Tommy Barber – London
Ahead of the Super Six World Boxing Classic final, due to be concluded on Saturday, December 17 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, former heavyweight world titlist David Haye has talked up the chances of his English compatriot Carl Froch, the WBC super middleweight world championship incumbent who is attempting to annex the WBA belt currently held by fellow finalist Andre Ward.
The Super Six final is the culmination of over two years’ worth of competition and a long road already trodden by it’s participants, Froch of Nottingham and Ward of Oakland, California. Haye regards Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) to be a technically skillful pugilist who has an obvious winning mentality having been unbeaten as a professional and enjoying an undefeated streak that is 15 years and counting, however, the plus point for Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) is that, he believes, Ward is yet to test himself against a gladiator.
“Ward isn’t going to be able to put a dent in him,” mused Haye to Sky Sports. “The guy’s got a lot of skills, he’s got great natural ability, he’s an Olympic gold medalist, undefeated since he was 12 years of age… but he’s never fought anyone like Carl Froch before.”
Haye then claimed that, of the selection of fighters Ward has boxed since mixing it up with the super middleweight elite… prizefighters like Edison Miranda, Mikkel Kessler, Allan Green, Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham, there are many whom lacked mettle: “He’s fought a lot of guys who come to win, but they give up halfway,” said the Londoner, currently retired yet warm to the prospect of battling Vitali Klitschko in a returning contest in boxing’s glamour division, potentially in 2012.
He continued: “Carl won’t [give up], Carl will just keep grinding him down and grinding him down. He’ll put this guy in his uncomfort zone. Carl’s boxed world champions, he’s boxed guys with unbeaten records before [Andre Dirrell, Jean Pascal, Albert Rybacki and Alan Page] and he’s never come off second best. So I’m envisaging a tough fight for Carl, it’s not going to be easy by any stretch, he’s going to have to really dig deep, but I believe he knows this is his moment of destiny and he will win the fight.”
Froch, meanwhile, does not share Haye’s confidence. He said: “It’s always a concern, I’m fighting an American on American soil. He’s an Olympic gold medallist, he’s the golden boy, he’s undefeated, he’s a great talent, he’s young, good-looking [and] he speaks well.
“He’s got all the marketable things that a broadcaster like Showtime wants,” the 34-year-old concluded in an allusion to the possibility that, in order to guarantee himself victory, he will need to rely on his own two judges – his fists, to get the knockout – rather than the three at ringside, who may have a pre-existing bias.
Related article: Andre Ward on Froch: Carl ‘puffs up and bleeds’
Tommy Barber – London
The build-up to the Super Six World Boxing Classic, contested on Saturday, December 17 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, has contained it’s fair share of verbal jousting between it’s two participants: WBA super middleweight world titlist Carl Froch of Nottingham, England and WBC championship incumbent at 168lbs Andre Ward, of Oakland, California, however, now their trainers are getting in on their action…
“We’re real pleased with how it’s all going in camp,” Ward’s coach Virgil Hunter said of his charge this week. “We never actually left. We had a setback [after Ward suffered a cut on September 22 in news that was first broken by On The Beak], but we never stopped. We just modified things when we couldn’t spar. We’ve been sparring for about three weeks.”
He continued: “I haven’t seen any difference at all with Andre; there’s been no noticeable drop off for anything. He’s the same now as he was before the cut. He understands the nature of game. We’re just determined to win in a dominant fashion. That’s what we focus on. It’s not personal. We just want to win, and that’s what we plan to do.”
Froch’s trainer Rob McCracken, who also oversees the development of Britain’s 2012 Olympic boxers as he is performance director for Team GB, said similar things regarding the productivity of Carl’s camp: “It’s been fantastic.”
McCracken also lauded his fighter’s tirelessness: “He’s just an exceptional worker and will carry out whatever you want from him every day. He never questions anything. He doesn’t have weight issues; he has the genetics to do that, and very few in the sport can say that.”
