By Frank Gonzalez Jr. “King” Arthur Abraham (31-2, 25 KO’s) learned the hard way that you can’t be a one trick pony in boxing. Having big KO power is great but boxing is by definition, the art of self defense, hitting without being hit. It’s not just going in and trying to land the haymaker that ends the fight…or waiting till the late rounds to try it. That may work sometimes but you can’t build your boxing career around it. There’s just too much a good defensive fighter can do to nullify that approach and make you pay. Carl Froch (27-1, 20 KO’s), is a tough guy known for his own late round knockouts and being more of a banger than a boxer. Froch put on a workmanlike performance and stuck to his game plan to out box the slower Abraham and in my view, Froch won every round against the man who at the start of the Super Six Tournament, was considered by many (myself included) to be one of the favorites to win the whole thing.
Abraham built a mystique with his own late round knockouts, after giving away the first half of fights. Abraham fights cocky because he packs a big punch and has a good chin but we saw how easily Andre Dirrell out boxed him—all the way into the tenth round, where Abraham was finally starting to land some shots. Dirrell slipped to the canvas in the eleventh. Stupidly, Abraham hit him while he was down. The result was a DQ loss for Abraham, and in his opinion, the beginning of a new acting career for Dirrell. It sure did seem like a delayed reaction, the way Dirrell looked conscious and then suddenly laid down with his eyes closed and legs fluttering a bit. But rules are rules and Abraham knows the rules and deserved the DQ for crossing the line.
The Super Six Tournament is the best thing in all of boxing these days because all the fighters must fight each other. There’s no ducking, no manipulating your way out of a fight that you think you might lose. That…is the way boxing should be across the board, not just at Super Middleweight and for only six fighters. But hey, for a “sport” like modern day boxing, it’s a start and maybe the rest of the sport will benefit if fans demand real competition instead of fighters facing hand picked opponents in predictable fare, week after week.
Out of six original fighters, only three of the original contestants remain, as Jermaine Taylor was the first to opt out after being KO’d by Abraham in the first series of fights. He was followed later by Mikkel Kessler, who opted out after winning a very close one against Carl Froch in Kessler’s home country. I thought Froch did more to win that one but got jobbed in Denmark. And recently Andre Dirrell opted out too, after out easily out boxing Abraham for ten rounds and then winning by DQ, after Abraham hit him while he was down.
One of the replacements, Allan Green, who talked a big game, proved too ‘green’ to win a fight against top level comp. Glen Johnson came in as a replacement fighter and he beat Allan Green, amounting to his second loss, which saw Green exit. Suddenly, with only one fight under his belt in this tourney, Glen Johnson is in the semi finals. As a fan, I wonder how much a role the official Judges will play in who wins the tournament. Boxing is a violent sport and knockouts are clearly the surest way to win, even if the Judges were paid to say otherwise. Taking out the Judges is the best way to insure victory in boxing. It always has been.
Froch jabs, Abraham keeps guard up inside the center of the ring. Froch lands a right and a right to the body. Abraham right. Froch lands his jab frequently. Froch lands a few before the bell. 10-9 Froch.
As is typical, Abraham is a slow starter. Froch is busier and lands in spots. Abraham comes on late in the round. Froch punches laterally, to Abraham’s sides, since AA’s guard is vertical. 10 -9 Froch.
AA lands a jab. CF circles outside, punching high and low in spots. A boring fight so far as Abraham simply doesn’t do enough. AA lands three punch combo and then stops throwing. Froch misses a big shot as Abraham moves out of the way but then Froch pursues him into the corner and lands a variety of punches before the bell. 10 – 9 Froch.
More of the same. Froch continues to throw more, land more and control the tempo. Abraham seems to be waiting for a KO opportunity that he isn’t setting up. AA presses without punching much. Froch far busier. AA comes on late but it was too little too late. 10-9 Froch
Froch busy, Abraham not doing much of anything. Abraham’s strategy of waiting until his opponent is tired and ripe for a KO didn’t seem to be working at all in this fight, where Froch is simply outworking him. Froch stuns AA on the ropes with combos and lands a lunging left at the bell. 10-9 Froch.
