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  Andre Ward Climbs Over Carl Froch
To The Top Of The Super Middleweights,
& Undercard Results from Atlantic City


By Tim Donaldson
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey

 

It seemed as though it might have been an ominous sign floating in the air above the ring just before the fight was to start. It was clear to anyone in Boardwalk Hall, a thick fog hanging in the building. Surely this is not the first time that fog has made its way through the open doors into this Atlantic City landmark, but this time maybe, just maybe, it carried some meaning to the fight that was about to begin. Fog is not something too often associated with California. But England? Froch’s fans were buzzing. This in their eyes was a good omen.

If William Shakespeare were still alive and writing about this fight, he might have put it this way. All of the talk from Froch’s fans was simply “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” All the talk that took place before the fight was meaningless as soon as that bell rang. Once the bell rings, it is all about action, not talk.

Although Carl Froch had his moments, that was all they were, just moments. Andre Ward dominated the majority of the fight, forcing Froch to fight the way he, Ward, wanted. From the beginning of the first round, it was Ward’s fight. Ward landed the first meaningful punch of the fight. Ward was evading Froch’s punches. As the second round began, Froch tried to go on the attack. Ward worked his way inside, backed Froch to the ropes using little more than his jab. Near the end of the second round, Ward landed a combination as an unbalanced Froch looked momentarily like he might go down.

The one thing Froch did seem to have going for him was that he was able to fight his way off the ropes. The problem was the he was repeatedly caught on the ropes, forcing him to fight his way off. In the fifth round, Froch had one of his moments. He chased Ward to the ropes, punching him all the way. Ward was able to fight his way out. Toward the end of the fifth, Froch was able to knock Ward back into the ropes. However, with the possible exception of the fifth round Ward easily won those early rounds, relying on his jab and left hook. When Ward would fight inside, he simply pounded Froch’s body.

It seemed as though Ward’s attack on Froch’s body was paying off by the sixth round. Although Froch looked stiff from the beginning of the fight, he was now looking sloppy as well. He was having trouble landing his right. In the seventh, Froch seemed to be trying to keep distance between himself and Ward. Ward would have none of this. He was using his weight to keep Froch on the ropes. Even after being separated by referee Steve Smoger, he went right back to using his weight to put Froch back on the ropes.

By the eighth round, Froch’s frustration was starting to show. Ward landed a shot right at the bell. Rather than walking back to his corner, Froch decided to return with a shot of his own to the head of Ward. Froch surely knew as the ninth round began that he had to something amazing to win this fight. Every time Froch would throw his right, he seemed determined to knock out Ward. But Ward still was the one pressuring Froch to the ropes, landing his shots to the body.

The tenth and eleventh rounds saw more of the same. Froch had his moments, but Ward still controlled the action. Ward kept his distance, causing Froch to miss. As the twelfth round began, Froch was chasing Ward down. This was it for Froch. The two tangled. Froch hit Ward on the back of the head to get his off. Ward once again used his weight to force Froch to the ropes. The crowd was on its feet as the fight came to an end. Judge John Keane scored the fight 118-110, and judges Craig Metcalf and John Stewart scored the fight 115-113. Obviously, those moments that Froch had, impacted Metcalf and Stewart more than Keane, most of the press, and those watching the fight.

Unfortunately, it cannot be said that Boardwalk Hall was full for this epic and inaugural battle for the Super Middleweight Super Six Tournament Final. Sure, the building was full of boxing’s elite, Bernard Hopkins, Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz, and Lucian Bute to name a few, but the fans were conspicuously missing. The top sections were completely empty, and the lower sections were only half full. Maybe boxing is more of a local sport than the promoters and television people realize. I can only imagine that ticket sales would be much better in California or England.

The other problem with attendance may be that the fans are being taken for granted. Typically, a fight that happens in Atlantic City will have an undercard full of local fighters. This was not the case. The fighters making up the undercard came from all around the globe, and only two came from New Jersey. Moreover, the lackluster fights did little to excite the crowd.

Just before, if you can call 45 minutes just before, the Ward, Froch fight, Welterweight Kell Brook of England made his U.S. debut against Luis Galarza. Brook dominated the entire fight. In fact, Brook made Galarza look like an amateur in the ring. Now Galarza has a record of 18-2, 14 KO’s. That would be impressive except that the majority of those Galarza has fought have losing records. The one exception was his last fight against Paul Delgado, Galarza winning that fight by split decision. In the fifth round, Brook knocked Galarza into the ropes, and almost through the ropes. Referee Alan Huggins stopped the fight. He was doing both Galarza and the fans in attendance a favor.

The best of the undercard fights was between Light Heavyweights Edison Miranda and Kariz Kariuki. Although Miranda controlled much of the fight, Kariuki never seemed too far out of the fight. In fact, he even controlled much of the fourth round. However, Miranda got the best of him in the fifth. Kariuki went down early in the round. As soon as he was on his feet, Miranda came running in and knocked him down again; however, Miranda was never given the command to box. It didn’t matter. Miranda staggered Kariuki as soon as he was given the command. He kept up the pressure. Kariuki was out on his feet. Huggins stopped the fight, making Miranda the winner by TKO.

Heavyweight John Lennox created the most excitement on the undercard in his bout with Jeremiah Witherspoon. These were the only two local fighters. Neither seems to have any defensive skills, but both go all out. Lennox got the win by TKO although referee Randy Newman did not stop the fight until Witherspoon hit the canvas, not getting up for several minutes.

Light Heavyweight Cornelius White won by unanimous decision over Yordanis Despaigne. By the end of the fight, both were covered in blood. Although the fight looked to be competitive in the first two rounds, White dominated from the third round until the end of the sixth. The scores were 60-53, 59-55, 59-55.

Heavyweight Bowie Tupou won by unanimous decision over Donnell Holmes. The majority of the fight looked like a drunken street brawl. Holmes went down in the seventh, but did come back in the tenth and even had Tupou on the run. Scores for this fight were 95-94, 96-93, and 95-94.

After the Ward, Froch fight, Light Middleweight Boyd Melson knocked out Daniel Lugo in the third round.



 

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