Andre Ward’s speed and power proved too much for Arthur Abraham on Saturday as Ward earned a unanimous 12-round decision over the German to retain his World Boxing Association super middleweight title.
Ward also secured his place in the final of the Super Six tournament designed to unify the division’s belts. He now awaits the winner of the other semi-final between Carl Froch and Glen Johnson on June 4 in Atlantic City.
“We’re going to the finals, baby,” Ward said.
Ward, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, improved to 24-0 with 13 knockouts. He displayed his -trademark tactical style, methodically wearing down Abraham.
“I wish the ref had let me fight on the inside, because that’s what I had planned for,” Ward said. “But we made adjustments and got the win ... I’m going to stay humble. I’m going to keep working hard. I want to be a champion for a long time and take the least amount of punishment possible.”
Abraham had started aggressively, rattling Ward with a right hand in the third round.
However, Abraham had no response when Ward stepped up the pressure in the fourth.
“Arthur is strong and he’s a hard hitter, [but] we showed that we can win in a way other than our original game plan,” Ward said.
Judge Stanley Christodoulou gave Ward every round, scoring it 120-108.
German judge Ingo Barrabas saw it 118-110 for Ward and US judge James Jen Kin made it 118-111 for Ward.
“I fought hard, I gave it my all,” said Abraham, who said he thought the fight was closer than it was scored. “He didn’t hit me cleanly.”
Armenian-born Abraham, a former International Boxing Federation middleweight champion who had an unblemished record until the Super Six tournament, has now lost three in a row, falling to 32-3.
Fighting in an outdoor ring set up at the Home Depot Center — a multi-sport complex that is the home of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy — Ward took charge with an array of precision jabs and quick combinations.
Abraham’s punches dwindled as he sought and failed to come up with a knock-out blow.
“I started well, and I thought I did good the first three rounds,” Abraham said.
“He didn’t hit me, and I was blocking a lot of his shots. But then I tried to go for the knock-out, and I couldn’t get it,” he said.
A vocal contingent of fans from the Los Angeles area’s Armenian community turned out to support Abraham, who was fighting in the US for the third time.