take an L or if something happens — a person gets fired or they don’t get the job — but they did everything in their power or that they’re physically capable of doing and they didn’t squander anything, you can live with those results. I’m fine with that. It’s when a person doesn’t maximize their potential and they don’t do what they’re supposed to do — it’s hard to live with that. Maximize your potential, give it everything you have, use everything you have. The chips will fall where they fall, but at least you can walk away knowing that you did your part. By the way, this is probably the most challenging interview that I’ve had probably ever, but it was good, though. I loved it.

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.