<
>

Andre Ward has stitches removed

OAKLAND, Calif. -- WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward said Sunday he is feeling much better after having stitches removed from above his right eye and is looking forward to his rescheduled fight against Carl Froch in the Super Six super middleweight tournament final.

Ward and Froch were slated to meet Oct. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J., before Ward got injured in training last month. He had seven stitches removed last Friday, but the fight was rescheduled for Dec. 17.

"Anytime that happens, it's a disappointing thing," Ward said. "Once I realized the cut wasn't career ending or career threatening, and it was just something that kind of happened I was feeling a lot better. Especially once I got a new date and a new time, everything settled down a little bit."

Ward said he is still working out and will be able to resume contact at the end of the month.

Ward (24-0, 13 KOs), who is from Oakland, is the WBA's 168-pound champion. Froch (28-1, 20 KOs), from Nottingham, England, holds the WBC super middleweight belt.

Ward and Froch dominated the six-man 168-pound tournament backed by premium network Showtime, eliminating favorites Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham on the way to the final.

"The guy I'm fighting is doing a little bit too much talking," Ward said. "He's a very arrogant guy and really needs to be humbled."

Ward was at the Oakland Raiders' game against the New England Patriots on Sunday. He was invited by Oakland coach Hue Jackson and addressed the team for about 20 minutes the night before the game.

"I hope I encouraged them," Ward said. "I hope I said something that stuck. They also inspired me. They looked primed and ready to go."