Andre Ward may have gotten away with some dirty tactics tonight, but you cannot deny one solid fact. The Olympic gold medalist frustrated, outboxed and outclassed Mikkel Kessler tonight, beating the Danish star by technical decision after the bout was stopped in the 11th round.
Ward won on scores of 98-92, 98-92 and 97-93. The fight was stopped on a cut ruled caused by a headbutt. Kessler was also bleeding over the other eye, which was also caused by a butt that wasn't called. Kessler (42-2, 32 KO) complained for the last few rounds in the corner that he couldn't see, and complained after the fight of Ward's holding and his headbutts.
Ward (21-0, 13 KO) also appeared to stray low frequently. California referee Jack Reiss called almost nothing on Ward, but it is what it is. Kessler may have legitimate gripes, but I don't think anyone that watched them tonight would argue that Kessler was beating Ward no matter what was called. Ward was faster, sharper, more confident, and had Kessler confused and frustrated early and often.
Kessler had trouble adjusting to Ward's speed, angles and overall offensive attack. He was not beating Ward tonight.
This was a coming out party for the American Ward, who frankly showed savvy I didn't think he had yet. He looked from the get-go like he knew he would win, and he put it on Kessler. I had Kessler the No. 1 super middleweight in the world coming into tonight. That has certainly changed now. Andre Ward put his stamp on the world of boxing and on the Super Six World Boxing Classic tonight.
We'll have more tomorrow, but for now, Andre Ward and his fans should revel in a career-making victory over Mikkel Kessler.