The stakes couldn’t be higher, the drama more intense. On Saturday, Oct. 29, two confident reigning world champions–one from America, the other from Europe–will collide in the eagerly awaited Super Six World Boxing Classic Final, a World Championship Unification, live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast, from the historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
When the Super Six began, neither undefeated WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, Calif., nor his WBC counterpart, Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KOs), of Nottingham, England, were among the favorites.
But through career-defining fights and remarkable drama both in and out of the ring, Ward and Froch have persevered and emerged as prominent members of boxing’s exclusive Pound-for-Pound list and are now poised for global stardom.
The Super Six World Boxing Classic was conceived by Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Showtime Sports, to match the best fighters in a deep, talent-laden division in a series of fights to see who would come out on top.
Now, Ward and Froch are just one victory away from earning the distinction of being the undisputed No. 1 super middleweight in the world.
“I can’t think of two more deserving men than Andre and Carl to represent this tournament in the Final with a chance for one of them to hoist high the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup,” said Hershman. “The two survived the gauntlet – fighting one elite athlete after another – and rightfully deserve the division’s top billing.
“The Super Six was created to determine the No. 1 super middleweight in the world through an arduous run of championship level fights, but more importantly, to sustain conversation and piqued interest in these boxers before, during and between fights. It is clear that we have delivered that and much more.
The winner of the 12-rounder will claim super middleweight supremacy, both world championship belts and the coveted Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup.
“Going into a fight of this magnitude, I expect the toughest fight of my career,” said Ward.
Froch echoed Ward’s comments regarding the enormity of the Super Six Final. “It makes this the biggest and the most prestigious fight to happen for as far back as I can remember.
“This has been a fantastic tournament. It has produced some amazing fights in our division, fights that certainly would not have happened otherwise. For the Final, we have a great fight between two superior athletes.”
Ward said, “The Super Six has given me the opportunity to fight the best and, so far, I’ve been fortunate to beat the best. It’s also given me the chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do and that’s become undisputed champion. This fight brings me closer.
“I salute Showtime and everyone involved for allowing me into this tournament. We’ve all put our nose to the ground, and we’re still standing and heading to a grand finale. I’m excited to be part of it.”
The last boxer from the United States to capture an Olympic Games gold medal, the six-foot one, 27-year-old Ward won the WBA belt by upsetting Super Six co-favorite Mikkel Kessler with an impressive 11th-round technical decision in Group Stage 1.
Ward retained the crown with lopsided 12-round unanimous decisions over Allan Green, Sakio Bika and, most recently, Arthur Abraham (last May 14) in a Super Six Semifinal. Ward will be making his fourth defense against Froch.
Coming into the tournament off a 12th-round TKO over Jermain Taylor, Froch took a 12-round split decision over Andre Dirrell in Group Stage 1.
The 33-year-old Froch then lost the WBC belt on a close decision to Kessler in a thrilling Fight of the Year candidate in Group Stage 2, but regained it in his subsequent Super Six start when, after an eye injury sidelined Kessler and forced him to relinquish the belt, Froch masterfully outclassed a determined Abraham en route to a unanimous decision.
Froch defended his strap and secured a berth in the Final with a convincing, hard-fought decision over Glen Johnson last June 4.
In what will be an intense, highly charged affair, Froch fully expects his power to be the difference.
“Ward is a boxer and mover who can be messy up close,’’ Froch said. “I can box when I need to and I have proven time and again that I can fight with the best of them. I have my natural fitness, a big heart, experience at the top level and the ability to take a punch.
“My punching power is far superior to Ward’s. This will prove to be the deciding factor.”
Style-wise, Froch compares Ward to an earlier Super Six victim, Dirrell. “They are similar,’’ Froch said. “Both can't punch and both are frightened of getting hit hard.’’
It wouldn’t be a major fight involving Andre Ward without an upcoming opponent questioning his ability or legitimacy. Ward is accustomed to it. In some ways, he almost expects it and, up to now, thrives on it.
“I don’t think Froch gets the attention he deserves in his country so he tries to get it in the United States ,’’ Ward said. “Fine, if it sells a few tickets. He’s certainly not the first to speak out against me and he won’t be the last. I think Froch likes to hear himself talk – except he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“My thoughts going into this fight are plain and simple: I want to retain the WBA belt, win the WBC belt and The Ring belt and bring home that Super Six hardware. I’m a pro and locked in on that and being one of the best in the world.
"Froch can dominate through his tabloids; all I want is to dominate the night of the fight. What he must understand is it looks totally different on the inside of those ropes than the way it looks on the outside.
“But Froch is absolutely right (about my elusive style),” said Ward. “I don’t get paid to get hit. It’s not my job. I was taught right away not to get hit or take unnecessary punishment. I’m not in it to be Fight of the Year; I’m in it to be Fighter of the Year.”
The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Antonio Leonard Productions and Matchroom Sport in association with Caesars Atlantic City.
Dan Goossen, of Goossen Tutor stated, “Words alone don’t do justice to describe the talent, inside and outside the ring, of Andre Ward.
"Outside, he is someone you want to hug and admire because of his gentleman-like qualities. Inside the ropes it’s a completely different story. He is an ornery man you don’t want to mess with; a real fighter.”
“As for the Showtime tournament format, it is one of the best things to happen in boxing for many, many years,” Goossen continued. “When you have the best fighting the best in every fight, it’s great for the fans and our sport. Believe me, nothing will stop Ward from beating Froch and capturing the inaugural Super Six Cup and catapulting himself to that next level.”
From Eddie Hearn , Managing Director, Matchroom Sport, ''Carl Froch epitomizes everything that is great about this sport. He puts everything on the line every time he enters the ring, in short he is the ultimate warrior.
"Beyond the steel determination is a sharp and bright mind, who, when linking up with his trainer Rob McCracken, can devise game plans to overcome anyone in this division. This is a huge fight. It's the kind of fight that determines your legacy, a fight that you have worked your whole life towards.
"The Super Six Cup, two prestigious World title belts and The Ring magazine belt - Carl Froch will be Andre Ward's worst nightmare on Oct. 29 and will not be denied.
"The Super Six has been a breath of fresh air in the sport of boxing. It's almost like how boxing used to be - the best fight the best, forget the politics. It's given us great fights, great drama and you couldn't have a more fitting Final.''
"The history of boxing in Atlantic City is rich,” said Don Marrandino, President of Caesars AC. “Some of the greatest of all time have fought here including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and, of course, Arturo Gatti.
"Our intent is to bring the biggest and the best boxing events back to our revitalized city. Andre Ward vs. Carl Froch in the Super Six World Boxing Classic Final is just that. I can’t wait for Oct. 29.”
Future announcements regarding the press tour, travel and ticket packages and tickets on sale date will be made shortly.