The Super Six Super Middleweight tournament continued on Saturday Night as WBA title holder and pound-for-pound elitist, Andre Ward took on former IBF middleweight champ Arthur Abraham. The victor of the bout is set to take on the winner of Froch-Johnson in the finals of the tournament.
The opening bell sounded as both men took the center of the ring which saw Abraham come out with a different style of sorts moving in behind his jab. While "King Arthur" stalked, Ward began to pump his jab to hold off the newly aggressive Abraham. The second round saw Ward begin to throw right hands behind the jab as action picked up. Abraham began to wing wild, off balance hooks but his opponent weaved cautiously out of the way. Abraham flurried Ward with good hooks to the body to end the round.
At the start of the third Abraham went to full on attack mode, landing hard right hands that had Ward backing up and visibly shook. The fourth round saw Ward becoming more aggressive as he spilt Abraham's guard with jabs and rights to the body. Abraham began to turtle up in his peek-a-boo defense as Ward established a pace that would remain during the rest of the fight.
As the rounds continued , Ward's frantic pace overtook as Abraham restored to looking for one big shot. Rounds 5 thru 8 were dominated by Ward behind his jab and hard right hands. Abraham showed signs of fatigue while relentlessly looking for a big shot that resulted in getting caught in clinch after clinch. Abraham showed signs of life in the 9th round but Ward answered back with well-timed rights.
Ward steam rolled thru Abraham in the last 3 rounds and was awarded the decision with the scores of 120-108, 118-110, and 118-111. Abraham , who has now lost 3 fights in a row has been eliminated for the tourney.
Even thou this almost 2-year old tournament has been plagued with fighters withdrawing due to injury or just personal reasons, it is still very much a rarity to see in boxing. The exciting conclusion will be worth it most to the winner, who with a proper victory can ascend to a level reserved for greatness.
The Froch-Johnson bout that takes place on June 4th is promised to be a war by the promoters of the tourney and it seems to be true.
Andre Ward is waiting.
Photo credit - AP