Last night at Atlantic City's famed Boardwalk Hall, WBA super middleweight king Andre Ward won the Super Six Tournament final with a hard fought win over WBC champ Carl Froch.
The bout commenced with both fighters testing the other, each landing jabs.. Froch, of Nottingham, England, misses with a couple of big shots while Ward, of Oakland, California, connects with a short hook or two. One thing that is very clear from the start is that Froch is unable to get a bead on the fleet-footed Ward.
During the second, the fight immediately goes to the inside where it is apparent that Ward has the much quicker hands but by mixing it up with Froch inside, Ward puts himself at a disadvantage as the Englishman connects with some good uppercuts and hard body shots along with a few jabs. Ward gets in a few good counters, hooks and jabs but is outworked.
Ward comes off second best in the opening exchange on the inside during the third and spends the rest of the round from the outside, where he tries to solve the awkward style of Froch. There are several good exchanges as Froch lands a few hard shots upstairs and down with Ward getting in some good left hands and the occasional right.
Ward again goes in for a tear up to start the fourth but this time gets in the better work. As the American backs off, it's clear he's starting to get the measure of Froch, who looks ragged at this point.
The second half of the round sees Ward literally pin Froch to the ropes and win the inside battle there before getting in a good combination at center ting just before the bell.
Froch regains his composure in the fifth, staying on the outside and working his long, awkward jab. Ward gets in some good shots in the early going on the inside but is hit by some counters that seem to catch him off guard, particularly at round's end.
The sixth is a nice action round with many exchanges, mostly on the inside, as the pair trade good hooks and right hands. Ward's quickness pays off here as he has the higher connect percentage, nullifying one of the better rounds for Froch.
A furious exchange start the seventh but not a lot of connects from either fighter. Ward picks apart Froch in the first half of the frame, nailing the Brit with big lead rights and lead left hooks.
Froch gets in a few decent shots when Ward slows down but can't get the advantage when the second half of the round turns into a wrestling match.
Ward outboxes his rival in the eighth. Froch lands with the occasional hook or left hand but Ward is connecting with more and the punches are eye-catching shots. A frustrated Froch hits Ward with a right hand well after the bell, Ward shows a lot of class by not responding in kind.
The ninth is a messy affair with clinching, wrestling, questionable low shots from Ward and blatant rabbit punching from Froch. Froch at times outfights Ward on the inside but generally, Ward lands the better punches.
Another scrappy round sees Froch do better than in the tenth than in the four previous frames as he catches Ward a few times among the chaos but once again, Ward lands the bigger, better punches.
In the eleventh Froch becomes the most aggressive he's been in the fight, pressuring Ward and getting in some good shots but has to eat a good deal of counters in order to do so. Ward tries to break the momentum by wrestling Froch on the ropes.
Froch again fighting hard, winning the twelfth early on until a break occurs to replace Ward's mouthpiece. Ward then regroups, landing good left hooks and right hands as Froch gets in a few of his own amid the American's wrestling and clinching. Sporadic exchanges and wrestling until the final bell:
When the cards are read, Ward wins all three with a rather wide 118-110 along with two surprisingly close 115-113 and 115-113 scores
Ward now holds the WBC and WBA belts as he wins the two-year plus long Super Six Tournament, seeing his record to 25-0 (13). Froch now stands at 28-2 (20), losing for the second time in his last four appearances.
British welterweight Kell Brook, 26-0 (18), made his American debut on the undercard, halting the over-matched Luis Galaraza, 17-3 (13), at 1:38 of the fifth.
Brook, who has held the British and various regional belts, was coming off a significant stoppage victory over durable ex-IBF title challenger and European champion RafalJackiewicz but needs to be put in with more accomplished competition than Galaraza if the Sheffield man is to gain valuable experience along the way to a world title opportunity.
Former middleweight and super middle title challenger Edison Miranda, 35-6 (30), continued his campaign as a light heavy, finishing off Australia's Kariz Kariuki, 24-10-2 (19), at 2:15 of the fifth while heavyweight Bowie Tapou, 22-1 (16), canvassed Donnell Holmes, 33-2-2 (29), in the seventh enroute to winning the ten rounder by scores of 93-96 and 95-94 twice.