Carl Froch said he had an off night, but that wasn’t the case. Andre Ward was simply too good all fight long, beating veteran Brit after 12 rounds by unanimous decision, becoming the WBC and Ring Super Middleweight champions, adding to his WBA belt, and finishing as the champion of Showtime’s Super Six tournament.
The differences in style and the talk about Ward’s lack of punching and finishing power may remain with him for his entire career. Only 13 KO’s in 25 fights might suggest that Ward, despite being the last American Boxing Olympic champion and undoubtedly the best in his weight class and maybe a consideration for the top pound-4-pound fighter, he may never become a real PPV draw. His style just isn’t exciting enough.
But don’t get boring for quality and ability. Ward has the best defense in boxing, nearly impossible to hit cleanly, body or head. Froch finished with only %23 of his punches landing (156 of 683) while Ward was by far the more accurate of the two with %42 (243 of 573). Again, it was more about his ability to move and sway than actually pounding Froch.
Early on, it actually looked Froch won’t come out standing after 12 rounds. Ward struck soon and often, leaving Froch to helplessly chase him for the rest of the fight. The 34 year old Brit, with only one career loss came in Denmark against Mikkel Kessler, seemed to get some sort of an advantage only in the 12th round. Too little, too late.
The scorecards all pointed to Ward in the end: 115-113 from the North American crew, 118-110 from the Brit. The British judge seemed to me like the more spot on of the three. Froch was never really close, but maybe Ward retreating into his shell after gaining the early upper hand had its effect on the points.
Ward, as always, was humble, almost overwhelmed – I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it. It’s not so unbelievable that we never thought we were going to win, but now that it’s happened, it is unbelievable. We told you this is what we wanted to do. We wanted to fight on the inside and on the outside, and we pulled it off tonight. We were able to beat him to the punch, and that’s what won us the fight.
Carl Froch, too slow all night for Ward, surprised Ward with his inability to handle the American’s speed – I was surprised how slow Froch was. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in training, but we were just able to beat him to the punch. You don’t get points for leaving your chin open. I know he said a couple of times that I couldn’t punch. I know I hurt him a few times tonight; I could see it.
Froch did most of the talking before the fight, but was humble in defeat – Fair credit to Andre Ward. He’s very good defensively. I lost the fight, fair and square. It was quite hard to hit him. The name of the game is to not get hit, and he did that well. It was a bad night for me, obviously. I couldn’t get anything going, and that obviously has a lot to do with Andre Ward’s defensive skills. He is very tricky in close. We tried to put our shots together, especially at the end. But he ducks and he slips and he slides. He’s very good at that. I tried desperately to get shots off. I was trying to hit him too hard. I never found myself in the zone.
So what’s next? Froch would probably love a rematch, and even mentioned it once or twice post-fight. A talk about working on certain things in training and such. Andre Ward is probably looking ahead for a rest, but also other opponents. The most likely? Lucian Bute.
Bute wasn’t invited to the Super Six tournament, but the Romanian-Canadian IBF champion is 30-0 and apparently the next best fighter in a loaded division. Bute was ringside in Atlantic City to watch Ward and Froch. Bute has signed a contract with showtime, and there’s no doubt what will be the biggest fight in this Weight Class. But first for Andre Ward is rest. He deserved it.