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Dougie's Friday mailbag
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Fight fans, especially those from the UK, are excited about the long-awaited Super Six final between Andre Ward and Carl Froch. Opinions on the 168-pound tournament and championship dominate this week's Friday mailbag. Enjoy!
THE GRAND FINALE IS HERE
1. Quite simply, who do you pick in this fight and why? Call me crazy but I can see this ending in a draw, Ward is the more the more technically proficient boxer but Froch has superhuman will, and won’t go away, I can't seperate them.
2. Based on the quality of the opposition both men have had to face during this process I personally wouldn't hesitate at putting the winner as high as #3 in the p4p rankings. Where would you personally place the winner in the current p4p rankings?
3. I don't believe that either fighter will be considered a loser at the conclusion of this unique competition and I think that underlines how successful it has been, the only gripe I have is that it seems to have been going on for ages... What changes, if any, would you make to its format and what weight classes would you most like to see a similar competition in the future?
4. Finally, I may be in dreamland now but how feasible do you think it would be for a Superfight to happen between the eventual winner of the Super Six and Serio Martinez at Super Middleweight or a catchweight? And does the winner of this hypothetical situation finally oust the Pacmonster and Mayweather as p4p kings?
Keep up the good work! -- Alex from Leicester, UK
Thanks for the email and the enthusiasm, Alex. I’m finally feeling the excitement for this super middlewieght matchup after watching the RingTV videos of Ward and Froch’s recent media roundtable interviews. Ward and Froch are not only two of the best 168 pounders in the sport, I think they might be the two most intelligent and articulate boxers in the world. And their confidence/self belief is as unyielding as any boxer currently enshrined in the hall of fame.
Which leads me to your questions, which I will answer in order:
1) I don’t think a draw is an off-the-wall prediction for this matchup. They are equals in so many categories and their styles could mesh in a way that either splits the 12 rounds or makes for many close, toss-up rounds. Ward will likely land the cleaner punches (jab from the outside, hooks and uppercuts in close), but Froch will probably outwork the American with hard combinations during every exchange. The X-factors of the bout include Froch’s ability to hurt Ward, Ward’s ability to out-muscle the Brit in close, and how each fighter will react if the other flips the script (Froch employing stick-and-move tactics, and Ward pressure fighting). I’ll be surprised if either fighter wins in one-sided fashion.
2) The winner of this fight will land somewhere between No. 3 and No. 6 on my personal pound-for-pound top 10 list.
3) I think you’re correct about the perception that boxing fans will have the two finalists of the Super Six. Both Ward and Froch (especially the Brit) have been tested so much since entering the tournament almost three years ago that both the winner and loser of tomorrow’s showdown will move on with nothing but mad resepct from true fight fans worldwide. I agree that it took too damn long for the cream of the Super Six to rise to the top. I still like the tournament concept for boxing, but I think going forward Showtime should keep the field down to four participants and go with the single-elimination format (as it did with the bantamweights). I don’t think it matters what divisions are showcased. There are good fighters in every weight class. Network execs just have to pick the right guys (in terms of personality as well as talent/styles, and preferably from various parts of the world). I’d love to see four-man tournaments at heavyweight (Povetkin, Arreola, Helenius, and Fury), light heavyweight (Cloud, Shumenov, Sillakh and Cleverly), middlewieght (Geale, Sturm, Pirog and Golovkin), welterweight (Jones, Brook, Senchenko, and Malignaggi), lightweight (DeMarco, Guerrero, Mitchell, and J. Molina) and featherweight (J. Gonzalez, M. Garcia, Russell, and Dibb).
4) If the Ward-Froch winner fought Martinez I probably would crown the winner of that super showdown my new pound-for-pound king, but I don’t think that fight will ever happen. Martinez’s promoter and manager have been very clear about not wanting the middleweight king to step up to 168 pounds. Plus, the Ward-Froch winner does not need to look at other divisions for quality challenges. They’ve got Lucian Bute to deal with, and the undefeated IBF titleholder is a box-office attaction, unlike Martinez.
