Andre Ward and Carl Froch go head-to-head in the first ever Super-Six Finale, and whilst both fighters have been in preparation for what will determine who the No. 1 pound-for-pound super middleweight in the world is, the fighting talk and the braggadocio hasn’t been far behind.
In the American corner, you have the WBA super middleweight champion—down-to-earth, God-fearing and yet warrior-like “S.O.G” (Son of God) Ward (24-0, 13 KOs).
And in the British corner stands Nottingham, England’s own brash talking WBC super middleweight titlist “The Cobra” Froch (28-1, 20 KOs).
No doubt both fighters have a mutual respect for the other, but it wouldn’t be a fight if the comments and quotes didn’t commence flying in either direction.
Needless to say, in comparison to a Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins or a James Toney, these guys are choir boys.
Still, they’ve brought their best to the Super-Six Finales.
Let’s take a look.
“Lucian Bute isn’t even in the discussion. I know he’s the IBF champion but the two names on his record are Brian Magee and Glen Johnson, that’s it. He lost to a guy named Librado Andrade. He actually got KO’d. The referee picked him up off the floor, washed his windshield 40 seconds later and the bell was rung and he won on points. But in my opinion, he was knocked out. Lucian Bute needs to fight some of the top level people before he can call himself the best or in the top three in the world.”
The Romanian super middleweight champ is sure not on The Cobra’s Christmas list of good tidings we bring to you.
If anything, it’s a scathing attack on the one they call “Le Tombeur” (the seducer).
According to Froch, he’s fought a bunch of stiffs, retained his title via referee intervention and needs to fight someone in the guise of a Froch or Ward to be even considered worth mentioning.
It just goes to show, that in this day and age, a title don’t mean diddly squat.
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.
Over to you, Le Tombeur.
“Lucian Bute needs to fight the winner of this fight to be the best. That’s just the bottom line. No disrespect to Lucian Bute but he’s fought B- and C level competition. He’s done what he was supposed to; he got them out of there. But it’s like he’s preserving himself, just trying to wait for the winner of this tournament while [Carl and I] have been putting in a lot of hard work. He has to come to us. We won’t have to go to him.”
Even though Lucian Bute is the IBF super middleweight champion of the world, you get the impression that his contemporaries have no respect for him (forget the part where Ward said he doesn’t mean to be disrespectful; that’s hogwash and we all know it).
Ward’s suggestions that Bute hasn’t fought anyone below B and C level fighters is reminiscent of WBC welterweight king Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s attack on certain fighters not on his level.
[...] “Most of these fighters are ABC, 1-2-3. I am like 4-5-6 levels above them; that’s why I’m able to beat them.”
In essence, what Ward is trying to say is, “Bute! Grow a pair.”
‘I’ll be trying to hit Andre Ward in the face – very hard and very often. Will I be targeting the right eye or left eye or wherever his cut was? To be totally honest, no. It’s too difficult to target a square inch on somebody’s cranium.”
Froch has got a game plan—the same game plan executed to the greatest efficacy by Miguel Cotto in his grudge rematch with Antonio Margarito.
The Cobra, however, should bear in mind that game plans don’t always come to fruition. Ask Freddie Roach’s charges, Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan—the former won unconvincingly and the latter lost both his titles.
Still, he’d better have a plan B and C for backup.
“I’m the way that I always am. I’m always like this: firm. It is a few days away from a big fight. But again, just like my fighting style, people will throw things out there – like I’m a ‘nice guy,’ which I am. ‘He’s a family guy,’ which I am. And people will get caught up in the press what they read rather than looking at me for who I am. I’m a warrior. But people only give the warrior tag if you get cut every other fight or you’re in a Fight of the Year candidate every other fight. But I’m a warrior and I’m coming to win something and take something. I’ve been away from my family. This is the purpose of training camp, to get you in this mode.”
S.O.G is definitely in fight mode, and Froch shouldn’t be fooled by the nice guy image nor the loving family man portrayed by Ward, because beneath that humble exterior lies a warrior who’s intent on battle.
