ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Andre Ward, of Oakland, Calif., continually nailed Saturday night’s rival with an injured left hand, biting down and enduring the pain over the course of a unanimous decision victory over Carl Froch, of England, at Boardwalk Hall.
THE RING’s No. 1 rated super middleweight, the 27-year-old Ward (25-0, 13 knockouts) even absorbed the full brunt a powerful right hand by the No. 2-rated, 34-year-old Froch (28-2, 20 KOs), barely flinching and not even bothering to complain despite the fact that the blow landed flush long after the bell ending the eighth round.
In victory, Ward captured THE RING’s vacant division crown, Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic Championship Cup and added the WBC belt owned by Froch to the WBA crown Ward already owned.
During the post-fight press conference, Ward, THE RING’s No. 9-rated pound-for-pound fighter, revealed that the damaged left hand was re-injured during the sixth round, and also took time to address what he feels still are questions about his intestinal fortitude and his whiskers.
Ward also entertained queries about his stature in the sport and his worthiness as a favorite to be named The Boxing Writers’ Association of America’s Fighter of The Year. In May, Ward ground out a lop-sided, unanimous triumph over former middleweight beltholder Arthur Abraham.
Andre Ward on the level three contusion on his left hand, which was not revealed until a question was asked about it during the post-fight press conference:
“I am going to be honest. The hand injury was a scary situation. We hurt it on last Wednesday and we sparred on that Thursday in Atlantic City. I hit one of my sparring partners on top of the head, and it was a good shot. We kept sparring a couple of more rounds and didn’t think much of it.
“I told my team that it feels wierd, almost like a fracture. But the next day, it swelled up a lot more and we’ve got it on record that we went to the doctors here in Atlantic City. And he [doctor] said that it wasn’t a break, but that it was a soft bit of tissue damage here where it’s pretty swollen.
“Since last Thusday, I’ve been icing it like crazy. Putting it in Epsom salts, and falling asleep with ice bags on it. It was just a tough situation because this is my lead hand, and here we are getting ready for this fight, and my hand is hurt. So we made a few adjustments the last week, and we felt that it was as good as it could feel today.
“But in the sixth round, I hit Carl on top of the head and in the temple area and I felt it again. I had no choice but to bite down and just do it. I had no choice. I just tried to keep using it and other times, I would wince if I hit him with a good shot. But I’ve seen fighters like Floyd Mayweather fight with one hand before.
“And as a figher, you already know that that day is going to come for you. I knew that I was going to have that day, so I had no choice but to keep using that hand. I simply had no other choice.”
On his success landing the left hook:
“It was just a shot that made sense at the moment. Carl was coming with his hands down and he’s got a long jab. I figured out during the fight that if I could explode in with the left hook or counter with the left hook that I could use the check-hook to get in and get out of there. I know that he felt some of those hooks.”