Goossen said during the post-fight conference that an examination during the week before the fight initially revealed a level-three contusion on Ward’s hand.
“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,” said Ward. “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.”
This, despite the hand having been X-rayed.
“That morning, he said that it feels wierd, and that it almost felt like a break. We took the glove off and we iced it like heck that night. The next morning, at 5 a.m., when my phone rang, I knew that it was serious. We went and got it X-rayed, right away, and it showed no break,” said Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter.
“In the opinion of the radiologist, it was a level three contusion and it was very serious. The only choice that we had was to ice, ice, ice, ice. We did in fact work the hands on the pads. We never thought about pulling out of the fight. We knew that the hand wasn’t 100 percent, but we figured once the adrenalin got going, he could get through the fight.”
During the post-fight news conference on Saturday, Ward said that his already damaged left hand was re-injured during the sixth round after having bounced a left hook off the top of Froch’s head.
“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,” said Ward during the post-fight conference.
“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.”
Ward, nevertheless, had success landing repeated left hooks and hard jabs throughout the fight.
“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,” said Ward. “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.”
Goossen likened Ward’s accomplishment to that of one he recalled about Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow as a high school player.
“When Tebow was in a championship game in high school, he got tackled, and blew his arm out. He came back to the sidelines and they said, ‘do you want to come out?’ And he said, ‘no coach, I’m fine,'” said Goossen.
“And then, he ran for the game-winning touchdown. That’s what champions do. So you know what that says about Andre Ward? He’s a throw-back. He’s a real champion.”
“The fact that it was broken in two places, what can you say? That just says it all, case closed. I’d like to see somebody else actually duplicate that. To fight an entire fight in pain like he did, and to dominate the fight while using the injured hand and hurting him?” said Hunter.
“I will go on record and say that if the hand wasn’t hurt, we were going to stop Carl Froch. What this does is take him to another level that’s going to be scary for his future opponents. I’m really excited about the next fight and once after that from here on out.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org