The cut sustained by Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) during routine sparring, whilst disruptive, did not inhibit their routines: “We’d worked 10 weeks before the cut, but then took a three-week break. So we will have had nine more solid weeks of camp going in. That’s quite a bit of training, but the three weeks off refreshed him. A similar thing happened when he fought Arthur Abraham, and Carl came back sharper than ever.
“Ward pulled out because of a cut. That’s part of boxing, and Carl knows that,” he added, before rubbishing Hunter’s assertion that the bout is not personal: “This is a personal fight.”
Hunter continued: “Andre always fights with a chip on his shoulder, but it’s a healthy chip and it’s what fuels and motivates him. One minute you’re the best in the world, the next minute you’re not. Just the criticism alone is something he has no control over, but it’s enough to motivate him continuously.
“He has his dreams, he has his goals, and until he hangs ‘em up he’ll be motivated. It’s just the type of kid he is.”
An undefeated pugilist, Ward has navigated his way past a number of elite athletes at super middleweight but still attracts detractors who suggest his path toward the Super Six cup has been made easier as he has oft had a home advantage having boxed in California in every round. Froch (28-1-0, 20ko), in contrast, has only had one contest in his native Nottingham, whilst traveling to Denmark, Finland and the States.
Hunter believes Ward does not get his just dues: “He’ll never be in a situation where he’ll not be motivated because when the tournament is over they will have somebody else for him to fight. Or there will be someone else where they say maybe this guy will be a good test, or that guy will be a good test. The way Andre is winning right now, no one seems to think he’s being tested. So if there is a test out there, we welcome it and we’re ready for it.
“Andre’s biggest key is that he has the element of surprise,” he added, before implying that their opponent cannot make an educated estimate of the height of Ward’s talents. “Froch really doesn’t have a clue what he’s getting into. He just doesn’t know. He’s on the outside looking in. It’ll be interesting to see when he finds out. Then, we’ll adjust accordingly to whatever his intent is. He says he’ll keep pushing the petal to the metal and I think he’s a man of his word. I’d be very disappointed if he tucks it in, after what he’s been saying.”
Ward has also faced criticism over his perceived lack of power, yet, should the opportunity present itself against The Cobra, then they will pursue a kayo: “We want the KO if it comes, or a stoppage. Personally, I’d like to see him quit or his corner stop it.”
One of the figures who regards Ward to be a fighter who is yet to prove himself is McCracken: “Carl has done more in the division than Ward has.”
Breaking down the fight, he said: “Ward is unorthodox, very fast and very talented. He will only do one of two things. He’ll try to go in and out or try and bull himself inside.
“Carl has the longer reach and is physically stronger. He knows he has to be smartly aggressive. He’s proven himself time and again, against everybody’s he’s been in with. Carl will be ready for anything. He’ll adjust when necessary and do whatever it takes to win. But we’re expecting a fantastic fight between two tremendous boxers.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
The groundbreaking yet protracted Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament was set to reach it’s conclusion in October, however, a cut sustained by pre-fight favourite Andre Ward postponed the date to December 17. There is a growing sense that the primary aim of finalist Carl Froch will be to re-open the wound when it’s time to box, yet Ward has stated that it is the Englishman who will be the one made to worry about bleeding excessively.
“(Froch) targeting the cut is a non-issue for us,” said Ward, speaking at his King’s Gym base in Oakland, California, standing alongside trainer Virgil Hunter and promoter Dan Goossen. “It’s not something we talk about,” he added, before stressing: Its not something we think about. We need to go in there and do what we’ve got to do and execute our game plan.
“As the opponent, he is supposed to try to target the cut, but I think he’ll get himself into trouble if he tries to focus too hard on trying to open up an old cut.”
Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) is known for a go-to fighting response that involves rucking in a blood and guts manner. As a result, his popularity has transcended the Atlantic, yet such a style – Ward hints – has seen him pick up wear-and-tear, something the American is eager to exploit.
