Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham: 10 Things to Know About the Fight This Weekend

First LastCorrespondent IMay 12, 2011

Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham: 10 Things to Know About the Fight This Weekend

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    The Super Six Middleweight Tournament continues this weekend with a featured matchup between 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward and the German, hard-punching Arthur Abraham.

    Ward (23-0, 13 KO) defeated Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green to earn a spot in the semifinals of the Showtime tournament. Abraham (32-2, 26 KO) rebounded from his two-fight losing streak to Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell to earn a win against an overmatched opponent earlier this year. His knockout win over Jermain Taylor in 2009 is his lone tournament victory.

    The winner of this fight will face the winner of June's bout between Carl Froch and Glen Johnson.

No. 10: The Basics

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    Andre Ward is 23-0 with 13 knockouts.

    Arthur Abraham is 31-2 with 26 knockouts. One loss is by disqualification to Andre Dirrell. The other was by unanimous decision to Carl Froch. Both came in 2010.

    The fight will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET.

    The undercard bout will be Chris Arreola (30-2, 26 KO) vs. Nagy Aguilera (16-5, 11 KO).

    The fight will take place at the Carson Home Depot Center in California.

    Watch the ninth episode of Fight Camp 360 here.

No. 9: Loser of This Fight Is out of the Tournament

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    What started out with six competitors quickly turned into eight as Jermain Taylor, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Dirrell all pulled out.

    They were replaced with Glen Johnson and Allan Green. Johnson defeated Green to earn a shot in the semifinals against Carl Froch.

    The winner of this weekend's bout will face the winner of Johnson vs. Froch.

    The loser goes home.

No. 8: Will Judges Give Abraham Fair Scoring If It Goes to Decision?

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    Almost all of Ward's fights have taken place in his home state of California, and so will this one.

    Abraham came to America for the second time in his bout with Andre Dirrell. There was a lot of controversy throughout the bout, including a knockdown by Abraham that the referee ruled a slip. Some thought maybe they were giving the hometown fighter the advantage.

    In Ward's last fight versus Sakio Bika, it was a competitive bout with close rounds, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the scorecards.

    They read 120-108, 118-110 and 118-110 for Ward. Many had it as close as 115-113 for Ward. This is another sign of being given a hometown advantage.

    Abraham's style of keeping his guard high lets opponents rack up points using volume punching whether it's effective or not. This is something Ward will definitely use to his advantage, and the judges will be convinced by it.

    This fight will have a lot of close rounds if it goes to a decision, so don't be surprised if it's a lot more one-sided on the scorecards than it actually was.

No. 7: Abraham's Warm-Up Bout Meant Almost Nothing

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    Abraham returned in February to take on Stjepan Bozic as a warm-up bout for Ward. More importantly than the win, Abraham just wanted the ring time.

    Two rounds into the bout, Bozic had injured his hand, and Abraham was awarded an early TKO victory.

    It wasn't what Abraham wanted, and he needs to stay busy in the ring to stay effective.

    It will be interesting to see if Abraham doesn't get off to a faster start in this fight than what we are use to seeing or if those two rounds against Bozic helped him get some ring time to start faster.

    An early lead on the scorecards for Ward is the last thing Abraham wants. He needs to start faster than ever before to defeat Ward.

No. 6: Abraham Entered the Tournament the Favorite. Now Ward Is the Favorite.

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    The 31-year-old who currently resides in Berlin, Germany, entered the tournament with a record of 31-0 with 25 knockouts, including wins over Edison Miranda, Mahir Oral and Khoren Gevor.

    He made his mark early, earning a vicious last-round KO over former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in the tournament's first round.

    It gave him three points and an early lead in the standings as he was the only one to win his first fight by knockout.

    Two losses to Dirrell and Froch followed, leaving him in last place to become the tournament champion.

    Ward has had two tournament bouts and one non-tournament bout since the first event, defeating Kessler, Green and Bika.

    Ward was not the favorite to win the tournament. In fact, he was the least favorite. Now, he is the favorite to win the whole thing and is the only undefeated boxer left in the tournament. There were four when it started.

No. 5: Ward Didn't Look Good in His Last Fight

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    Ward defended his WBA super-middleweight title against the very tough Sakio Bika (28-5-2) last November and won a unanimous decision.

    It was an ugly, dirty and gritty fight as both competitors headbutted each other nonstop and constantly complained of fouls.

    It was far from impressive, and it's a good sign that maybe Ward shouldn't be the favorite to win the tournament that everyone is making him out to be.

    Don't believe the scorecards either. There is no way Ward won all 12 rounds of that fight as the one indicated. The best scorecard would probably have been eight rounds to four for Ward.

No. 4: How Dirty Will This Fight Get?

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    Ward is no stranger to fouling, and he's done it several times in recent fights versus Mikkel Kessler and Sakio Bika. Headbutts told the story of the fight, and it even resulted in a technical decision victory in the bout with Kessler, who was cut above both eyes.

    Abraham received his first loss via disqualification to Andre Dirrell when he punched the 2004 Olympic Bronze Medalist when Dirrell slipped in the 10th round. Dirrell got knocked out by the punch, and Abraham got the first loss of his career.

    The way Abraham gets frustrated easily, combined with Ward's dirty tactics makes this an iffy bout in determining whether or not the level of fouls is going to be a factor in the outcome. It may even result in a disqualification if one takes it to the next level, and that's very possible.

    Expect to see controversy in this fight either way it goes.

No. 3: Ward Still Has a Questionable Chin

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    Abraham has a 77 percent knockout ratio and for good reason. He has some of the most brutal one-punch knockouts in recent memory over fighters like Khoren Gevor and Elvin Ayala as well as the one over Taylor.

    Ward has been knocked down before in his career and hurt on some occasions as was the case in his 2005 bout versus Darnell Boone.

    The contrast in styles makes for an intriguing fight, and one that can end by a single punch if Ward makes a mistake.

    Don't blink in this fight because Abraham has a better chance against Ward than any of his other opponents to land a big shot and put him away.

No. 2: Ward Wants Respect, and That's What Drives Him to Win

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    Despite being an Olympic Gold Medalist and undefeated professional boxer, Ward doesn't get the respect he probably deserves.

    Many fans don't like his boxing style, and his relatively cautious approach to the sport isn't what makes fans get excited to see him fight. Don't forget about the headbutts either.

    Still, his skills as a technician must be admired, and they are going to be what carries him to victory in this fight if he wins.

    His ability to dictate the pace and control the ring will be his keys to victory, and they are sometimes the hardest things to do in boxing, especially against a puncher like Abraham.

No. 1: Abraham's Back Is Against the Wall

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    Abraham needs this win, and he needs it bad.

    A loss wouldn't hurt Ward's career as much as it would for Abraham, who has been one of Germany's standout athletes of the past couple years before losing two fights back-to-back.

    At 31, Abraham still has a few years left in the sport, but going 1-3 in the tournament against the very best the division has to offer isn't going to help him get a future shot at a world title.

    A loss would mean a year or two of trying to get back into the top rankings of the division, and that is something Abraham can't afford to do right now.

    Ward wants the win just as much but at 27, doesn't need it as much as Abraham.


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