By Professor Fred Whitted NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — The title above...
Super Froch dominates Abraham
Normal 0NEW YORK (BASN) — At last the Group Stage 3, round-robin portion of the Super Six World Boxing Classic concluded on Saturday with Carl Froch (27-1, 20 KOs) defeating Arthur Abraham (31-2, 25 KOs) to reclaim the vacant WBC super middleweight championship at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
Froch-Abraham was part of a split-site doubleheader televised on SHOWTIME to coincide with Andre Ward’s WBA title defense against Sakio Bika.
All three judges scored the bout 112-108 (twice) and 119-109 for Froch. He dominated Abraham in what was the best performance of the 33 year-old Brit’s career.
In the process, Froch reclaimed the WBC title he won in classic fashion in 2008 when he defeated Jean Pascal and knocked out Jermain Taylor in an unforgettable performance last year.
The fight was over from the opening bell, as Froch, not Abraham, established his punching power. Froch jabbed effectively and picked his shots carefully. Froch’s right hand proved much too difficult for Abraham to time accordingly.
Abraham’s reputable peek-a-boo defense, as Froch threw plenty of straight-rights, right uppercuts, and right hooks that constantly drilled Abraham backwards.
Abraham was off balanced the entire fight. He never really mounted any serious offense. His timing was off and threw punches too wide.
Froch’s straighter punches beat Abraham’s ill-advised, wild haymakers on every exchange.
The victory elevates Froch into second place with 4 points behind Ward, the tournament leader with 6 points.
Based on the points system, Ward, Froch, Abraham, and Glen Johnson will each advance into the semifinals. The winners will battle for the Super Six World Boxing Classic championship trophy.
Super Six Standings
1. Andre Ward
2. Carl Froch
3. Glen Johnson
4. Arthur Abraham
The semifinal match-ups consist of Ward defending his WBA 168-pound title against Abraham, a former undefeated IBF middleweight titlist.
Froch defends his WBC title against Johnson in what should be an attractive encounter.
Despite withdraws & substitutions, Super Six remains Classic
The Super Six World Boxing Classic began in October 2009 more than one year ago. The tournament served as an extremely unique concept in which six of the best super middleweights in the world would compete in a series of matches to establish a new star in the 168-pound class.
The tournament was split into three stages. The Group Stage 1 guaranteed that each participate would fight three times. Initially, Andre Ward, Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Andre Dirrell, and Jermain Taylor began the tournament. However, three of the original Super Six entrants withdrew from the tournament.
Dirrell, who finished with two points, withdrew because of a neurological disorder. Although Dirrell dropped a split-decision to Froch in Group Stage 1, he bounded back and handed Abraham his first professional loss in a Group Stage 2 bout last March.
Dirrell boxed beautifully and was well ahead on the judges’ scorecards following a knockdown of Abraham in the fourth round. However, Abraham mounted a huge rally and was moments from knocking Dirrell out in the final three rounds. That was until Abraham pummeled Dirrell while he was on the mat; leading to an immediate disqualification.
Kessler finished with two points. Kessler, having lost his WBA 168-pound title to Ward in Group Stage 1 in November 2009, regained the WBC title following a hard-fought decision against Carl Froch in Group Stage 2 in April. Kessler’s win over Froch was perhaps the best victory of his career.
Kessler, however, withdrew from the tournament citing an eye injury.
Taylor’s 12th round KO defeat to Abraham was his fourth loss in five fights – three by knockout. Taylor, who twice defeated Bernard Hopkins for the unified WBC/WBA/IBF and WBO middleweight championships in 2005, wasn’t the same fighter after Kelly Pavlik knocked him out in September 2007.
Abraham really put serious hurting on Taylor; a terrible concussive knockout that may have cost him a career. Taylor’s replacement, Allan Green didn’t fair much better.
Green entered the tournament with 0 points and left the tournament with 0 points following a lopsided decision loss to Ward and a knockout defeat to Glen Johnson.