“He’s been cut before too, like when he fought Pascal, and he puffs up and bleeds, so we’ve got a lot of spots we’re gonna be targeting too.”
Breaking down the fight, Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) commented: “I try not to fight with any one style. At this level, eventually enough people are going to watch tape of you, and they’ll take advantage of a one dimensional fighter. These are the type of fights that you need to win, and win convincingly in order to cross over to the higher levels. This is huge in terms of stakes that are on the line, but we train hard, as we do for every fight.
“This one is no different,” concluded the 27-year-old.
The Super Six final, set to be competed at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, has a large bounty as Froch’s WBC super middleweight world championship, Ward’s WBA world title, The Ring magazine belt and the competition trophy itself, will all be awarded to the winner.
Related article: Video: The day Super Six finalist Andre Ward was cut
Tommy Barber – London
Two-time WBC super middleweight world champion and Super Six World Boxing Classic hopeful Carl Froch has appraised fellow tournament finalist Andre Ward, the WBA world titlist, and believes he not only has the edge in power, but also sees advantages to be had in exploiting the extra four inches wingspan he has over the American. Despite noting the gold medal Olympian’s flaws, Froch still reserved praise for Ward as he “has to be taken seriously“.
Whilst on the Sky Sports televisual magazine Ringside, Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) stated: “He is a great fighter… he is an Olympic gold medallist and unbeaten as a professional.”
Like Froch, Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) is also a world champion at the 168lb cut-off. They also have a number of similar opponents on their resume, including former belt holder Mikkel Kessler, however, Froch failed to do what Ward did – defeat the powerful and durable Dane.
“He is a world champion and he has a win over Mikkel Kessler – you have to take him very seriously. The one thing he has going against him is he is not a big puncher – he does not stop many of his opponents,” the Englishman noted. “I punch very hard and I will be putting it on him from round one.”
Their December 17 dust-up was initially slated for October 29, in the Boardwalk Hall of Atlantic City, New Jersey, however, those plans were de-railed as Ward suffered a bloody cut during a routine sparring session, in a news story first circulated by On The Beak here. Photos of the cut are here.
Because the timing of the postponement occurred over a month prior to fight night, Froch believes he has discovered a further weakness in Ward’s armour and intends on reopening the laceration when it’s time to box next month.
“I took the foot of the gas for a couple of weeks with Ward pulling out with a cut but I am very much back into it and training with the lads from Team GB up in Sheffield,” said the Cobra. “I think five weeks prior to a fight and you get a cut – unless it is really, really bad – then you should not pull out. A cut is a cut, it was not a scene out of Fright Night was it? So I am not going to say I would have pulled out, because I wouldn’t.”
Breaking down the fight, he added: “I can box him, I can use my range and my jab – I have four inches range on this guy. I will use my boxing skills like I did against Arthur Abraham; I did a better job than he did against Abraham. I can’t be starting slow, I need to come out of the blocks early – especially if his cut opens and it has to go to the scorecards after four rounds.
“I have to make sure I get a good start and win the early rounds.”
Ibrahim Harb – Birmingham
Polish grit that has been passed down through the Froch family is one of the key factors in what makes gladiatorial prizefighter Carl such a resilient champion. The WBC super middleweight world titlist competes in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Saturday, December 17 in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall as he attempts to unify his belt with American boxer Andre Ward‘s WBA crown in what promises to be one of the battles of the year.
“My grandfather fought for his country, survived the horrors of the [Second World] War and then suffered seriously hard times,” said Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) to the Daily Mail.
Known for his ability to dig deep whilst fighting in the trenches, British fighter Carl credits his mixed ancestry for what has made him a two-time world champion: “That Polish hardness, the toughness, that fight-to-the-death warrior mentality is with me in the ring. It’s my origin. It’s my heritage. My grandfather’s starvation and deprivation are part of my metabolism and that makes it easy for me to make the weight as a boxer. I wasn’t born to excess.”
