Tonight on SHOWTIME (10pm ET) will be the conclusion of Group Stage Two of the Super Six: World Boxing Classic. Tournament newcomer Allan Green (29-1-0) faces undefeated Andre Ward (21-0-0) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. According to Bodog.com and Thegreek.com, Ward is the overwhelming favorite to win. After Ward’s performance against Mikkel Kessler last November, it is easy to see why. Do we agree? Probably.
The only advantages that Ward does not have over Green are height and power. Frankly, even those advantages are nominal. Ward is listed at 6’1″ and Green at 6’2″. The “most powerful man in the tournament” argument that Green likes to make is also illusory. His KO percentage is 66.67% not that much better than the 61.9% statistic that Ward carries. As a brief aside, and no disrespect to Green, but knockout math shows that Kessler, Carl Froch, and Arthur Abraham are better knockout specialists. The better argument might be to say that Green has the best single shot power punch in the game. Regardless of math, however, Green can hit.
Forget about all of that. The odds makers are probably giving Ward too much credit for his win over Mikkel Kessler and discounting Green too much for his loss against Edison Miranda. At the end of the night, it matters not what the odds say, it is Ward’s fight to lose. The same was true when Super Six tournament retiree Jermain Taylor faced Kelly Pavlik in September 2007. It was Taylor’s fight to lose and he found a way to do just that–in a big way (Pavlik’s right hand also played a big part).
Pavlik came into Taylor I feeling like the boxing world neglected him. Green comes into tonight thinking that he should have been in the tournament in the first place. Take a hungry fighter who has power and a chin and the odds really do not matter. The difference between Pavlik and Green, however, is that Pavlik simply refused to lose the fight. Is Green that hungry? If he isn’t, then we might as well watch The Real L Word.
The reality is, fair or not, that Green must win or he will be irrelevant as a tournament contender. He takes Taylor’s loss with him by default and faces a reborn Kessler in Group Stage 3. He will need to win that fight too and may well need a knockout along the way to seal the deal. Conversely, a win by Ward tonight and he will be the tournament point leader and essentially lockdown a spot in the semifinals.
SHOWTIME’S super middleweight tournament remains as one of the best moves in the history of the sport. For those of you who like to watch the tournament where dudes run around endlessly trying to find a ball to kick into a net, then the World Boxing Classic is your cup of tea or pint of Guinness as the case may be. Andre Ward…Allan Green…get some! If necessary, which it probably will be, the unofficial scorecard will be posted here on Examiner after the fight.