Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham: 5 Things We Learned from Saturday's Fight
When 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward defeated hard-punching, German Arthur Abraham for a shot in the Super Six finals, he opened up a lot of fans eyes' to what he is capable of doing against the most dangerous opponents in the division.
If they weren't already opened when he beat Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green for the semifinals slot, they have to be now after his victory.
We learned many things Saturday night after Ward (24-0, 13 KO) won a unanimous decision over Abraham (32-3), and it's only going to harder as he improves his status in the division and prepares to take on the winner of June's bout between Carl Froch and Glen Johnson.
No. 5: Abraham Can't Adjust When Things Don't Go His Way
It's what lead the boxer from Berlin to losing three of his last four bouts, and it's that he just can't seem to adjust when things don't go his way. This is something maybe we didn't just learn, but it is something we now know will effect his performances every time he faces adversity.
He has shown in the past that he can pull off victories in the final rounds, but they are due to his powerful and explosive punches and over-matched opponents.
He had a good start to the Ward bout, out-landing and out-working him over the first three rounds. He couldn't keep up the pace, and it's all due to Ward being able to adjust.
Abraham fell back into his defensive-minded style and let Ward pick him off with sharp jabs and body shots. He gave away the last nine rounds of the bout and didn't win any of them.
No. 4: Arthur Abraham Won't Be Dropping to 160 Pounds
It's hard to say Abraham won't have success at super-middleweight because before losing three of his last four bouts, he was undefeated at 31-0.
When he took a big step after defeating former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, Abraham fought Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch and Andre Ward, losing to all three, including one by disqualification.
It was easy to see the 5'9" fighter is going to be undersized against the bigger opponents in the division, and it's not going to keep him at the top of the division if he continues to look for championship bouts.
Abraham said in the post-fight interview that he had no plans of dropping to middleweight, and if he chooses to stay at 168, fights against middleweights moving up will be his best move but a risky one.
No. 3: Ward Can Get Through a Fight Without Having His Head Interfere
Headbutts were a cause for concern going into Saturday's fight against with Ward and Abraham. In Ward's rough fights with Sakio Bika and Kessler, both opponents complained of being fouled, and it was visible in the Kessler fight after he had cuts from headbutts develop on both of his eyes.
Ward is not a dirty fighter, but he is a rough fighter. It's all part of his fighting style, and even though it's not always pretty, it's effective. The same thing applies to top welterweight Timothy Bradley. They jump in to attack and know how to clinch effectively while landing effective blows.
It's a good sign that nobody saw any sign of headbutts in the Abraham fight, and that's a positive thing for the 27-year-old as he fights for the Super Six Super-Middleweight Tournament championship.
No. 2: Ward Is the Favorite to Win the Tournament, and It's for Good Reason
Ward is currently ranked No. 1 in the super-middleweight division and No. 9 pound-for-pound by Ring Magazine.
He isn't as underrated as he was coming into the tournament as the least favorite to win, but he is now the favorite.
With dominant victories over each of his opponents, including a non-tournament title defense against Bika, Ward has proven he is the best in the division and deserves the rankings and accolades he is given. The win over Abraham gained him a lot of respect from fans that he didn't have before.
The two fighters ranked second and third behind him are Froch and Lucian Bute; both of which are champions and have belts but haven't fought Ward yet.
If Ward fights Froch next (assuming Froch defeats Johnson) and defeats the boxer from England, his following bout will be against Bute. This may be the toughest series of opponents any fighter has had recently, and Ward seems ready to take on all challengers. It's a good sign.
No. 1: Ward Can Adjust When Things Don't Go His Way
Ward had his roughest start in the tournament against Abraham, but he was able to change up his style and take over from there.
Switching from orthodox to southpaw, Ward was able to land his jab effectively and keep the stronger opponent away from him. He was also able to frustrate Abraham, and that's something Ward has never had a sign of being.
This is the most important thing we learned from the fight because when he faces Froch or Johnson, he will need to have all the proper adjustments to take home the WBA super-middleweight championship and the Super Six trophy.