By Lem Satterfield
CARSON, Calif. – Undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Andre Ward moved one win away from claiming the ground-breaking inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup with a convincing 12-round unanimous decision over “King” Arthur Abraham at The Home Depot Center. Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) will face the winner of the June 4 Super Six Semifinal between World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch (27-1, 20 KOs) and former world champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson (51-14-2, 35 KOs). Abraham (32-2, 26 KOs), of Berlin, Germany, by way of Armenia, lost for the third straight time but vowed after the fight that he would remain in the talent-rich super middleweight division.
ANDRE WARD COMMENTS
Jim Gray: "You seemed to overcome adversity in the fight, what changed the direction early in the fight?"
Andre Ward: "Arthur was very strong. Everybody that I talked to that had fought him either personally or through the media, they said that he was a hard hitter and they're right. He hits very hard, he's very awkward and he's very strong. He's a champion, and I expected that. But I just kept telling myself, 'We're going home with these belts tonight.'"
Jim Gray: "And you went to the body. When did you determine that that was going to be effective, because he seemed to tire after the sixth round"
Ward: "I'll be honest. I mean, the referee did a great job. I wish that he would have allowed me to work a little more inside. I felt like I could have weakened Arthur even more. That was part of our game plan. Again, just like in the Bika fight. We showed that we could win ugly. Tonight, we showed that we could win in a way that was other than our original game plan."
Gray: "How much did you learn from watching Arthur Abraham against Carl Froch?"
Ward: "That was definitely a blue print. But I knew that I was a totally different fighter -- different reach, different height, different style. So it wasn't going to be the exact same fight. Nor the Dirrell fight for that matter. So I knew that I wasn't going take to much stock in that, even though it was a good blueprint."
Gray: "Was this your most complete fight?"
Ward: "I don't think so. I have to watch it on tape. I'm happy with the victory. I'm happy and I want to thank God for the victory and thank everybody else that was praying for me. And we're going to the finals, baby."
Gray: "If you don't think so, where do you think that you need to grow?"
Ward"Just overall. I see myself shuffling. I see myself throwing bolo punches. I'm putting on a show while I'm winning. I want to get to that point. I know that you can't do that every fight. That's not a reality to every fight. But a 'W' is not a bad thing on any given day."
Gray: "How do you see Johnson against Froch?"
Ward: "I think that that's a 50-50 fight. You can never count Glen Johnson out. Carl Froch is a warrior. I'm just looking forward to fighting the winner in the finals, baby."
ARTHUR ABRAHAM COMMENTS
Gray [speaking to Abraham's translator]: "How does he assess his performance after guaranteeing that he would win?"
Abraham: "I fought hard, I gave it my all, I came here to fight. I don't think that it was that high, the verdict [meaning the scoring difference.] I didn't see it that high. He didn't hit me cleanly."
Gray: "What changed the direction of the fight after his quick start and did he get tired after Ward started going to the body and after the sixth round?"
Abraham: "I blocked his shots to my body well. I didn't really ease up. I wanted it too much. I tried to go for the knockout. I couldnt' get it."
Gray: "How disappointing is this to have lost three fights in a row?
Abraham: "I'm sad about it. I'm not happy about this. I'm sad."
Gray: "Will you consider going back down to middleweight?"
Abraham: "No. I'll stay at super middleweight."