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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday mailbag

18
Oct

ONE GOOD FIGHT, ONE STINKER

Hi Dougie! Let me be the first to say the Jermain Taylor vs Arthur Abraham was a real boxing match from two top notch opponents, however, Andre Dirrell vs Carl Froch was a grabfest, ala John Ruiz 🙂

Taylor didn’t throw a single body punch the entire fight. King Arthur hits hard but I have a slight sense it’s easier to wrap yours hands here in Europe?
Get the picture?

OK Dougie, thanks for your time and I have a smooth Lapin Kulta beer from Finland for you again if you publish my post to your mailbag. — Thomas J., Finland

Thanks Thomas. See what bribing me with beer gets you? Not only will I put your email in the MASSIVE Monday Mailbag, I’ll lead off with it.

I don’t think Ulli Wegner is pulling a “Capetillo” with Abraham’s hand wraps, if that’s what you’re trying to suggest. Abraham had plenty of pop when he ventured to the U.S. last year to kick Edison Miranda’s ass in their rematch.

Taylor threw and landed a few left hooks to the body. He loaded up with his left hand (jabs and hooks) but he appeared reluctant to let his right go, perhaps concerned about getting countered with Abraham’s hook. As it turned out, he should have been concerned about King Arthur’s right hand in the final round.

Man, I didn’t see that one-punch KO coming. (Neither did Taylor.)

I did see a potentially ugly bout between Froch and Dirrell. I figured if Dirrell was going to win the fight (and I picked him to do so), he would have to basically stink it out, which he did. However, Froch looked more inept than usual while trying to catch the fleet-footed American and only added the ugliness of the bout with all his roughhouse tactics.

For the record I thought Dirrell won the fight, seven rounds to four with one even (the 10th, which I scored for Dirrell but had to make 9-9 because of Hector A-fool’s point deduction).

GREETINGS FROM GERMANY

Hey Dougie!
I was at the O2 World in Berlin and it was really awesome! It’s always the best for the fans to get a knockout at the end of the fight. Like Arthur always does he lost the first rounds but after that he dominated the fight without getting in any trouble.

What do you think will happen with Taylor? I hope he won’t quit the tournament but when I look at he next two fights against Andre Ward and Mikkel Kessler he has to take many shots more.

Froch got his only 2 points in this tournament on Saturday because in his next fights against Kessler and Abraham he won’t earn any more. So he has to hope that at least two of these six will earn less points if he wants to get into the next stage of this tournament.

Now I am really looking forward to the Kessler-Ward fight and of course for the new rankings at super middleweight.

I guess Abraham will get in at No. 3 because his performance against Taylor was much better than the victory of Froch against Jermain. — Kossi, B├Ârger, Germany

My guess is that we will see Abraham somewhere in the top four or five of THE RING’s 168-pound ratings. My personal opinion is that he’s the second best super middleweight in the world next Kessler. I can understand if THE RING and other boxing writers and media outlets don’t rank Abraham that high because he’s only had two super middleweight bouts (against fighters who had been KO’d before). However, I believe that he’ll prove himself to be No. 1 by the tournament’s conclusion.

I’m also looking forward to Kessler-Ward (almost as much as I am Cotto-Pacquiao). I think Ward has the best hand-eye coordination and overall athleticism of anyone Kessler has faced since Joe Calzaghe (or maybe Anthony Mundine). I’d give the Oakland native a strong chance to upset Kessler if he had more seasoning. However, he’s got home field advantage and as we saw this past weekend that counts for something. I think Ward can give Kessler some trouble with his speed (particularly if he beats the Dane to the jab), his feints and footwork. Mundine was competitive in spots with Kessler when he did this and I think Ward is more focused and confident than “The Man”. However, Kessler has improved since that 2005 fight.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to Taylor. I think he and his team should take some time and really assess his health before they make a decision to stay in or withdraw from the tournament. I’d like to see him give it one more shot before calling it quits but if the concussion he suffered against Abraham is really bad and he continues to suffer from memory loss I think it’s best that he retire from the sport.

