Originally posted on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 12/17/11
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- It was, by turns, boring, exciting, sublime and ugly. Fitting finish for Showtime's Super Six tournament, yeah?

After a two-year grind than ended in a 12-round one, Andre Ward outclassed Carl Froch Saturday to win a unanimous decision and become the lineal super middleweight champion of the world. Ward was utterly too fast, and so much more skilled. The two scorecards that had it 115-113 for Ward were way off; the 118-110 card was far more accurate.

Ward dominated a low-contact first few rounds with his left hook, mostly from the outside, although the 1st round was somewhat close. By the middle rounds, he was thrashing Froch soundly, and you had to wonder how much longer the iron-chinned Brit could stand up to it. But after the 6th, both men's energy level appeared to tail off.

Froch, though, had more in reserve in the late rounds, and he won some of them on sheer aggression. Those late rounds were unfortunately marked by excessive clinching and wrestling. Froch, too, wasn't so terrible inside, how I thought he would be, and was able to hold his own in there when things turned to rabbit punching, head butting and other shenanigans.

Not that it mattered, ultimately. Froch just had a terrible time hitting Ward clean, whose defense is really exceptional. Froch grew increasingly frustrated, even at one point trying to punch Ward after the bell. He admitted as much in post-fight remarks: "He was very tricky. He was slick and elusive and did a good job of keeping himself out of harm's way. It was quite hard to hit him."

Ward said he hurt his left hand in training, then re-injured it the 6th round when he hit Froch on the top of the head. That could explain his fade after that round, and he never really hit Froch as hard with it in the second half of the bout. It couldn't keep him from doing the other things he wanted to do, though. "We told you this is what we wanted to do, we wanted to fight on the inside and on the outside, and we pulled it off tonight," he said. "We were able to beat him to the punch and that's what won us the fight."

Next for Ward, after a long rest, could be Lucian Bute, the last top super middleweight standing. That only a couple thousand or so showed up for this fight -- the announced attendance of 5,626 cannot be taken seriously -- could give Bute a bit more leverage about bringing the bout to his home turf of Montreal. Another option could be a Ward rematch with Mikkel Kessler on Kessler's home soil of Denmark, but I don't want to see that one -- the first fight was pretty conclusive. Ward also might have to defend one of those sanctioning belts of his soon, maybe against Anthony Dirrell.

This tournament has had some excellent moments, some wonderful brawls, like Kessler-Froch, and great drama, like Ward's coming out party against Kessler or Froch redeeming himself after the Kessler loss against Arthur Abraham. It's also had some unpleasant moments, like Abraham's disqualification loss against Andre Dirrell, and some ho-hum moments, like Ward's perfunctory defeat of Abraham. This fight had all of those elements, all wrapped up in one package. It only makes sense.

Ward is the tourney's big winner, both literally and in esteem. His fighting style won't please everyone, to say the least. But there should be no doubt after what he did against Froch Saturday and what he's done in this tournament overall that Ward is one of the ultra-elite boxers in the world. Ward will also probably be the consensus 2011 Fighter of the Year. Thrown into the tournament's fire, he came out of it forged into steel.

This article first appeared on The Queensbury Rules and was syndicated with permission.

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