Super Six: World Boxing Classic Resumes

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: November 18, 2009

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Mikkel Kessler

Mikkel Kessler

NEW YORK (BASN) — The Super Six: World Boxing Classic resumes on Saturday night when WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler (42-1, 32 KOs) battles 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward (20-1, 13 KOs) in the challenger’s hometown of Oakland.

The co-promotion of Goossen-Tutor and Saurland Event will be televised live from the Oracle Arena on SHOWTIME beginning at 10 pm ET. Kessler-Ward should prove to be the most competitive boxing match of the tournament.

Do not expect anything like Arthur Abraham’s dominant final-round knockout of Jermain Taylor or Carl Froch’s ugly points win over Andre Dirrell in the Group Stage 1 of the tournament’s opening round-robin format on October 17.

Thus far, the United States trail the Europeans 2-0.

When it comes to Kessler-Ward, expect speed, accurate combination punching, and a consistent attack from both fighters. Kessler-Ward could actually go down to the wire on the judges scorecards. It should be a close fight because both fighters know how to outclass their opponents. Kessler and Ward know how to win.

The difference could be the experience factor. Kessler, the 30 year-old from Copenhagen, Denmark, is in prime and at the top of his game. Kessler has had more knockouts than Ward, 25, from Oakland, has victories.

“I think my strengths are also speed and my experience,” Kessler said following a public workout.

Despite the lack of professional experience Ward has had, Kessler respect’s his skill-set and is not underestimating Ward’s desire to win his first world title.

“He’s a great, young fighter,” Kessler added. “He reminds me a lot of myself when I was his age. I won my first world title at 24, but I’m more experienced in a lot of different ways. I can see that he is hungry, has good speed and good technique. He’s a good fighter.”

Andre Ward

Andre Ward

Kessler may have the advantage in experience and can easily be considered the puncher in this fight. However, the fact that Ward is fighting at home could also be a huge advantage. Similar to NCAA Division I football and basketball, having the support of the hometown audience can be a huge difference maker.

“It’s incredible to have this fight at home and the support here has been outstanding,” Ward stated. “A lot of people say that boxing is dead in Oakland. There used to be two or three gyms full of boxers here.”

“Boxing was a huge thing and to see the excitement for this fight here in Oakland and in the Bay Area and to give them something positive to support, I’m excited about that.”

Ward added: “As the fight gets closer, I draw into myself more. I envision what it would feel like to leave the arena with the belt and what it would feel like to leave without the belt. I’m doing everything I can to leave the Oracle Arena with the WBA strap on Saturday night.”

There are questions as to whether Ward has been brought along well-enough and if he’s truly ready for a world title fight. The list of names on Ward’s record aren’t really recognizable, except for a 12-round unanimous decision win over hard-hitting, but glass-chinned Edison Miranda earlier this year. It is because of Ward’s lack of experience or recognizable names on his record that Kessler is favored to beat him.

Also, Ward’s promotional team has taken a very slow approach toward building Ward into a world-title contender in the last five years. Goosen is very confident that Ward will get the job done on Saturday.

“This is just like Andre Ward’s run to the gold medal, but in the pro ranks,” said Dan Goosen of Goosen-Tutor Promotions. “On his path to gold, no one gave him a shot, everyone else was the favorite, and this is the same situation.”

“They are all picking Kessler and for good reason. He’s a great, experienced champion. We have all the confidence in the world that Saturday night will make history.”

“He’s (Ward) very smart in the ring,” Goosen added. “He knows when to jab, he knows when to move and he does it with speed. Experience is great against someone who hasn’t experienced everything Andre learned at the Olympics.”

Doors open at 7:30 pm. The first non-televised fight is at 8 pm.

Golden Boy Promotions honor newly crowned heavyweight champion

Oscar De La Hoya (left) and David Haye

Oscar De La Hoya (left) and David Haye

On the eve of Manny Pacquiao’s demolition of Miguel Cotto in the twelfth round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, Golden Boy Promotions celebrated their newly crowned WBA heavyweight champion David Haye.

The brash, loudmouth, cocky, but very fast and powerful 29 year-old from London, England became the first British fighter since Lennox Lewis to capture a world heavyweight championship. Haye won the WBA title in style by easily outpointing Nikolai Valuev through twelve rounds.

Haye defeated Valuev by margins of 116-112 (twice) and 114-114 even. Haye proved to be too illusive, too athletic, and too accurate for the 7-foot-3, 315-pound giant. Haye’s stick-and-move style of jabbing, combination punching to the midsection and head proved to be effective, as he wobbled Valuev late in the fight.

While the boxing community drool for a Haye vs. Klitschko (either Wladimir or Vitali) unification bout, there is an obligation that John Ruiz be given the first opportunity to fight Haye for the WBA heavyweight crown.

Ruiz, is a two-time heavyweight champion. Many believe that his two defeats to Valuev were controversial which is why the WBA reinstalled Ruiz as their mandatory challenger.

Haye recognizes the fact that Ruiz is a tough customer. Ruiz, the first Latino to win a world heavyweight champion has been in the ring with the best heavyweights of his time.

David Haye

David Haye

Aside from Valuev, Ruiz fought Holyfield three times (1-1-1), Ruslan Chagaev, Andrew Golota, Hasim Rahman, James Toney, Kirk Johnson, and Jameel McCline.

Ruiz has lost to Roy Jones, Jr. (2003) and suffered a 19-second demolition at the hands of a young, fresh, and unbeaten David Tua (KO by 1) in 1996.

What Ruiz has done since that crushing loss to Tua that was seen on HBO is highly remarkable. However, at age 37, will Ruiz’ jab-and-clinch style be enough to counter the speed, movement, and power of a fighter eight years is junior? Will Ruiz, a bump on the road, upset the applecart of a Klitschko-Haye bout by capturing the WBA title once more?