EXCLUSIVE: Credit to Froch but I WILL beat him again, warns unbeaten rival Ward
23:01 GMT, 11 June 2012
Andre Ward believes Carl Froch has re-established himself as the second best super-middleweight in the world with his stunning destruction of Lucian Bute.
However, the American prodigy insists that if and when they meet in a re-match the fight will go the same way as his December victory over the Nottingham Cobra.
Ward is full of praise for the way Froch came back from that defeat to KO Bute, who was highly rated as the holder of the IBF version of the world title in the 12-stone division.
Ready to rumble: Carl Froch, fresh from his victory over Lucian Bute, wants to avenge his defeat to Andre Ward
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But he was not as surprised as many by the beating Froch inflicted on the Canada-based Romanian.
Ward says: ‘Bute’s reputation had been protected by taking carefully selected opponents instead of joining us in the big Super Six tournament in which I beat Carl in the final.
‘He has punching power but he is much more easily hit than I am. Carl has a great chin and big heart and I expected him to walk through Bute’s big left hand to land his own shots.
‘All credit to Froch. He fought a great fight. He is clearly back as No 2 to me, above Kessler and Bute and the rest of the 168lb pack.
‘But that performance would not change anything if we fight each other again.
‘When I beat him, Carl conceded he had lost to the better man. But since then he has been excusing the defeat by saying he was much more fully focused and on his game against Bute.
‘I don’t buy into that. What I do believe is what he said at the time, that he was in the best shape of his life for our fight.
Victorious: Ward claimed the Super Six and world titles after defeating Froch last December
‘Why wouldn’t he have been As the Super Six final and a title unifier it was the biggest fight of his life. The fact is that I had a lot to do with his problems that night. He couldn’t get to me and there will be nothing different if we meet again.’
Froch is lining up another re-match against the only other man to have beaten him, Mikkel Kessler, in Nottingham in September.
Ward beat Kessler, also, in the Super Six, and says: ‘We hear a lot from Mikkel and Carl about wanting to fight me again but to be honest I’m not sure that either of them really want the re-match. None of us are all-time greats yet. We still have work to do. But I think they know that I am improving all the time.
‘I get accused of not being exciting. That’s odd. Sometimes I seem to get more appreciation of my skills from genuine boxing fans in the United Kingdom than I do at home.
‘But I am beating everyone and now I am working on being a more ruthless finisher, going for the KOs.
Target man: Froch is also eager to meet Denmark's Mikkel Kessler
‘I’m not the same type of character as Floyd Mayweather but inside the ring I see some parallels with my career. It took a long time for Floyd to get recognition for his boxing but it came in the end and I believe the same thing will happen for me.’
Ward makes a home-town defence of his WBC and WBA titles in Oakland, California on September 8 against Chad Dawson.
His fellow American beat legendary veteran Bernard Hopkins to become world light-heavyweight champion. He says he is happy to come down half a stone and surrender home advantage to Ward in a 19,000 seat arena.
In return, Ward anticipates moving up to light-heavy himself with a re-match with Dawson for that world title a possibility.
When that happens, assuming he gains revenge over Kessler, the way would be clear for Froch to reassert his dominance at super-middleweight.
Ward was talking in Las Vegas, where he joined in the world-wide condemnation of the decision which robbed Manny Pacquiao of his world welterweight title and probably his chance of a $200million mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather.
He said: ‘Ridiculous. I had Manny winning ten of the 12 rounds against Tim Bradley.
‘Judging like this is very bad for boxing.’
Quigg and Monroe: be careful what you wish for…
Two fine ambassadors for British boxing put their futures on the line this Saturday but the real loser will be Sky Sports following their decision to pull the plug on their long-time poster boy Ricky Hatton.
If any Hatton promotion since the Hitman’s retirement deserved major television exposure it is this one at the Manchester Velodrome.
Scott Quigg, who looks every ounce a world champion in the making, and Rendall Munroe, the former dustman who went close to that distinction with an heroic performance in Japan, come together in a classic British match-up.
Packing a punch: Scott Quigg (R) has a promising future ahead of him in the ring
The belt up for grabs this time is for the WBA interim super-bantamwieight title but the winner will be in pole position for a shot at the world championship proper. Mind you, they should be careful which belt they wish for.
The WBA champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux, lived up to his billing as the best amateur to come out of Cuba since fabled heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson with a stunning defence of his title on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao controversy.
Rigondeaux, a late-starting professional following his defection to Miami after winning two Olympic gold medals, destroyed his American challenger.
Teon Kennedy had been off his feet only once in a one-loss, 20-fight career but Rigondeaux’s pinpoint punching floored him five times on the way to a fifth round stoppage.
Quigg or Munroe might be advised to review the other belt holders.
Tough: Randall Monroe will look to impress his world title contender credentials
Quigg, the British champion, has prepared with tough sparring in America and although only 23 he admits: ‘The time has come for me to make a statement. I’ve not got to step up or shut up.’
Munroe knows he needs to win to get his career fully back on track.
Both men come to fight and have solid chins so their encounter promises to be explosive and likely to come down to a test of will and stamina.
Quigg is the favourite to come through the sternest examination yet of his glittering potential and assuming he does so a new star of the British ring will be in the ascendancy.
He and Munroe top an action-packed championship bill.
The popular Ryan Rhodes takes on Sergey Rabchenko for the vacant European light-middleweight title. Reformed convict Richard Towers intends putting himself in the heavyweight mix with David Price and Tyson Fury by beating Frenchman Gregory Tony for the also-vacant European championship.
Forget television, this is a show worth travelling to see. All the prime ringside seats have been sold but cheaper tickets are available via the Hatton hotline, 01925755222 or online from Tickemaster, Ticketline or HMV.
Manny's plea to Obama
Manny Pacquiao’s first thought the morning after Saturday night’s bank robbery by Tim Bradley was not for himself but for a fellow countryman.
Hermie Rivera, a close friend who lives in America, is fighting to prevent his son’s deportation to the Philippines.
Gerardo, now married with children and a long-time US resident, was caught up in a government sweep of immigrants because of minor drug offences when a teenager.
The PacMan, in his role as a congressman in his own country, delayed his return home by a day so he could petition president Barack Obama, who he has met and dined with on several occasions, on behalf of the Riveras.
Sad end for tainted Margarito
Tainted: Antonio Margarito
Three former world champions have been lost to boxing in less than a week. Shane Mosley, Winky Wright and then Antonio Margarito have hung up the gloves.
For Mosley and Wright, at 40, the time is right.
The saddest figure is Margarito, His legacy is tainted by his gloves being ‘loaded’ for his fight against Mosley and who is being forced to quit by a serious eye injury inflicted during a beating by Manny Pacquiao and aggravated in defeat by Miguel Cotto.
Roach's private jet dash to New York
Freddie Roach flew hurriedly out of Las Vegas on Saturday night but not in disgust at the dodgy decision against Manny Pacquiao.
At a cost of $20,000, the master trainer hired a private jet to take himself and ten of his family and friends to his richly deserved induction into the Hall of Fame in up-state New York.