THOUGHTS ON STAGE ONE OF SUPER 6

Hello Doug,
A few thoughts on the first two match ups in the Super 6.

1) German boxing shows seem to make a real effort in putting on a show for the paying public. The rock band, the pyrotechnics and national anthems on electric guitar added to the big occasion feel and can it be coincidence that Germany regularly draws in large audiences for boxing (Klitschko/Haye had sold over 50,000 tickets). Make an effort with the product and the fans will come.

As for the fight, two things struck me about Arthur Abraham. One is obviously that he carries serious power in both hands and the second is his almost unique peek-a-boo style defense. With the hands in front of the face and elbows ducked just above the waistline it seems a bit crude at first glance but proved surprisingly effective. An area of contention was the “alleged” low blows. With his hands held high the stomach would seem to be an area of obvious weakness, however the high waistband disguises this weakness and accentuates any border line blows. All in all though Abraham was seriously impressive and a serious contender to win the tourney. Jermain, on the other hand, should retire. He doesn't need to prove anything to anyone and no one wants to see him get knocked out again. Allan Green is an adequate replacement and probably provides more interest going forward.

2) After a good opening bout the second fight was a disappointment. Being British I was supporting Froch but couldn't in all honesty say that he won that fight. He didn't land anything of note and all the solid shots were landed by Dirrell.

By the way you called the outcome in the second fight perfectly (dodgy decision not withstanding). Keep up the good work. — Steve in London

Hey, I was about 10 seconds away from calling the first fight on the money (Abraham by decision) until King Arthur landed that sick straight right.

I knew Dirrell had the talent and the style to outbox and outpoint Froch, but he obviously lacked the seasoning, confidence and guts to “beat” the rugged Englishman. I thought Dirrell won the fight but he was too sparing with his punches and he allowed himself to be taken out of his game too often by Froch to really complain about the decision. However, I think he will learn from his first 12-round experience. He discovered too late in the bout that when he planted his feet every now and then, he could hurt Froch. Next time, maybe he’ll let take a few more chances earlier in the fight.

Of course, he’ll be taking chances against Abraham, which is a dangerous thing.

Abraham’s high-guard defense isn’t that unique but he’s probably the only fighter who does it as well as Winky Wright.

I don’t think Green is an adequate replacement for Taylor but he’ll do if that’s who Showtime wants to go with. The Oklahoma native doesn’t have the world-class credentials that the Bute-Andrade rematch winner or even Sakio Bika has, but he’s talented and he can be dangerous.

If Green takes over for Taylor his first fight in the tournament will be against Ward, which is an interesting matchup, and a potentially significant one if S.O.G. upsets Kessler next month.

I agree that many of the stomach shots that Taylor was warned about were borderline punches, although Showtime replayed one low blow that was a blatant uppercut to Abraham’s cup. I thought the referees in both fights pretty much sucked. Hector Afu was biased for Froch and Jose Garcia botched the ending of the Abraham fight. Garcia should have waved that fight off as soon as Taylor’s back (and the back of his head) slammed the canvas in the final seconds of the 12th and immediately removed the fallen fighter’s mouthpiece. There was no reason at all to even begin a “10 count”.

Good point about the live boxing shows in Germany. They do it right, which encourages fans to buy tickets even though they can watch most of those shows live on free TV. I’ve been told that the German networks pay (or at least contribute some money) to enhance the live arena experience.

SUPER 6 & THE WEAK LINK

What's up dude? So far things have gone as I thought they would. Andre D. switched back and forth from cold calculated killer with pin point shots to scared school girl jumping into Froch in order to not get hit. Did he show that he belonged? Yeah, I'll give him that much but lets see how much those tactics help him against Mr. Abraham.

Speaking of the King, this guy is a tank. He puts up his armor plated defense and lets you spend yourself and then he levels you when you least expect it. How many times have we seen him do this? He's going to be hard to beat, dawg. I think Ward-Kessler is about even but I'm leaning toward Kessler based on experience.

