Boxing

Abraham, Bute, Dirrell, Kessler & Johnson analyze Froch vs. Ward fight

Andre Ward(Photo credit: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME - NEW YORK (Dec. 15, 2011) – Saturday’s blockbuster super middleweight showdown between Super Six World Boxing Classic finalists Andre Ward and Carl Froch has captivated the attention of the boxing world – especially those in the 168-pound division. Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson and Lucian Bute are predicting World Boxing Association super middleweight champion Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) will be the last man standing and proudly lifting the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup in victory come Saturday, Dec. 17, from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

Of the recently polled crop of 168-pounders, only Mikkel Kessler feels Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) has what it takes to hand Ward his first career loss.

Kessler and Abraham are the only boxers who have faced both Super Six finalists.

Dirrell, who served as Ward’s Olympic teammate in 2004 and suffered a tough split-decision loss to Froch early in the Super Six, feels Ward will not be influenced by Froch’s past fights and will stick to a carefully laid-out game plan.

“Ward will make his own assessments from the fights that Froch has had,” Dirrell said. “I believe that Froch has gotten better since he fought me. I believe he’s grown with each fight so it will be a different fight. You could take the game plan that I had and use it against Froch. But Andre Ward is pretty set with his own game plan.”

Dirrell plans to see if his assessments are correct in person. He and his younger brother Anthony – also an aspiring super middleweight contender – will be ringside for The Final. Also expected in attendance are Bute and Kessler.

Here’s what a host of top super middleweights had to say about Saturday night’s fight, along with their individual results facing the Super Six finalists:

ANDRE DIRRELL:

Super Six Result: Lost split-decision to Froch (Oct. 17, 2009);

“My sense is going toward Ward. I believe Ward will win it – not just because he is a smart fighter but because when it’s time to battle, he knows how to battle. But ultimately, his smarts come into play. He knows how to handle these fighters. It’s almost like he dissects them. He’s pretty in tune to this sport. In every fight he’s had in the Super Six, he’s switched up his game plan and they worked to perfection. He has a game plan for Froch as well. It won’t be easy. I honestly believe there will be a cut in the fight. Andre Ward has his tactics and Froch has his tactics so it’s going to be a rough fight, maybe a few bumps and bruises. But overall, I see Andre Ward winning it.

“This tournament right here, this Final right here, both fighters will be put up on the pedestal win or lose. The greatest fighters in this division were in this tournament. Both Ward and Froch have proven themselves very well. Regardless if they win or lose, they’ll both have big things to come after the tournament. I hope for the best for both of them, honestly. “

ARTHUR ABRAHAM:

Super Six Result: Lost unanimous decision to Froch (Nov. 27, 2010) and Ward (May 14, 2011).

“I think Andre Ward is going to win on points. He is tactically better and his style is hard to fight against. I don’t think many fans like his style, though.

“Winning the Super Six tournament will be huge for the winner.

“To be considered the top of the division, the winner should fight Kessler.”

MIKKEL KESSLER:

Super Six Result: Lost technical decision to Ward (Nov. 21, 2009); Won unanimous decision over Froch (April 24, 2010).

“If he does his homework, I think Carl Froch is going to win. He is very strong and he wants to fight. Ward is good and fast, too, but I think Froch will win. He will have learned from the mistakes I did against Ward. So many things went wrong for me that night. Another advantage for Froch is the tournament history – he had some very tough fights that made him even stronger. So my pick is Froch.

“Winning the Super Six tournament will be as good as it gets. That is what we all have been fighting for. The winner will be one of the bests – not the best because he still has to fight me to prove he is the ultimate champion.”

GLEN JOHNSON:

Super Six Result: Lost a majority decision to Froch (June 4, 2011)

“The event means everything to the division. It gave the super middleweight division the most attention – it’s everything. It’s a launching pad, a stage where the best can fight the best and stars are made. There’s no way the division would get this much attention without the tournament and these fights would never have happened. It’s been a wonderful thing for not just the super middleweight division but also for boxing.

“I have to go with Ward in The Final. He’s the only guy who’s undefeated in the tournament and he’s found a way to win. You’ve got to give him the biggest chance because of all the guys that fought the top fighters, he’s the only one who stayed undefeated at that level.

“Froch has a puncher’s chance, that’s the only chance I can give him. I don’t think he can win on points – he’s not a fast guy and he doesn’t throw a lot of combinations. Ward has a tough style and Froch is going to have to land some big punches to change the opinion of the crowd. And even though they are both champions, he’s going to have to beat the champ to win. You’ll have to beat Ward to get that credit, and I just don’t see that happening.