IT WAS SO WORTH IT
It seems that if you ask any boxing journalist or fan, the majority of them will say that the Super Six should not be repeated again, in any division or on any network. I won't dwell too much on the detailed problems of the tournament but with all the pullouts, delays, late punches, venue uncertainty, more delays, promotional aggro and sheer length of time the tournament has taken to conclude, you have to wonder why anyone at HBO or Showtime would consider it worth their time/ money/ effort/ blood pressure to try again. That's their call to make, but I for one am so, so glad they did. When the tournament was announced in May 2009 there was a talent-rich, unconsolidated division of great fighters, all desperate to make their name as no. 1. That was the sole purpose of the Super Six and two and a half years later, that’s exactly what it's going to do.
Jermain Taylor has retired after a heavy knockout in his first fight, we've not seen him in action since. Andre Dirrell showed flashes of class then disappeared into 20 months of obscurity. Mikkell Kessler pulled out at the same stage, leaving potential but a big question mark about what he still has left. He hasn't fought a top contender since. Allan Green has lost two on the bounce and Glen Johnson fought a spirited, but ultimately not quite good enough campaign. Outside the tournament Bute continues to lurk in Canadian shadows, but has fought no one worthy of an undisputed champion. The rest of the top ten are either unproven prospects or veteran gatekeepers.
Ward has consistently performed at a high level since beating Kessler in round one of stage one, taking care of everything that's come his way and barely losing a round. Reading the list of Froch's last six opponents, in which he is 5-1, it is difficult to find better anywhere else in the sport (Manny aside) and given that he's done it in four different countries on two different continents makes his quality beyond any doubt.
After all the s__t this tournament has taken, it will conclude with undoubtedly the best, most proven two super middleweights in the world getting into the ring for a barnburner -- that has to be worth it. Thank you Ken Hershman, thank you Showtime, thank you Super Six. – Nick
I couldn’t have said it better myelf, Nick. The Super Six World Boxing Classic was worth all the setbacks, dropouts, substitutes, and other various B.S. because it allowed both Andre Ward and Carl Froch to evolve into the two best 168-pound fighters on the planet. Ward was little more than a slightly seasoned prospect when he enterered the tournament. Froch was viewed as rugged stalker, a British Antonio Margarito.
Now look at ‘em. I think the winner deserves to hold THE RING championship. Both deserve respect, as does Hershman and Showtime for delivering this tournament.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUPER SIX FINAL
Brook will get the ‘W’ and look good because he’s in with a journeyman. Froch may not win, but he’ll represent your country with honor. I’m picking Ward by close -- maybe (but hopefully not) controversial -- decision, but I wouldn’t faint if Froch “shocked” the boxing world by winning. I think Froch can outwork Ward in the center of the ring, and perhaps on the inside (if he isn’t frustrated by the American’s clinching/grappling tactics).
I don’t see either fighter winning by KO but if there is a stoppage, I think Froch will score it. If Ward wins in the one-sided fashion that you envision, we should all laud him as an elite boxer, probably the future P4P king of the sport.
I can’t think of any “ridiculous/nonsensical” stoppages, let alone rank the top five of the last 10 years. That doesn’t mean I haven’t witnessed my share of bulls__t, it just means that I don’t care to dwell on B.S.
For the record, I didn’t have a problem with Abraham being DQ’d in the Dirrell fight (and this coming from a “genius” who boldly picked the Armenian assassin to win the tournament). I’m not going to lie to you, I had my suspicions about how badly Dirrell was hurt shortly after he went down, but the bottom line was that Abraham – who I agree was coming on – watched his opponent slip to the canvas and then blatantly fouled him. I thought Abe did it out of frustration and spite, and I thought his attitude after the bout was stopped was almost as unprofessional as his action in the 11th round.