Now to my next order of business. Jermain Taylor, lets be honest. This dude has been a different fighter ever since his two fights with Ex. He needs to hang em up before he is permanently damaged. Does he have heart? Yes! Does he have skill? Yes! Does he have staying power? No, in my humble opinion. They need to be seriously considering making a change before something bad happens to this guy. That or keep him out of the ring with big punching white dudes, LOL! Holla back! — Fleetwood

I don’t think Taylor is going to want to pull out of the tournament. It just isn’t in his character. He’s never been one to avoid dangerous or difficult opposition and I don’t think a third KO loss is going to change that mentality.

I think he and his team are going to want to wait and see how he heals from the concussion he suffered Saturday before they make a decision. If Taylor hadn’t suffered a concussion I bet they would have allowed him to fight once more to see how he did against Ward before they seriously considered pulling him out of the tournament or calling it quits.

Whatever Taylor decides to do, I’d like to go on record and state that I respect him as a fighter. This might sound crazy to some fans and media, but Taylor’s losses made me more of a fan of his than his wins. All four of his losses were entertaining fights in which he did his best and looked very good in spots. Plus, I give him props for taking on undefeated bruisers in their prime. The combined record of Kelly Pavlik (first fight), Carl Froch and Abraham is 85-0 with 70 knockouts. Think about that for a minute.

There’s no doubt that those two bouts with Bernard Hopkins took a psychological toll on Taylor but I think if his career had been managed a little better (and he’s as responsible for the course it took as his promoter or manager) after those fights he could have been a much improved fighter.

Facing three world-class southpaws (with underrated toughness) after the Hopkins bouts did nothing for his damaged psyche, technical development or his marketability. Had Taylor been moved the way Abraham was after he won his IBF belt — fighting three times a year with two of those fights being against second- or third-tier opponents and one against a worthy challenger — I think he would have evolved.

I’m also leaning towards Kessler next month for the same reason you are.

King Arthur is no joke. When the Super Six was first announced and RingTV.com co-editor Michael Rosenthal and I picked Abraham as our favorite to win the tournament we caught some grief from fans who were unfamiliar with former 160-pound titleholder. As this tournament progresses, I think Abraham is going to make a lot of believers.

He did to Taylor what he did to Mahir Oral, Elvin Ayala and Khoren Gevor. He figured out the American’s style in the early rounds and then systematically broke him down in the middle rounds before taking him out cold in the late rounds. Abraham is a baaaaaaaaaaad man. Dirrell better come correct.

DIRRELL DID ENOUGH TO WIN

I'm bummed that Dre' didn't get the decision. I honestly thought the judges would give it to him until I heard it was a split decision. I'm just not sure why he was deducted a point when Froch hit on the break deliberately four times, threw him to the canvas, and hit behind the head repeatedly. I don't think Dirrell will beat Abraham, but I definitely thought he won this bout. Too bad now all we will hear is how he was “exposed.” — Mike Sam

I haven’t heard any cries of “exposed” directed at Dirrell, Mike. However, I haven’t received many emails from fans who were outraged by the decision. The post-fight reaction to this bout certainly isn’t like the Malignaggi-Diaz fight. Of course, part of the reason for this may be because Showtime’s commentators don’t go overboard with stating who they believe is winning a fight during the boradcast, and Dirrell didn’t whine and complain throughout his post-fight interview.

I also think the fact that Dirrell initiated many of the clinches caused a few strikes against him in the opinions of many fans, even those who scored the fight for him.

KING ARTHUR ABRAHAM

This guy is frightening to watch. I believe his physical strength and punching power far exceed that of his Super Six rivals, particularly Ward and Dirrell. That knockout was probably the most shocking and brutal I’ve ever seen. It was downright SCARY. And he looked freakin’ HUGE in there. How this guy ever made middleweight I will never know. He might not be tall, but he looked like a full grown light heavyweight in there. I honestly fear for whoever has to fight him in this tournament, and I’ve never felt that way in 15 years as a hardcore fan. What would it take to defeat this beast? — Ed from UK

A lot of speed, patience, durability, and lateral movement. I think it’s a mistake to stand in front of Abraham and engage with him too much for the reasons you listed in your email. I think Kessler has the smarts, the style and the physical tools to beat Abraham, but I can envision the Armenian assassin giving the Dane hell down the stretch of a very intense but mainly tactical bout.