“I don’t think Froch is fast enough to keep up with Ward’s combos. There are some people who think Ward has a soft chin, but I don’t think it’s necessarily true. Early on in his career Ward hadn’t adjusted with how to get hit without headgear, but now he has and Froch will only have a puncher’s chance to capture the Super Six Cup.”

LUCIAN BUTE, Current Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion:

“In my opinion, I think Andre Ward will be the winner of the Super Six. He is a smart fighter with good skills and he will avoid the power punch of Carl Froch. The fight on Dec. 17 is huge for the 168-pound division. I want to face the champion of this classic and really reign over the super middleweight division. I'm ready to fight Ward or Froch anywhere, anytime.”

The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Matchroom Sport and Antonio Leonard Promotions, in association with Caesars Atlantic City and sponsored by Corona.

Tickets are on sale at the Boardwalk Hall box office or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com. All tickets purchased for the original event date will be honored on Dec. 17. If ticket holders are not able to attend on Dec. 17, refunds are available at the point of purchase. The non-televised undercard begins at 6 p.m. ET.

Robb Aims to Close 2011 with a Bang

Rising super featherweight prospect Guy Robb plans to cap his successful 2011 campaign with a knockout as he takes on durable Hugo Ramos this Friday night at the Woodland Community & Senior Center in Woodland, California. The six-round encounter is the televised co-feature of Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo broadcast.

Despite Ramos’ diminutive record, the Palm Springs, California-based fighter has a reputation of being a tough out for up-and-coming prospects. Ramos has gone the distance with six different undefeated opponents, twice against still unbeaten Jonathan Arrellano. Ramos’ only stoppage defeat came against Khabir Suleymanov back in 2009, in a fight he was leading on two cards.

Robb’s manager Repo Ric knows Ramos well, and believes he will provide a good test for his fighter. “Hugo Ramos can fight,” says Repo. “Don’t think he can’t fight, because he can fight. He is 3-10-2, but yes he can fight. It’s not going to be a cakewalk. It is going to be some work.”

Despite Ramos’ stats, Robb (6-0, 2 KOs) believes he can close the show in convincing fashion. “I’m looking to take this guy out,” says the confident Robb. “I don’t expect it to go to the decision. His record is not that great, but he’s fought a lot of tough people and supposed to be a road warrior, but that don’t make no difference to me. I always have the same objective, and that is just to tear him up.”

Despite getting word of the fight on relatively short notice, Robb was more than ready to step into the ring when his phone rang. “I’m always training like a madman,” says Robb, who sparred with fellow prospects Stan Martyniouk, Roman Morales and Bruno Escalante among others. “I just stay in the gym. I take the whole boxing thing serious. I am always trying to get stronger and better and learn more, whether I have a fight or don’t have a fight. I’m always in the gym working.”

Friday’s bout takes place in Woodland, which is just a short drive from Robb’s Sacramento home. “It is always great to fight in front of all my people,” says Robb, who fought three times in nearby Fairfield this year. “They have been having a lot of shows around here and I think everybody has been loving it – especially me. There is going to be a big crowd. I’ve been selling tickets, and people are telling me they are going to buy their tickets at the door. So we are going to have a good turnout.”

The fight with Ramos, Robb’s sixth of 2011, will conclude his first full year as a professional fighter. “I’m happy with my team and how things are going,” explains Robb. “We are getting experience and that is what I need. Within time, we’ll be up there. We’re climbing up this mountain and at this point I’m happy. We are just going to keep getting better.”

Robb’s manager expects big things from his budding star, and believes Friday’s bout will be the Sacramento favorite’s last as a promotional free agent. “He should be signing with somebody right after this, guaranteed,” said Repo.

A knockout on Friday and on to bigger and better things in 2012. That is the plan.

Tickets for Friday’s event, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Don Chargin Productions, Paco Presents and Jorge Marron Productions, are available by calling Paco’s Mexican Restaurant in Woodland at 530-669-7946, Taqueria Guadalajara #1 in Woodland at 530-668-0628 or Travis Credit Union in Woodland at 530-668-0573.

Molitor's unfinished business vs. Gauthier

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario (December 15, 2011) -- Two-time world super bantamweight champion Steve "The Canadian Kid" Molitor has picked out the perfect Christmas present for provincial rival Sebastian Gauthier, wrapped with a bow on top and even delivered it to Quebec City. Unfortunately, at least for now, the gift remains unopened.

