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Weekend Review: Abraham’s big night

18
Oct

BIGGEST WINNER

Arthur Abraham: The Germany-based Armenian’s goal is to prove to the American boxing audience that he’s the baddest dude on the planet. He took a nice step in that direction against Jermain Taylor on Saturday in Berlin, Germany. He took control of the first-round Super Six Boxing Classic fight by the middle rounds and finished it in frightening fashion, with a big right that put Taylor to sleep with only six seconds to go. I wonder whether Abraham’s propensity to start slowly will catch up to him some day. Aside from that, though, the guy is scary. He’s a very good boxer who has both the knowledge and brawn to consistently break down his opponents. And remember: This was his first fight as a full-fledged 168-pounder.

BIGGEST LOSER

Jermain Taylor: If the one-punch knockout loss were isolated, we might say, “OK, it happens.” However, this is his second straight crushing KO and third in five fights. And he reportedly is in a Berlin hospital for tests after what his promoter called a “severe concussion.” Suddenly, it couldn’t be more obvious that including Taylor in the Super Six field was questionable. He did reasonably well for most of the fight but couldn’t pick up his pace when Abraham did, the apparent result of his inevitable fade and Abraham’s pressure. And fighters can absorb only so many such knockouts. The image of Taylor lying on the canvas temporarily unconscious with one arm extended is haunting. I wonder whether that man is really prepared to continue in this competition — and in the sport.



MOST FORTUNATE

Carl Froch: THE RING’s No. 3-rated super middleweight did what he had to do to be competitive against a superior boxer in Andre Dirrell – make Dirrell fight by roughing him up. The tactic worked, as Froch was awarded a split-decision victory to remain unbeaten. He deserves some respect. He also is lucky, though, lucky that Dirrell didn’t have the confidence to fight more aggressively and lucky he was fighting in his hometown of Nottingham, England. Dirrell would’ve won even in hostile territory if he clutched less and fought more; he got the better of most exchanges. And, sorry, but that was a hometown decision. Neither of the judges who scored the fight for Froch were British but the impact of an enthusiastic hometown crowd and other pressures are powerful. Bottom line: Froch has almost no chance against Mikkel Kessler in his next fight.

MOST UNFORTUNATE

Andre Dirrell: The young fighter’s inability to cope well with Froch’s rough-house tactics and reluctance to fight more aggressively make it difficult to feel too sorry for him. All he had to do to beat his more-experienced opponent was take a few more chances because Froch brought little more into the ring than toughness and desperate, dirty tactics. Still, the Flint, Mich., fighter did more than enough to win the fight; he would’ve been awarded the decision if the fight had taken place in the U.S. or a neutral site. As it is, he’s stuck with his first loss against an inferior boxer. The positive is that he undoubtedly learned a great deal. And he’ll need whatever knowledge he gained; his next opponent is Abraham.

WORST REFEREE

Hector Afu I don’t have a big problem with Dirrell losing a point because of his constant clutching, particularly after he was warned several times. I do have a problem with Froch NOT losing a point after numerous warnings for his unrelenting dirty tactics, which included throwing Dirrel down, punching on the break and hitting the behind the head. His transgressions were far worse than Dirrell’s. The only fair thing to do in a fight as wild as that is to dock both fighters a point. Clearly, the hometown fighter was given an edge by a referee who was incompetent, intimidated by the crowd or worse. Fortunately, Afu’s failure to deduct a point from Froch played no role in the decision.

BIGGEST WINNER II

Alejandro Rochin Mapula: The Mexican judge was the only one to get the score right in the Froch-Taylor fight. He had it 114-113 (including the point deduction) for Dirrell, giving the American fighter seven of the 12 rounds. I had it 115-112 for Dirrell but Mapula’s score is reasonable. The other two judges — Massimo Barrovecchio of Italy and Daniel Van de Wiele of Belgium – scored it 115-112 for Froch, meaning they gave seven rounds to the Englishman. Seven rounds? What did he do to deserve that? The hometown favorite roughed up Dirrell effectively but followed up with precious few effective punches. Meanwhile, while we were frustrated with Dirrell’s reluctance to mix it up, clearly he landed more and more-meaningful punches. Kudos to Mapula for not being swayed by the pro-Froch crowd.

WORST WARDROBE MALFUNCION

Abraham’s trunks: Abraham’s drawers had a rougher night than Taylor. First, it became obvious early in the fight that the waist band was either too big or stretched out. It got so bad that a cornerman had to tape up excess material to keep the moon from coming out. And, second, the trunks ripped open in his crotch. Thank goodness he was wearing a cup. Instead, someone should determine what fly-by-night company produced those trunks and expose it. This is the only department in which Abraham struggled, though, which says a lot for his performance. We assume he’ll improve in this regard before his next fight.

BEST IDEA

Doug Fischer: My astute colleague at RingTV.com suggested that the winner of Lucian Bute-Librado Andrade on Nov. 28 replace Taylor if he drops out. Allan Green, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement, was mediocre in victory against Tarvis Simms on Oct. 2 and has lost to Edison Miranda. And Miranda is 0-3 against Super Six participants, two losses against Abraham and one against Andre Ward. Bute remains unbeaten, albeit barely after surviving a late rally against Andrade last October. And if Andrade wins this time, he elevates himself to truly elite status. He also would provide a Latino presence, which would generate even more interest in the tournament. Of course, the winner of Bute-Andrade would have to agree to take part. And there’s another complication: The Bute-Andrade winner would have only two first-round fights, leaving him at a disadvantage in the points system. We would have to see how Showtime would work that out.

BEST QUOTE

Leon Lawson, Dirrell’s grandfather-trainer, before the 12th round: “You got to get him out, because you ain’t getting no decision here.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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