I think the Dres (Ward and Dirrell) have the style and athletic ability to out-maneuver and potentially outpoint Abraham, but I’m not sure they have the durability. I agree with you. I think King Arthur’s physical strength and punching power far exceeds theirs.

IS TAYLOR FINISHED?

Dougie,
Is Taylor finished after another last-round KO in a row? Does Showtime have a contingency plan for a fighter pulling out in the event that Taylor's team decides to hang up the gloves? There may be serious concern regarding Taylor continuing to take punishment. I think Kessler also KO's him. Thanks. — Christian Formby, San Juan

Who knows? Taylor may have reached the point where anybody who hits him clean in the jaw will take him out. I hope not, because I think he’s a hell of a competitor and I thought he was competitive with Abraham until the late rounds.

Showtime does have a contingency plan to replace any fighter who may pull out of the tournament. Taylor suffered a severe concussion against Abraham and will spend this week in a hospital in Berlin, so I’m sure that even though his promoter, Lou DiBella, and Showtime don’t want to comment on possibly replacing the former middleweight champ, it’s on their minds.

Allan Green could step in. ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reports that Dan Goossen would love to see Edison Miranda, who he co-promotes and his brother Joe trains, enter the tournament. Personally, I’m not crazy about either of those choices. I don’t think either fighter has accomplished enough to merit involvement.

If Taylor stays in the Super Six, he won’t fight for at least three months. I think there’s time to assess his health and his desire to remain in the tournament. If he does decide to pull out, that’s a decision he should take some time to come to, and in that time the Lucien Bute-Librado Andrade rematch can take place. I think the winner of Bute-Andrade II is the perfect replacement for Taylor should he and his team decide to withdraw.

FROCH-DIRRELL DECISION

Hey Dougie,
I'm sure you've got plenty of messages like this coming in to you but the Dirrell-Froch decision was just plain wrong.
Speaking as a Brit and as a big Carl Froch fan I have to say that Dirrell won at least seven rounds and even shook Froch up in round 10.

This was the first time I saw Dirrell live and I couldn't help but be impressed by his head and foot movement as well as his pop late on.

I think the only thing that may have swayed the fight in Froch's favour was that, at times Dirrell ran around a bit without throwing much back in the mid rounds and as the challenger, the old adage says you've got to rip the title from the champion instead of 'stealing' it.

Anyway, now I'm just contradicting myself.

Keep up the good work Dougie, it's refreshing to read articles from a boxing writer who doesn't have his lips planted on Floyd Mayweather's ass. — Max, Gloucestershire, England

It’s small but proud club of boxing writers who don’t kiss Mayweather’s million-dollar buttocks and I like to think of myself as its founder and president. There are no dues or fees for membership, by the way. One only needs a little common sense to join.

Speaking of Money May, Dirrell kind of reminded me of Mayweather with his throw-just-enough-punches-to-win-the-round approach to the early part of the match. However, unlike Mayweather the 26-year-old super middleweight lacked an adequate defense, composure under pressure and an inside game. If he ever learns these finer points of boxing, look out! He’ll be unbeatable.

Froch found a way to get into the young man’s head, though, proving that the Dirrell is beatable for now.

However, I agree with you. I don’t think Froch was able to effectively take advantage of Dirrell’s temporary loss of focus and technical shortcomings, which is why I had the speed demon winning by a few points.

