Bute, Dirrell, Kessler, Johnson, Roach and Steward pick Ward v Froch winner

15 Dec

Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen

Saturday, December 17‘s Super Six World Boxing Classic final, contested in Atlantic City between two super middleweight world titlists – Andre Ward, a champion with the WBA and Carl Froch, of the WBC – is perceived to be a true pick’em fight amongst fans of the sport of boxing and key members of the boxing industry think no differently as, amongst a panel of six experts, three went for the American fighter Ward whilst the other three opted for Froch.

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Ward (left of belts), Froch on right. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime.

“It’s a close fight,” said Glen Johnson (51-16-2, 35ko), a semifinalist of the tournament who was eliminated by Froch (28-1-0, 20ko) due to succumbing to a decision defeat, however, the Jamaican dubbed the Road Warrior due to his inclination to take on anyone, anywhere, believes venturing into the Boardwalk Hall as the ‘away’ fighter could work against Froch and therefore believes Ward (24-0-0, 13ko) will have the advantage: “I will have to go with the American because the fight is in America and I would assume that he would get the benefit of the doubt.”

Johnson sustained two defeats on the spin as, following on from his loss to Froch earlier in the year, he took on Lucian Bute – the consensus number one 168lb operator who never took part in the Super Six competition. Bute (30-0-0, 24ko) won a shut-out victory against Johnson in Canada and went against his opinion by siding with Froch: “It’s going to be a nice, spectacular and close fight.

“The question is: how Andre Ward will cope with the strength and the power of Carl Froch? If he’s able to handle it, I think he’s got the ability and the boxing movement and I’d go with him. But, let’s see first how he will react when he gets hit by Carl Froch.”

Andre Dirrell (19-1-0, 13ko), a group stage competitor who withdrew citing neurological problems following a disqualification win against Arthur Abraham, boxed Froch in the opening bout but believes his fellow Olympian and fellow American will out-pounce the Cobra: “I got Ward,” he told Esnewsreporting.com. “That’s not being biased against Froch, because he’s a hell of a fighter. But when it comes to ring smarts and tactics, Andre Ward has that department. Froch will come with determination and will, but at the end of the day, it won’t be enough.”

Gritty Danish hard-man Mikkel Kessler (44-2-0, 33ko) who, like Dirrell, boxed Froch in the tournament yet, unlike Dirrell, defeated the Englishman, believes it will be Froch who beats Ward to take the Super Six trophy despite being beaten himself by the Oakland boxer-puncher in the 11th round of their dust-up in 2009.

“I would say that Carl Froch is a very strong fighter and he wants to fight with you,” said the 32-year-old – who challenges for the WBO version of the super middleweight crown in April, 2012, against Robert Stieglitz in Copenhagen, Denmark – whilst a guest on the On The Ropes boxing radio show.

“He wants to stand toe-to-toe and he wants to fight. I like those boxers. Andre Ward, he’s a sneaky guy! He wants to have it his way, always on his home field, and he’s a different fighter. He wants to ruin a fight instead of fighting. He’s a fast fighter. Froch is maybe not as fast, but he’s good mentally in the ring. He’s strong and as you saw against Glen Johnson, he’s getting stronger I think. It’s going to be a great fight and if Carl reads his homework well, I see him as the Super Six winner.”

Five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, who owns the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood that is home to fighters such as Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr also talked to On The Ropes regarding the ground-breaking Super Six but counters Kessler’s notion: “I picked Andre to win that tournament from the beginning. He’s a great boxer. I think he’s a much better boxer than given credit for. Froch has really looked good though. He’s game and he comes to fight. I think it’s a very good fight, but I picked Ward to be the winner of that tournament and I still stand by that.”

Finally comes the viewpoint of Anglophile trainer Emanuel Steward, who has coached British talent such as Lennox Lewis and Prince Naseem Hamed, and owns the famous Kronk Gym in Detroit. He believes Froch has the mental capacity required to take the win and the tournament.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “You cannot underestimate [Froch’s] talent. A real tough man, and he’s starting to polish his skills now. In the beginning, I never thought he would do anything.”

He continued by appraising Ward: “Ward doesn’t beat people, he knows how to win decisions. They are trying to make him a star but he isn’t there yet. Froch is mentally stronger, and should go out there and hurt Ward.

“Froch is like Dennis Andries. He doesn’t know how limited he is. But he can get right up there in the pound for pound rankings. That’s what is good for him, but I do also think his boxing skills are improving, and we are seeing that fight by fight.”

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One Response to “Bute, Dirrell, Kessler, Johnson, Roach and Steward pick Ward v Froch winner”

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  1. On The Beak boxing news: 2011 « On The Beak - January 10, 2012

    […] Bute, Dirrell, Kessler, Johnson, Roach and Steward pick Ward v Froch winner […]

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