Final Showdown – Froch v Ward: Thoughts from ‘The Brain’
By Martin ‘The Brain’ Potter of the Boxing Clever Podcast: In today’s boxing landscape a lot of fights are, wrongly, sold to fans, pundits and TV companies alike as being 50:50 match-ups or ‘pick-em’ fights as they say in the trade. Unfortunately many who should know better – and I have been guilty of it in the past – swallow the hype and build up matches as ‘even’ contests when really they are nothing of the sort; Pacquiao v Mosley is a perfect recent example.
Article posted on 10.06.2011
The ground breaking Super Six tournament to find the world’s best super-middleweight has not been guilty of producing such phoney fights (Alan Green aside) and the business end of the tournament, a final showdown between Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch and Andre ‘SOG’ Ward, genuinely is a ‘pick-em’ fight worthy of the tag. But how might it play out?
It would be easy to portray this match up as slugger against boxer, with Froch cast as the former and Ward the latter, but neither of these excellent fighters quite conforms to their allotted roles. It is true that Carl has been involved in a lot of wars and, as Nigel Benn would say ‘loves a tear up’, but against Arthur Abraham Froch showed his skills and boxed well on the back foot behind a stiff jab. It is also often forgotten that Froch was a stellar amateur who captured a bronze medal for Great Britain – ‘The Cobra’ can box as well as brawl.
Ward on the other hand demonstrated his excellent technical pedigree by taking an Olympic gold medal and has continued to show great hand-speed, movement and ability in the pro ranks. Yet what has surprised (and in some cases upset) a lot of people is Ward’s ability and willingness to ‘mix it’, as he ably showed against Denmark’s ‘Viking Warrior’ Mikkel Kessler. Whilst I don’t condone illegal moves in the ring, Ward must be applauded to an extent for his use of ‘old skool’ tricks – perhaps he has been watching tapes of Bernard Hopkins?! This ‘SOG’ can brawl as well as box.
The fact that both fighters, as well as being extremely adept boxers, are also extremely adaptable boxers makes this a tricky fight to call. Froch may not be the ‘SOG’ in this fight but he may well be the toughest ‘SOB’ in boxing at the minute, as evidenced by his recent concrete chinned effort against Glen Johnson. As strange as it may sound though, Froch’s toughness could actually be a weakness in the fight with Ward. I have already heard Froch state that he will walk through Ward’s ‘feather duster’ punches and although I don’t believe Ward will knock Carl out, Froch’s statement seems to indicate that he will go after Ward head on - this will be a mistake. Like Froch, both Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham are big punchers with granite jaws who thought they could simply walk through the American. Both Kessler and Abraham came unstuck as Ward outboxed, and in the case of Kessler outfought, them.
If Froch does as he has indicated (and perhaps he won’t) and goes straight at Ward then this will suit the American who will be happy to just use his speed and reflexes to avoid the Brit’s big bombs, whilst popping out his fast jab. If Froch gets in close then Andre Ward won’t be afraid of the rough stuff. In the scenario that Carl Froch goes gung-ho then I believe Ward picks up a points win.
My feeling though is that Carl Froch, despite the number of right hands he took against Johnson, has matured as a fighter and will (and should) fight a more tactical fight against Ward. I think if Froch fights more on the back foot behind his long powerful jab then he will surprise Ward, who will be expecting an all-out ‘Cobra’ attack. If Froch can draw Ward on to the front foot then he has a chance of landing his unorthodox corkscrew uppercut and with his power, Froch can definitely hurt Ward and maybe even stop him. In the scenario that Froch fights tactical it becomes very interesting.
Overall if I had to pick a winner at this moment in time then I would still lean slightly towards Andre Ward as he doesn’t know how to lose and I believe he could be something special. However if there is one fighter in the super-middleweight division who could show the world that ‘SOG’ is a mere mortal then it is Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch. A genuine ‘pick-em’ fight and I reserve the right to change my mind!
To hear more boxing opinion and poor attempts at humour from ‘The Brain’ listen to the 5 star rated Boxing Clever Podcast, available on iTunes or at www.boxingcleverpodcast.libsyn.com .You can now also follow me (and no doubt abuse me) on Twitter @theboxingbrain or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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