ANDRE DIR-EADFUL

What's up Dougie,
Am I the only one that’s frustrated with Andre and his complaining and clowning? This guy has all the tools to be a great fighter, but doesn't have the focus and/or desire. The guy is so tall and rangy, with excellent reflexes. He has very fast hands and feet, and can crack when he decides to sit down on his punches. He should have won going away, and instead BS'd his way to the wrong end of a decision. He can blame the judges, fans, hometown crowd or whatever else, but when he looks into the mirror, he knows who is to blame for the loss. Himself.

I think he has to be one of the biggest underachievers in the last 25 years. He has all the tools to be great, but he can't seem to bring it all together. I guess that’s what makes the truly great fighters so special though huh? — Mike M, Sonora, CA

Well, let’s hold off on even suggesting that he has the potential to be great. Dirrell is an tremendous boxing talent and a superb athlete. However, he doesn’t have a complete game yet, and the way he was matched on his way to his first (and certainly not his last) title shot was not going to force him to correct some of the technical flaw and bad habits he brought into the Froch fight.

But hey, he’s young, and he’s not stupid. He can learn from Saturday’s experience and he has time to improve as a boxer and a competitor. He might get his butt kicked in his next fight, he may not come close to winning this tournament but it’s either going to force him to mature in some ways or it’s going to break him.

We’ll see what happens, but I wouldn’t write him off as a hot dog or a bust or an underachiever just yet.

HOW DO YOU WATCH A FIGHT?

Mr. Fischer,
Post Froch/Dirrell (and thinking about Cotto/Clottey & Diaz/Malignaggi) I'm curious as to how you feel about judges finding that that the local guy landed the more effective shots. For what it is worth, I had it 115-114 for Froch. I felt that three rounds were a coin toss; two of those I gave to Froch. Obviously, the point deduction didn't matter for the judges. (I'm still curious as to what it was for.)

My sole reason for writing is because I'd like to know how you watch fights, because obviously this fight was one of those that comes down to personal taste. Myself, I can't stand watching clinching and bobbing to the extent that one of the guys is coming in with his head aimed at the other guy's cup. I like active, stand-up-and-punch fighters. However, one scoring for pure skill and effectiveness could have easily scored the fight the other way. With Cotto/Clottey & Diaz Malignaggi, it seems like this has been a real issue in scoring. (Though Cotto & Diaz are two of my three favorite fighters, I had them both losing by 1 point.)

I was turned off by the way that Froch arrogantly dismissed Dirrell's performance, especially after Dirrell went out of his way to show respect on multiple occasions after the fight; perhaps that's due to the way the promotion went, but come on, grow up. Still, I like the man because he really throws himself out there. Like Taylor, he's taking on both Kessler & Abraham this round. You have GOT to respect that.

Anyway, I'd like to know how you feel regarding the way these fights are scored. To the average fan, it may seem like hometown guys are getting extra points for aggressiveness & activity, as opposed to movement and efficiency. Effectiveness is in they eye of the beholder, though the beholder seems to favor the local guy these days. Regardless, excellent start to this tournament, and I'd be happy to join a Ken Hershman fan club for making this happen. Best. — Matthew, NYC

I generally favor aggression over defensive boxing, but that aggression has to be supported by and clean punches landed to legal areas of the opponent’s body for me to give the aggressor credit for his work.

Here’s an example, the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight. Some respected members of the media (including Kevin Iole and Steve Kim) scored the fight as a draw because of De La Hoya’s aggression. I’m not Mayweather’s biggest fan but I thought he won the fight by the same margin I scored the Forch-Dirrell bout (for Dirrell), 7-4-1 in rounds. The only rounds De La Hoya won were the ones where Mayweather was 90 percent defense. De La Hoya stalked forward and tried to swarm over Mayweather whenever the smaller man went to the ropes, but he wasn’t landing clean punches, so he wasn’t scoring points with Mr. Fischer.

I thought Froch was less effective against Dirrell than De La Hoya was against Mayweather. At least Oscar was able to land a clean jab in spots during his fight. Froch couldn’t land any punches from the outside, and whenever he bulled his way inside most of the clean punches he landed were to illegal areas of Dirrell’s body, so I found it difficult to award the Englishman points.

