Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament, featuring six top super middleweights, seemed like a promising idea but has had a few hiccups heading into Saturday night’s fight between Andre Ward and Allan Green.
[ Article courtesy of Sportsbook sportsbook manager Richard Gardner - visit Sportsbook for more boxing odds ]
For example, Green wasn’t even in the original field but replaced Jermain Taylor after Taylor lost for the fourth time in his past five fights this winter. And then Green and Ward were supposed to face off in April, but Ward - the WBA titleholder - had to postpone the fight because of issues with his surgically repaired right knee (another bout in the Super Six also had a postponement).
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That drew some skepticism from Green’s camp about the legitimacy of Ward’s injury. But it looks like Saturday’s Stage 2 bout in Ward’s hometown of Oakland should go through with no problems. Ward (21-0, 13 KOs) opened this tournament with an upset victory against favored super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler in November.
This will be Ward’s first WBA title defense after taking that belt away from Kessler, who opened as the betting favorite at Sportsbook to win the entire tournament as well. Ward, who was the only American boxing gold medalist in the 2004 Athens Games (and last U.S. boxing gold medalist, period), will gain a berth in the semifinals of the Super Six with a win even though he is already scheduled to face former Olympic teammate Andre Dirrell before the semis.
Green (29-1, 20 KOs), as noted, is a substitute for Taylor, who was brutally knocked out in the first round of the tourney by Arthur Abraham. Green’s only loss came against Edison Miranda in March 2007. By comparison, in May 2009 Miranda was beaten pretty soundly by Ward. Green is coming off a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Tarvis Simms in October. It was Green’s sixth straight victory, with four of those by knockout. Green has a big reach advantage and more punching power than Ward, who is more of a strategic boxer and much better defensively.
Ward, 26, is also four years younger. “Andre looked great against Kessler, but I’m not Kessler,” Ward said on a conference call this week. “Mikkel Kessler really couldn’t deal with a lot of things that Andre was doing. I’m slick guy and I’m a sharp guy. I’ll fight however my opponent wants to fight.” As far as betting trends at Sportsbook for this bout, the early action has been slow.
For fights like this – one without a ton of hype – most of the action will come the day of. Currently we list Ward at -600 and Green at +400, with an over/under of 9.5 rounds. No line movement yet. Some players are parlaying the boxing card with the UFC card on Saturday night as both can be viewed on cable television and not pay-per-view (free TV always is a betting boost for comparable fights).
Ward currently sits as a -125 favorite for the entire Super Six tournament. Green sits as a 20/1 underdog as he takes over Taylor’s point total – which is zero. Win or lose, Green will move on Group Stage 3 and face Kessler later in the year.
Fighters earn two points for a win, a third point if they win by knockout, one point for a draw and no points for a loss. The fighters with the top four point totals after three fights will advance to the semifinals.
Ward-Green is the last Stage 2 contest in the tournament. If Green wins by knockout he would tie Arthur Abraham for first place heading into the final Group Stage bouts before the semifinals and throw this tournament up for grabs.