By Ryan Maquiñana
Unified super middleweight champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward traveled across the Bay Bridge from his native Oakland, Calif., to the Comcast SportsNet Bay Area studios in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon to break down last Saturday’s matchup between two of his former Super Six opponents, Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green.
“It was a good fight,” Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) told CSNBayArea.com. “Good matchup. Mikkel Kessler, he was in need of a big win. Allan Green, he’s the old trail horse looking for a big opportunity in Kessler’s hometown.”
Ward dethroned then-WBA 168-pound titleholder Kessler (45-2, 34 KOs) in 2009 by technical decision and shut out Green (31-4, 21 KOs) seven months later on all three cards. Kessler shook off an early knockdown to flatten Green with a highlight-reel knockout in the fourth.
“Initially it was a good fight,” Ward continued. “I think that Allan Green came out, and it was a really big round for him. He knocked Kessler down. I thought he had some action moving forward but for some reason he just turned it off in the second and third round, which gave Mikkel some confidence. Then he ended up catching Allan Green with a major left hook, and you know, the fight was over.”
Ward then entertained the thought of a possible rematch with Kessler.
“I for one would love it,” Ward said. “If he wants it or not, that remains to be seen. It’s interesting in the sport of boxing because a lot can be said on the internet and on the blogs, but behind the scenes there’s something totally different going on. It remains to seen, but the fans can rest assured knowing that I would be open to a matchup with Mikkel Kessler.”
The man Ward defeated by unanimous decision for the WBC title and Super Six Cup last December, Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KOs), is taking on IBF super middleweight boss Lucian Bute in England on Saturday. Many have clamored for a Ward-Bute matchup to clear up the 168-pound picture once and for all.
“I love this matchup,” Ward said of Froch’s fight with Bute. “You have a contrast of styles. You have Lucian Bute who is a big puncher, but is more of a boxer-type guy. Carl Froch is a come-get-you type of guy, full steam ahead.
“The caveat here is it’s in Carl Froch’s hometown of Nottingham, England, so I think that’s going to add some intrigue. But I think that it’s a great matchup, and I think that if Lucian Bute can pull out a win, and obviously if I handle business against Chad Dawson, that’s a matchup the fans want to see.”
“S.O.G.” is looking at a Sept. 8 meeting with light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC) at the 168-pound limit for the Oakland fighter’s belts. Ward’s promoter, Dan Goossen, advised BoxingScene.com on Monday afternoon that they had agreed to terms with Team Dawson, but that finalizing the venue was still in the works. In a role reversal, Bute played analyst and gave his take on the matchup on Tuesday.
“I think it’s very, very close, about 50-50, but I would give a little edge to Dawson right now,” Bute said.
Not to be outdone with the commentary, Ward had a response ready. “I think [Dawson] has the advantage as long as the fight hasn’t started,” Ward said. “I’m fine with that. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I’ve been in the boxing game, the professional game, for a long time now.
“Some guys are going to be with you. They’re going to think you have the edge. You still have to be focused. And some are going to think your opponent has the edge…We’re going to get it on, and obviously I’m confident of what I bring to the table, so that’s what matters.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.