Commentary

5 things we learned from Ward-Froch

Originally Published: December 19, 2011
By Igor Guryashkin | ESPN.com

It took more than two years to determine, and even after Saturday's conclusion of the Super Six World Boxing Classic in Atlantic City, N.J., it seemed all anyone could talk about was the need for freshly crowned tournament winner Andre Ward to now prove himself against fellow super middleweight champion Lucian Bute. But that wasn't all the Ward-Carl Froch card gave us to think about:

1. Andre Ward is the best super middleweight in the world.
The final between Ward and Froch was expected by many to be close. It wasn't. Nor is the chasm that now separates Ward and his contemporaries in the division. The laser-like accuracy shown by Ward against Froch merely underlined his status as the best medium-sized fighter on the planet. Bute's name may loom large, but Ward would rightfully be an overwhelming favorite in a bout all too similar in styles to the Froch fight.

2. Ward's talent and star power are inversely proportional.
Ward might have just cemented his name in today's pantheon of pugilists, but sadly, Boardwalk Hall was barely half-full. As much talent and natural charisma as Ward oozes, it just doesn't seem to translate into ticket sales outside his home in California's Bay Area. Perhaps fighting in Montreal -- North America's No. 1 fight town -- against Bute would go some way toward changing that.

3. OK ... everyone wants Bute.
Why would anyone not want to fight Lucian Bute? The genial Canadian (by way of Romania) packs out any venue located in the Great White North, especially in his home base of Montreal. It's a fight that Ward would kill for, but would that be nearly as exciting a spectacle as that of anything involving Carl Froch? Froch may have been vanquished by Ward, but a bout between the outspoken Englishman and Bute would likely provide far more fireworks than a Ward-Bute match.

4. The Super Six was a success.
Despite numerous fighters having pulled out and a number of postponements taken place in a tournament that dragged out more than two years, why shouldn't it be called a success? Was it an imperfect system? Sure. Could the format have been shortened? Of course. But it was an event that produced unquestionable drama, as well as a final composed of two fighters you wouldn't have picked at the start of the tournament -- one of whom now is unquestionably the best in the division.

5. There's a new Berto for another Ortiz fight.
Andre Berto was in Atlantic City on Saturday alongside Victor Ortiz to promote their upcoming bout, a rematch of their hotly contested potential fight of the year. One thing is for sure: Berto believes the outcome will be different this time around. Now teamed with controversial nutritionist and former BALCO head honcho Victor Conte, Berto claims that in the last fight a previously undetected anemia condition was at fault for his lackluster performance. Whatever the reasons, fight fans should expect a fight as close as the last one. As for Ortiz, he was a picture of coolness -- as usual.

Igor Guryashkin is a researcher for ESPN The Magazine and a boxing contributor for ESPN.com.