Andre Ward Shakes Up The "Super-Six" - Now Who's The Favourite?

Andre Wardby James Slater - Unbeaten former Olympian Andre Ward did far more than just win his opening fight in the hugely exciting "Super-Six" tournament last night in his hometown of Oakland, California; he also scored the first big upset of the tourney and he also restored American pride by becoming the first U.S fighter to have won a bout in the tourney.

Stopping the defending WBA 168-pound champion and one of the tourney's overall favourites in the mighty Mikkel Kessler, Ward must now be looked at, along with Germany's Arthur Abraham, as the leader of the talented group.

Certainly, and no disrespect to Jermain Taylor, Ward will be a pretty big favourite to win his next fight in the Show Time tourney, against the former middleweight king. Knocked out badly by Abraham in his "Super-Six" opener, Taylor made us wonder if he'd even carry on in the tourney. He is going to, though, and now he faces an uphill task of the highest order against the 21-0(13) 25-year-old..

As for the beaten Kessler, who lost for only the second time as a pro, he will also feel added pressure in his next fight now, when he will meet unbeaten WBC super-middleweight king Carl Froch. After "The Cobra's" razor thin points win over Andre Dirrell in his tourney debut, the critics said in a loud and clear voice that Kessler would definitely beat the Brit. But how will the odds stack up now? Okay, Kessler's loss has been at least partially put down to some illegal (but unintentional) tactics such as head-butts and errantly thrown elbows on the part of Ward, but there is no denying the fact that the Dane's confidence will have taken a battering along with his face.

A proud fighter, who has admitted how his loss to Joe Calzaghe ate away at him as soon as it happened, Kessler must now ask himself if he's past his best. For his part, Froch will surely feel he can also defeat the now former WBA champ. I would now put Froch-Kessler down as a pick 'em fight.

But right now, congratulations must go to the man who captured a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. Taking the bull by the horns and putting on a superb display against "The Viking Warrior," Ward is now a genuine household name and a possible star of the future. Certainly, the man who calls himself "S.O.G" will be a star if he wins "Super-Six," and, going by last night's showing, he can do so.

For the record, 30-year-old Kessler is now 42-2(32).

Article posted on 22.11.2009

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