Andre Ward Wins Super Six World Boxing Classic

By By Francis Walker BASN Boxing writer
Updated: December 20, 2011

NEW YORK, NY,(BASN)—At last the Super Six World Boxing Classic concluded on Saturday, December 17; with a scintillating performance from undefeated 2004 Olympic gold medalist and unified WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward.

Ward (25-0, 13 KOs), fighting for the first time outside of California in the entire tournament, proved to be the best 168-pounder in the world by winning a clear unanimous decision over Britain’s Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KOs).

In addition to capturing the unified world titles, Ward also won the Super Six World Boxing Classic Championship and Ring Magazine belt.

“It’s supernatural,” Ward said defeating Froch to win the Super Six World Boxing Classic. “These are all great fighters. That’s why you don’t hear me talking badly about them before the fight. I know what I’m getting into. I just want to be a little bit better on the night of the fight.”

Ward was referring to the quality of participants that participated in what was the most unique and dramatic elimination tournament in boxing history. The Super Six World Boxing Classic initiated in October 2009 with Ward, Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, and Jermain Taylor.

However, injuries to Dirrell, Taylor, and Kessler forced with withdrawals which opened lifetime opportunities for Alan Green and Glen Johnson to enter the tournament. Green ended-up fighting for a world title the first time in his career. Johnson scored one of the tournaments only two knockouts and challenged for the world title in the semifinal round.

Overall, we’ve had amazing knockouts, decisions, thrilling moments, injuries, postponements, withdrawals, and a disqualification.

Of all the fighters, Ward and Froch both proved to be the tournament’s standouts. They both deserved to fight each other for the title.

Leading into the final, Ward fought three of his overall four tournament bouts in his native California. Ward even took a fight outside the tournament last November against Sakio Bika.

Froch entered the Super Six World Boxing Classic as WBC super middleweight champion. He successfully defended his title against Andre Dirrell before losing it to Mikkel Kessler in Denmark. Froch regained the title by defeating Arthur Abraham on points in Morocco, successfully defended it against Glen Johnson in the United States before losing it once again in the final round to Ward in Atlantic City, NJ.

Ward became a world champion by defeating Kessler on a decision in November 2009. Ward successfully defended the title four times during the two years since the tournament’s inception.

All three judges scored the bout 118-110 and 115-113 (twice). Ward was the busier fighter of the two, as his combinations were sharper, faster, and more accurate than Froch’s. Ward showed excellent defense, as he was able to counter Froch effectively and exchange with him in the middle of the ring.

“Right away, I was actually surprised how slow Froch was,” said Ward. “We were just able to beat him to the punch and that’s what won us the fight.”

Throughout the tournament, Froch proved effective by fighting behind an aggressive, gritty style in bouts against Dirrell, Kessler, Abraham, and Johnson. However, Froch simply couldn’t find a way to plow past the sharp-punching, defensive genius that’s Andre Ward.

“I lost tonight, fair and square,” Froch said. “I had a bad night. “I couldn’t get anything going. He’s very slippery. It was very frustrating for me. It was a bad night.”

Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto 2

When Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) defeated Andre Berto (28-1, 21 KOs) for the WBC welterweight championship in April, it was a wild slugfest that was one of the very best fights of 2011. Both former world champions each went down twice which included a wild sixth-round that saw both Ortiz and Berto deck each other to the canvas.

Ortiz won the fight unanimously by scores of 115-110, 114-112, and 114-111.

In 2012, Ortiz and Berto are going to engage in what should be another fierce battle between two of the welterweight division’s toughest fighters.

“Repeat or Revenge: Ortiz vs. Berto 2,” will commence on Saturday, February 11, from the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV.

“I don’t need to say a while lot,” Ortiz said at a press conference last Monday. “I know I’m up against a tough opponent. I captured the world championship and went for the best. I’ll leave everything in the ring and bring home the victory once again.”

Ortiz’s opponent believes: “I’m hungrier than ever. I predict a win.” This is a tremendous opportunity. I’m ready to get it on. I’ve had to improve my game. I’ve had a tough training camp and just have to stay focused and get the job done.”

Ortiz vs. Berto 2 will be televised live on SHOWTIME beginning at 10 PM/ET.

Main Event Boxing returns to NBC

Respected boxing promoters Kathy Duva of Main Events and Russell Peltz of Peltz Boxing will work closely together on the promotion and matchmaking for the NBC Sports Network Fight Night Series beginning in January.

“We are excited to be getting our team involved with boxing again,” said John Miller, NBC Sports and VERSUS President of Programming. “We had a long, rich, storied history with NBC Sports. We would do as many as 20-30 fights per year on NBC. We think that there’s an opportunity here with the right matchmaking (Peltz) and the right positioning to possibly introduce boxing back to ‘free, over the air, and in this case cable’ television.”

NBC Fight Night series is scheduled to commence on Saturday, January 21, 2012. The main event will feature Philadelphia heavyweight Eddie Chambers vs. former WBO heavyweight champion, Sergui Liakhovich.

Jesus Soto-Karaus will battle Gabriel Rosado in the co-featured attraction that has Duva excited.

“This isn’t going to be done where all the money in the budget goes to paying for the main event and then the undercard fights are a bunch of appearance fights,” Duva said. “As a matter of fact, Russell has put together a co-feature on this show between Soto-Karass and Gabriel Rosado that would be a main event on any other cable show – a terrific pick-em fight that will be nothing but action.”

Duva added: “Once the first show was announced we started getting a lot more calls from promoters, so I don’t think we are going to have any problem filling up these shows with really great fights. We’re matching fighters not records.”

Our feeling was that boxing had been under-exposed on linear television and we thought it was a good time to jump back into the ring.”

Peltz believes that ‘boxing isn’t dead,’ as he made reference to the recent surge of attendance to live fight cards in Washington D.C. and New York City.

“Angelo Dundee said a few years ago that they’ve buried boxing so many times they’ve run out of shovels,” Peltz stated. “Well, December the 10th they just had close to 10,000 in Washington DC of all places. The week before even though it hasn’t been printed yet, I believe that the crowd in Madison Square Garden with 21,000 for the Cotto fight was actually the largest crowd to witness a boxing match in the history of Madison Square Garden.

PHOTO CREDITS: Phil McCarty/ Hoganphotos, SHOWTIME SPORTS