Froch comes back to win

By Tom Donelson
Updated: April 25, 2009

Carl Froch (right) retained his WBC super-middleweight crown Saturday night against Jermain Taylor.

Carl Froch (right) retained his WBC super-middleweight crown Saturday night against Jermain Taylor.

IOWA CITY – Jermain Taylor knocked Carl Froch down in the third round of their WBC super-middleweight title bout and appeared 30 seconds from winning a crown in a second weight division.

He was unable to finish off his opponent but through the fifth round, he was easily winning the fight. Taylor would regret not finishing him off. Froch is one of those fighters who gets stronger as a fight wears on and that was the case here.

In the first five rounds, Taylor’s jab and variety of punches reddened the British fighter’s face. Froch looked a tab bit slower and he never got into rhythm.

Down by five rounds, Froch began his own comeback as he started to connect with his own right. His jab began to bother Taylor and Taylor’s own jab started to decrease in volume.

From this point of the fight, it became a Froch fight as he started to move forward while connecting on his own punches and forcing Taylor fight toe to toe.

Both fighters had their moments over the second half of the fight. In the seventh round, Taylor’s jab retook the momentum but in the eighth, Froch started off fast and won the first two minutes before Taylor came back to stun Froch as the bell ranged with a devastating left hook.

The 10th round saw Froch reach back and take command of the fight for good. Throwing combinations, he even successfully looped his right over Taylor’s guard.

Like a freight train, Froch could not be deterred and in the 11th, he set the pace even though Taylor nailed him with several good rights over the last minute. As the bell rang to end the round, Froch was the fresher fighter.

Regardless, Froch was three minutes of losing his first defense of his version of the super-middleweight title. Two of the judges had Taylor way ahead and all Taylor had to do was to say on his feet.

Froch attacked with ferocity that only desperation could force. Within a minute of the round, a Froch right nailed Taylor and sent him reeling.

From this point, it was survival time as Froch attacked with everything; knowing that he had to knock out his opponent.

With less than a minute, a Froch right sent Taylor down and now he was on survival mode as he tried to hold and run.

But with 15 seconds left, a Froch combination got through Taylor’s guard. The rope held Taylor up but he laid helpless against the rope and as the referee ended the fight.

Taylor’s dream of a championship glory died. 15 seconds was the difference between a championship belt and back to ground zero in a career that took yet another detour from the top.

OTHER BOUTS

Allan Green began the evening against Carlos De Leon, Jr. De Leon, the son of the former Cruiserweight champion, came into the fight with a feared left hook but Green had fought the better opponents.

The opening round saw Green’s jab dominate most of the round but a De Leon double left hook sent a message that this could be a long night for Green.

Those hopes were quickly dashed as a Green left hook sent De Leon to the ground. He got back up and sent two left hooks in Green’s direction but he shook them off and nailed De Leon with a clubbing right.

De Leon was down a second time and this was followed by two more knockdowns as the referee decided that hitting the canvas four times was enough to consider this fight over.

For Green, this win could propel him into a title fight.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico on the HBO telecast, Lamont Peterson challenged the veteran Willy Blain and essentially dominated the fight as he moved forward and Blain retreated.

At the end of the sixth round, Blain suddenly stopped as he grimaced in pain. With seconds left, the referee first called the fight but then allowed the fight to continue.

It looked like that maybe Blain may have broken his hand and the fight was officially stopped in the early seconds of the seventh round when he could no longer continue.

In the main event of the Puerto Rico card, Juan Manuel Lopzez took on veteran Gerry Penalosa. The undefeated Lopez began the fight by solid boxing as he dominated the early rounds with solid inside work and his punches had the better pop.

At the end of the third round, Penalosa went toe to toe with his opponent, but it was Lopez who got the better of the exchanges.

Going into the fifth round, it looked like Penalosa was shooting blanks whereas Lopez shot back with buckshot.

Lopez was the stronger fighter and he was gathering an easy victory by out punching his outmatched opponent. In the seventh round, Penalosa had his moments but as one HBO announcer noted, those moments were few and far between after a brief Penalosa rally.

In between the eighth and ninth round, Penalosa’s trainer Freddie Roach, told his fighter that he will give him one more round.

A bitter toe to toe slug fest ensued with Penalosa occasionally counter but he took the brunt of the beating from the younger Lopez.

He showed the boxing world why he might be the best junior featherweight and a future star as Roach told his fighter he had enough.