Carl Froch was too slow and too predictable. At times, it was painful to watch him go through the motions against Andre Ward on Saturday night in the final of the Super Six tournament in Atlantic City.
Ward produced a masterclass in defensive artistry over the 12 rounds but it was, perhaps, his willingness to fight at close range with tempting short hooks and the ease with which he showed Froch his power that was most distressing.
"It was a bad night," Froch admitted. "He was slick and hard to hit. He is slippery and tricky in close and that is not my game. He smothered my work, he slips and slides."
Froch was a fighter still searching for answers, a way to beat or even understand what had just happened long after the final bell; the reality is that he had no answers and that left him looking like a broken man at the end. The decision was unanimous in Ward's favour but for some crazy reason two of the three judges at ringside delivered close and identical scores of 115-113, which is a disgraceful distortion of Ward's domination. Thankfully the British judge, John Keane, produced the correct card with a 118-110 score.
The pattern was set early and continued until the end of the fight; Ward would throw a fast jab, often as a counter, forcing Froch to try to adapt but Ward just seemed to have all the moves to negate his rare curling uppercuts, jabs and attempts to unsettle him.
There were some odd moments in Froch's corner between rounds and as early as rounds five and six it seemed that Robert McCracken, who has trained Froch for all of his 29 previous fights, was having to really work hard to make Froch focus: "Are you listening?" McCracken kept asking.
Hopefully, Froch will now fight in his beloved Nottingham in April or May and will probably get another world-title fight before the end of next summer. "I still think that I can beat Ward on a good night," Froch said. "I will go away, be with my family and talk to Rob about the options. There are a lot of other fighters out there."
One reason to be cheerful, however, came with the performance of the welterweight Kell Brook on the undercard. The Briton saw off Luis Galarza in a bout as one-sided as Froch's on his debut fight. Stateside.
But the night will be remembered for Froch's failure. He added his name to an illustrious list of British fighters who have either lost world titles or world-title fights overseas in 2011, joining David Haye, Amir Khan, Matt Macklin, Darren Barker, John Murray, Ryan Rhodes and Matthew Hatton.
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