This, coupled with his fascination for the unorthodox boxing style of Prince Naseem Hamed shaped Froch’s own fight game: “I used to love watching him,” reflected Froch of the former featherweight king, a devastating knockout puncher who threw his shots from awkward angles.
Hamed participated in a number of thrilling contests that included: an eighth round technical knockout of fellow Briton, Steve Robinson; a fourth round stoppage of Kevin Kelley in Madison Square Garden, New York City; and a decisioning of Wayne McCullough. In his penultimate battle, against Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera, Hamed became unstuck for the first and only time when he was out-hustled and convincingly beaten in Las Vegas ten years ago.
Froch continued: “Even though I was out of the game in 2001, I spent almost every penny I had on going to Las Vegas to watch him fight Barrera. Barrera was brilliant that night, world class. But even though Naz lost he went down fighting and I still loved him.
“I wanted to pick up where he was leaving off and there’s still a bit of him in me. I mimicked the way he fought,” said Froch. “[Trainer] Rob McCracken is not always happy that I carry my hands low like that, but when I throw my punches from down there, especially the jab, they often don’t see them coming.”
He added: “I’m lucky that I’ve got a great chin,” before commenting on his December test against Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) in a fight that has two alphabet championship titles, The Ring magazine belt, the Super Six trophy and numerous lucrative contests for the future, all on the line. “Ward’s not a great puncher and he won’t be able to keep me off him.”
Froch, at 34-years-old, is countryman David Haye’s senior by three years. Haye, just last week, announced his retirement from the sport, however, the Nottingham native – who is upping sticks to fight out of US where he is beginning to carve a considerable name for himself – has no intention of hanging up his own gloves just yet: “I feel 20; I’ve never been in better shape [and] I feel like I could carry on for ever.
“I know one day my body will tell me it’s time to quit,” said Carl in a concluding comment. “But not for a while yet.”
On The Beak – Admin
During a routine sparring session on September 22, Andre Ward sustained a bloody cut. The WBA super middleweight world champion was due to box WBC titlist Carl Froch in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic but the cut was deemed so deep that it would have inhibited training and sparring and so the date was pushed to December 17. Fight Camp 360 featured Ward’s experience of that day in the video below…
(Embedded video below credit – Youtube, BHopIsBack)
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Oakland native Andre Ward, the champion of the WBA super middleweight title since 2009, has had seven stitches removed from the cut above his right eye that derailed the Super Six World Boxing Classic final with 168lbs rival Carl Froch initially intended for October 29. Ward is now eager to humble Froch for the negative spin he attached to the postponement. The unification bout is rearranged for December 17.
Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) suffered the bloody cut during a routine sparring session in September. He consulted a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles where it was confirmed he would be unable to participate in a fight of the magnitude of the Super Six at the end of October as his training regime would have been inhibited.
The news did not go down well with Froch nor the Englishman’s promoter Eddie Hearn, of Matchroom Sports. Hearn brandished Ward as “unprofessional” while Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) labeled the cut as a “scratch” and stated that Ward has “lost the fight already” as he compared Ward’s cut to the laceration he suffered a week before he was due to fight Jean Pascal. Froch fought despite the cut, won a decision as well as his first WBC world title.
“The guy I’m fighting is doing a little bit too much talking,” Ward stated, as reported by the Associated Press today. “He’s a very arrogant guy and really needs to be humbled,” the undefeated American, a gold medal Olympian, added.
Reflecting on the cut, he commented: “Anytime that happens, it’s a disappointing thing.
“Once I realised the cut wasn’t career ending or career threatenin, and it was just something that kind of happened I was feeling a lot better, especially once I got a new date and a new time, everything settled down a little bit.”
The sutures have already been removed, Ward has returned to training and will begin heavy sparring before the month’s end.
