Does Ward need Froch, or does Froch need Ward?
By Tom Cowan: A couple of weeks have passed since Carl Froch put in an excellent performance to beat Mikkel Kessler, avenging his 2010 defeat to the Dane and capturing the IBF and WBA super middleweight titles in the process, and there is still a lot of talk about Froch avenging his only other defeat to American Andre Ward. Some fans have said “Ward doesn’t need Froch because he already beat him” and some have said “Froch doesn’t need Ward because Ward doesn’t generate money”. Neither of these statements are true.
I’ll start with reasons why Froch does need Ward. Froch has established himself has a top fighter since Ward beat him with impressive victories over Lucian Bute and Kessler and he has proved many critics wrong. There are still some deluded people who believe that a fighter who has beaten Kessler, Bute, Arthur Abraham, Jermain Taylor, Glen Johnson, Robin Reid, Andre Dirrell and Jean Pascal is just a slow brawler with no defence but most people give him the credit he deserves.
However, Froch keeps talking about wanting to leave a legacy and if he wants that legacy to be that he is the best super middleweight of this era he must fight Ward again and make up for a poor display in 2011. The Brit is talking about four more fights and even if he wins all four against top-class opponents, he can’t really stake a legitimate claim to be the top man at 168lbs unless he beats Ward.
On the other hand, Ward does need Froch too. Froch and Kessler just split a £4 million ($6 million) purse for their unification fight. If Froch faced Ward at the big stadium infront of 50,000 fans and the fight did aswell on pay-per-view as the Kessler fight, I see no reason why that fight can’t make £6 million ($9 million). That’s more than four times what Ward could make fighting in USA because he’s not as popular in America as Froch is in Britain, partly because American fans have more fighters to choose from and partly because Froch’s style is usually more entertaining to watch. Boxing primarily a sport, but it is also a business and from a business point of view, it is Froch who is top dog in the 168lbs division, not Ward.
That’s why it makes sense for the fight to happen in the UK. Ward has said he doesn’t need to go to the UK and Froch must fight in USA to be considered an all-time great, citing fighters like Ricky Hatton as people who fought in USA for this reason. Unfortunately for Ward this isn’t true. The reason fighters often try to break into the American market is because that’s often where the money is, not because the whole world wants the approval of USA. Hatton went to America for big-money fights against Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Ward doesn’t hold the same commercial power and therefore Froch has no need to fight him in USA.
So in conclusion, both fighters need eachother for different reason and if they both keep winning, I see the fight happening in 2014. Both camps have basically stated that the fight won’t happen in 2013. I think Ward will fight just once this year, possibly against the Bika-Periban winner and Froch will fight Kessler late in the year.