Since No One Asked - May 16, 2011
By Gabriel Montoya, from (May 16, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor, DHB)
Ward vs Abraham
Bored by Ward?  

“What is style?” a character of David Mamet’s once asked? “Style is nothing. Style is a paper bag. Its only shape comes from its contents.”

Depending on his opponent’s contents, Andre Ward’s paper bag changes shape, fight to fight. He is at times aggressive, southpaw, orthodox, defensive, elusive, an infighter, a long-range fighter or all of the above. A bit of content that never changes Ward’s shape is his approach to each fight, which is fastidious to a point of caution. That never changes and in turn, it changes the shape of his bag. With Allan Green, a long-range, dangerous puncher, Ward took the game to the ropes and smothered him. With Sakio Bika, an awkward fighter, Ward fought physicality with physicality. Against Mikkel Kessler, Ward changed tactics throughout and was at times, physical, aggressive, and defensive.

 Because of this constant, another has emerged: Ward is all at once dominant while not being must-see-TV. To those who enjoy feints, changes in tactics, defense and fights that go rounds, he is simply not exciting. For myself, I am rarely on the edge of my seat with a Ward fight but at the same time, almost like I am with a Mayweather fight, I am fascinated by what I am seeing. It is subtle stuff but admittedly, not for everyone.

In fights like Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns, Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward I, and Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I, there was not only sustained action and punishment given and taken, there were moments you will remember forever. The opening round of Hagler-Hearns. The ninth round of Gatti-Ward I. The turnaround of round ten of Corrales-Castillo I. Each one is a memory because each man risked and was either punished or rewarded for doing so.

After the fight with Abraham, Ward said that he was taught from day one that “it was not cool to be hit.” He has told me in the past that he admires Floyd Mayweather and agrees with Floyd that winning is the most important thing and that entertaining (meaning taking an unnecessary beating) just to be so is not what he is here for.

But look back at Floyd’s career. He has had exciting fights where he took some heat and had to fight his way out. His first fight with Castillo comes to mind as well as Emanuel Augustus.  

At some point, Ward will have fights like that too. As he moves forward, taking on tough fight after tough fight as he has proven willing to do, Ward will have an exciting fight. What he needs is the right fighter to make that happen with. To me, what Ward is, save his belt, is a strong contender on the rise, making his way through ex-champions and a beltholder en route to becoming a champion. Should Ward take out the winner of Carl Froch-Glen Johnson and head to a showdown with Lucian Bute, he will be even further along on that journey and will certainly, no matter the opponent, have been in an exciting fight.  

Some guys, like Gatti, are always exciting. They just can’t help it; Buddha bless them. Others, like Hagler, who was a workman-like fighter but not exactly a barnburner every time out, needed a Hearns to make that happen. I think Ward, with his willingness to be challenged, will eventually find the fighter to bring it out of him.  

I rarely take what a promoter says to heart but I fully believe Ward’s promoter Dan Goossen when he says, “We have yet to see the best of Andre Ward. We have only scratched the surface of the greatness that lies in him.” Greatness remains to be seen. That is an overused word in sports vernacular but I do believe Ward has just scratched the surface of his full potential.  

Super Six Final in Vegas?  

After the fight, Ward expressed his hope that the “Super Six” final be held in Las Vegas. It’s a dream of his to be in a big Vegas fight. There’s a problem, though. Ward draws well up in NorCal but did not exactly seem to fill the place in SoCal. The reported 5300 felt more like 4000 (albeit a lively 4000), so it would appear that Ward’s solid numbers in Oakland did not travel to see this fight. Maybe it was because Abraham was 1-2 in his last fights and most felt if Dirrell and Froch could do it, Andre should have no problem. Right now, Ward is a building draw but nowhere near a crossover star, much less a fighter who can draw anywhere he goes. He needs a dance partner. Problem is where does Glen Johnson draw? Ummm…nowhere. Carl Froch would do excellent numbers in Nottingham where his fight with Johnson should be instead of an embarrassing ballroom in the States but the rules of the game dictate the finals be held in a neutral venue.  

I was told by a Showtime exec that Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles were all being considered. Overseas was not because “we are trying to build an American brand” and it would be simply too expensive to do, added to which giving a big site fee for a taped delay fight is just not feasible. By the time the US saw the fight, everyone would know who won because of streams and the nature of the way info passes these days, at least on the internet.  

