After two long years, Andre Ward proved himself as the class of the super middleweights with a fantastic win over Carl Froch. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Andre Ward was dominant tonight against Carl Froch in Atlantic City, winning a decision on scores of 118-110, 115-113, and 115-113 to claim the Super Six World Boxing Classic trophy, retain his WBA title, pick up the WBC title, and gain recognition as the Ring Magazine world super middleweight champion.
Ward (25-0, 13 KO) completely bossed the fight from start to finish, and the two 115-113 scores were surprisingly close, with even Froch (28-2, 20 KO) seemingly surprised by how many rounds judges Craig Metcalfe and John Steward gave him. It was actually the fight's English judge, John Keane, who scored it widest. Bad Left Hook scored it 119-109 for Ward, with a couple of rounds that could definitely have gone the other way.
It was Ward's speed that gave Froch problems, as well as a slippery defensive game plan that saw him make Froch miss, and hesitate to pull the trigger. There was a point in the middle rounds where Froch chased Ward from one side of the ring to the other, throwing shots, landing nothing. That moment was indicative of much of the fight: Froch just couldn't find Andre Ward, and simply put, wasn't good enough to beat him tonight.
Ward had his most offensive success with a left hook, but set everything up early with a terrific jab that put him on the path. In the first round, Froch's nose reddened up due to that jab, and eventually, Ward started landing that left hook and a good lead right hand very effectively.
Ward countered well, bullied well, stalked well, and was able to lead the action when he wanted to, and use Froch's aggressiveness against him when he wanted to, as well. In other words, the 27-year-old from Oakland was simply better-prepared and a superior fighter, and there's no argument about it.
But for the 34-year-old Froch, this was no damning defeat. After the bout, he said he had a bad night, but was incredibly honest in his overall assessment, that Ward was just too slick and too good. After the two fighters spoke with Jim Gray, they exchanged words with one another.
"No hard feelings," said Ward.
"None at all," Froch replied. "You won the fight. Simple as that."
It was a class show of respect from two fighters who talked before the fight, did their business in the ring, and then were able to win and lose with grace.
As for what's next, Ward said he's going to take a rest -- he even said "I deserve a long rest" -- while Froch said he'd love to fight Ward again after he works on correcting his mistakes, but also said there were several other fights that he feels would be good for him. No mention was made of Lucian Bute, though Ward vs Bute is now unquestionably the fight at 168 pounds.
After two sometimes torturous, sometimes absurd, and sometimes admirable years of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, the tournament has come to a close. And standing tall at the end is the man who opened eyes in "Stage One" against Mikkel Kessler back in November 2009. Andre Ward has proven himself as the class of the super middleweight division.