By: William Holmes
“This fight should be dubbed, ‘No Excuses.’ If Carl Froch beats me, there won’t be excuses. I beat Carl Froch, there shouldn’t be any excuses. No judges, no referees, no nothing. May the best man win.”
Andre Ward’s quote above best summarizes the reason for the formation of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic in the Super Middleweight division. With so many fighters claiming to be the best in various boxing divisions without actually fighting each other, such as Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., it is refreshing to see a format featuring the best fighters in a division having no choice but to fight the other top contenders. When the Super Six was originally formed, it featured then WBA Super Middleweight Champion Mikkel Kessler, then WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward, former Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor, former Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham, and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell. Taylor and Kessler withdrew from the tournament after early losses and injuries, and were replaced by former Light Heavyweight Champion Glen Johnson and super middleweight contender Allan Green. The winner of this tournament will have a legitimate claim to be the best boxer in the super middleweight division and its one true champion.
Also on the undercard is a welterweight tilt between British sensation Kell Brook and Puerto Rican Luis Galarza. The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.
Kell Brook (25-0) vs. Luis Galarza (17-2); Welterweight
Kell Brook is the latest highly touted British boxer to make a trip across the Atlantic to make his stateside debut for the American audience. Brook has an impressive record, and seventeen of his victories have come by knockout. Brook was previously promoted by Frank Warren, but split with him in April of 2011 to join with Matchroom Sport. This will be Brook’s first fight outside of Europe, and a majority of his fights have taken place in England. This will fight will be a test for Brook, as fighting in the United States away from his fervent supporters will be a first for him. English fans are known to travel, but they will not make up a majority of those in attendance on Saturday. Brook’s biggest victories to date have been over former Prizefighter winner Michael Lomax, former light welterweight title challenger Lovemore N’dou, and former British champion and world title challenger Michael Jennings.
Standing across from Kell Brook on Saturday night will be relative unknown Luis Galarza. Galarza has a decent record, and thirteen of his victories have come by way of KO or TKO. Most of his fights have been on smaller club shows, and a close look at his opponents reveals that a majority of them have losing records. His toughest opponent to date was his last opponent, Paul Delgado, who had a record of 25-10-1. Every other opponent Galarza has faced has an even or a losing record. His chances of defeating Kell Brook look slim to none.
Andre Ward (24-0) vs. Carl Froch (28-1); Super Middleweight WBC, WBA, and Ring Title
No fighter has gained more popularity and notoriety than Andre Ward as a result of the Super Six tournament. Ward won the Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in the light heavyweight division, and has a very deep amateur background. Only thirteen of his victories have come by KO or TKO, but Ward has not fought tomato cans for the majority of his career as other fighters with a similar record have done. Since he turned professional, Ward has consistently kept up a schedule featuring bouts against high level competition. Andre Ward has only fought one boxer with a losing record, the rest have had winning records. Andre Ward’s list of victims includes Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika, Allen Green, Edison Miranda, and Henry Buchanan. Not only did Ward defeat these top notch contenders, he made it look easy. When it comes to technical boxing ability, Andre Ward is in a class by himself.
Carl Froch comes into this fight as a significant underdog, but he has proven odds makers wrong in the past. Unlike Kell Brook, this will not be Froch’s first foray into the United States. Twenty of Froch’s victories have come by KO or TKO. He first burst onto the international scene when he defeated Jean Pascal by a hard fought unanimous decision for the WBC Super Middleweight title. He upset Jermain Taylor immediately afterwards in the United States with a come from behind 12th round TKO. He handed Andre Dirrell his first loss in the opening round of the Super Six tournament, and lost his WBC title to Mikkel Kessler by a hard fought decision, in Kessler’s home country of Denmark. Froch was able to fight his way back into the finals with a near shutout victory over Arthur Abraham to reclaim the WBC belt, and a decision over perennial contender Glen Johnson in the semi finals. Froch might not have the technical ability or speed of Ward, but he certainly has the heart and experience to score the upset on Saturday.
Boxing fans should be thankful towards Showtime for staging the Super Six tournament. Despite two fighters backing out of the tournament, it is refreshing to see the best fight the best in a division regardless of disputes between promoters. The winner of Saturday’s fight will have the right to claim themselves the true champion of the Super Middleweight division, and a possible future showdown with undefeated Super Middleweight Lucian Bute awaits the winner.
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