Another factor in the way I watch and score a fight is the impact and effect a fighter’s punches have on his opponent. If both fighters are landing an equal (or close to even) amount of punches I will lean towards the fighter who appears to be landing the harder shots (or whose punches are causing the other guy to back off or change his strategy).

Dirrell didn’t let his hands go very much, but when he did, he was accurate (to legal areas of Froch’s body) and he appeared to be the harder puncher of the two.

By the way, I think Froch rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way with his arrogance, which is probably a boon to the tournament. It’s always good for a promotion to have that guy-that-everyone-hates as a participant.

ORDER OF OPERATIONS

After tonight's results, I began to think the order of operations will factor just as much in who wins overall in this tournament.

For the record, I favor King Arthur to win from the get go. I'd put the Great Dane next in line, knowing Saturday night's results and finally Froch a distant third.

King Arthur goes up against Andre Dirrell next, his most difficult fight style-wise in my opinion, but not one that will add many miles er.. kilometers to his boxing odometer. Mikkel Kessler vs. Froch on the other hand will cause both guys some wear and tear any way you look at it. And for the final stage, I think a weathered Carl Froch is much easier to deal with for King Arthur. No forgone conclusion that Kessler wins, or better still knocks out Andre Ward. Less chances the Dane scores a knockout of Froch (nearly fresh after Dirrell). So less potential points for the Great Dane. I believe Jermain Taylor can regain some confidence against Andre Ward in his next fight, so he'd have some steam going into the last fight against Kessler, making an even more difficult time of things for the Dane.

And for Froch.. well, things just get tougher and tougher, don't they? I leave Ward out as a wildcard because I don't give him much chance to pull off a win against Dirrell or Taylor. — Joseph

Really? You don’t think Ward can beat Dirrell or a version of Taylor who might be damaged goods? I think Ward is more focused than Dirrell and possess more sound technique.

You make a very good point about the schedule of the Super Six participants. Some of these guys are going to be put through the wringer during the round-robin stage of the tournament.

Kessler is the favorite of most boxing writers, but you’re absolutely right that his fight with Froch is going to be a rough one (even if he wins every round). Like Froch said during his post-fight interview Kessler is a sharp boxer but he will stand his ground and fight. That’s absolutely true. The Viking Warrior is very proud fighter and Froch might get under his skin the way he has a lot of fans (both British and American) and get him to open up more than usual.

I’m not sure if Ward will be a physical fight for Kessler. I think it’s in Ward’s best interest to keep it real tactical, but what do I know?

If Taylor stays in the tournament he better hope that Ward does take it to Kessler and catches a beatdown for doing so. That’s probably the only way anyone will look at their fight as an even matchup.

Before Taylor was brutally stopped by Abraham, I was really looking forward to seeing him fight Kessler in an ultimate battle of left jab specialists. Now, I’ll probably be worried about Taylor’s health if that fight takes place.

SUPER SIX

Hi,
Just wanted to give you my quick thoughts on the Super Six tonight. The Abraham-Taylor fight was pretty much what I expected with Abraham starting slow and coming on in the end, I was'nt too impressed with Abraham, but that was a brutal knockout. I really don't know where Taylor goes from here. I know he is still in the Super Six but man it is hard enough to come back from one devastating knockout loss it might be impossible to come back from two in a row.

As for the Froch-Dirrell fight, Froch is one rough (not dirty) fighter. I thought Dirrell was doing well and winning the fight with his movement and crisp counters. The point was deducted from the wrong man in my opinion. Froch hit behind the head and on the break multiple times. I scored it 114-114 because of the deduction, it is a shame that Dirrell's best round was in the round in which he was deducted and that was the difference in the fight to me.

But overall I thought it was a great night for boxing and for the Super Six, I was watching on TV but could feel the atmosphere of the crowd at home. A great night for boxing lets hope the rest will be as good as this. — David Green, Warner Robins, Georgia

I think the tournament will only get better from here on out. I can’t wait to be covering Kessler-Ward from ringside.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougiefischer

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