Arthur Abraham started out with energy and nasty intent early on in the main event of a Showtime Super Six semifinal which took place at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on Saturday night. But in round four, Andre Ward had sized him up, got his joints lubed up, and the American took over the scrap from there on. By the end rounds, the only drama remaining came from the question: Could Ward stop Abraham? He tried, but the ex middleweight champion still has an above-average chin left. Truth be told, he doesn't have all that much more than that. The judges spoke after 12 rounds, giving Ward the nod, via UD, by scores of 120-108, 118-110, 118-111.
My takeaway: let's be honest, it looks like Abraham was over-touted to start the Super Six. His sole win in the tourney, beating Jermain Taylor, doesn't look all that stellar now, not for a guy seen by many as a fave to win it all. He might be better suited, if he can make 160, to head back down there. Ward, on the other hand, is a P4P top 20 guy. But an absence of pop holds him back. His power is average, and while he's technically tight, he isn't a smooth stylist. Thus, his identity as a fighter, as an attraction, is still up in the air.
Ward went 178-444, to 158-333 for Abraham. Both men could've been a bit busier over 12 rounds. After, Ward said he did well, but wanted to be more of an entertainer. Abe, meanwhile, whined, as usual. He said he didn't think the scores were that wide, and that Ward didn't hit him cleanly. Will he go back to 160, asked Jim Gray? No, Abe said, he'll stay at 168.
Ward (WBA super middleweight champion; age 27; from Oakland; 23-0 entering) weighed 168 pounds, while Abraham (age 31; from Armenia, living in Germany; coming off a loss to Carl Froch in SS, beat S. Bozic in March; 32-2 entering) was 167 pounds on Friday.
In the first, Abe looked better than he did in his last effort. Ward went downstairs, since Abe had his guard up high.
In the second, Abe showed fire. He looked to pile up combos. He also got warned for holding, while Ward went low with a left.
In the third, Ward's jab was steadier. But Abe's aggressiveness was still on display.
In the fourth, Abe followed Ward, who used his legs to better effect. The American had figured out the Armenian, it looked like, and got lubed up.
In the fifth, Abe was backing up more and more. Ward hit on a break, and the ref told both men to keep it clean. Abe's trainer told him to put more pressure on ward after the round.
In the sixth, Ward started righty; he'd been righty most of the way. The he went lefty, not sure why, he had things in hand as a right-hander. Abe looked a bit beat after the round.
In the seventh, things looked more bleak for Abe. His guard was high, and too often he simply blocked, and didn't even try to return fire. He threw just nine punches, and landed five.
In the eighth, Abe rushed in, looking to land meaningful hooks. His jab wasn't present at all.
In the ninth, Abe showed more fire. But Ward's jab dictated the tempo and tone.
In the 10th, it was all Ward. "Arthur, throw some punches," his trainer told him after the round.
In the 11th, Abe still tried to land a home run, mostly via overhand rights, but Ward's reflexes wouldn't allow that.
In the 12th, Abe landed a few hard shots. Ward's trainer probably had a mini cardiac arrest. We'd go to the cards.
Check back for David Avila's ringside report.
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