Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
The Super Six Tourney Begins
In a division deep in talent and capable of holding two tournaments of similar quality; Showtime has guaranteed over the next two years some of the most intriguing match-ups for boxing fans.
The first weekend of bouts features Michigan super flash Andre Dirrell facing the ever tough Carl Froch. Froch showed American audiences his toughness as he came back from a fight that he was losing to stop American Jermain Taylor in the final round and demonstrated that he may be one of the best Super Middleweights in the world.
Dirrell is a talented boxer who will give Froch trouble but he has yet to compete on the elite level and Froch is one of those fighters who can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Dirrell’s most impressive victory was his stoppage of the tough slugging Victor Oganov but Froch is a step up from even Oganov. This bout will be determined by one factor, the ability of Dirrell to withstand Froch’s pressure.
Dirrell will take the early rounds with his both his hand and foot speed but as Taylor found out, Froch will keep the pressure on and often fresher at the end of the fight as the beginning.
Taylor easily out boxed Froch over the first half of the fight and even knock Froch down but he could not withstand the pressure in the end. Froch’s edge will be his ability to pressure Dirrell and Froch chance of winning will be dominating the second half of the fight; possibly needing to stop Dirrell to win.
So who is going to win? Good question but I am going to give the edge to Froch on winning a close decision or late knockout. This is Dirrell’s first big test and I like the veteran in this one.
Arthur Abraham is tough, rugged and never quit. In his first fight with Edison Miranda, he fought with a broken jaw most of the fight and still found a way to win.
In his rematch with Miranda, he knocked the tough Colombian fighter out in four rounds. Most Americans have yet to see this slugger perform and the early money will be on Jermain Taylor.
Of all of the Americans in this tournament, Taylor has the most experience but he also have shown that he can be stopped by tough sluggers. While Taylor has beaten some very good fighters including Bernard Hopkins twice, he has lost to Kelly Pavlik twice and to Carl Froch.
In the first Pavlik fight and against Froch, he was ahead on points before losing by knockout. He took quick leads in the early rounds and even scored knockdowns but he inability to finish the job cost him dearly.
Against Abraham, he will win the early rounds and I don’t see Taylor losing a decision to Abraham but I do see Taylor wilting under his pressure. I think Abraham advances by a late TKO or knockout in this bout.
The tournament is a unique since each fighter will have a shot at each other before hitting the semifinal. A fighter gains three points for a knockout victory, two points for a decision and one point for a draw so even if Dirrell and Taylor lose their first bout, they still have opportunity to get back in the tournament.
A loss is not the end of world but it doesn’t help a fighter, either.
The final bout of the first round is Andre Ward versus Mikkel Kessler in another intriguing bout of a young American challenging an elite European fighter. Over the past few years, the Super Middleweight division had been dominated by European but the two Andres have given Americans hope that they can confront the European elites and Taylor still have the skills to become a champion once again.
There is no doubt that Europeans will be favored but both Ward and Dirrell are unique talents and their talents may be enough to overcome the rugged European advantages.
As the tournament continues, both Andres will improve and I do see one of these two being in the semifinals. Of all the Americans, Taylor may be weakest simply because his past four fights. He has lost three of the last four, fights as Showtime’s Al Bernstein noted; he could have won but didn’t.
He has come up just a little short against the elite fighters over the past four fights and that may prove his downfall. He is just a tab bit short of beating the elites and being a tad bit short is the different of being the best in the Super middleweights or just being top ten.
My favorite for the eventual winner is Kessler, simply because he is the most talented fighter with enough power to compete with the sluggers and a brilliant boxer to stay out of harms way enough to win decisions.
The dark horse of this tournament is Arthur Abraham, who has fought in Pavlik’s shadow as a Middleweight and now he has the opportunity to show the world that he was not just the best Middleweight but the best Super Middleweights.
And boxing fans will be rewarded with some great classic matches that will have them talking for years.