Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 fighter of the year: Andre Ward

Posted by Admin On 10:44 AM

When Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic began in late 2009, Mikkel Kessler was the favorite to win the tournament featuring six of the best super middleweights in the world. Arthur Abraham was extensively careful the second choice, with Carl Froch also expected to do well.

Andre Ward, despite a 2004 Olympic gold medal and a attractive streak that stretched back to 1996, when he was just 12, was not a popular pick. As Ward said, he was just a young puppy when the tournament began, even though he had high prospect for himself.

I expected from the beginning to make it to the final,he said.And slowly but surely we made believers out of a lot of people that doubted me.Now, 26 months later, few doubt the Oakland, Calif., native, who stands alone atop the super middleweight mountain.

He was the only fighter to roll through the tournament unbeatable, taking a title from Kessler with ease in an 11th-round technological decision in his opening bout and manhandle his 2010 opponents, Allan Green and Sakio Bika (in a fight outside the tournament), in lopsided decisions.

Those blowout victories set the stage for Ward's stellar 2011 campaign. This year he took apart Abraham for a no-doubt-about-it decision in the semifinals in May and then capped his tremendous contest run in the Dec. 17 final, easily outpointing Froch in a masterpiece to unify two belts, win the vacant Ring magazine title and stamp himself as one of the best fighters on the planet.

Selecting Ward as the 2011 fighter of the year was an easy call. And it could be just the first of numerous such awards for Ward, 27, whose speed, skills, defense, smarts and fierce competitive spirit should make him a force for years to come.Andre is on a path for enormity said Dan Goossen, who has promoted Ward for his entire specialized career.

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