By Terence Dooley
Oakland’s Andre Ward meets Nottingham’s Carl Froch at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall venue in the Super Six tournament’s showcase final on December 17. Ward has beaten Mikkel Kessler, Allan Green, Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham en route to the WBA and WBC 168lb unification fight.
Ward is the WBA titlist; the 27-year-old Californian has stayed calm and composed in the face of a verbal onslaught from Froch, who likes to push his opponent’s buttons ahead of major contests. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist believes that their meeting is going to excite the fans due to the pedigree of both combatants.
“I feel great,” said Ward during a conversation with Sky’s Ed Robinson. “Everything’s going according to schedule and I’m ready for the big fight. I go into every fight preparing for it to be my toughest – I push my body to the limit physically in every training camp.
“He’s going to realize that it is a lot different than he thought it was going to be. He’s a champion, he’s going to try to defend what is his but so will I. If you have two individuals with the mindset that they don’t want to back or down or lose it makes for a great fight.”
Froch has questioned Ward’s power. Andre responded by pointing out that previous opponents have made the same claims only to hastily reassess things once the first bell rings.
“Somehow, someway we keep winning,” he said. “It looks one way on the outside of the ring but when you get in there it is totally different. He’ll see that I hit harder than he realizes. There’s no way he’s going to say something to get me out my game and do something I wouldn’t normally do.
“This isn’t my first rodeo or my first championship fight. I’ve studied Froch and the things he says outside the ring – it (a stoppage defeat) is just not going to happen. Carl can be stopped. It is not for me to buy into the hype about his granite chin. I didn’t get to this point as a champion by not being mentally tough and able. Because a guy like Carl takes a lot of shots he gets touted as a tough guy, that’s just how the boxing game works.”
There has been a keen competitive edge to this one; both men have made bold statements yet there is a healthy dollop of mutual respect, as evidenced by Ward’s meticulous preparations and Froch’s confident claims.
“I don’t like to lose,” stated Ward. “At the end of the day, I’m training and preparing to get our hand raised. Froch is preparing for the same thing so the fans are in for a great fight on December 17th.”
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