More of the Matador vs. the Bull as the Matador, Froch, lands his jab and throws power shots in between. Froch presses but without punching. Abrahams’ eyes started swelling from Froch’s jabs. All Froch, who’s the better boxer and fighter. AA threw a shot but Froch counted him and AA slipped into the ropes. Froch landed a clean left to face. Ding! 10-9 Froch
Froch does all the work. AA blocks and comes forward for more. This is a mismatch! Abraham hasn’t won a single round and don’t look like he’s going to get any better. Abraham’s offense is predictable and Froch nearly always makes him miss. Froch lands a few at the bell. 10-9 Froch.
Abraham taking a licking. Abraham threw a forearm and was warned by the ref. Froch works the center ring, looking to outbox Abraham till the twelfth. 10-9 Froch.
Froch left to face, jab, jab. Still, Abraham doesn’t turn it up, only offering up a jab here and there, trying to lure Froch in, where Froch’s not going. Froch is fighting smart, employing the fundamentals and being careful not to fall into any traps Abraham’s been waiting on all night. Abraham lands a right at the bell. 10-9 Froch.
Froch jabs and keeps it a fight. AA blocks and comes forward. Froch lands his jab and AA is completely outclassed. Froch has his way as AA starts backing up and finally luring Froch in but Froch landed the better shots when the fire started. 10-9 Froch.
Abraham landed a jab. Froch retakes the tempo and presses the issue with his jab, which is often followed up with power shots. Froch landed a right hook that landed and moved Abraham. Abraham appears as one dimensional as can be. Froch landed a jab to the stomach. Abraham complained that it was low. It was border line. Froch outworks and out boxes Abraham, like a bleeping ballet! 10-9 Froch.
Abraham comes on strong but misses wildly. Abraham hits Froch behind the head with a right. Froch retakes the center ring and boxes outside, waiting for Abraham to come in so he can jab and keep him where he wants. Froch rendered Abraham ineffective. Froch landed a shot that hit AA behind the head…Abraham made a fuss. Abraham rallies ineffectively and the bell rang to end things. 10-9 Froch. A total shutout on my card.
The official scores were: Burt Clements 119-109, Oren Shellenberger 120-108 and Max De Luca 120-108 all for Carl Froch, who wins back the WBC Super Middleweight Title.
During the post fight interview, Froch was gracious and when asked how he executed his strategy against Abraham, he said he did what his trainer asked him to do and though he was tempted to go toe to toe at certain points, he heard his trainer’s voice, reminding him to stick to the plan.
This was an impressive win for Carl Froch, who fought a disciplined fight that showed he recognized Abraham’s tactics and devised the perfect plan to out box him and win every round.
Abraham’s stock appears to be waning, after losing two in a row after knocking out Jermaine Taylor to win the first Super Six fight by Knockout. Andre Dirrell exposed Abraham’s lack of boxing skills and Froch furthered that point Saturday in Finland. Maybe Abraham has learned that he has to try to win every round and not just try for a late round knockout. Abraham is still in it and is scheduled to fight Andre Ward in the semi finals.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single “Champion” in all of boxing these days as there are too many “titlists” that won’t fight the other titlists. A titlist is just a contender these days and since they don’t fight the other top contenders, there are no Champions. A Champion is the ONE who beats all the top fighters in a division.
But there is a new kind of titlist these days, the so called, Best Pound for Pound title, which really isn’t a reflection of the best boxer in the sport so much as the most “marketable” fighter in the sport. Manny Pacquiao is the current P4P titlist and as such, he only fights past their prime big names, always on Pay-Per-View.
As 2010 comes to a close, let’s hope the promoters come to their senses and realize there is more money to be made by putting out a quality product that is based on merit instead of hype. Pay-Per-View fights are okay if they have quality undercard matches and the main event is between two of the absolute best in the sport. Short of that, it’s just a charade that’s killing what’s left of this sport.