Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Andre Ward-Arthur Abraham: Pre-Semi “6” Report Card

By Cliff Rold

After the first round of the tournament, this was probably the odds-on favorite to be the final.  Former IBF 160 lb. beltholder Arthur Abraham looked as advertised with a 12th round, one-punch atomizing of former World Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor.  2004 U.S. Olympic Light Heavyweight Gold Medalist Andre Ward was masterful in outboxing, and outbrawling, former unified Super Middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler.

That was back in the Fall of 2009.  Remember?  Back when the “Super Six” Super Middleweight tournament still had just six fighters?

Yeah.

Then.

Things have changed a wee bit since.  Taylor left the field after the first round.  Kessler and 2004 U.S. Olympic Middleweight Bronze Medalist Andre Dirrell were out before the third and final preliminary round commenced.  Allan Green and Glen Johnson ultimately entered the field officially.  Sakio Bika was the unofficial ninth.  Now, finally, four remain. 

After the first round, Abraham was still undefeated. 

Ward was too. 

Ward still is.  Four “0’s” were brought to the field.  Ward remains the only picture of perfection and the odds are now on the pride of Northern California to win the whole thing.  Juan Manuel Lopez, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Andre Berto, and Devon Alexander, among others, have found out in 2011, being undefeated is not the same a staying undefeated.  Abraham has learned the lesson twice over since the “Super Six” began.

Is it Ward’s turn to experience the “1?”

Let’s go to the report card.

The Ledgers

Andre Ward
Age: 27
Title: WBA Super Middleweight (2009-Present, 2 Defenses)

Height: 6’1

Weight: 168 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 168.2 lbs.

Hails from: Oakland, California

Record: 23-0, 13 KO
BoxingScene Rank: #1 at Super Middleweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 3-0

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 1 (Mikkel Kessler)

Vs.

Arthur Abraham
Age: 31

Current Title: None

Previous Titles: IBF Middleweight (2005-09, 10 Defenses)  

Height: 5’10

Weight: 167 lbs.

Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 166.5 lbs.

Hails from: Berlin, Germany (Born in Armenia)

Record: 32-2, 26 KO

BoxingScene Rank: #8 at Super Middleweight
Record in Major Title Fights: 11-1, 7 KO

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 2 (Raul Marquez, Jermain Taylor)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced in Defeat: 1 (Carl Froch)

Pre-Fight: Speed – Ward A; Abraham B
Pre-Fight: Power – Ward B; Abraham A+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Ward A; Abraham B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Ward A; Abraham C+

It’s being slept on.  That’s the first thought that comes to mind in breaking the fight down.  One of the intrigues of the tournament when announced was that it was certain to test the mentality of the boxing viewer in ways not normal to this era.  It wasn’t going to punish losses, testing the idea of styles making fights and how that can affect fighters over a string of challenges.      
 
There is a reason three undefeated members of the field are not anymore.  They were all asked to fight real fighters without a mass of patsies in between.  Ward in some sense has benefited from the chaos of the field, drawing weaker second and third round tests than Abraham or Froch did as the only other members of the original field to finish the round robin portion.  That Green and Bika were both viable top ten contenders at 168 lbs. shows that weaker wasn’t weak so he won’t suffer from lesser comp.

He’ll be fresher than Abraham because he was so good throughout the tournament so far.  Abraham was downright impotent in his third round loss to Carl Froch, controlled by the jab and beat up in spots by a taller, heavy-handed man wiling to box at range.  That loss, and Abraham’s loss to Dirrell in the second round, make Ward a lock pick for many. 

An analytical problem arises there because the Dirrell fight was more competitive than given credit for.  Sure, Abraham was dropped and well behind, but was catching up quick before foolishly striking Dirrell on the ground when Dirrell slipped to the floor in the 11th.  Abraham’s pressure, and desperation, had him back in the fight and he scored what should have been called a knockdown in the 10th.
Another analytical problem is in the styles Saturday.  Ward, so far, has fought nothing like Dirrell or Froch.  Ward has won by jabbing, bodying (and butting) inside, and outworking his men at close range while using superior footwork and intelligent clinches to prevent leveraged incoming power.  Dirrell and Froch won on the outside.  No one has dared to fight Abraham inside, in range of his short right or explosive left hand.

Ward might.  The evidence suggests he will.  That makes this fight dangerous from bell to bell…

…but only if Abraham stays patient, disciplined, and resolved.  The first two he couldn’t pull off against Dirrell.  All three fell apart with Froch.  Abraham fought Froch with too much patience early and, unlike in the Dirrell fight, never showed any late fire or resolve.  He appeared to play for the final bell instead of the win.  Now, his back is to the wall. 

Abraham’s defense has been a liability in spots.  Against lesser lights at Middleweight, blocking out of a high guard until his man got too close worked.  Against the elite talent faced at Super Middleweight, it’s just been a way to be out of position and open to get tagged when he did open up.  If he handcuffs himself, plays predictably for single bombs, versus Ward, he’s in trouble.   Ward will rip him to the body and ignore the head until it’s there. 
        
