Andre Ward – Chosen by God as one of His Warriors!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 17, 2011) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Alexis Cuarezma / Goossen Tutor)
Carl Froch (L) - Andre Ward (R)
In an age when boxing is one sport not what it used to be there are many who receive credit for being better than they really are. Andre Ward is one that hasn’t yet received credit for who he is! Maybe it’s his devotion to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s he isn’t a knockout artist. For whatever reason, one has to admire a boxer who hasn’t lost in over 12 years. He is the last USA Olympic Gold medalist having won in the 2004 games in Athens.

A former opponent and now his top sparring partner preparing him for the WBC, WBA Super World and the Super 6 World Boxing Classic championship’s Philadelphia’s Dhafir “No Fear” Smith said “it was a good camp and Ward is focused.“

The Classic is double elimination with Ward, 4-0 and Froch, 4-1, having titles going into this bout. Ward won his WBA Super title in his first fight over Mikkel Kessler and Froch lost his WBC title to Kessler and won it back for the vacant title over Arthur Abraham. The re-scheduled showdown is December 17th in Atlantic City, NJ.

“The legacy I leave through my efforts in the ring will certainly be more important than anything I do outside of it. I wasn’t raised to be flashy. I am expecting a very physical fight because you have 2 individuals with a belt,” said Ward. “It should be a fantastic fight and I’m going to do everything I need to do,” said Froch. Both fighters are not boastful which has the fan’s looking forward to the winner getting his just dues! There seems to be a lot of respect between them for this fight.

Going over some of Ward’s past achievements he was 110-5 as an amateur after starting in 1994 and not losing from 1998 through the Olympic games at Athen’s, Greece in 2004. That is one incredible record. He fought at a higher weight of 178 though only a 165 normally. His good friend Andre Dirrell was at that weight with hope of both winning Gold medals. Dirrell won a Bronze medal. This writer never wanted to see them matched against one another. It almost happened in the Super 6 tournament until Dirrell was injured while winning by disqualification over Abraham. He was well ahead when he went down and Abraham knocked him out while Dirrell was on one knee. Dirrell was outpointed by split decision in the UK by Froch for his only career defeat earlier in the tournament.

Amateur wise Ward won the Under 19 National Championship in 2002 and was a two time US National champion in 2001 at 165 and 2003 at 178. He became a David against the best Goliath’s of the world in the Olympics. He defeated boxers from Italy, Russia, Uzbekistan and in the final Magomed Aripgadjiev of the Belarus.

Professional opponent’s records against Ward are 375-69-14, and 5 he put into retirement. He has fought in CA 18 of his 24 fights. Of those fights 2 were in foreign countries, the Caymon Islands and St. Lucia. There has only been 1 boxer with a losing record in his 24 fights. Goosen Tutor is his promoter and Virgil Hunter his trainer since day one. “I believe Andre Ward is going to stop Carl Froch,” said Hunter. Ward was inspired by his father Frank Ward while growing up in the Fairview section of Hayward in CA.

Ward’s first title win was defeating Jerson Ravelo, 18-2, in the Cayman Islands stopping his opponent in 8 rounds for the vacant WBO NABO super middleweight title. Just 2 fights later he defended that title and added the vacant NABF title defeating Henry Buchanan, 17-1, over 12 rounds. He would defend both titles in his next fight defeating Edison Miranda, 32-3, over 12 rounds in his first appearance in his hometown of Oakland as a professional.

In November of 2009 Ward started the Super 6 with a win over Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler, 42-1, to win his first world title for the WBA Super middleweight crown that Kessler held. Well ahead going into the 11th round, Ward won by technical decision due to cuts. Next he would defeat Allan Green, 29-1, who was replacing Jermain Taylor. Then Ward won a 12 round decision over Sakio Bika, 28-4-2, fighting out of Australia.

In May of this year Ward defeated “King” Arthur Abraham, 32-2, over 12 rounds. The Armenian born and now German resident’s defeat set the stage for Ward and Froch in September. A cut during a sparring session caused Ward to cancel. Froch has defeated Taylor by stoppage in 12 and Dirrell by decision before losing to Kessler. In his following fight he regained his WBC title defeating Abraham for the vacant title. In Atlantic City he made his US debut defeating Glen Johnson over 12 rounds. This writer was not impressed with Froch in seeing him in action for the first time. His style seemed very amateurish. I immediately picked Ward to defeat him.

Ward has been friends with Dirrell since about the age of 17 and I am sure defeating Froch who being the only boxer to defeat Dirrell, would add more satisfaction to a Ward victory. If they complain about the Denver Bronco’s Tim Tebow glorifying God for his success instead of himself then they should keep their eyes on Andre “S.O.G.” when his hands are pointing toward his Lord and Savior after victory Saturday night in Atlantic City instead of shouting angry venom toward the crowd from the corner on the ropes and pounding his chest for his own self-serving success! Andre Ward was chosen by God as one of His warriors!

The undercard has the UK’s welterweight Kell “Special K” Brook, 25-0 (17) making his US debut against Luis Galaza, 17-2 (13), a Puerto Rican transplant to TN who will be in his first 10 rounder and probably over his head. A couple of hard hitting heavyweight in Tongan Bowie “Bo” Tupou, 21-1 (16), who left Australia in 2007 to come to the US against Donnell “Real Touch of Sleep) Holmes, 33-1-2 (29), of NC, with both untested it will probably be a shoot out!

Colombian Edison Miranda, now out of PR, 34-6 (29) who has had a career of up’s and downs in recent years against Kariz Kariuki, 24-9 (19), of Kenya, fighting out of Australia, in an 8 at light heavyweight. Cuban light heavy Yordanis Despaigne, 9-1 (4), goes against Cornelius White, 17-1 (15), of Houston, TX, whose last fight was a win in AC, will battle in a 6. Since Miranda and Despaigne are scheduled to meet next month maybe the scheduler knows more about the outcome than we do.

Popular unbeaten southpaw Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson, 6-0 (3), out of White Plains, NY, opposes Danny Lugo, 1-2, of Harrisburg, PA, whose claim to fame is he defeated Kevin Rooney, Jr. This is a 6 round light middleweight match. Finally, John Lennox, 7-1 (3), of Cateret, NJ, takes on Jeramiah Witherspoon, 2-1 (1), of Altoona, PA, in a 4 round heavyweight match. The main event will be shown live on Showtime.

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