In my opinion, none of those three places work. I don’t see people traveling to Vegas for the fight. If you aren’t Manny or Floyd, people ain’t coming.  

New York? I highly doubt people travel for Ward there.  

L.A.? Maybe you get hardcore fight fans but seeing as how we couldn’t fill the Home Depot Center with a California-born world titleholder and an Armenian former world champ near one of the largest Armenian populations in the country, how are we going to fill Staples for Ward vs. an English fighter?  

What to do?  

How about Montreal? It’s a great fight town, can accommodate tons of press and fans, added to which the winner of the final will most likely face Bute, who sells the hell out of the Bell Centre. Not sure how you would handle Bute on the card in a co-feature but it makes a lot of sense to me to do it this way. You can sell the hell out of it, fill an arena and build to the fight we all want to see after the “Super Six” ends.  

The Fatman Slimmeth  

I thought Chris Arreola looked good, if overeager, in taking out Nagy Aguilera. I spoke with his trainer Henry Ramirez afterward and we both agreed Chris was crowding his range too much. He needed to step back and extend his arms so he could get the most out of his power. Arreola also got hit a bit too much, staying in front of Aguilera after landing instead of slipping to the side.  

Still, the crowd responded well to him and you could sense all was somewhat forgiven, seeing as how Arreola has now come to fight in good shape twice. 234 might actually be a little low. 240 might be better. Right now, I think Arreola has still a lot to work on, particularly moving his head more and his pace. You cannot go all in like that against a Robert Helenius or maybe even an Alexander Povetkin. Those guys have different gears, know how to hide their power or bide their time (especially Helenius). Chris could benefit from learning to change tempo a bit. Blowing guys out with sheer aggression is great but knowing how to get them out by picking the right shot at the right time is even better.  

Arreola’s Pick  

In my gym visit with Arreola last week, I got a bit of a surprise when I asked him who wins between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye this July.  Continue reading this section at: Chris Arreola's Boxing Prediction for Wladimir Klitschko vs David Haye May Surprise You Gabriel Montoya

Boxing Helenius  

I was told by Wilfred Sauerland, who promotes Robert Helenius, that his fighter will return July 16 against Sergei Lyahovich. Sauerland’s other heavyweight, Alexander Povetkin, will battle Ruslan Chagaev in a bout mandated by the WBA for their “regular” championship. Haye and Klitschko will be for the “super” championship with the winner obligated to face the “regular” champ within 18 months. Povetkin-Chagaev cannot happen before July 2 per the WBA’s rules.  


So Paul Williams, after turning down Deandre Latimore, Cornelius Bundrage, Pawel Wolak, and Austin Trout, settled on Nobu Ishida for his July 9 HBO date. This fight, while not Mismatch Report material, is still just a tune-up. Why is HBO showing it? I get why Ishida was fighting Kirkland on HBO PPV. Golden Boy was footing the bill and it was not a co-feature on the show, so screwit. It was a supposed to be a tune-up for James Kirkland that turned into one for Ishida.  

But a main event on HBO? The way Al Haymon seems to be able to turn that network into a willing trick anytime he wants, from now on, they are simply HB-HO.  

Since I finally caught up to 2011…  

Ok, so a few years late, but I finally watched all of “The Wire” and most of the way through “Deadwood.” Yes, I know. I am incredibly behind the times. This is some of the greatest writing and production I have seen in years. I’ve tried that vampire show…Ehh…I like “Game of Thrones” though. I honestly think we needed another all white cast with brown “savages” like I needed to see Paul Williams take a tune-up on HB-HO but the show has grown on me. But back to “Deadwood,” say what you want about HB-HO and what they did to boxing, it might be a bigger crime that they cancelled this gem. As Omar would say, “Indeed.”   

There is good news: Haymon’s associates assured me that after Williams takes his tune-up, he will fight Sergio Martinez in a third fight. That seems to be the only big-name fighter he can get. Wherever the third fight is, I’m there. I think they have great chemistry.   

Want to know what it's like to get by Manny Pacquiao and Chris Arreola? Check out these videos from  

You can email Gabriel at, follow him on Twitter at and catch him on each Monday’s episode of “The Next Round” with Steve Kim or tune into hear him live on Thursdays at 5-8 PM PST when he co-hosts the BlogTalk radio show Gabriel is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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