All Photos: FIGHT CAMP 360°/SHOWTIME
Andre Ward and Carl Froch were due to box in the Super Six World Boxing Classic final – a super middleweight unification contest – on October 29, but a cut suffered by Ward during training (pictures below) have pushed the scheduled date back to December 17. All tickets already purchased will be transferable to the new date. For other tickets call Ticketmaster on (800) 736 1420, visit ticketmaster.com or go to the box office at the Boardwalk Hall.
Alan Dawson – London
Reigning Super WBA champion at 168lbs, Andre Ward, has confirmed previous speculation that the Super Six World Boxing Classic will be postponed as he has suffered a ghastly cut that has required seven stitches. Undefeated American Ward was due to fight England’s Carl Froch in a super middleweight unification contest on Saturday, October 29 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) confirmed he had “bad news,” before elaborating: “I sustained a cut in sparring a few hours ago. I flew to [Los Angeles] to see the Doctor. I [have] got seven stitches.”
On The Beak were first to break this story earlier, after learning that the injury was sustained during routine training sessions and that the prizefighter – who was due to make the fourth defence of his world title – would seek the advice of a plastic surgeon before making a decision on whether to delay the Super Six final.
“I will let you know the new date soon,” concluded Ward.
The 27-year-old Oakland native had navigated his way past pre-tournament favourite Mikkel Kessler, late replacement Allen Green and former middleweight ruler Arthur Abraham in order to set up a final date with Froch, 34.
Ibrahim Harb – Birmingham
Two-time WBC super middleweight world champion Carl Froch is just six weeks away from the most significant, lucrative and potentially legacy-sealing fight of his life and The Cobra has spoken out over his current training regimen, his Olympic sparring and his desire to see Super Six World Boxing Classic final opponent Andre Ward, WBA titlist, knocked out. The two tussle on Saturday, October 29 at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
“The training camp has been tough as nails, with early hill runs following by intense strength and conditioning work at the world-class Olympic facility up in Sheffield under my respected trainer Robert McCracken,” Froch wrote in his column at the Nottingham Post. “Many regard McCracken as the best coach in this country and Robert is also training all our top amateur boxers in readiness for the London 2012 Olympics.”
Froch championed a clutch of domestic titles and won his British title outright prior to competing for the then-vacant WBC belt against Jean Pascal, whom he decisioned and cemented his standing as an elite 168lb (12 stones) operator. Despite remaining at world level – the pinnacle of the sport – since 2008, Froch has admitted it is the amateur lads blossoming under McCracken’s tutelage whom are aiding his motivation.
“All this young talent is training alongside me in Sheffield… all of this youth and enthusiasm is infectious. They all want to out-fight and out-run you – and that spurs you on to work even harder. Sparring is really coming together now,” noted the man who boxes with his fists by his waists and with a gladiatorial style. “At the moment I’m sparring middleweight amateur Anthony Agogo who is very good for sharpening my punches. Then I’m also jumping in with the heavyweights, to practice the power shots and improve my strength inside.”
He continued: “Soon I’ll be relocating my training camp to America, where I shall be using a local gym and bringing in some red-hot American talent to finish off my preparation.”
Froch then mused on his chances come fight night. Ward has thus far boxed exclusively in California throughout the Super Six competition and, again in the final, will also benefit from remaining within his own country. Froch, though, intends on taking any home comforts away from Ward, as well as the necessity for the judges’ scorecards as he intends on being the first to not only defeat Ward, but knock him out.
“The odds are stacked against me,” said Froch. “I’m fighting an American, on his soil with American referees and judges. In a 50-50 fight I’m not likely to get the decision so I’ll need to put on my very best performance to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind. There is nothing that removes doubt like a knock-out – and that’s what I’ll be looking to do to my opponent.
“I’m going to box smart and pour on the punches when I catch him clean. In my last few fights I’ve played it safe, to minimise wear and tear for this moment. I’ve been hoarding all that cobra venom up for the final and I’ll be looking to show the world that I’m the best 12-stone fighter on the planet.”