Ward competes in non-tournament action
One of the provisions agreed upon by the participants and organizers of the Super Six World Boxing Classic is that a boxer can also take fights outside of the tournament.
Ward exercised that option once Dirrell pulled out from the tournament this fall.
Ward (23-0, 13 KOs), making the second defense of the WBA 168-pound title, returned to the Oracle in his native Oakland, CA. Ward won a decisive 12-round, unanimous decision against Sakio Bika (28-5, 19 KOs).
The bout was part of a SHOWTIME-televised, split-site doubleheader that also featured Froch-Abraham.
Ward, a former 2004 Olympic gold medalist, is perhaps the most versatile fighter in the tournament. In fact, he is a unanimous pick to not only win the Super Six trophy, but also unify the WBA/WBC super middleweight championships.
Bika didn’t make it an easy night’s work for Ward, who suffered a cut next to his left eye. Ward found himself in a gritty, stand-in fight and adjusted very well. Ward kept his gloves high; blocked, slipped, and countered effectively.
Bika did catch Ward with a few solid shots of his own, but Ward, the better technician and overall fighter, made Bika miss most of his punches.
Marquez stops Katsidis
Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs), in defense of the unified WBA/WBO lightweight championship, rose from the canvas to stop Michael Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs) on his feet at 2:14 seconds of the ninth round.
Marquez-Katsidis was the featured main event of a HBO tripleheader featuring Andre Berto and Celestino Caballero in separate bouts.
Marquez-Katsidis was everything fight fans could have hoped for – fast-paced, non-stop, quality action. Katsidis, “The Great,” entered the bout with a heavy heart following the loss of – brother Sathi, an Australian horse rider who was found dead more than one month ago.
In honor of his brother, Katsisdis nearly pulled off the upset.
In round three, Katsidis had Marquez on the floor hurt and slow to get up. However, Marquez, the tremendous athlete and technician that he is, returned to his feet. He weathered Katsidis’ storm and eventually regained control of the fight, although Katsidis was in his face.
Katsidis, who has an amazing reputation for absorbing punishment, was badly hurt in the ninth round. Marquez had Katsidis on rubbery legs, but couldn’t bring him down.
Good call by referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight when he did. Bayless saved Katsidis from Marquez, as well as himself because, Katsidis wasn’t going to quit.
It was a terrific performance by both fighters, but once again, Marquez proved that he is the best 135-pound fighter in the world.
Berto blanks Hernandez in one
Unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) successfully defended his title for the fifth time. Berto continued to prove his potential star power with an emphatic first-round knockout of Freddy Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs). A left-right-hook combination to Hernandez’ jaw ended the bout at the 2:07 second mark.
Berto has been a world champion for nearly 2 Â½ years. Berto dominated Steve Forbes, dodged a major bullet against Luis Collazo, bullied Juan Urango, and slaughtered Carlos Quintana in title defenses.
It’s time for promoter Lou DiBella to step Berto up another notch. If Manny Pacquiao isn’t in the cards, a fight against either Sugar Shane Mosley or Miguel Cotto shouldn’t be too far behind.
Litzau stuns Caballero
Jason Litzau pulled off the biggest victory of his career and perhaps the biggest upset of the year. Litzau (28-2, 21 KOs), having been dismissed following an eight-round knockout loss to Robert Guerrero nearly three years ago, shocked the boxing community with a 10-round, split-decision win against former unified WBA/IBF super bantamweight titlist, Celestino Caballero (34-3, 23 KOs).
All three judges scored the bout 96-94 (Caballero), 96-94 (Litzau) and 97-93 (Litzau). The loss to Litzau, a carefully hand-picked opponent with a decent resume, was detrimental to Caballero’s career.
The 34-year-old Panamanian was one of the names listed to fight interim WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa. Litzau deserved the decision. Litzau’s punches were more consistent, harder, and he won most of the exchanges.