“To the victor belongs the spoils,” but on this occasion, there will be no everlasting immortality for the loser.
The loser gets to go home one belt less and with the thought in his mind that he had the super middleweight holy grail in the palm of his hands, and just like that...it was gone.
“It’s a cliché, but trust me, I’ve had a great response from the British fans – and the American fans.”
“Hundreds, nearly a thousand actually, of people are flying over from England and it’s taken me by surprise, being so close to Christmas.”
“They have dug deep and I want to say a big thanks to them and say I guarantee you will not be disappointed with what you see on Saturday night.”
Apparently, Froch has had massive support from both the British and American contingent.
And even though he knows it’s a cliché, The Cobra still went ahead and said it.
Froch, it’s such a cliché that you can actually take it all the way to the bank.
Nevertheless, he’s still hell bent on ensuring that the hundreds or is that thousands (Froch needs to do his maths) of Brits get well-rewarded for their undying patriotism—a victory.
We wish him all the best.
“This fight should be dubbed, ‘No Excuses.’ If Carl Froch beats me, there won’t be [any] excuses. I beat Carl Froch, there shouldn’t be any excuses. No judges, no referees, no nothing. May the best man win.”
This quote should be written into every sports contract and signed therewith—nothing detracts from a fighter's win than a plethora of excuses from his opponent as to why he failed to rise to the occasion on fight night.
Ward has got the right mindset—it indicates that no matter what transpires in that ring, he’s ready, willing and able to accept it.
Froch should take note, if he ends up on the wrong side of a loss, there should be no excuses either.
In other words, take your medicine like a man.
“The time for talking is most definitely over,” said the Briton. “I’m going to do my talking in the ring on December 17.”
So Dec. 17 is all about offense, defense and maybe a knockdown or two, or better yet, a KO.
That’s what the fans like to hear—fight first talk later.
Still, The Cobra’s comments could easily be misconstrued as to suggest he plans on talking his way to victory.
“A lot of people keep talking to me about being the favorite. We’re not the favorite. I still have that chip on my shoulder, but that’s how we prepare. For some reason, there seems to be questions from Froch’s camp and the media about toughness, physicality, things like that. There’s a sense that I’m looking to squeak by in this fight. You don’t squeak by fights at this level. You take them and that’s what I plan to do.”
Ward is on a whole different level with regards to his mental state of being—first it was “no excuses” and now it’s “no favorites.”
And he’s right again—nothing is a sure-fire bet in life let alone a sport such as boxing.
That said, the way Ward’s been going about his business, it seems like Froch is in for a rude awakening come fight night.
Still, questioning Ward’s toughness, physicality and insinuating that he’s just going to coast by to a victory, is tantamount to war.
As Ward alluded to, at this level of boxing your fate lies in your own hands—if you want it that much, then it’s yours for the taking.
"I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed with what you see on Saturday night. I am in the best shape of my life. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been on the weight now for a couple of weeks. I feel sharp, strong, confident. Physically and mentally, I could not be in better shape. I know I’m ready and I know that Saturday night is going to be my night.”
The Cobra is confident going in to his match with S.O.G—he’s strong and sharp whilst being physically and mentally in the zone. Add the fact that he’s in the best possible shape of his life, and then I guess nothing can go wrong?
And I also surmise that there will be no excuses from the Nottingham Cobra if he’s upended on said night?
That’s great news.
Saturday night it is then.
“There’s been a lot of talk, too much talk in my opinion. This is my favorite time, when it’s time to get down and showdown. The fight is a few days away; I love to speak the loudest on the night of the fight. I love big moments like this. I love big fights like this. Carl Froch is the self-proclaimed best fighter in England. I love it. I want to fight the best and I want to beat the best.”
After weeks of pent up emotions, S.O.G’s catharsis is about to be unleashed, and it looks as if Froch is going be the hapless recipient.
The self-proclaimed par-excellence of England’s pugilists better be ready for the biggest fight of his life—everything he’s trained for gears towards this moment—the Super-Six Finale.
Enough with the talking and let the prize fighting commence.