Froch stuns Taylor in final seconds
Carl Froch had trouble landing right hands to the head of Jermain Taylor early in their fight but found the range later on. Photo / Emily Harney-FightWireImages.com
Carl Froch etched his name into the fabric of boxing’s great come-from-behind performances with a brilliant last-round knockout of Jermain Taylor at the MGM Grand in Mashantucket , Connecticut .
To Jake LaMotta over Laurent Dauthille and Julio Cesar Chavez against Meldrick Taylor, add the 31-year-old British boxer from Nottingham who was too far behind to win on points before he launched his irresistible assault in round 12.
Two judges had the 30-year-old former world middleweight champion from Little Rock , Ark. ahead by scores of 106-102 after 11 rounds. Inexplicably, Jack Woodburn had Froch leading by the same margin. No more eccentric interpretation of a fight has ever been posted by an official.
But Froch rendered all of this academic by the sheer scale of his will and the power which he wielded in a compelling climax. Taylor, who landed the cleaner, classier punches for most of the night, was overwhelmed by Froch’s final, relentless attack, as would most fighting men have been this side of Genghis Khan.
The Froch right hand proved to be destructive, rocking Taylor early in the round. Having been told by his trainer, Robert McCracken, that he needed a big finale, the Englishman did not let up. He hunted Taylor down with precision punching backed up by awesome force. Taylor went into survival mode but there was just no way to survive this onslaught.
Ultimately, two right hands to Taylor’s chin – after a score of big blows had rained down on him — sent the American crashing to the canvas in a scene eerily reminiscent of his collapse against Kelly Pavlik when he lost the middleweight title. But that was in round seven. Froch was only seconds away from losing his WBC super middleweight title.
Referee Michael Ortega appeared to give Taylor the benefit of an excessively long count but it was blatantly apparent that he was not coming back from queer street. Froch moved in for the finish and exploded one more right hand on Taylor ‘s jaw, which belatedly persuaded referee Ortega to wave the fight over with only 14 seconds remaining. In the context of the fight overall, this was an astounding finish.
“I thought Jermain was a little tired, and I wanted to put the pressure on in the middle rounds,” reflected Froch, who was boxing for only the second time on American soil and did not get into the fight until round six. “In the last round I was hoping my intuition was right and Jermain was tiring.
“Throughout the fight I left myself open to counters and he countered well. But he’s a world class fighter capable of landing big counters, which he did. This was my first big fight in America and before the last round my trainer told me I needed to have a big round. Everybody saw what happened. I feel in my next fight I’ll need to start quicker.
“But the referee did the right thing. Jermain was unable to protect himself at that moment and was unable even to look at me. Someone could have got hurt.”
From early in the first round, it looked ominous for Froch. Throughout his career he has carried his left hand low, protecting his kneecap more than his chin, and within 30 seconds Taylor was unleashing his right hand. He caught Froch with a one-two combination and followed up with solid left jabs.
Taylor ‘s jab was a superior weapon for much of the fight and it took away Froch’s timing. He landed a left-right combination in the third but moments later walked onto a big right hand by Taylor , hurting him badly. Froch had still not recovered when from this initial blow when Taylor landed a right hand on his chin along the ropes and Froch went down for the first time in his career.
Demonstrating impressive presence of mind, he watched the referee toll the count, which he took on one knee, and he survived the remaining seconds. But Taylor rocked him again with a left hook in the fourth and maintained his stranglehold on the fight through five rounds.
Froch finally gained his composure in round six and followed up his jabs in round seven with a right hand to the chin. Froch’s chin held up throughout Taylor’s sustained attacks, particularly in the eighth when he took a fierce left uppercut on the jaw.
Finally, Froch asserted himself from round eight onwards and he shook Taylor again with a solid right to the jaw in the penultimate round. Still, he had it all to do entering the final round of the fight and the fact that he pulled it off has raised his stock in world boxing immensely.
No TV company in Britain was moved to broadcast the fight live but they will surely be competing to show his next fight after this performance.
“Froch produced a great finish but I’d like a rematch, hell yeah,” Taylor insisted. “Stamina was not the issue because I trained well. I take my hat off to him and let’s do it again.”
Anyone who witnessed this fight would say Amen to that.