Ward/Froch: Distant Relatives

By "Old Yank" Schneider on December 12, 2011
Ward/Froch: Distant Relatives
Given top-of-the-game attributes, I will pick the technician over the brawler every time

Climbing the evolutionary food chain one bout at a time does more than define a path of natural selection…

In this touchy-feely sport called boxing there is enough brotherly love to go around that everyone that steps in a ring seems to be related in one way or another. To the best of my knowledge or lack thereof, no blood relationship whatsoever exists between Andre Ward and Carl Froch except the fact that boxing is in their blood. It is so chemically a part of their blood that they both deserve to be called champions. So I will modify the title to this article (shamelessly intended to draw you in on perhaps false pretense) and call them “close relatives”—closer than any geneticist would dare infer. This anti-genetic binding that is capable of closing all distance to make brothers of distant relatives is what draws these two men together—close together.

In this brotherly affair, the closer to stardom the closer the relationship; as always seems the case.

If ever two fighters stood at the doorway to stardom few have done it with such a definitive path via natural selection as Andre Ward and Carl Froch. What binds these two men as brothers is a genetic code that is as old as mankind itself. Half-naked, with less than the sticks-for-clubs wielded by pre-man from the classic Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey, equipped with nothing more than their fists and their wits (and under a symbolic fire-lit circle of theater spots), Ward and Froch will enter a ring to do battle in selecting the best of the best. The monolith standing in the background being a trophy designed and created by Thomas Lyte Silver going to the winner. What is at stake is nothing more or nothing less than a claim to being the best living, active super middleweight of our time. The path to arriving at this doorway to stardom for Ward and Froch has been Darwinian in the extreme.

Boxing fans have become too accustomed to living in a love-starved vacuum of a world deprived of seeing the best fight the best. Promoters have made a game out of matchmaking in order to protect fighters from facing real challenges. This is not the case in Showtime’s Super Six Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament.

We could all benefit from going back to where this tournament started. Here is a list of the original entries to the tournament two years ago: Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Dirrell, and Jermain Taylor—champion caliber all. Substitutes added along the way in this tournament were Allan Green and Glen Johnson. The obvious potential star missing is Lucian Bute of Canada. Survival of the fittest in this collection of the best of the best is nothing less than a Darwinian path to the top of the food chain.

Climbing the evolutionary food chain one bout at a time does more than define a path of natural selection; it defines who has the genes to make it to the top. This is how close relatives are made and how brothers become brothers from different mothers. There is a genetic purity in being the only metals to survive in the furnace of competition. Oh, how I wish all bouts were arrived at this way!

I confess that I have a favorite in this bout. He is Andre Ward. But he is no less a product of natural selection in this tournament than is Carl Froch. Both bring their own unique styles to the testing furnace of natural selection. Carl Froch is a natural brawler with more boxing refinement than most fans are willing to give him credit for. And Andre Ward is a natural technician with more balls than most fans give him credit for. At the end of the day, given top-of-the-game attributes, I will pick the technician over the brawler every time. Natural selection ends December 17th in Atlantic City.

No amount of favoritism will keep me from seeing this as a very close fight. I know the furnace of natural selection that these two fighters have been tested in. Few ever get the chance to so clearly see how great they really are as the path opened to these two great men in this tournament.

The winner will deserve to be on a path to superstardom!

Fittingly, joining me for the bout in Atlantic City will be by brother-in-law, my son-in-law and the man who stood up for me as my Best Man (ahem, over 40 years ago). I think I know something about brothers from different mothers.

So I tip my hat to two distant relatives, two brothers in spirit, two “blood brothers,” two brothers from different mothers and wish them the best—Andre Ward and Carl Froch. We should all expect a great fight. After all, it is nothing less than what we wish for—the proven best fighting the proven best!

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Andre Ward: I Am a Fighter - Super Six World Boxing Classic - SHOWTIME

Recap: Mikkel Kessler vs. Andre Ward - Super Six World Boxing Classic

Carl Froch: I Am a Fighter - Super Six World Boxing Classic - SHOWTIME

Carl Froch knocks out Jermain Taylor

Carl Froch 'Ward Is A Formidable Force, A Great Fighter'

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  1. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:34am, 12/16/2011

    Michael—Thank you kindly. Great points!

  2. Michael Montero 08:12am, 12/16/2011

    Nice article (although I’ll admit the title had me excited to find out that the fighter’s are related on Ward’s father’s side hahaha).  There are two ways to look at this fight - 1) that Ward has steamrolled guys like Kessler, whom Foch struggled with.  And that Froch was able to get hit by fighters like Glen Johnson and Andre Dirrell, both of whom Ward is more skilled then. - 2) that Froch has travelled the tougher road to get here, faced the much better opposition and can’t possibly be hurt by Ward.  Logic tells me Ward by decision, but part of me wonders what will happen in the later rounds when Froch is still coming forward and Andre can’t keep him away.  This is boxing, and anything can happen.  I just hope we don’t get a boring jab, grab and run fest.  I’m hoping for drama and zero controversy.

  3. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:11am, 12/14/2011

    Don—You don’t think predicting a KO/TKO win for Ward is going out on a limb? I suggest you take advantage of the odds then since and all the odds-makers in the world seem to see a Ward win via KO/TKO as not probable. If it is such a safe bet, go for it! Make yourself some Christman jingle. Peace to you and your family this holiday season.

  4. Don From Prov 04:58am, 12/14/2011

    Call the FBI, Thresher: A serious Mafia-like threat has been leveled at you here.

    A lot of noise about very little by the author. Ward does not appear to be a great puncher, but of course he can cause damage, and Froch is just talking some shite—a favorite of the writer, no?  So why go on about it? Ward over Froch is the safe pick, and the logical pick: The only limb to go out on would be to pick Carl.  And picking Carl is not the dumbest thing in the world: Ward is great at trench warfare, but if the bout is turned into same and a larger, likely stronger, man is matching dirty for dirty—who knows????

  5. the thresher 06:01pm, 12/13/2011

    If I gave you the appropriate response, I probably would be arrested.

  6. "Old Yank" Schneider 05:58pm, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—There was nothing uncivil intended in my comment. Sorry you took it wrong. The appropriate response is, “Sorry Yank, I misunderstood your comment”.

  7. the thresher 05:52pm, 12/13/2011

    Be very, very careful. here. I said I was done here. Done means done. STOP!!!

    I am making my points re Bute on another thread.

  8. "Old Yank" Schneider 05:48pm, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—Is nuance allowed in communication? WTF? Did you think I was suggesting that there is not enough concrete to bury you under? You MISUNDERSTOOD! I cannot pour anything concrete for you here because I was making a generalization. Saying you are in need of more concrete than I can pour is a FIGURE OF SPEECH! You were looking for concrete specifics (a name or list of names I presume), I was not talking specifics (not delivering concrete), I was generalizing. Get it?

  9. "Old Yank" Schneider 05:42pm, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—What set you off this time? Please send me the decoder ring!  PLEASE! You asked (regarding my ducking comment), “And just who is that suppose to be?” Apparently looking for something or someone specific to be named (or perhaps a list of names, I really don’t know what specifics you thought I was referring to). I was not intending to be CONCRETE—I was making a generalization. Lighten up for crap’s sake, your going to give yourself a heart attack!

  10. the thresher 05:26pm, 12/13/2011

    “You are in need of more concrete than I can pour”. How nice. You still have not learned the art of civility I see. I’m done here.

  11. "Old Yank" Schneider 04:56pm, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—Kessler has been named Champion Emeritus and Showtime is already lining up a bout for Kessler with the winner of Froch/Ward. We will need to wait a bit longer for Ward/Bute. And I bet Ward will insist on Bute cuttin a few more teeth on a couple opf bouts against the likes of an Abraham and Dirrell (and perhaps others) before they meet.

  12. "Old Yank" Schneider 04:51pm, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—You are in need of more concrete than I can pour. The complaint that gets repeated over and over again by fans is that they want to see the best fighting the best but too often get cheated out of it. The generalization here would naturally be that if the best are too rarely fighting the best then a bunch of ducking must be going on. It’s a generalization about the sport. There are those who wonder why Bute chose to sit out the very tough path of the Super-Six that other fighters (eight in total) took. It is potentially legitimate to suggest that the guys in the Super-Six could not duck anyone because of the tournament path they chose. If one path leads to finding it impossible to duck anyone, than the alternative path (opting out of the Super-Six), does permit ducking (perhaps too strong a word—but “avoiding” is not).

  13. the thresher 03:26pm, 12/13/2011

    “It beats the hell out of guys ducking….” And just who is that suppose to be?

  14. the thresher 03:24pm, 12/13/2011

    Man, that’s just way too pedantic for me.

    The winner of Froch-Ward can lay claim to fighter of the year in 2011, though some might say otherwise, particularly a certain Thai fighter.

    Bute is sitting pretty by making big money in Quebec Province and letting the others beat each other up.

    At some point, Bute will assert himself and the winner of Bute vs. Froch-Ward will be the REAL king, as The Dane already has lost to Ward and his claim will not be all that solid.

    Nothing real mysterious there I reckon.

    Ward beats Froch and fights Bute.

  15. "Old Yank" Schneider 03:16pm, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher - -There can be great fun in refining a prediction and at times talking one’s self into an alternate scenario. PEACE

  16. "Old Yank" Schneider 03:12pm, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—TRANSLATION: There is much legitimacy to ending up top dog in the Super-Six. Many would argue that it allows the winner to lay claim to being the best because all comers were invited to participate (Bute included—including being invited to fill in for the open slots created by Taylor and Kessler when they walked) and one man will walk away with the trophy. It beats the hell out of guys ducking/missing out on the best fighting the best and then laying claim to being the best. The Yellow Brick Road is a metaphor being on a path lined with financial opportunity. Kessler has had some good paying gigs, but I suspect the winner of the Super-Six will have some mega paydays open up for him. Lastly, you suggested in an earlier post that I omitted Bute from a possible candidate to lay claim for being the best at 168; I did not—I stated later the the article “The obvious potential star missing is Lucian Bute of Canada.” I hope the translation works.

  17. the thresher 02:44pm, 12/13/2011

    “However, once a claim is made in the ring, defending it is imperative.  Making a claim and defending it are two different things. I did mention that the obvious potential star missing is Bute.  As for Kessler, well…I suspect the winner of the Super-Six will have a Yellow Brick Road in front of him that Kessler has never quite traveled in his career.” Please translate.

  18. the thresher 02:43pm, 12/13/2011

    Tache, Froch called out JC more times than Margo called out Mayweather.

  19. the thresher 02:39pm, 12/13/2011

    Old Yank, picking Ward is not a particularly sage pick. Everybody has done it. No big deal. Not many have wriiten about it, but it seems to me you are going in and out on a fight where a guy “is programmed to win,” and a guy who will be fighting to the death against a worthy opponent. Just where do you stand? I’m confused.

    I’m looking for the guy who has picked CF and have not yet found him.

    Picking Ward in this one and doing triple back flips over seems   bit much to me.

    Re Ward and Bute, I do recall Ward being extended by Miranda but Bute sending Miranda back to Colombia via the airways. Ward managed to KO Shelby Pudwill (?) in May 2009. Hi sonly such win since 2008 when he stopped the immortal Estaban Camou. 

    But , on the other hand, has a KO percentage of 80 against far better opposition.

    Let’s see if Ward can get by Froch before we start touting him to beat Bute.

  20. the thresher 02:28pm, 12/13/2011

    “—Great post! If anyone questions Ward’s prior opposition then they must have nothing but question marks over Bute’s” Really?

  21. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:42am, 12/13/2011

    Juicy Peach—Great post! If anyone questions Ward’s prior opposition then they must have nothing but question marks over Bute’s. But after all is said and done, Kessler has been named Champion Emeritus and I believe Showtime has something in the works for Kessler to face the winner of Ward/Froch. So we might need to see Bute fight a Dirrell, or Abraham or someone along those lines before we get to see Froch/Bute or Ward/Bute. Some folks suspect there is a reason Bute chose not to participate in the Super-Six. The level of competition he’s been fighting is not up to the level of the Super-Six and its getting some well-deserved attention that Bute needs to step it up before he meets the winner of Ward/Froch or the winner of Kessler/Froch or Ward.

  22. Juicy Peach 07:38am, 12/13/2011

    Whoever wins the fight is in line for Lucian Bute.  I’d like to see him fight one of them; someone on his level.  All the others he fought were not top level fighters.  Look out Bute, your spotless game may not be so spotless after the Ward v. Froch fight if and when you fight one of them.  They both are great fighters.  Whoever wins, it’s going to be the fight of the decade!!

  23. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:59am, 12/13/2011

    Virgil Hunter is predicting a Ward KO over Froch. Based on Froch’s game plan (if he does not find a Plan B or Plan C), Hunter is going to be correct.

  24. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:57am, 12/13/2011

    One of the most recent quotes from Froch regarding Ward’s punching ability: “If Ward lands flush, I’ll walk through it and smile”. Damn, Froch had better have a Plan B, because his Plan A sounds really, really stupid to me. Everyone close to Ward knows how well conditioned he is—few fighters in history have the dedicated regime of Ward (both in and out of training). Ward will not gas out—he can move for 12 rounds no problem. If Ward lands flush, he will no longer be in front of Froch for Froch to continue to “walk in”. Then when Froch repeats the foolishness, he will find the same result: Getting hit flush with nothing left in front of him to “walk in” at.

  25. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:28am, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—Here is the interview where Froch says, “I’ll walk through Ward’s feather-duster punches”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-Exmvp032o

  26. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:25am, 12/13/2011

    The Thresher—Froch was quoted as calling Ward a “feather duster puncher”. I think he’s in trouble if he attempts to walk through the front door of those feather duster punches.

  27. the thresher 06:09am, 12/13/2011

    “featther duster” Huh? Who said that? Fact is Ward does not KO many fighters. If you think that means he is a “feather duster,” you “might be right.” But did someone call him that here?

  28. "Old Yank" Schneider 05:03am, 12/13/2011

    I think Virgil Hunter has pointed out the obvious that so many miss: After a few rounds against Ward, his opponents have turned to protection mode. As we question Ward’s “feather duster” punches I would suggest that fighters in protection mode are in that place because that feather duster feels nothing like a feather duster. Ward can come from so many angles with such a variety of punches from either hand launched from either the conventional or southpaw stance that most opponents have entered some form of survival mode after a few rounds in order to avoid getting busted up. I think Froch has terribly, terribly underestimated Ward and will get busted up for his mistake.

  29. "Old Yank" Schneider 04:46am, 12/13/2011

    del g—I’m looking forward to a great bout. I honestly expect Froch to make a huge error in expecting “feather duster” punches from Ward. Ward will sit down enough to back Froch off. Watch it happen.

  30. del g 04:38am, 12/13/2011

    Enjoy the fight Yank…...I’m takin Froch to win at 7/2….........this is gonna be a war that ward has never neen in b4…....at distance , Ward will make CF look amatuer, CF wont allow that, its gonna be fought up close. May the best man win!

  31. "Old Yank" Schneider 07:10pm, 12/12/2011

    Tex—Got the book. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

  32. TEX HASSLER 05:40pm, 12/12/2011

    My pick is for Ward to win this fight. He has the better boxing skills and will be prepared to execute his fight plan regardless of what Froch does. Froch is a good fighter but not on the same level as Ward. This should be a great fight.

  33. "Old Yank" Schneider 04:34pm, 12/12/2011

    The Thresher—You might be right about Ward and dirty.  He does switch seamlessly between southpaw and the conventional stance and there is always an opportunity when a southpaw faces a conventional fighter that heads will clash. But the billy goat moves in the Kessler bout did go beyond the classic north/south clash.

  34. "Old Yank" Schneider 04:31pm, 12/12/2011

    Irish—Why thank you kindly. And your observations are spot on.

  35. The Thresher 02:00pm, 12/12/2011

    Ward is a dirty fighter plain and simple. He uses elbows and his butts to his advantage. Accordingly, the ref will play a role here. I sense a stiffing for Froch.

  36. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 01:42pm, 12/12/2011

    Great article….but a little confusing in some aspects. Brawlers are usually the culprits when it comes to using your head illegally in this sport….not Technicians. This fight has the potential for being an all out foul fest….starting with Ward’s first “accidental infraction” especially if it causes possible fight ending damage.

  37. AKT 12:37pm, 12/12/2011

    Completely unrelated.

    But I like boxing.com

  38. "Old Yank" Schneider 10:23am, 12/12/2011

    The Tache—Froch has much to be proud of.  I’m not sure we’ve seen his best yet. If he brings his career best to the fight Saturday night it’s going to be a hell of a treat for fans.

  39. "Old Yank" Schneider 10:20am, 12/12/2011

    Good points.  However, once a claim is made in the ring, defending it is imperative.  Making a claim and defending it are two different things. I did mention that the obvious potential star missing is Bute.  As for Kessler, well…I suspect the winner of the Super-Six will have a Yellow Brick Road in front of him that Kessler has never quite traveled in his career.  But we shall see what the future holds.

  40. The Tache 10:18am, 12/12/2011

    I always feel a bit sorry for Froch, he is not a household name like Calzaghe was yet he has taken more chances and fought a better calibre of opponent. Even after he first won a world title he has still had to fight abroad most of the time and some of his fights have been on obscure satellite channels, although this one is on Sky.

    He may be a bit crude and not everyone’s cup of tea but he is a good, honest pro who turns up ready to fight and to my knowledge hasn’t tried to duck anyone.

    Good luck, Carl, and win lose or draw at least you will still have that gorgeous missus to go home to!

  41. mike schmidt 09:48am, 12/12/2011

    Or the Viking warrior if in fact Mr Cobra wins since Mr Viking Warrior holds the win over Mr Cobra

  42. the thresher 09:04am, 12/12/2011

    “What is at stake is nothing more or nothing less than a claim to being the best living, active super middleweight of our time.” Hmm wonder what Bute might think about that.

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