It was a decisive, conclusive ending to the Showtime Super Six Super Middleweight tourney on Saturday night on the boardwalk in AC.
A unanimous decision verdict for the lad from Oakland Ca. Andre Ward who kept his WBA title, took the WBC title and the Ring Magazine World Champion belt after twelve hard –fought rounds. Scores were 115-113 twice and a more correct 118-110 score which came from the sole English judge. This writer had it 9-3 in rounds equating to a 117-111 score for the winner. When the first two scores were announced there was an audible murmur and gasp from the crowd who were taken aback by the first two scores in a relatively one-sided fight.
The first was a feel-out round with Ward edging it with hard jabs that reddened the nose of Carl Froch. Ward continued the accurate jabbing in the second and hurt Froch with two solid left hooks in the final 30 seconds of the round.
Carl picked up the pace in the third and landed several telling body shots as he was having real problems hitting Ward squarely in the head. They traded jabs and Froch edged a close round. In the fourth Andre began to tag Froch with much harder firepower and kept Carl's back on the ropes for a full minute. The fifth was pretty much the same with Andre landing more often, harder and ended the session again with a couple of bristling left hooks.
In the sixth it became obvious Froch was in for a long night as he could not hit Ward with any solid shots, had no timing or rhythm and was on the end of some tremendous shots. The seventh had Froch tiring and with eye and facial damage by round end.
Ward dominated the in-fighting and was out-jabbing the lankier, taller Englishman and in frustration with what he thought were Ward low punches, Carl threw a hard right that landed right on Wards jaw after the bell in the eighth which did not even faze Andre as he just stared as Froch trudged back to his corner.
Round nine had Carl winning his 2nd frame of the contest as he threw many, many shots; some landing, some missing was much more active. Ward went into lefty mode for the final minute of the round and showed some weariness. Froch's best round by far.
The Oaklander got on his bike and boxed more in the tenth and was outboxing Carl who was chasing but not landing. Ward landed some thudding left hooks near round end.
Froch edged the eleventh round as Ward seemed to be tiring and had some damage around his left eye. The'Cobra' from Nottingham seemed to realize he needed a KO in the final frame to pull this fight out of the bag and he came in throwing right hand bombs for as long as he could. Problem was almost none of them were landing, or sailed over Ward's ducked head or were just glancing shots at best. Ward did enough to win the round since Carl couldn't land much. At the 30 second mark Ward took a look up at the clock which indicated he was running on empty by the end of the contest.
Their comments were telling:
Ward thanked God and said it "was a tough, hard night. Carl is a great fighter. I was surprised at how slow he was. I beat him to the punch most of the night. We (Team Ward) pulled it off! The UK fans are great!"
The dejected and marked up Froch stated: " I had a bad night. He is very slick and smart and has great defense skills. He is very tricky in close. He slides and ducks and it was very frustrating for me. He is very, very good at keeping himself out of harm's way. I lost tonight fair and square."
Both had very respectful things to say to each other after the scores were read and it was refreshing since the buildup and remarks before the fight were not as kind. A big house in AC and there were many prospective Ward future opponents in the house such as undefeated IBF champ Lucien Bute; undefeated #1 WBC contender Anthony Dirrell; and Bernard Hopkins talking about possibly moving down to 168 lbs. for a Ward contest.
Froch should hold his head high. He fought an undefeated, former Olympic gold medalist who has not lost a fight since the age of 12. Ward should go home and rest like he stated he would and enjoy his moment in the sun. He fully deserves it.
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