Ward so far has been all about the mental strength Abraham lacked in rounds two and three.  He’s had to be.  He doesn’t have a power eraser, so he relies on a ring IQ is off the charts.  He hasn’t lost since he was an amateur adolescent for a reason.  However, he has been hittable in spots.  Kessler found him with some left hooks in their first round fight.  Ward never let him land twice in a row so it didn’t matter.

Abraham doesn’t need to land twice.

The Pick

Unlike many peers, this scribe gives Abraham a powerful chance at a win.  Ward is going to find Abraham physically stronger than anyone he’s faced so far and when he goes inside, he’s taking his chances.  The problem will be for Abraham to get off before Ward locks him up.  The evidence suggests the speed of Ward can prevent that and then the shadows of defeat will collect over Abraham.  He can’t believe himself invulnerable anymore, can’t believe he’s just one shot away, the way he could before the “Super Six.”

The scent of upsets in the air so far in 2011 is strong but the air of inevitability is stronger in this fight.  The safe pick (one that it’s tempting not to make) is Ward by decision in a fight where he encounters more trouble than he has so far.

Just don’t blink because Abraham can still turn any pick on its head in a single second of thirty-six scheduled minutes.        

Report Card Picks 2011: 13-4

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by WESS on 05-14-2011

AA has limited skills... like I said Ward is destroying AA.. Froch is next if he doesn't get schooled by the season vet in Johnson.

Comment by WESS on 05-14-2011

Wards going to make AA quit. He's already frustrated and confused and is resulting to rough house tactics. Much like what Froch does when he's getting schooled. Ex is vs Direll. Froch was schooled... AA is going to be embarressed.

Comment by WESS on 05-14-2011

Wards bringing the heat

Comment by dubjab on 05-14-2011

[QUOTE=J Dubb II 330;10540718]don't entertain it anymore ronin, AA kd was not a push it was a clean shot, Dirrell started to come off his gameplan and got a little careless. It was a boxing lesson that Froch expanded on…

Comment by Chew BackAtacha on 05-14-2011

direll's knockdown was legit he did outbox aa for 10 rounds 10th round it all changed 11th round he was getting to him, hurting him, tide was turning, dirrell new it, took the easy way out these are the facts,…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (18)
Top Headlines Canelo vs. Golovkin - Closed Circuit Ticket Information Kell Brook Mulled Retirement, Hints at 'Big Changes' in Return Duke Micah Signs Promotional Deal With Evander Holyfield Bryan Figueroa Inks Promotional Pact With Sampson Boxing Liam Smith vs. Liam Williams II on October 28 in Manchester Broner: 'No Way In Hell' Garcia is a Better Boxer Than Me! Berchelt: I'm Best in Division; I'd 'Definitely Beat' Lomachenko Abel Sanchez is Open To Training Sergey Kovalev, Door is Open Adrien Broner on Mikey Garcia: 'I'm Coming to ‘F*** Him Up!' Joseph Parker: I Back Myself To Beat Anyone, I'll Fight Anyone! Horn: Khan is a Brilliant Boxer, But if Hit on Chin - He Will Sleep Monroe on Saunders: I'd Fight That Motherf***er for 75 Dollars Johnny Nelson: Not a Lock That Mayweather Beats McGregor Juan Manuel Marquez Fight Pushed Back - September or October White: Mayweather Would 'Destroy Conor's Life' if He Goes MMA Curtis Stevens a Free Agent, Parts Ways With Main Events De La Hoya: Mayweather Has Not Been Good For Boxing! Video: Abel Sanchez Talks Canelo-GGG, Kovalev, Pacquiao, More Video: Gennady Golovkin Interview, Training Camp For Canelo Saunders Willing To Stake His Life That McGregor Gets Drilled in 5 Atlas Still Feels Pacquiao-Horn Outcome Stinks, WBO Review Too Carlos Carlson, Isaac Zarate Ready For Ontario Battle Photos: Omar Chavez, Roberto Garcia - Go Face To Face Photos: Amanda Serrano vs. Edina Kiss - Official Weights Photos: Antonio Moran vs. Guadalupe Rosales - Official Weights Broner: I Weighed 144 This Morning; I Could Weigh In Tomorrow Antonio Margarito vs. Carson Jones on September 2 Luis Ortiz Manager: Wilder Not Afraid To Fight, Joshua is a P*ssy Sadam Ali vs. Johan Perez - Undercard Information Alexander Povetkin Cracks WBO's Top Ten After Recent Win WBA Suspends Shannon Briggs Six Months for Failed PED Test Kameda Gym, Japanese Boxing Commision Reach Settlement Ohara Davies Blasts Fans Who Lost Money on His Loss to Taylor Frank Galarza Inks Promotional Pact With Main Events Rau'shee Warren vs. McJoe Arroyo Set For Broner-Garcia Card Trainer: Gerald Washington Will Be Better Due To Wilder Fight Charles Martin Motivated To Win The Title, Fight Joshua Again Shields: Jermall Charlo Won't Make Mistake of Overlooking Heiland Canelo Shakes Head at Mayweather-McGregor: That's Not Boxing! Frank Warren Breaks Down Billy Joe Saunders vs. Willie Monroe
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement