Ward wins Super Six by topping Froch

Andre Ward staked his claim as the top super middleweight fighter in the world after defeating Carl Froch in a unanimous decision in the Super Six World Boxing Classic final on Saturday.

Ward retained his WBA championship and won the WBC super middleweight belt in the final bout of the unique tournament that stretched out over two years.

”One of the strongest assets I have is my mind. I kept my composure, I kept things under control. And we pulled it off,” Ward said. ”I hope I did a good job. But we can still get better, believe it or not.”

Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) dictated the pace from the opening round, connecting on a series of left hooks to rattle his English opponent. One judge scored it 118-110 for Ward and two others had it 115-113.

”We wanted to fight inside and outside, and we pulled it off,” Ward said. ”I was actually surprised at how slow Froch was. He was as slow as he was on tape.”

Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) did not get going until late, finally showing some overdue aggression in the 10th round.

”I wanted to put my shots together, but he moves around, and slips and slides. He’s very good at that,” Froch said. ”And that’s why it was a bad night for me.”

Ward entered the six-man, 168-pound (76-kilogram) tournament as the underdog to the more experienced Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham, but dominated the field en route to taking the title.

He won Saturday’s bout despite injuring his left hand in training, and then again in the sixth round.

”Give credit to Andre. I never found myself in the zone where I could get my shots off and do what I wanted,” Froch said. ”That’s something I’m going to have to work on in the gym.”

Ward, 27, hasn’t lost as an amateur or a professional since he was 14. He capped an outstanding amateur career by winning a gold medal for the U.S. in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Ward and Froch had been slated to meet Oct. 29 before Ward was injured and the fight was rescheduled.

Ward smothered Froch when they were close, then was elusive enough to keep his distance from Froch for most of the bout. He landed 243 of 573 of his punches (42 percent), while Froch was a miserable 23 percent (156 of 683).

Froch, who lost and regained his WBC belt during the inaugural Super Six tournament, averaged only 56 punches per round after averaging 69 in his previous four fights.

”I never found myself in the zone where I could get my shots off and do what I want. That’s something I’m going to have to work on in the gym.”

Froch, 34, went 4-1 in the previous rounds of the tournament. He opened with a 12-round decision over Andre Dirrell on Oct. 17, 2009, then rebounded from the first loss of his career — a 12-round decision to Kessler on April 24, 2010 — with decision victories over Abraham and Glen Johnson, respectively.

The tournament took a bit of a hit with various boxers dropping out because of injuries. Ward had wins over Kessler and Allan Green to reach the semifinals against Abraham, who advanced despite losing twice.