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Andre Ward, Glen Johnson, Arthur Abraham & Carl Froch: The Super Six Continues

By Geno McGahee

The Super Six is down to four fighters, the semi finals to take place in 2011.  One of the favorites have turned into a heavy underdog, the dark horse of the tourney has become a major player, an underdog has turned into the favorite, and an old timer has come in to spoil the party for the hopeful youngsters.  It has had its ups and downs but it has proven a successful tournament, overcoming the obstacles and still delivering great entertainment and drama.

The initial tournament featured Andre Ward, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, and Mikkel Kessler, but injuries and second thoughts would remove three of them, and would allow Allan Green and Glen Johnson to step in. 

Green’s entry into the tournament was as quick as his exit, losing badly to both Andre Ward and then by Glen Johnson.  Johnson’s one TKO victory over Green put him right into the semi-finals.  He was the right guy, at the right place, and at the right time.  The face of the tournament has changed and the Kessler/Abraham favorites are no more.  One is out of it and the other is 1-2 in his three outings. 

The semi finals are set with the now favorite pitted against the now underdog and the old timer facing the dark horse.  Anything can happen as proven by this tournament and you cannot count anyone out, but Ward is certainly looking like the pick to win.

Andre Ward, 23-0, 13 KO’s vs. Arthur Abraham, 31-2, 25 KO’s
WBA Super Middleweight Title & Placement in the Finals

At one time, Abraham, the long time reigning middleweight champion with an undefeated record and granite chin was considered the most likely to win.  It’s hard not to favor him after watching him tough it out against Edison Miranda with a severely broken jaw, and when he moved up, he knocked out former middleweight champion, Jermain Taylor, picking up 3 points and the lead in the tournament.  At that point, it was going according to script.

Abraham would not fare as well against Andre Dirrell, the feather-fisted boxer that had previously lost to Carl Froch in the tournament.  Dirrell used movement and reach to dominate Abraham and frustrate him to the point where he hit Dirrell when he was down.  The blow was so brutal that it completely knocked Dirrell senseless and out of the tournament.  Abraham did not consider it a loss and moved on to face Carl Froch, another 1-1 fighter in the tournament, and the cat was let out of the bag, even by Abraham’s own admission.  He cannot compete at the top level of 168 pounders.  He was dominated by Froch all 12 rounds, and has stated that he will move back down, but not before he finishes the tournament.

Andre Ward is a puzzle that nobody has yet to figure out.  He reminds me a great deal of John Ruiz with his mauling style, using his strength to push around his opponents and confuse them to the point where they leave openings for his punches.  Ward confused and defeated Mikkel Kessler and dominated Allan Green in his second appearance.  He is coming off another ugly win over Sakio Bika.  Ward is and should be heavily favored over Abraham and when you consider some of the comments by “King” Arthur after the Froch fight, you have to imagine that he is not the picture of confidence. 

A wide UD for Ward looks like the most likely scenario here, but Abraham does have power and a confusing style of his own, with the tight defense, but Froch didn’t have much of a problem keeping him in that defensive shell.  Ward isn’t the puncher Froch is and perhaps that creates a chance for the now long shot to win.

Carl Froch, 27-1, 20 KO’s vs. Glen Johnson, 51-14-2, 38 KO’s
WBC Super Middleweight Title & Placement in the Finals

I called Froch the “Dark Horse” to win the tournament and he has proven just that with wins over Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham.  His one loss, a decision to Mikkel Kessler, was a debatable one, and he still considers himself an undefeated fighter.  Froch came onto the scene prior to the tournament’s creation with a final round knockout of Jermain Taylor, saving his undefeated record and title with only seconds to spare.  He has improved since then and looked fantastic beating Abraham up for 12 rounds.

Froch has issues with boxers like Taylor and Dirrell, but like Abraham, Johnson will be standing in front of him, creating openings, but can he keep off the old man and take the decision or the unlikely stoppage?

Glen Johnson is the man that will never go away.  He has been on the big stage a lot over the last seven years.  After being the victim of many bad decisions and after being avoided by many fighters, Roy Jones, JR., hand picked him as an opponent and paid for it.  A crushing right hand sent Roy to the floor, out cold and placed Johnson into the big leagues.  He followed up with an upset win over Antonio Tarver, he held his own with Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud, and has proven to be one of the most durable men in boxing.

At 41 years of age, he has defied father time and still performs well.  He knocked out Allan Green to get into the semi finals and seems stronger at 168, seven pounds less than his normal division.  He will be pressing ahead and trying to stop Froch, but he may be running into a mine field.  Froch is a devastating puncher and if he lands at Johnson when he comes in, the veteran may be knocked out.

The most likely scenario is a safety first decision win for Froch, leading to a Ward – Froch finals.

Ward vs. Froch is a pick’em fight.  Ward would be the favorite going in, but anything can happen and Froch has more than a puncher’s chance going in.  The rest of the Super Six should be as great as the beginning of it….high drama and potential surprises along the way. 

With the winner possibly facing off against Lucian Bute, the 168 pound division still remains one of the most exciting in boxing.

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