• Super-middleweight

Ward: I'll inflict more misery on Froch

ESPN staff
June 12, 2012

Carl Froch can expect the same treatment he received the first time he met Andre Ward should the pair meet again, with the American warning the Nottingham fighter he is working on becoming a "ruthless finisher".

Ward proved he is the best super-middleweight in the world when beating Froch on points in the final of the Super Six tournament last December, inflicting only the second defeat of the Nottingham fighter's career.

Following that reverse, Froch returned to prominence with a hugely impressive fifth-round stoppage of Lucian Bute last month, becoming a three-time world champion in the process by getting his hands on the IBF strap.

The Cobra has since spoken of his desire to avenge his loss to Ward, insisting he was not on top form when he met the unbeaten American. However, Ward maintains that he beat Froch at the top of his game and says he will have no problem in serving up a repeat performance should a rematch be in the offing.

"All credit to Froch," he told the Daily Mail. "He fought a great fight [against Bute]. He is clearly back as No. 2 to me, above [Mikkel] 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. 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."

Ward, who also beat Kessler en route to becoming the Super Six champion, has warned his rivals his best is yet to come. He added: "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."

IBF king Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn, meanwhile, has reaffirmed his charge's preference is to step in the ring with Denmark's Kessler, who edged out the Brit in Herning in April 2010.

"Kessler is our preferred choice and our number one option," Hearn told BBC Sport. "Kessler is Carl's favoured opponent. He wasn't at 100% for their first fight and he lost a narrow decision. If that had been in the UK, he would have won. We're looking at Froch's next fight being in October.

"Froch versus Kessler is the perfect fight that everyone wants to see. I spoke with Kessler's people last week. It's down to the demands of Kessler. He has already asked for a fight in Denmark but we said absolutely not. Carl is a three-time world champion. We would sell 20,000 tickets for that here.

"Kessler knows how hard Froch is. He fought a 70-80% Froch. I'm sure he's not afraid of Froch, but there are easier fights for him out there [in Denmark] for good money. Froch is much hungrier for this fight than Kessler but money talks. Let's see if we can get the money right."

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