Andre Ward Defeats Carl Froch and Wins Super Six Tournament

December 18, 2011

Photo Credit: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME

With superior handspeed, elusive defense, and a left hook that could not miss, Andre Ward dominated England’s Carl Froch to win the Super Six Tournament final by a unanimous decision in front of 5,626 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The victory unified the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council super middleweight titles, and also earned Ward both The Ring Magazine belt and the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic cup. Moreover, Ward now has genuine bragging rights to the claim of Number One super middleweight in the world.

A frontrunner for Fighter of the Year, Ward’s (25-0, 13 KOs) impressive run through the tournament has anointed him as the man to beat at 168 pounds.

“It’s supernatural. These are all great fighters. That’s why you don’t hear me talking badly about them before the fight. I know what I’m getting into. I just want to be a little bit better on the night of the fight.”

Ward, of Oakland, California, was more than a little bit better, and proved once again that he can fight any type of fight and win convincingly. Despite being the faster, slicker boxer, Ward stayed in the pocket many times throughout the bout and exchanged with the heavy-hitting Froch.

In addition, Ward also displayed his superior defense and boxing ability by constantly blocking shots, moving his head, and slipping out of harm's way with good footwork.

“He’s very good defensively,” Froch said of Ward. “I couldn’t get my shots off. I never found myself in the range. Ward was either too close and smothering me or too far away.”

Ward was too quick for Froch, as he often got off first with an accurate jab or left hook.  Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) seemed tight throughout the fight and frustrated by Ward’s ability to slip punches.

On the outside, Ward nullified Froch's four-inch reach advantage by getting off first with his faster hands.  On the interior, Ward won the exchanges by throwing the shorter, straighter shots, as compared to Froch's more looping punches.

“Right away, I was actually surprised how slow Froch was,” said Ward. “We were just able to beat him to the punch and that’s what won us the fight.”

Froch was gracious in defeat and offered no excuses. “I lost tonight, fair and square. I had a bad night.”

He elaborated, “I couldn’t get anything going. He’s very slippery. It was very frustrating for me. It was a bad night.”

After the final bell, Ward raised his hands in victory when judge John Keane (United Kingdom) awarded him the bout 118-110, and both Craig Metcalfe (Canada) and John Stewart (United States) scored the 12-rounder for Ward at 115-113. The Metcalfe and Stewart scorecards were unjustly close, and reflected borderline incompetence on their part given the lopsided nature of the bout.

Ward’s arduous journey through the Super Six tournament included dominant victories over former champion Mikkel Kessler (TD11), Allan Green (UD12), Arthur Abraham (UD12), and Froch (UD12). He also won a tough bout over veteran Sakio Bika in between those tournament fights.

For Froch, the tournament provided mostly ups, but some significant downs. He scored a split decision win over Andre Dirrell before losing his WBC title in a unanimous decision loss to Kessler. He rebounded by winning back the vacant WBC belt by unanimous decision over Abraham and then scored a majority decision victory over Glen Johnson in the Semifinals.

The likely next opponent for Ward would be Lucian Bute, the one elite super middleweight who did not participate in the event.  Bute has been racking up wins in Canada while the Super Six proceeded along, and is the lone big name left in the division for Ward to conquer.

Then again, there was a certain distinguished, bespectacled gentlemen observing the proceedings from ringside Saturday night.  And should that gentlemen -- more commonly known as Bernard Hopkins -- ever decide to give the 168-pound division a try, Ward would certainly want to get his crack at the boxing legend.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor of The Daily Sports Herald

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