By John F. McKenna (McJack)
With his two impressive wins in 2011 in the Super Six Tournament over Arthur Abraham (32-3, 26 KO’s) last May and former WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KO’s) last Saturday night WBA/WBC/The Ring super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO’s) has been awarded the Fighter of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
Ward demonstrated why he is undefeated and why many are picking him to be the heir apparent as the future Pound for Pound king in boxing. His skills are remarkable. Andre is nearly impossible to hit with a solid punch, while exhibiting speed and superb boxing skill.
Froch was quoted in SI.COM after their bout on Saturday night saying Ward was “a slippery eel.”
Froch also said “He’s not a big puncher, but physically he’s quite strong.” Gracious in defeat Froch said “I lost the fight for sure. I got beat by the better man.”
Froch, who is known as a tough, hard nosed fighter could not rattle Ward with his punches the way he had Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson and Andre Dirrell in prior matches.
Froch’s honesty in losing was refreshing although by no means is he giving up. He believes that at 34 he will bounce back and be stronger and better than ever.
Last may when Andre took on Abraham some boxing fans questioned whether Ward would be able to handle Arthur’s power punches. But in that fight too Ward showed his overall skill and superiority. Ward totally outclassed Abraham and did not give him a chance to get set for his power punches, while landing numerous combinations of his own.
Thus far Ward has not had a high media profile. Part of the reason for that is that he is not a power puncher. In addition Andre refuses to get into the trash talk that so many of the other current crop of fighters do. Ward has chosen instead to move up to where he is quietly and allow his boxing skills to speak for him.
Ward at 27 years old acknowledges that he is not yet at his prime and that some of his boxing skills need to be improved.
It is not yet clear what will be next for Andre, or who he will fight. There has been some conjecture that he will move up to light heavyweight in the not too distant future.
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