Ward calls Froch-Johnson a 50-50 fight; Chavez-Zbik & Garcia-Guzman on Saturday; Murray-Blackwell on 6/18
NEW YORK (June 2, 2011) – Carl Froch is the heavy favorite to defeat Glen Johnson Saturday in Atlantic City live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), but Super Six World Boxing Classic Finalist Andre Ward believes there’s a decent chance that “The Road Warrior” can upset “The Cobra” to claim the World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Middleweight title and advance to the tournament Final.
Article posted on 02.06.2011
"It’s a 50-50 fight,” Ward said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Carl Froch dominated Glen Johnson and I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson pulled the upset.”
Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) will face the Froch-Johnson winner in the Final of the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup and global recognition as the world’s No. 1 168-pound fighter.
“Mentally, I’m prepared to fight either guy,” Ward said. “The fans want to see Ward and Froch but it is Froch’s job to take care of his business and uphold his end of the bargain and Glen Johnson will have something to say about that on June 4."
Mikkel Kessler, who defeated Froch in Group Stage 2 before withdrawing from the tournament with a serious eye injury, thinks Froch will have the upper hand in the Semifinal showdown.
“These are all difficult fights but I think Froch will win,” said Kessler, who will return to the ring for the first time since April 2010 in Saturday’s SHOWTIME co-feature. “It will be an awkward fight for both of them. They have different styles and different sizes, but Froch should win it.”
Kessler (43-2, 32 KOs), of Denmark, will face France’s Mehdi Bouadla (22-3, 10 KOs) in a same-day-delay telecast from Parken Football Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark. Kessler, who lost the WBA title to Ward in Group Stage 1, has shown interest in challenging Froch or Ward in a rematch in the future, or squaring off with IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute, should he emerge victorious from Saturday’s comeback bout.
“I’d prefer a rematch against Froch in the future over a fight against Johnson,” Kessler said. “Froch would make the best matchup for Ward. I hope that Froch will learn from Ward’s previous fights. I didn’t know much about Ward when I fought him – he’s fast and clever. I definitely would want to see Ward vs. Froch in the Final.”
Like Kessler, Bute – who will be ringside for the fight – also thinks Froch will edge out Johnson in a tough scrap.
“I think Carl Froch will beat Glen Johnson in a spectacular fight,” Bute said. “Glen is a good fighter with a lot of experience. He’ll do his best to get to the Final of the Super Six. But Froch is younger and physically stronger. He’ll win by decision in a tough fight.”
While Bute (28-0, 23 KOs), of Montreal, Canada, by way of Romania, hasn’t fought any of the fighters in the tournament, he’s eagerly awaiting his chance to face the best 168-pounders in the world.
“I want to face anybody who wants to fight me,” Bute said. “I’m ready for everyone. I can’t wait for my next fight in my own country of Romania in July. It’s going to be an amazing experience for me and a dream come true. I will beat (Jean-Paul) Mendy. After that, I want a big fight this fall and then face the winner of the Super Six.”
Bute will defend his IBF title against Mendy (29-0-1, 26 KOs) on July 9 in Bucharest, Romania. Highlights from the fight will be televised on the July 9 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader. Brando Rios will defend his WBA Lightweight Championship for the first time against Urbano Antillon in the main event while Kermit Cintron will square off with Carlos Molina in the co-feature.
While Bute thinks Froch will defeat Johnson, he asserts “The Road Warrior” would be a tougher opponent for Ward in the Final.
“In my opinion, Carl Froch and Glen Johnson could be a good match up for Andre Ward,” Bute said. “Froch-Ward would be more a strategic fight; Froch has a good jab and he moves well in the ring.
“But Johnson-Ward would be more spectacular. Johnson is an aggressive fighter and he would constantly pressure Andre Ward. With either matchup it’s really a win-win situation.”
Froch-Johnson is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, Warriors Boxing and Carl Froch.
Chavez-Zbik & Garcia-Guzman on HBO on Saturday, 6/4
HBO’s hit late-night boxing franchise presents a middleweight title showdown when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: SEBASTIAN ZBIK VS. JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR. AND MIKEY GARCIA VS. RAFAEL GUZMAN is seen SATURDAY, JUNE 4 at 10:00 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT), from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, exclusively on HBO. The HBO Sports team of Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Other HBO playdates: June 5 (10:30 a.m.) and 6 (12:35 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: June 5 (4:45 p.m.) and 7 (11:00 p.m.)
From Schwerin, Germany, middleweight titleholder Sebastian Zbik (30-0, 10 KOs), 29, is making both his U.S. and HBO debut in this scheduled 12-round bout. A native of Culiacan, Mexico, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (42-0-1, 30 KOs), 25, is the son of Julio Cesar Chavez, perhaps Mexico’s greatest fighter, who fashioned a brilliant career with 115 pro fights from 1980 to 2005. The younger Chavez, who is also making his first appearance on HBO, previously fought at Staples Center in 2005 and is counting on a strong home-crowd advantage.
The previously announced fight between Mikey Garcia and Miguel Beltran, Jr. has been cancelled due to injury. The opening bout now features the 23-year-old Garcia (25-0, 21 KOs), a fast-rising featherweight from Oxnard, Cal., versus 25-year-old Rafael Guzman (28-2, 20 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico. This 126-pound tilt is scheduled for ten rounds. Garcia returns to HBO after his impressive win in March over Matt Remillard in Atlantic City.
Follow HBO boxing news at hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/hboboxing and on Twitter at twitter.com/hboboxing.
The executive producer of HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is Rick Bernstein; producer, Thomas Odelfelt; director, Mike Sheehan.
® HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is a registered service mark of Home Box Office, Inc.
Martin Murray vs. Nick Blackwell on 6/18
MARTIN MURRAY fears his hopes of winning a Lonsdale Belt outright will be crushed because of his desire to meet the world’s top middleweights.
The St Helens boxer bids to become British champion when he meets Nick Blackwell for the vacant crown at Wigan’s Robin Park Arena on Saturday June 18.
But Murray, who is unbeaten in 22 contests, may not hang around long enough to make the three defences needed to get the belt for keeps.
Murray ranked fifth in the world rankings by the WBA is eyeing up the winner of the world title clash between Felix Sturm and arch domestic rival Martin Murray.
He said: “As soon as I turned pro and my friend Jamie Moore won a British title, the Lonsdale belt was something I always wanted.
“I would love to win a Lonsdale belt outright, but I will have to be quick, but it might not be possible because I want to move on.
“I am 28-years-old and want to get going. I don’t want to hang about at domestic level for too long despite the temptation of a Lonsdale belt.”
He will also be risking his World Boxing Association (WBA) inter-continental and Commonwealth title against undefeated Trowbridge youngster Blackwell.
The bill also includes Olympic star Joe Murray.
British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla also boxes when he faces a selected opponent with the vacant WBA inter-continental lightweight title.
Prospects on the undercard include Adam Little, Dale Miles and Chris Male.
Tickets for this big night of title action are available £35, £55 (Ringside) and £75 VIP Ringside, www.brandhatton.com /0844 847 2500/ 01925 755222
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