• Super-middleweight

Ward & Kessler could combine to leave Froch in cold

ESPN staff
November 19, 2012
Andre Ward was too good for Carl Froch on their last meeting © Getty Images

WBA and WBC super-middleweight champion Andre Ward could be persuaded to come to the United Kingdom to fight Carl Froch in a blockbuster super-middleweight rematch in 2013 - but a mandatory defence against another of Froch's rivals appears set to complicate matters.

Froch is eager to get Ward over to Britain in 2013, as he bids to avenge the comprehensive points defeat he suffered at the hands of the American in December 2011. But the Englishman's promoter, Eddie Hearn, has expressed doubts that Ward would consider crossing the Atlantic for a fight.

Ward seemed to lend weight to that fear on Saturday, after revealing that he was "not interested" in Froch's fight against Yusaf Mack and would not be watching.

Froch eventually won in a third round knockout.

"Question: Why do I HAVE TO rematch Froch in the UK?" Ward said on Twitter. "I won the first one!

He then added: "Froch fans keep saying it wasn't him in the ring the night we fought ... then who was it, his twin brother?!"

But the 28-year-old seemed to have had a change of heart by Sunday, posting: "I think I would like to fight in the UK one day. Thoughts?"

Ward has fought outside his homeland just twice in his career - on both occasions hopping the short distance to the Caribbean. Speaking after his victory on Saturday, Froch blamed travelling to New York for his limp defeat against Ward - with Hearn stating his belief that Froch could beat anyone on home turf.

"I lost the last fight with Andre Ward before I even stepped through the ropes, because mentally I wasn't switched on," Froch claimed. "Physically I was drained. I was in Manhattan, sitting in New York a second time before Christmas.

"The sparring was quite brutal with Kid Chocolate, Peter Quillin, who is now a world champion. The last three days I just switched off. I lost the fight before I even stepped though the ropes. So that won't happen again."

At 35, Froch does not have time on his side and so is eager to fight Ward in 2013, while he also harbours hopes of facing Mikkel Kessler - the only other man to have beaten him - for a second time. But 'The Cobra' may find his path to those redemption fights blocked - as the duo could face each other instead that summer.

Kessler fights Brian Magee in December to decide who will be the mandatory challenger to Ward's WBA strap and, with Ward expected to fight Kelly Pavlik in January, the summer of 2013 would provide the earliest opportunity to meet.

Kessler has his own dreams of revenge against Ward after losing in the Super Six tournament back in 2009, and appears more keen to take that contest than a rematch against Froch on enemy soil.

"I did not think it was possible to be more motivated to beat Magee and become world champion again on Dec. 8, but now I have found a reason," Kessler said. "Andre Ward knows that he owes me a rematch. That was not the real 'Viking Warrior' in the ring on that night.

"I was at my best against Froch and Allan Green, and I will be at my best against Magee. Now I just have to regain my title on Dec. 8, and then we will have the rematch. Ward had better get ready."

Ward's camp acknowledged that they would happily sit down and negotiate with the winner of the Magee-Kessler fight.

"We're always happy to see someone go out there and fight their way to another opportunity, so if Kessler can do that, it is one of the options we will have," Ward's promoter, Dan Goossen, told ESPN. "I know that Andre and the whole team talked about Magee before. He was someone we were looking to fight at one point anyway.

"So if Magee beats Kessler, he'd certainly earn his right. We always need options, and the winner is an option."

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