Steve Farhood on Ward vs. Froch

By Robert Ecksel on December 16, 2011
Steve Farhood on Ward vs. Froch
Steve Farhood has fewer enemies than almost anyone in the sport (Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)

“You can’t keep boxing down,” said Farhood. “Because at its basic, what you have is an absolutely great sport—the best…”

Always on the lookout for an expert opinion other than my own, I spotted Showtime’s Steve Farhood at this week’s final presser at the Edison Ballroom and asked what he thought about tonight’s big fight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City between WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward and his WBC counterpart Carl Froch.

Farhood has been around. Born in Brooklyn to Lebanese-American parents, Farhood fell into boxing by accident—and a happy accident it was. You can count the number of truly good guys in boxing on one hand, assuming you have three fingers on one hand, and Farhood is certainly one of them. But all joking aside, Farhood has fewer enemies than almost anyone in the sport, which speaks to his poise, confidence and equanimity.

Farhood’s long and winding road through the provinces and capitals of the fight game led him to become editor of The Ring, VP of the BWAA, and an on-air analyst for ESPN, CNN, SportsChannel, and USA’s late lamented Tuesday Night Fights.

Presently Farhood can be seen on Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation, so he’s perfectly situated, in more ways than one, to offer commentary on the Super Six Boxing Classic Final.

“It’s a fitting tribute,” said Farhood, “to a tournament that’s been tumultuous. It hasn’t gone as initially planned. I don’t think that surprised anybody, because it was SO unconventional. But the bottom line is you have Froch, who fought four fights in the tournament already, and you have Ward who fought three. Not necessarily the guys we would have made favorites at the start, but it’s a good final because they both earned their way here. So for all the nonsense, the pullouts, injuries, upsets, controversy, whatever you want to say, we’re getting a good fight.”

A good fight is what boxing needs, and it’s had more than its fair share in the last couple months. And while it’s an oversimplification to describe Ward vs. Froch as a contest between a master boxer and an exemplary puncher, in some ways that’s exactly what it is.

“It’s a real interesting match in terms of contrasts,” Farhood said. “Because there’s a personality contrast—Andre is a humble, God-fearing guy—Froch is more from the trash talking school—but they’re both strong personalities, as you can see in Fight Camp 360. And in terms of boxing styles, Ward seems to me, as he says, a ‘chameleon,’ and he can fight any which way. Froch is a long-armed, good puncher, probably a little harder puncher than Andre, but also has shown his boxing ability in this tournament against Abraham and Glen Johnson. I think Ward has more ways to win and that’s why I favor him, but it’s a great matchup.”

After all that went down during boxing’s midseason madness, the sport has righted itself in fine fashion and is ending the year on a high note.

“The point is, I think, you can’t keep boxing down. Because at its basic, what you have is an absolutely great sport—the best. And when you get two guys in the ring who want to win and are evenly matched, it doesn’t matter if you’re a boxing fan or not. You watch that fight and you’re going to like it. And everything else is bullshit, all the politics, all the money, all the controversy. The sport is so good and so strong that all that other nonsense can’t diminish it, and I think boxing fans understand that. And what we wait for is what we have Saturday night: a good, even fight that has significance. As long as we have these kinds of fights, and boxing is always going to have these kinds of fights, the sport will be okay.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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