WBC super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch accused WBA counterpart Andre Ward of being a dirty, protected, weak-punching fighter during the kickoff news conference Monday in London for their RING and Super Six World Boxing Classic Showdown.
Froch will meet Ward on Oct. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J.
"I have not been impressed with Andre and his level of opposition. Look at his record," said Froch, of Nottingham, England. "He's fought good fighters, but not at the level where we are now."
Froch (28-1, 20 knockouts) suffered his lone defeat to Denmark's Mikkel Kessler, a unanimous decision, after Kessler already had lost an 11th-round technical decision to Ward (24-0, 13 KOs).
Ward-Kessler took place in Ward's hometown of Oakland, Calif., and ended in controversy because Kessler suffered a number of facial cuts as a result of accidental head butts.
"The only opponent that is up there on his record is Mikkel Kessler," said Froch. "And I watched that fight. I didn't care for it, to be honest. I didn't like that Mikkel had to travel with his title only to have Andre throwing his head around in there, causing the cuts and such.
"On Oct. 29, as long as it’s a clean, fair fight, I am not worried about Ward. He has no power whatsoever. And his hand speed, sure it’s fast, but even he'll tell you it’s not as fast as Andre Dirrell’s. And I handled Dirrell quite easily."
Froch earned a split-decision over Dirrell, a former Olympic teammate of Ward's and a bronze medalist.
"I've been in boxing for a long time, over 15 years," said Ward, an Olympic gold medalist. "I know what he's doing. He has to do this in his mind, he has to minimize me, minimize my accomplishments and performances. And that's OK.
"I understand. I'll just remind him that we have a date set. Oct. 29. That will come soon enough and we'll see."
ANDRE BERTO RESPONDS
Berto, 27, will try to bounce back from April's unanimous-decision loss to Victor Ortiz when he meets IBF beltholder Jan Zaveck (31-1, 18 KOs) on Sept. 3.
"Being a fighter, you just can't dwell on these things. … They'll respect me or they're not going to respect me. You just can't get caught up in that. … I know what I'm capable of, and if they [writers and critics] were capable of it, they would be in the ring doing the same thing that I'm doing."
Berto acknowledged that his performance against Ortiz raised his stature among many observers, as HBO broadcasters suggested.
Berto suggested that he has been under a microscope because he has fought frequently on HBO.
"I've done something that a lot of fighters haven't in that I've basically spent my whole professional career in front of the public," he said. "It seems like I've been fighting on HBO since I was, I don't know, 15-0 or 16-0. So my career had to blossom in front of everybody, and that's not an easy thing to do. That comes with a lot of pressure and expectations. The people who are watching, they see your successes and your failures in a bright light.
"So you're going to … pick out a lot of his flaws. But then you're going to see his growth. They should stay tuned, because people are going to see my growth from here on."
FRANKIE GOMEZ IN ACTION
Gomez, 19, will be taking part in his second scheduled eight-round bout. He is coming off a fourth-round KO of Khadaphi Proctor on July 1.
Granados (8-1-1, 5 KOs) is riding a 7-0-1 unbeaten streak that includes four knockouts.
In the co-main event, 21-year-old lightweight Omar Figueroa (12-0-1, 9 KOs) meets Marcos Herrera (6-6-1, 2 KOs).
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org