After two years of top matchups, delays, postponements, injury withdrawals, "injury withdrawals," and more drama than TNT, the Super Six World Boxing Classic concludes tonight in Atlantic City.
Two years ago when the tournament started, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham were installed as the betting favorites to win the whole shebang. But here we are with Andre Ward and Carl Froch, the American and the Brit, the two standouts of the tournament.
Ward has joined many pound-for-pound lists in the last two years, and his tournament wins over Kessler, Allan Green and Abraham have been dominant, and when he lost a tournament fight due to Andre Dirrell's backing out, he didn't match himself easily in a "filler" fight, taking on tough and rugged Sakio Bika in what was actually a tougher fight for him than any of the tournament bouts.
Froch continues to surprise many. In the tournament, he has defeated Andre Dirrell, Abraham and Glen Johnson. He also lost in Denmark to Kessler, in what was by far the best fight of the tournament.
Carl Froch is a good fighter, but never in any fight to date has he been exceptional. I don't think Ward is quite the super talent he's occasionally sold as being; he doesn't have eye-popping talent and he's never going to be a superstar. I have been a Super Six critic along the way, and this fight seems like most of them to me: Sure, they're highly-ranked and that's nice, but is this really a good fight? Will it have much action? Will it be truly memorable? If I'm totally honest, I think we see one of two things: A dirty fight without much clean punching, or a snoozer where Froch gets too tentative and can't connect as Ward mugs him inside. I like Carl Froch a lot -- I think he's an interesting guy, a serious overachiever, and a guy who has real balls in and out of the ring. As a personality, he's one of my current favorite fighters. But I do not believe he has the style or the skills to beat Andre Ward, particularly if Ward gets in close. Froch will be there, but this is the fight where it's going to truly be a bit too much for him. Ward is simply a better fighter, in my estimation, but Carl Froch has proven myself and many others wrong repeatedly. Ward by decision.
I just have this feeling that Froch will try to go in there and box with Ward--at least the first few rounds--due to his potentially misguided estimation of his own ability vis a vis Ward. What Froch *should* do is throw caution to the wind and try to bomb Ward out, get him fighting on his back foot and pressure and outwork him. I just don't know if Froch has enough to beat Ward here--stylistically, the matchup seems bad for him. I'm going with Ward by decision because I almost can't see the fight going any other way. Ward by decision.
I think we're going to see a messy fight, with a lot of up close mauling. From a distance, I think Froch is actually the better fighter. He's got underrated skills from range, most notably a good jab - a punch that Arthur Abraham had some success with against Ward in the early part of the semi-finals. However, in close, Ward has the edge. It's not that his inside skills are brilliant, as he uses some rather unsavory tactics in close, but they're certainly very effective.
Ward has the quickness to close the gap, and that's going to be key as it will be difficult for Froch to keep the fight at a range where he'll be able to operate at his best. I think he'll be employing a similar strategy to the one that worked against Kessler. Jump in, and start mugging. Froch is going to be ready for it, certainly more ready than Kessler was, but it's a difficult style to fight against.
Ward by 116-112 type scores. I hope I'm wrong though, as I'm not a fan of Ward's tactics. Ward by decision.
I think this is going to be a real fight. Both guys might set out to box, but once they start landing, I expect it to become action-packed and dirty. If Ward leads with his head, expect Froch to lead with his in return. If Froch hits low, Ward will reply with his own. These guys are just too tough, too driven and too focused for it to be anything but a fight, and as such, I think this could be by far the most entertaining fight of Ward's career. I'm in agreement with Virgil Hunter when he says that Ward's fights have basically been dull because of his opponents - as soon as Ward starts whacking them around the ring, they've given up. Carl Froch, though, is not that man, and he'll be fighting with Ward all the way. I've already explained why I don't think Froch is the perfect opponent for Ward as many have suggested; however, I am backing the American to win a close, competitive decision after a good fight. I expect to see a lot of momentum shifts, with neither guy able to enjoy periods of sustained dominance, but I think Ward's quicker hands and tighter defence sees him just about edging this one. Ward by decision.
Like most, I favor Ward in this fight, and I favor him pretty widely. Andre Ward will outsmart Carl Froch Saturday night, and I do think the fight will boil down to intelligence and strategy. While Froch can box, he doesn't have the multidimensional fight ability of Ward, who is one of the most versatile fighters in the game. Froch's one vaunted advantage--power--isn't much of an advantage. He's just not as strong or hard hitting as he projects, and Ward is certainly powerful enough to keep Froch honest. I underestimated Froch at first, but even considering he is better than I used to think, he still won't be good enough to beat Ward, who will dominate the late rounds of the fight and cruise to a relatively easy UD. Ward by decision.
While I wouldn't be shocked to see Froch pull out the win here, I just think that Ward is too slick, too quick, and too talented for Froch to get the W. Also, if Froch tries to make it a dirty street fight, I'm sure Ward will happily oblige him. I think Ward is just as comfortable in the trenches as Froch is and I can't help thinking that Froch is due a loss at this level and that he really isn't as good as the likes of Ward, and probably Lucian Bute either. Froch is a fighter who deserves respect for the way he goes about his business and I think he will bring the fight to Ward on Saturday, but ultimately I really see Ward as being a level above him. Ward by decision.
Ward's boxing skills, especially Ward's inside boxing skills will take him to a points victory in this fight. Like many other analysts, I see this fight becoming very dirty with Ward's headbutts and Froch's dirty tactics in retaliation. I think this might be a close fight in the beginning of the fight, like the Ward-Abraham fight with Ward figuring out a way to implement his gameplan in order to dominate. Since Ward will be doing very well toward the end of the fight, I can see Froch becoming extremely frustrated and doing something rash. I really hope that this fight does not end in controversy, but I could see it happening. Anyways, Ward takes this points victory and it's not going to be pretty. Ward by decision.