Last month in Gauthier's backyard, after Molitor (34-2, 12 KOs) won a 10-round split decision on the Lucian Bute-Glenn Johnson card at Pepsi Center in Quebec City, Team Gauthier loudly complained about an unfair outcome and requested an immediate rematch. Team Molitor has officially offered a rematch February 11 to Gauthier (21-3, 13 KOs) at Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, which is where Steve lives and trains.

"It was a fairly easy fight for me," Molitor said, "other than for the massive cut over my eye that I got from a head-butt in the first round. The cut bled into my eye (left) the whole fight and it was difficult for me to see. I hurt him a few times but couldn't stick to my plan because of all the blood in my eye. It riled me a little and I lost my train of thought. I've been boxing 23 years and knew that a cut above the eye wasn't dangerous or reason to stop the fight. I was a little worried about that, though, when the doctor checked me right before the 10th round.

"After the decision was announced, they thought he won or that it should have been a draw. But there was no real controversy because I knew that, hands down, I had won. The only judge that didn't have me winning had the same last name as my opponent. Gauthier said he wanted a rematch and I said, no problem, but we'll fight this time in Mississauga."

In recent media reports, however, Gauthier has seemingly taken a side step, claiming that he now wants to fight Molitor sometime down the road. What apparently fueled talk about the decision being controversial may be attributed to French-Canadian television announcer Russ Anber's posting of round-by-round scoring on in-house screens at the venue, which was viewed by 15,000 emotionally-charged hometown fans supporting Gauthier, who wore merchandise and used equipment by Rival Boxing, a Canadian company co-founded by Anber. All three judges scored the bout, 96-94, but the lone official who ruled in Gauthier's favor, incidentally, was indeed Jean Gauthier.

"Gauthier talked the talk but he doesn't walk the walk," Molitor expressed his thoughts about why Sebastian hasn't accepted the Feb. 11th fight offer. "That's what separates him from being a world-class fighter. I don't need Sebastian Gauthier; he needs me to be considered a world-class fighter. I'm already proven.

"There's a lot of action in my division with (WBA champion Rico) Ramos fighting (WBA Interim champion Guillermo Rigondeaux) and it looks like (WBC & WBO champion Nonito) Donaire is fighting (Wilfredo) Vasquez in February. My division is congested at the top. I want to stay busy, stay active, so I'm going to squash this guy (Gauthier) February 11th to settle things once and for all. I won't be satisfied unless I knock him out this fight.

"I hope he (Gauthier) will do what he said (fight a rematch) he would. He needs to strap on shoes and hit the road. I won my first title on the road and defended my belt on the road, too. That's what it takes to be part of the elite group of boxers, going against a home crowd and hometown judging. I was asked about fighting Sebastian Gauthier in Quebec City and accepted without hesitation."

Molitor was a five-time Canadian National amateur champion who first captured the International Boxing Federation ("IBF") Super Bantamweight title in 2006 in his 23rd pro fight at the age of 26. The stylish southpaw traveled to the United Kingdom, where Steve stopped hometown favorite and previously unbeaten Michael Hunter (26-0-1) for the vacant title. Molitor successfully defended his crown five times during the next two years against, respectfully, 27-3 Takalani Ndlovu (TKO9), 56-8-1 Fahsan 3K Battery (DEC12), 34-4 Ricardo Castillo (DEC12), 30-2-1 Fernando Beltran, Jr. (DEC12) and 18-0 Ceferino Dario Labarda (TKO10).

In 2010, Molitor recaptured the IBF title by winning a 12-round decision in a rematch against Ndlovu, followed by a title-defense victory in the United Kingdom versus 35-5 Jason Booth, before losing by decision to Ndlovu last April in South Africa, completing their trilogy.

Now 31 and an 11 ½-year veteran, Molitor is rated No. 12 by the IBF but No. 7 by The Ring magazine, which has ranked Steve in its top 10 for more than six years.

"I'm a lot smarter now," Molitor commented. "Over the years, I've learned a lot through the trials and tribulations of boxing. I train everyday with a 21 year old, Samuel Vargas, and I can keep up with the young cats, no problem. I'm right where I want to be."

That's assuming, of course, that Gauthier steps-up and accepts the challenge that he requested to fight Molitor again.

Super Six Semis To Replay Tonight on SHO Extreme

With just two days to go before the Super Six World Boxing Classic crowns an undisputed Super Middleweight champ, SHOWTIME Extreme will replay the Semifinals of the groundbreaking tournament TONIGHT/Thursday beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT (Delayed on the West Coast).

WBA Champ Andre Ward's dominating victory over Arthur Abraham on May 14 will air at 10 p.m., followed by Carl Froch's exciting victory over Glen Johnson on June 4 at 11.

Article posted on 16.12.2011



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