By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Miguel Cotto wasn’t shy about making it known before his rematch against Antonio Margarito that he would target Margarito’s surgically repaired right eye.
Carl Froch has taken the opposite approach to his showdown with Andre Ward. England’s Froch hopes the cut over Ward’s right eye that caused a seven-week postponement of their fight is not a factor Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (Showtime; 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The WBC super middleweight champion even seemed uncertain at a press conference Tuesday, at least when he had a microphone in his hand, which side of Ward’s face was lacerated during a Sept. 22 sparring session against Brandon Gonzales in Hayward, Calif.
“I’ll be trying to hit Andre Ward in the face very hard, very often,” said Froch, who’s 28-1 (20 KOs). “Will I be targeting the right eye or the left eye, wherever the cut is? To be totally honest, no. It’s too difficult to target a square inch on somebody’s cranium. But if it’s there for the taking, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Cotto closed Margarito’s right eye by battering it with left hooks and jabs during their Dec. 3 rematch at Madison Square Garden, which eventually caused two New York State Athletic Commission physicians to stop it after nine rounds. Cotto was winning the fight easily at the time of the stoppage, but Froch, of Nottingham, England, doesn’t seek a similar advantage against Ward (24-0, 13 KOs). The 34-year-old Froch figures that if Ward’s cut re-opens and Froch wins the fight, he won’t receive proper credit for what would be the biggest victory of his nine-year pro career.
“I’m not banking on his cut opening up, I’m really not,” Froch said. “I’d rather his cut not open up, because I don’t want that to be the reason for why I win the contest. I want it to be a fair fight and a fight between two warriors that deserve to be in there. I think it’ll be fully healed … and he’s fully fit and ready to go.”
The 27-year-old Ward received seven stitches to close a cut he sustained while wearing headgear. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist from Oakland, Calif., reiterated Tuesday that the cut hasn’t caused any problems since they resumed training camp.
“If we weren’t fully healed, we wouldn’t be here,” Ward said. “I think it’d be a disservice to my opponent and a disservice to this tournament to not come in a hundred percent. I doubt that Carl would want me in a fight with him not at a hundred percent. I don’t think that’d be right. … We’ve been through a full training camp and it has not even been a topic that has come up in camp.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.