In the last of the Group Stage 2 matches this Saturday, June 19, on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), undefeated Andre Ward (21-0, 13 KOs) will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) title against world-ranked Allan Green (29-1, 20 KOs) in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, Calif. If Ward is victorious, he cinches a berth in the semi-finals and goes to the top of the leader board with four or, potentially, five points. But if Green prevails the Super Six World Boxing Classic becomes a six-man, three-fight shootout with countless possible scenarios heading into Group Stage 3 action. So can Green, a replacement for Jermain Taylor who is making his tournament debut, make an immediate impact and become the third boxer in six fights to dethrone a defending champion?
Three of the other four participants in the Super Six World Boxing Classic don’t think so. Only Carl Froch of England gives the newcomer the edge. “It’s too close to call, and in a close one, I always lean towards the puncher and Green is a big puncher and Ward isn’t,’’ said Froch (26-1, 20 KOs). “The Americans are so pro Ward and Dirrell that I’d like Green to win. I think it would spice things up if he knocked Ward out.”
Mikkel Kessler (43-2, 32 KOs) is picking Ward, but pulling for Green. “I think this will be a great fight. Every Super Six fight promises exciting action and their meeting will be no different,” Kessler said. “Having been in the ring with Ward, I know it will be very difficult for Green. I think Ward will be able to outsmart Green. My prediction is a points’ victory for him. However, I really hope Green wins. That would give me a great chance to win back my WBA belt. I really look forward to the fight.”
Andre Dirrell (19-1, 13 KOs) respects Green, but feels Ward has more overall skills. “Green is a dangerous fighter,” Dirrell declared, “but I’m eager to see what he brings to the tournament. Overall, I feel Ward is a smarter fighter and a better boxer who possesses more ring generalship. Ward is a faster puncher. He can wear down Green and possibly take him out.”
Arthur Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs) predicts a win for Ward in a tight fight. “I think Ward will win,” Abraham said. “He looked very impressive against Mikkel Kessler. He is not the Olympic champion for nothing. He is experienced, technically very strong and tactically very good. I am really looking forward to this fight. Green will pose a threat, though. He is very strong and a powerful puncher. It will be a very interesting fight.”