A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Looking at a great weekend of boxing
IOWA CITY, IOWA—This past Saturday night, two great fights showed the best of boxing. The Julio Cesar Chavez and Sebastian Zbik fight showed two young fighters trying to make their name in boxing history. The same could be said of Carl Froch and Glen Johnson in the semi-final of the Super Six tournament.
Glen Johnson have always been the consummate professional, a fighter who always came in shape and willing to rumble. He rarely if ever produced a boring fight and last Saturday night was no difference. The difference in this fight was Carl Froch taking advantage of his height and age as he outworked one of boxing busiest fighter. Both fighters fought hard and the second half of the fight saw Johnson finally penetrating Froch defenses as he finally found a way to fight off Froch’s chest. Froch took his game to another level as he took Johnson best shot, his right, and fought back. These were the same right hand that knocked out fighters like the great Roy Jones, Jr. and most recently Allen Green in the Super Six tournament.
Throughout the Super Six tournament, Froch showed improvement; even in defeat against Mikkel Kessler. Against Johnson, Froch showed flexibility as he used angles and continuously nailed Johnson with quick combinations as he out punched Johnson throughout the bout. Johnson often followed Froch and failed effectively to cut off the ring. Froch victory was as much due to boxing intelligence and using his height and youth to push Johnson. His chin allowed him to take those nasty rights and this lead to victory and a bout against Andre Ward.
Chavez fought a quicker and technically sound fighter and while many pundits wanted him to fight from a distance to use his height; the reality is that Chavez had to channel his father. When he stood at a distance, the quicker Zbik got off first and threw successful combinations. It was only when Chavez moved inside and unleashed those Chavez’s left hook to Zbik body and this wore Zbik down. While Zbik often out punched Chavez over the second half of the fight, his punches lacked the steam and the fight was consistently fought on the inside where those left hooks to the body determined the fight. This was a fight that was close and not easy to score but it also a action fight all the way through with both fighters giving no quarters.
As for the Super Six tournament, this proved to be a success in one very important matter. Two years ago, Dan Rafel of ESPN noted that one could have designed two Super Six tournament; the Super Middleweight division was that deep. Over the past two years, the Super Six forced six of the top Super Middleweights to face each other and as the tournament proceeded, two more top ten fighters joined the fray. Meanwhile, many of those who did not participate in the Super Six chose to fight each other; allowing many of the elite fighters to actually fight each other and now we have a division narrow down to three top fighters and maybe two or three more great fights. Andre Ward and Carl Froch will determine who will end up fighting Lucian Bute, a slick boxing undefeated Canadian fighter. Bute may face Mikkel Kessler, an original Super Six tournament fighter before an eye injury forced him out of the tournament. The most telling aspect is that Ward, Froch and Bute have grown in stature as fighter since they fought the best of their division and that stature grew because they fought the best of their division.