Super middleweight titlist Andre Ward (photo) suffered a cut over his right eye in training on Thursday, which required seven stitches and forced the postponement of his unification fight with England's Carl Froch.
They were due to meet Oct. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J., in the final of Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic.
"Bad news: I sustained a cut in sparring a few hours ago," Ward, who was training in his hometown of Oakland, Calif., tweeted Thursday night. "Flew to (Los Angeles) to see the Doc. I got 7 stitches. I will let you know the new date soon."
Ward was sparring with Brandon Gonzalez on Thursday afternoon when he suffered what promoter Dan Goossen called "a fluke cut."
Goossen said Ward immediately flew from Oakland to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Paul Wallace, a plastic surgeon and California ringside doctor. Wallace was responsible for stitching up the horrendous cut that Vitali Klitschko suffered in his heavyweight championship fight with Lennox Lewis in 2003.
"I met Andre at the airport last night and took him to see Dr. Paul Wallace and he ended up receiving seven stitches," Goossen told ESPN.com. "It was a clean, straight cut, which is good. It heals much better and faster that way rather than it being a jagged one. No nerves or any other part of the eye was affected."
Goossen said the cut was directly above Ward's right eyebrow.
"He had the head gear on, a full face bar and all. He doesn't recall getting hit or a head butt, or elbow that would cause it, Goossen said. "It was just one of those freak accidents that very seldom occur when you are sparring and have head gear on."
Showtime had its crew from the reality series "Fight Camp 360" filming during Ward's training and the crew accompanied Ward to Los Angles, so it is likely viewers will see what happened during the next episode of the series.
After all of the issues that have beset the Super Six, it should not come as much of a surprise that the final wound up being postponed. The six-man tournament was conceived as an 18-month event, but was already stretched to two years after several previous delays, injuries and fighter dropouts.
Goossen said a new date for the final has not been determined, although the fall calendar is jammed and it is possible the fight won't be rescheduled until early next year.
"The fight is postponed, but I am talking to the site, Showtime and the doctor, along with Andre, to see when we could reschedule everything," Goossen said. "Andre is very professional in the truest sense of the word. He handled this professionally, but obviously there is disappointment from all of us. But you have to deal with reality. Andre was great about it, but dejected."
The Froch camp found out about the injury from Ward's tweet.
"All we can go on is the news given by Andre Ward, and he was very unprofessional to do so in that manner," Eddie Hearn, Froch's promoter, told Sky Sports in England. "His promoters will be fuming at the way he delivered that message. I told Carl to go to the gym this morning. He's sparring at the moment and we're ready to go in October. We're not happy. We don't believe it and won't believe it until we see the cut.
"If we're told the fight is postponed then there's not a lot we can do. I know that Showtime will make sure fans see the evidence. Cuts can happen. It's unusual that cuts that size happen in sparring and it's unusual to be sparring that late at night."
Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) advanced to the final by rolling through each of his tournament bouts in dominant fashion.
Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) suffered his only loss in the second round of the round-robin tournament to Mikkel Kessler -- who later dropped out -- but compiled enough points to advance to the semifinals, where he outpointed Glen Johnson in June.
By Dan Rafael
ANDRE WARD POSTPONES FROCH FIGHT
Britain's WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch has received confirmation that his unification clash with Andre Ward next month has been postponed.
Californian WBA champion Ward revealed on Twitter yesterday he had suffered a cut in sparring which looked like scuppering the pair's Super Six Final in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 29.
Ward's team took their time before officially notifying all parties of the postponement but have finally confirmed the news today with a revised date in December now likely.
A statement from Froch's promoter Matchroom Sport said: "Carl Froch's Super Six final showdown with Andre Ward in Atlantic City on October 29 has been postponed after Andre Ward suffered an injury in sparring.
"Ward sustained an injury to his eye that required seven stitches after a sparring session on Thursday evening.
"The Showtime 360 Fight Camp (television crew) were filming the session and made the trip to the hospital where he was advised by the doctor that he would not be fit to fight on October 29.
"The fight will be rearranged with a likely date in early December."
Matchroom managing director Eddie Hearn said: "Obviously it is frustrating.
"Carl's camp has gone perfectly and we were ready to unify the titles on October 29.
"Carl is in the shape of his life but he is a true professional and will take this in his stride and be ready for victory on a date given in 2011."
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