By Kirk Jackson
This Saturday June 5th, at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, showcases an intriguing match up between Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson 51-14-2 (35 ko’s) and WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch 27-1 (20 ko‘s). This is the second semifinal in the Super Six Tournament with the winner to face WBA Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward.
Froch is a two time Super Middleweight Champion, with victories over Arthur Abraham, Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell.
Known for his punching power, outstanding chin and toughness, Froch appears to be the odds on favorite going against Johnson.
According to Betfair, Froch is a 1-4 favorite.
Johnson has a nice resume as well, being a long time veteran and former champion himself. Johnson has victories over Roy Jones, Antonio Tarver, Allan Green and Clinton Woods.
I think it is a toss up fight, but who is better suited for Ward in the final?
If you ask Ward, he would probably tell you he does not care who he goes up against. He will undoubtedly prepare for either fighter going in at 100%.
What will be the best outcome for boxing?
A final against Froch or Johnson?
I think a majority of the public wants to see Ward vs. Froch in a good ole classic America vs. England battle. The two nations have a strong history of rivalry that far extends across the sport of boxing.
If we go back in recent history, significant bouts between American and English stars include Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson, Lewis vs. Holyfield, just to name a few.
From a stylistically standpoint, I think Froch is a better fight for Ward.
Although Froch has made steady improvements to his fighting style, progressively getting better with each fight, he has shown he does not fare to great against quick fighters who possess a great deal of athletic ability and or boxing skill.
Take a look at the controversial fight Froch had against Dirrell in the opening round of the tournament. Froch was awarded the split decision, albeit on his home turf, but in many people’s eyes he lost that fight.
Froch was the aggressor and pressed the fight, but he was out boxed, consistently being hit with clean punches, and was far from accurate when he attempted to attack.
His most damaging or consistent attack was when he would rough house and wrestle Dirrell to the canvas.
Dirrell, perhaps being intimidated by Froch’s force or by the chaotic atmosphere surrounding him was too gun shy and waited too late to respond back, as far as fighting with mean intent and stepping up against the tactics from Froch.
Taking it a step further, look back at the fight Froch had against Taylor a few years back.
The former middle weight champ from Arkansas was winning on the scorecards before he gassed out and succumbed to the pressure in the last seconds of the final round.
Before falling from exhaustion, he was hitting Froch at will and even managed to drop the Cobra in the third round. Taylor does possess above average hand speed and a great jab, but certainly is not a stalwart defensively and throughout the later stages of his career has shown a tendency to tire out half way through a fight.
Using these fights as a barometer, it can be seen how Ward can pull off the victory against Froch.
Ward is faster and has more athletic ability than Taylor, and is certainly more defensive and does not get tired. Although Ward may not be as skilled or as technical as his childhood friend Dirrell, the margin between the two is not significant and he has certainly shown he is tougher.
Ward will work in the trenches, and will get dirty if he has too, especially with everything on the line in this final match of the tournament.
Ward has the skill, speed and overall athletic ability to outbox Froch like Dirrell did the opening round of the tournament. Ward also has the mental toughness and to match Froch.
Although I believe Ward has certain advantages over Johnson, I believe a fight against Froch is a better match up overall for the betterment of boxing.
It’s a fight between young champs, who proved themselves and are original participants in this very tournament.
I think a match up featuring Froch and Ward will draw more attention from the fans, and out of the two I believe Ward would get more credit for beating the a younger Froch as opposed to a 42 year old Johnson.