The former ruler at 168 pounds challenges hard-hitting Sergey Kovalev for the honor on November 19 and believes the Russian hasn’t been given the praise he deserves for all but cleaning up at the higher limit.
“You got to respect Sergey for the way he has gotten to where he has gotten,” said Ward.
“He didn’t have any soft touches. He wasn’t protected. He wasn’t really pushed by the media. He is a guy who should get a lot more credit than he has. The winner of this fight could possibly be pound-for-pound #1.”
On the fight itself, Ward added: “I am excited, man. I am looking forward to it.
“I want to be the light heavyweight champion of the world. I got past this step. He got past his step.
“We will see you in November. I have been doing this for 22 years and if I am not ready to fight the best now then I will never be ready.
“I have been preparing for these moments since I been a kid.
Betting for the super-fight sees Ward begin as the slight favorite as the more skilled of the two, although Kovalev is known to be one of the most feared punchers in the sport and will be no easy task for the ‘S.O.G.’