Boxing


Ward Will Be Too Much For Froch

Andre WardBy Kevin L. Johnston: Tonight concludes the tumultuous Super Six World Boxing Classic which will crown, at least for the time being, either Andre Ward or Carl Froch as the best super middleweight in the land. Of course, Lucian Bute is waiting in the wings to fight the winner of tonight’s bout which will ultimately prove without a doubt who the best super middleweight in the world is. But that’s a debate for 2012; for the time being the two finalists deserve nothing but praise, as do the promoters and organizers of the Super Six Tournament.

It would have been so easy to cancel the Super Six after so many bumps in the road. We’ve pretty much seen it all along the way, from Jermaine Taylor epically melting down once again in the 12th round against Arthur Abraham then withdrawing from the competition, to Mikkel Kessler’s eye injury and Andre Dirrell’s neurological concerns after receiving a cheap shot from Abraham, to Ward’s need to push back the date of the final after suffering a cut over his eye in training that required stitches. Showtime and all parties involved deserve immense credit for staying the course and finishing the competition despite setback after setback.

Now that the final bout is here, who holds the stylistic edge in the ring tonight? Although I love Froch and all that he stands for, I think Ward will cruise to an easy points win tonight. There really are just two fights you need to watch to understand the justification of this prediction: Froch vs. Jermain Taylor and Froch vs. Andre Dirrell. Froch won both of these fights but looked stellar in neither.

Against Taylor, Froch’s guard was nonexistent. Taylor continually got off first, working off the jab and also mixing in some power shots which sent Froch to the canvas in the 3rd round. On my card, Taylor was dominating the fight until he had a 12th round mental meltdown of Jermain Taylor proportions. Oh wait, we’re talking about Jermain Taylor so I guess I can’t compare the man to himself. Then again, who else has a knack for looking amazing only to get knocked out in dramatic fashion, often with mere seconds remaining in fights? Taylor has a long career ahead of him in theater should he so choose.

Anyway, despite knocking out Taylor in the 12th round, Froch looked like a pedestrian fighter throughout the fight. Against Dirrell, the story had a similar script. Dirrell was getting off first in nearly all of the exchanges, constantly beating Froch to the punch. Froch was the aggressor, and clearly the judges that night rewarded Froch for his plodding, come-forward approach more so than they did Dirrell’s slick counterpunching while backing up and keeping the fight on the outside. Personally I felt Dirrell won the fight, but it was close enough to not be considered a total robbery. Froch got the nod on the scorecards but once again looked like a very ordinary fighter.

I do give credit to Froch because he’ll look so beatable one night, then completely reinvent himself and surprise everyone the next. He looked great and showed tons of heart in his close loss to Kessler, and hardly anyone thought he’d upset Abraham. Froch doesn’t have much hand speed or even a decent defense for that matter, but he does have respectable power and, more importantly, the heart and toughness of a champion.

The problem Froch faces tonight is that Ward fights with much more confidence than Taylor and Dirrell. The same issues Froch had with those guys will appear tonight only magnified because Ward is mentally stronger and much more skilled. Ward is way too slippery for Froch to ever land that one big shot that he’ll need to change the fight. I foresee Ward consistently getting off first and finding Froch’s chin without much trouble.

A knockout victory for Ward is within the realm of possibility, though very unlikely due to Froch’s durability and sturdy beard, not to mention the fact that Ward isn’t known for his power. My official prediction is that Ward will dominate the fight and win a near-shutout unanimous decision. The best betting value on tonight’s bout is:

Andre Ward by decision -180 (approximately 1.55 in decimal odds and 5/9 in fractional odds)

If Ward does win as I think he will, I see his team lining up a fight with Lucian Bute in mid-2012 in a fight that will prove once and for all who the best super middleweight in the world is.

I will be doing a live blog/round-by-round for the entire undercard and the main event tonight for FoxSports.com. Those of you without access to Showtime can follow along at RumorsAndRants.com.

(Kevin L. Johnston is a writer/blogger from Indianapolis who contributes material for RumorsAndRants.com and ESB. You can follow him on Twitter @konundrum8 or reach him via e-mail at konundrum8@hotmail.com.)

Article posted on 17.12.2011



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