FanPost promoted by Brickhaus. The press conference is now over, and Waldo did manage to live-blog the events, which are in the comments. Most interestingly, Kalle Sauerland is threatening to call off the fight, and has filed a formal protest with the WBA, since he does not believe the officials for the fight meet the proper standards of impartiality. Namely, two of the judges are from Ward's home state of California, and the referee is American and not from a neutral country.
While most of the boxing world is still enraptured with the incredible performance of Manny Pacquiao, and his next opponent, Showtime is in the corner jumping up and down trying to get your attention. When you decide to take a break from salivating over the possibility of Mayweather-Pacquiao, there is another huge fight this weekend for the WBA Super Middleweight belt. Of course, I'm talking about the final fight of the first round of the Super Six, and arguably one of the most difficult to predict.
Mikkel "the Viking Warrior" Kessler (42-1 32 KOs) comes in as the favorite not only in the fight but as the one to take the whole tournament. He is the one with the experience at 168 and has been a title holder since essentially 2004 (with a little bit of a Calzaghe break in there). His only loss was to Joe Calzaghe, and even in defeat he looked pretty good still. Also the loss to Calzaghe was really seen as a good thing, motivating him to work harder and improve further, where this loss could have been mentally devastating.
However, there are a couple issues with Kessler. He hasn't really been in the ring with great competition since the Calzaghe fight (Dimitri Sartison, Danilo Haussler, and Gusmyr Perdomo not exactly a murder's row right there). Also some people say, one of the writers over at TSS I forget who, said that Kessler looked stiff in the fight against Perdomo, and that Ward's speed will take advantage of that. I thought he looked pretty good dismantling the scrub in a tune up fight, but perhaps I was simply blinded by Kesssler's totally awesome tattoos.
Andre "S.O.G." Ward (20-0 13 KOs) comes into the tournament as one of the 2 prospect Andres. Coming into the tournament he had a better resume than Dirrell mainly coming from a solid win over Edison Miranda. Known for being a fast technical boxer, with a strikingly good ability to switch between orthodox and southpaw. In my opinion Ward's best rounds against Miranda were when he switched it up to southpaw, landing more solid shots. Although he is an underdog, he does have several advantages. First, he's at home and all of the Super Six fights have gone to the home team. Second, he was also an underdog going into the 2004 Olympics and he came out with the gold medal.
Obviously Ward has the downside of being at the top level for a short amount of time. This would be the first time he would face anyone the quality of a Mikkel Kessler and his low KO number versus mostly scrubs likely points to the fact that he does not have much power. Most of the issue with Ward is the unknown. Is he really fast? How effective will switching stances be against someone like Kessler? Can he really take the punch from someone who has power? And so on...
Besides trying to drum up interest, the main point of this post is that I will be at the Press Conference today in downtown Oakland (Starts 11:30 AM PST). Both of these fighters are fairly respectful of each other, so don't expect any fireworks between the two. However, Goosen and Sauerland will probably be there so there might be fireworks there. And its in downtown Oakland, meaning that someone might get shot, and I will definitely be asked by some hobo/druggie why all the people are in his park. I'll try to liveblog in the comments but its dependent on there being magical wifi near city hall. Any observations you want or any other information about the press conference I'll try to answer in the comments.