Abraham-Ward Possible in California: Major Sticking Points

By Rick Reeno

Sauerland Event has confirmed to that the Home Depot Center in California is "one of the sites" being discussed for the Super Six semi-final bout between WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (23-0, 13KOs) and former IBF middleweight champ Arthur Abraham (32-2, 26KOs). The fight is scheduled for May 14.

There are some major sticking points involved. The California State Athletic Commission is not too friendly with the use of neutral officials. When Sauerland fighter Mikkel Kessler fought Andre Ward in the first stage of the Super Six in Oakland, the controversy over the officials nearly caused the fight to get cancelled. Both sides reached a deal on the eve of the fight.  In the aftermath of Ward-Kessler, Sauerland and Team Kessler were very upset with performance of California referee Jack Reiss. They believe the ref allowed Ward to get away with multiple fouls, including several headbutts. It's almost a lock that Sauerland is going to request a neutral referee and neutral judges.

Another issue is a testing protocol by WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency]. California does not have a WADA testing requirement in place. Two of Abraham's three fights in the Super Six have involved WADA testing. The fights with Carl Froch [Helsinki] and Jermain Taylor [Berlin] had WADA testing protocols in place, while the fight with Andre Dirrell [Detroit] did not. There is no indication on how big of an issue the WADA testing requirement will become.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by ShoulderRoll on 02-19-2011

[QUOTE=firstborn;10124910] In my opinion the tournament was put together to showcase the European fighters, Ward and Dirrell just happened to throw a wrench in the plan.[/QUOTE] That's exactly what has happened.

Comment by eason on 02-18-2011

Any where any time,Ward can outbox Abraham. No WADA testing in California means Ward taking drug? In fact,Abraham lost Miranda in their first fight! Ward will take Abraham to school! Maybe a TKO win for Ward or Abraham quiting will…

Comment by JK1700 on 02-18-2011

Ward get's every fight in his hometown when everyone else has fought abroad? The level of bias is disgusting. Ward also gets a biased referee in all of his fights that let's him headbutt consistently and clinch excessively. And I…

Comment by firstborn on 02-18-2011

Ward wasn't a well known name prior to the tournament and hasn't reached superstar status yet so I doubt he carries as much clout with the ref's as everyone assumes. Seems like Ward's team is just better at negotiating contracts,…

Comment by rzagza on 02-18-2011

Who the hell cares who the judges are? Abraham either knocks him out or he loses badly on the cards, doesnt matter where the hell the judges are from. I could see an issue over the ref, for sure, but…

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