Ward looked close to great til the midpoint and then faded a bit, but still, all in all, Ward is a pound for pounder. How does he do against Bute?
After two plus years, the world has determined who the best super middleweight in the world is. Andre Ward had his way with Carl Froch, showing skills that will make fans mention him more when they are discussing the pound for pound best, in the main event at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday night, which served as the finale of Showtime’s Super Six super middleweight tournament.
Ward looked like he might pull away from Froch midway through, as his hand speed and defensive excellence made Froch look semi subpar. Froch hung tough, however, and made Ward work, but still lost out, by scores of 115-113, 115-113, 118-110. I liked the 118-110 score as being most representative of what I saw.
After, Ward said that his speed was clearly better right away. He said Froch looked slow from the get go. Ward said he knew he hurt Froch a few times, and saw that in his eyes. The winner said he knew that Froch tried to get in his head, but it didn't work. "I can't believe it, I can't believe it," he said when asked how it feels to be the Super Six champ."We can still get better, believe it or not."
Asked about Lucian Bute, he said he'd talk to his team, and wasn't bound to fight him.
Froch said after he had a bad night. He said Ward was slick and slippery, like a eel. "He's very tricky in close," the Brit said. He said Ward kept his head low, and moved it smartly. He said he tried to hit him too hard, and gave props to Ward for being a good defender. Froch said next he'd talk to his trainer and promoter, and thinks he could beat Ward, on a good night. But he said he can entertain against other fighters.
They shook hands after and both men said no hard feelings.
The WBA super middle champ Ward (age 27; from Oakland, CA; 24-0 with 13 KOs entering) weighed 168 Friday, while the WBC super middle champ Froch (age 34; from Nottingham, England; 28-1 with 20 KOs entering) was 167 ½ pounds on Friday.
John Keane, Craig Metcalfe and John Steward were the judges, while Steve Smoger was the ref.
Ward beat Andre Dirrell, lost to Mikkel Kessler and beat Arthur Abraham and Glen Johnson to get to the finals. Ward went 4-0, beating to make it to the finale. He beat Kessler, Allan Green, Andre Dirrell (by forfeit) and Abraham, and also beat Sakio Bika in a stay-busy bout in that span.
In the first, Ward backed up as Froch advanced. Ref Smoger when they clinched asked the men to fight out of it, and they did. He told Ward to stop holding. Froch missed badly with a right and one wondered if Ward would be too quick and athletic for the Brit.
In the second, Ward closed the distance. His jab worked in the first and second, and his hook got cooking as well.
In the third, the Ward jab bothered Froch. Both men were right there for each other, this was no chase and catch affair. Froch started working to the body with the right and looked more loose.
In the fourth, Ward’s right, short, tight, was spot on. The two rumbled on the ropes and Smoger let ‘em go. Froch was missing in obvious fashion. His hand speed and accuracy were lacking.
In the fifth, Ward made his foe miss, and then made him pay. A left hook on the way in scored well to end the round.
In the sixth, Ward stayed relaxed, and that left connected solidly on the Brit. His timing was impeccable, and one could see in this round that a stoppage for Ward seemed possible.
In round seven, it was a bit messier but Ward still edged it out. In round eight, Ward’s right cross was a stinger. He led and connected when he chose to and worked well as a counterpuncher, finding openings when Froch got out of position or off balance. Froch landed after the bell, a right cross, out of frustration, and the crowd booed. Ward didn’t flinch an inch.
In the ninth, Froch got chippy, hitting behind the head when Ward got grabby. Ward went lefty for a bit at the end of the round. This was a tight round, up for grabs to the judges.
In the tenth, Froch had energy, and he knew he’d been in deep water like this before. This was another round up for grabs. Ward fell off from the middle rounds, when it looked like he might pull away.
In the 11th, Ward grabbed more. He didn’t have the same zip he had earlier but he was still solid.
In the 12th, Froch went off, knowing he needed to. The round was a bit ragged, and sloppy, with multiple clinches. We'd go to the cards.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV