Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Original Source:

He accomplished what he sought out to do many years ago. The hard work, dedication, physical and mental toughness came into manifestation this past weekend with the conclusion of the super middleweight Super Six Tournament.

With his victory in the tournament, and display of skills and thorough dominance throughout the past few years, Andre Ward not only solidified himself as the best super middleweight in the world, but also established himself as a pound for pound elite fighter.

Most of the boxing experts did not pick Ward to win the tournament during it’s initial inception. Although many were aware of his talents and latent potential, many did not pick him to win based on his lack of professional experience, opting to go with Arthur Abraham or Mikkel Kessler to win the tournament .

I however, predicted either Ward or Andre Dirrell would emerge as the victor of this prestigious tournament, mainly based on their speed, talent and overall skill level compared to the other participants in the tournament.

High hopes of Ward’s potential was first realized during the Olympic Games in 2004, where he was the only and last American Olympic gold medalist.

Glimpses of his greatness were again realized during his coming of age bout against the multiple, super middleweight titlist and defending champion Kessler, in the tournament’s opening round.

Although Kessler was the strong favorite heading into the tournament, he was clearly outclassed and dominated by the younger, faster, more skillful Ward, en route to a eleventh round technical decision.

After Kessler, Ward easily defeated Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch this past weekend.

There were doubts about Ward coming out of the Olympics despite his performance, but some experts could see the elite level pedigree lying dormant within Ward. It was just a matter of progressing as a professional, realizing his potential and seeing how he would fare against formidable opposition.

Ward has encountered plenty of obstacles in his professional career. Changing of promoters, his initial lack of exposure, delays to big name fights, nagging injuries, and so on and so forth, but when facing adversity, Ward has handled everything in such a positive manner.

Never complaining, just taking every obstacle in stride and handling his business.

Which such strong resolve, he has passed every single test outside as well as inside the ring with flying colors. Whatever doubts that stood previously in front of Ward should be erased.

He has all of the tools that make a great fighter, especially from a physical standpoint, but most importantly from a mental aspect and he has a solid foundation.

Ward appears to have a great head on his shoulders, saying and doing all the right things inside and outside the ring. He is the equivalent to Tim Tebow, just more skillful in his particular profession.

As far as physical abilities, speed, reflexes and so forth, outside of Andre Dirrell and Chad Dawson he is the most athletic fighter in the super middle weight and light heavyweight divisions.

To go along with his athletic ability, he has the mental toughness and will power to withstand adversity. He has been knocked down before, but rose up from the canvas to win. He has been stunned against some of the heavy hitters in his division, and continued to march on to victory.

Ward has showcased his versatility and ability to adapt and out think his opponents.

Possessing great hand speed, foot speed and overall great lateral movement, Ward has the ability to fight and flourish on the outside. To go along with those physical gifts, Ward is also accurate and throws precision punches, not wasting energy when he attacks. Ward also has the ability to fight effectively from a southpaw stance if he wants to switch it up on his opponents.

Ward does extremely well in the trenches, even against guys who are supposed to be bigger and stronger, guys such as Arthur Abraham and most recently Carl Froch.

And he does all of this without receiving a lot of damage, which will prolong his career.

Simply put, he has the total package. He should be heralded as one of the elite pound for pound fighters in the world.

Ward is a great all around fighter and as far as skills goes, he belongs in the company of Floyd Mayweather and Nonito Donaire. I believe those are the three most well rounded fighters in the sport as of now.

What looms in the future for the king of the super middle weight division?

A potential match against the best fighter that did not enter the Super Six tournament, Lucian Bute, potentially awaits Ward in what can be one of the great fights of 2012. Ward may also have an obligation to face his WBC super middleweight mandatory Anthony Dirrell, the brother of his friend and fellow fighter Andre Dirrell.

Ward can also go against some of the fighters he did not get a chance to face in the tournament, such as Glen Johnson, Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell,

If any of these fights were to ever take place, I believe Ward would beat every fighter just mentioned. Relying on his pin point accuracy and speed advantages, Ward can successfully outbox Johnson from the outside.

Although I believe the Dirrell fight would be highly competitive, and the most interesting of the potential fights, I believe Ward would emerge victorious from battle. Dirrell has the advantages of speed, reach and is equally skillful or even more so in some aspects.

Both fighters possess great lateral movement, and the ability to slip punches and counter punch as well. What separates the two is Dirrell is slightly better than Ward fighting from the outside, but Ward is by far the superior fighter inside the trenches. Ward also has the mental toughness Dirrell lacks.

And Jermain Taylor has fallen from the ranks of the elite in recent years and is finished fighting at high level and would not stand a chance against Ward.

The only person left for him is Bute as mentioned earlier, and that will be a great match up between the two undefeated fighters whenever they decide to fight. Ward should be favored, as he has done everything to merit the acclaim he is being awarded with.

Right now, Ward is the face of Showtime boxing, and will be their main headliner for years to come. He may not be the financial draw like Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, or a Manny Pacquiao of recent years, but he certainly is up there in overall fighting skills.

Ward is the heir to the throne, whenever Money May, Sergio Martinez and Juan Manuel Marquez decide to hang them up for good.

Fans of the Bay Area have two great local products to look forward to for years to come. Andre S.O.G. Ward certainly placed the stamp on his greatness with his performance this past weekend.

Original Source:

October 29th, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was the date scheduled for the final bout of the highly publicized, highly regarded, super middleweight “Super Six” tournament.


Photo Credit: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME

A tournament featured on ShowTime, has run it’s course over the past two years featuring the best fighters from the super middleweight division.

Participants such as Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward, Carl Froch and Jermain Taylor.

A tournament featuring substitutes Glen Johnson, Sakio Bika and Allan Green.

The two fighters reaching the finals were certainly underdogs when the tournament first started, and now have emerged as the top fighters of their division and are developing into household names.

Unfortunately, the bout between Andre “S.O.G.“ Ward and Carl “The Cobra” Froch and conclusion of the tournament will have to wait.

During a sparring session, Ward suffered a severe cut above his right eye and according to a medical specialist, will require quite some time to heal.

Both fighters have expressed their disappointment in this unfortunate turn of events.

According to reports from boxingscene, both fighters expressed the opinions on that matter.

Ward said: “This is very frustrating for my camp and I, and I that if the shoe were on the other foot and Froch suffered an injury, I would be extremely disappointed.”

The Bay Area product went even further stating, “I’d like to express my apologies to Showtime, the fans and the Froch camp, but this is a part of boxing. Ward and Froch will still get it on but, unfortunately, the date just has to be pushed back.”

Froch obviously frustrated, stated, “Of course you’ve got to take the medical advice seriously, but for a cut to put you out of a fight five full weeks is ludicrous. To me, he’s showing his weakness. Nothing changes for me. I’ll be ready if and when he shows up.”

Showtime apparently caught the incident on camera and will reportedly show in on one of the upcoming episodes for their program ‘Fight Camp 360.’

A few dates have been mentioned as a potential make up date for the bout, the common mentioned is the date of December 10th, a night that also features a welterweight fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson.

The question is, will the postponement of the fight give either fighter an advantage, or will it hinder their efforts?

It’s hard to judge because both fighters are in the middle of training camp, with a little more than a month to go.

As mentioned earlier, Froch echoed his disappointment in the postponement of the fight, but if anything this may be a blessing in disguise.

Compared to Ward, Froch is a little older, has participated in more bouts and has had a tougher road to reach the finals of the “Super Six” tournament.

When I say tougher road, I do not necessarily mean the level of competition, because Ward has faced great opposition as well.

But because of Froch’s fighting style and lack of reflexes or sophisticated defensive technique, Froch has endured and accumulated a lot of damage in his recent fights.

The Cobra had a war with Jean Pascal and a life and death battle against Jermain Taylor prior to entering the tournament.

Since his entry into the tournament, Froch participated in tough battles against Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler and Glen Johnson.

As tough as Froch is, a little extra time to recuperate may be beneficial to him.

But it is understandable for him to want get on with the fight, and this interruption may have a negative effect as far as timing goes for his upcoming match up.

Only time will tell.

Original Source:

Last Saturday, rising star Amir Khan put the finishing touches on the former multiple division belt holder Zab Judah.


Photo: Tom Hogan/Goldenboy

It was a dominant performance from Khan, who controlled the action from the opening bell.

Landing his jab at will, Khan nullified any kind of offense Judah tried to apply, and with his long reach, Khan kept Judah in range to throw combinations and land which ever punch he wanted.

As a credit to Khan’s dominance, Judah could never seem to find his rhythm in the fight.

At times defensively Judah looked good, slipping punches, dodging a few combinations and moving away from impeding danger.

The only problem was Judah could not return back the punishment he was evading. Many times because of Khan’s reach and physical prowess, Judah was out of range to even throw anything significant back.

Khan systematically broke Judah down and it was apparent from Judah’s body language he didn’t want to continue fighting.

A questionable body shot or borderline low blow, put an end to things towards the end of round five and Khan was awarded the KO victory.

There were some questions heading into the match for both fighters. Many of those questions were answered.

For Khan, the questions of whether he is the best in his division and how does he fair against solid opposition has been addressed.

Khan is one of the best fighters in his division along with Timothy Bradley. The only thing missing from Khan’s resume at 140 is a fight with Lucas Matthysse or with Bradley himself.

As far as opposition faced, Khan beat Maidana who is a good but not great fighter, a really good fighter in Paulie Malignaggi, and has defeated whoever else they put in front of him at 140.

Although it’s fair to say Judah is no longer an elite fighter, he is still a really good fighter and Khan made quick work of him.

The only questions that remain of Khan is the durability of his chin and who he decides to face next.

For Judah, the story is all too clear.

While Zab hinted at not being finished fighting with his post fight interview, he is no longer a factor fighting competitively at the elite level and has been done for awhile.

Judah’s last victory against elite opposition came against Cory Spinks in 2005.

Since then, loses to Carlos Baldomir, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and now Amir Khan.

Even in his recent wins, he hasn’t looked to spectacular.

Sure he has beaten up on mediocre opposition, but even against the likes on somewhat elite fighters like Lucas Matthysse, Judah barely got by and in many eyes lost that fight.

When discussing the career of Zab Judah, he will probably be remembered as a fighter with tremendous talent, but never really lived up to his potential.

Judah had talent that even rivaled Floyd Mayweather, but the difference was the mentality each fighter.

Mayweather strived to be perfect in the boxing ring.

Training when every one else is resting, learning the fundamentals of the game, perfecting his craft, constant dedication, has enabled him to remain on top of the sport for more than a decade.

Judah trained hard, but probably could of trained harder in some instances early on in his career.

Perhaps he relied too much on natural athleticism and talent instead of thinking the game through.

Outside distractions, or whatever the case may be derailed Judah from reaching his full potential, and in most instances, lead to him coming up short in his biggest fights.

Even with the addition of the legendary Pernell Whitaker in his corner, it is too late for Judah to be a serious threat to anyone at the elite level.

Out with the old in with the new is the theme I took from this fight.

Amir Khan is the rising star, and undoubtedly will have huge fights in the coming years.

Judah, on the other hand is at the twilight of his career, and if anything, may have to come to the realization that he now is a gate keeper of which ever division he chooses to reside in.