By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Carl Froch wasn’t wearing a look of concern in his corner June 4, even after ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. read the horrendous scorecard submitted by Japanese judge Nobuaki Uratani.
Froch decisively defeated Glen Johnson that night, but Uratani scored their 12-round fight even, 114-114. Luckily for Froch, the next two scores Lennon read reflected what actually occurred in the ring at Atlantic City’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom inside Boardwalk Hall. Judges Mark Green (116-112) and John Stewart (117-111) credited Froch with the wide win he deserved in that “Super Six World Boxing Classic” semifinal.
England’s Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) will return to Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night, only in the bigger room, with bigger things at stake. His “Super Six” championship bout against Andre Ward is expected to be much closer than Froch’s victory over Johnson, but again, Froch doesn’t seem all that concerned with judging approaching their fight for Ward’s WBA title and Froch’s WBC championship.
New Jersey’s Stewart, who had Froch ahead by the widest margin against Johnson, also has been assigned to the Ward-Froch fight. A judge from England, John Keane, and another from Canada, Craig Metcalfe, also have been assigned to score Ward-Froch.
“We’ve got an English, a Canadian and an American judge, which is great,” Froch, 34, said. “So that it’s, really. I’m in a good place, in terms of officiating. And the New Jersey State Athletic [Control Board], they pride themselves on doing a great job. And they’ve been under the spotlight a couple of times recently, so I don’t know, they need to not restore something, but they need to just make sure that everything’s tight and strict and on the ball, which I’m sure it will be. It was for my last fight, and I’m sure it will be for this fight.”
The undefeated Ward, of Oakland, Calif., seemed more concerned with what could happen if the 12-round fight goes the distance. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist’s apprehension is understandable when you consider that neither Froch nor Ward has scored a knockout in seven combined “Super Six” bouts.
“There’s always a little concern, especially when you have one judge from America, one judge from his home [country] and you have a neutral judge,” Ward, 27, said. “You think about all that stuff as a fighter, going into a fight. But I can’t dwell on it. My job is to not make it close. My job is to go out there and take control of this fight and never let it go, and to be the clear-cut winner, either by knockout or by decision.”
Froch concurred with Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) and will take the same approach to what, on paper, appears to be an extremely competitive fight.
“Obviously, you’d expect the American fighter, in America, to maybe get the nod in a few rounds,” Froch said. “But we’re hoping to get a fair shake. I’m sure I will, but I’m in there to do the business and not leave it in the judges’ hands. I really am. If I do what I can do, that won’t be an issue.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.