Andre Ward: 'Carl Froch needs to beat me to become a great'

Carl Froch and Andre Ward

Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler

O2 Arena, London
Saturday, 25 May
Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Nottingham from 23:00 BST, and live text commentary - including the build-up and undercard fights - on the BBC Sport website, mobiles and app.

Carl Froch will only be considered a boxing great if the Briton returns to the United States and avenges his loss to Andre Ward, says the American.

Super-middleweight Froch is preparing for a world title fight against Mikkel Kessler on Saturday.

The 35-year-old has only lost twice in his career, against Kessler and Ward.

"That result eats away at him," Ward told BBC Sport. "For him to be considered an all-time great he has to try and come and avenge that loss."

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Froch confident ahead of Kessler rematch

Ward, who is second behind Floyd Mayweather Jr in Ring magazine's pound for pound world rankings, has arrived in the UK to watch Saturday's fight at the O2 Arena.

Since beating Nottingham's Froch in December 2011 in Atlantic City, the 29-year-old has extended his 100% record to 26 victories with 14 inside the distance.

Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn said earlier this week that a fight between the two could happen next, with the American "dying for a rematch [because] Froch is a true superstar".

The American, who has only fought twice outside his home country, when beating Jerson Ravelo and Roger Cantrell in the Cayman Islands and St Lucia respectively, says he would consider a rematch against Froch - but will not be "manipulated" into fighting him in the United Kingdom.

"I have never refused to fight in the UK, contrary to what Carl's team has said," said Ward. "The reality is that I don't have to fight in the UK to become a star in the world of boxing but Froch has to come and stake his claim in the United States of America in order to be recognised domestically and worldwide.

"He did come to the USA but it didn't turn out the way he thought it would and now he is more comfortable fighting back at home.

"I'll consider it, but they need to understand this isn't something I have to do or be manipulated into doing. If I did it, it would be to reward the UK fans because they have always given me tremendous support.

"Look at [British super-middleweight] George Groves, he is spending a lot of time in the USA because he knows that is where he has to make it. Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe had to come to the US too."

WBC super champion Ward beat Froch unanimously in New Jersey, but says he was suffering with a hand injury during the fight and will beat Froch more convincingly if they were to meet again.

"I wasn't at my best in the first fight and I would love to show Carl Froch what a fit and healthy Andre Ward can do without a hand injury," said Ward, who believes the Englishman might have a slight advantage against Dane Kessler because of home advantage.

"The Froch fight was the biggest fight of my career but I had a fractured hand and I did what I had to do to win. The second time around, I will be much more dominant."

Listen to Andre Ward's full interview in Thursday night's 5 live Sport, from 19:00 BST.

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