Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not So Super 6?

The Super 6 Super middleweight tournament has begun and early leaders aren't that surprising when you see the results.

The first bout of the tournament had Arthur Abraham facing Jermaine Taylor. Simply put, Jermaine Taylor, though clearly the best known participant of this tournament, was diving into deep waters and if he didn't know it, he found out, the hard way he's found out all too often lately. After dominating the first 5 rounds (which was expected), Arthur Abraham turned up the volume, dialed in his strategy and methodically picked apart the former world champion. If you've ever played a turn based RPG game, this fight at times definitely felt more like that than an actual contest. Abraham punched, went into a defensive posture, Jermaine attacked, finished his flurry, went into defensive posture, Abraham started the cycle again. This happened for most of the fight and it was frustrating if you wanted an all out slugfest or something where Jermaine would have showed a little more boxing savvy. But true to form, Abraham's defense was pretty tight though one dimensional. But seeing as how effective it was, you'd have to wonder just how many dimensions you need when one game plan works as well as it did. As the fight plodded on, the action came in spurts and Abraham let rounds be a lot closer than they had to be way too often. But from time to time, he gave a good hook or one of dozens of rights hands that simply couldn't miss for him and at a couple of times, Jermaine looked on shaky legs. Then, in the final round, when Jermaine was pretty much fighting to end the fight on his feet, Arthur Abraham had other ideas. After a flickering jab, Abraham showed why he's one of two fighters favored to win this fight by sledgehammering a right hand that sent Taylor to the canvas for the third time in his career.

By tournament rules, you get 0 points for a loss, 1 point for a draw, 2 points for a victory and an extra point if you score a knockout.

Second fight of the night had Carl Froch facing Andre Direll. Well in case you're a boxer and are looking for a place to showcase your dirty boxing, you should definitely go to England. Nothing against English boxers, but when I think about Kostya Tszyu being "dethroned" by Ricky Hatton, my memory differs from the glorious night English boxing fans remember and I have flashes of holding and hitting, head locks and rough tactics that would make Andrew Gollota proud. If you differ from this opinion, you clearly have the union jacket in your blood and will not listen to reason, because just in case, I never said Kostya won the fight, I'm just saying Ricky didn't fight clean. He obviously won the fight. Getting back to present day England,Carl the Cobra Froch did exactly what he had to do, bullied his way into the path of young Direll, tagged the young guy and took a victory that was close, but clearly his. What we can take from the fight though is that Direll hits back when he's hit but not hurt, and back pedals when he REALLY gets tagged. The kid clearly has skills and when he turned up the heat in the latter rounds, I found myself looking at a prospect that might have gotten the decision at some other locations. I still saw Froch winning, but Direll's handspeed was impressive and his power honestly surprised me, because it's not like Carl Froch can't take a punch. The lessons learned for Froch in case he meets another slick boxer, cut off the ring, throw the right with abandon, then fake the guy and throw a hook. Sounds easy, but it isn't. For Direll, all I can say is that I think he can bang with the likes of Froch and Ward, but should be careful with Abraham, Kessler and even Taylor.

So as the standings go, Abraham is in the lead with 3 points, Froch 2nd with 2 points and Taylor and Direll tied for 3rd with 0. Kessler will be fighting Ward next and for me, Kessler is the fighter I want to see the most. He looks like the super middleweight Klitschko if you ask me and I think he has the most crowd pleasing style of anyone in the tournament and my pick to face of Abraham in the final.

So was the first night of the Super 6 not so super? I think it scored a B overall but the most important thing to note is that this tournament might very well change the face of boxing. The best fighting the best in this division is an interesting prospect, but can you imagine a featherweight, lightweight or welterweight tournament? Think of the possibilities. The best fighting the best, no ducking allowed, who you draw is who you fight and who you fight is eventually going to be who the crowd wants to see fight. If that isn't what Floyd Mayweather needs to truly make a case for pound for pound supremacy, I don't know what is.

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