First off, I was completely appalled in only the first two fights of the “Super Six” six man round robin super middleweight tournament to crown the best “Super Middleweight” in the world. Aside from the “Six Super-Middleweights” (168 pounds) they chose, they left out undefeated IBF champ Lucian Bute, the “once beaten but has gotten better and wanted to be a part of it” in Allan Green, and then, the guy people thought got a raw deal in his fight with Bute, in super middle KO artist Andrade. Looking at the super middleweight Top 10, that’s leaving out numbers 2, 4, and 6.
The ones in the tournament, at the time, were ranked 1, 3, 8, and 0. Dirrell (we’ll talk about him in a moment) was not ranked in the top 10, and Arthur Abraham, who gave Jermain Taylor a concussion the other night, was the IBF “Middleweight” titlist – he dropped the alphabet title and moved up eight pounds north for a shot at the tourney. Let’s first learn about this tournament, which no one seems to “get” – here are the members of the tournament. This is how it looked going in, with the odds as to who would win.
Mikkel Kessler – 42-1 (32) WBA Champion (EVEN)
Carl Froch – 25-0 (21) WBC Champion (2-1)
Arthur Abraham – 30-0 (23) Former IBF Middleweight Champion (EVEN)
Andre Ward – 20-0 (13) (5-2)
Andre Dirrell – 18-0 (13) (5-2)
Jermain Taylor – 28-3-1 (17) Former Undisputed World Middleweight Champion (10-1)
Yeah, that’s a 10-1 for Jermain Taylor, who, upon his first fight, is probably now ranked around the place Buster Douglas was before almost beheading Mike Tyson in Tokyo. Now, this is how the tournament plays out, there are three stages, here they are…
Abraham – Taylor
Froch – Dirrell
Kessler – Ward
Abraham – Dirrell
Kessler – Froch
Ward – Taylor
Dirrell – Ward
Abraham – Froch
Kessler – Taylor
Now, if you win you get 2 points, if you win by KO you get 3 points, and if you lose you get 0. So after these 3 stages, add up the points, and the 4 highest seeds go to the semi final one time elimination tournament, which goes….
SEED 1 vs SEED 4
SEED 2 vs SEED 3
The 2 winning seeds will fight each other for the crown, or whatever ya get. So we get 12 fights out of this deal. And after the first night where “Stage 1″ began, there’s controversy. A fear of mine about the tourney would come true, but not at the start of the evening.
[adinserter block=”1”]First, we had an intriguing match, former IBF Middleweight titlist, Arthur Abraham against former Undisputed Middleweight Champ, Jermain Taylor, fighting at Super-Middleweight. I was kind of floored by Jermain Taylor being the only 10-1 underdog, and is it that severe?, well, I didn’t think so. I thought about both guys. Abraham is a puncher, and looked great against Miranda twice, and is a fighter, he’ll fight till death, but how good is he?, and now he’s moving up and Taylor has been here a few fights at this weight, eight pounds heavier, so I thought… advantage Taylor. And, I thought of his experience, Taylor beat Bernard Hopkins twice in a row, no one has done that. He fought to a draw against Winky Wright when Wright was hot. He beat guys like Spinks and Ouma. In his biggest defense, against fellow unbeaten, Taylor would knock down Kelly Pavlik early, but only to be KO’d himself later. Then, in the rematch, at a specified higher weight, Taylor would lose a hard fought decision, but gain more fans, for his mettle. At Super Middle, he would beat Lacy. He also, ironically, in his last fight, fought a fellow “Super Six” member, Carl Froch. He knocked down Froch early, and like the Pavlik fight, became the first to even knock down both of them, and then, in both fights, the guys got up, and knocked him out late. Froch KO’d him in the last round to be exact, so he was 1-3 in his last 4 coming in. Not too good. I guess that’s where the 10 to 1 comes in. So Taylor came out at a good pace, using his jab, and Abraham came out, aggressive, it was a tight fight, although Abraham was gaining more momentum and looking to do more damage, especially towards the end, and at the end, with 11 seconds left, Abraham through a straight right hand, he stepped into it, went right through the guard of Taylor’s hands, and Taylor got KO’d the 2nd time in a row in the 12th round, by two guys in the tourney, this one the only one “counting.” They didn’t even finish the count, at 7 the doctors were in the ring trying to revive him. Twice in a row Taylor gets KO’d in the 12th round??? It was scary for a moment, wondering if he was okay, later it was found he was at the hospital with a concussion. I’ve got to ask myself, even in this tournament, should Taylor continue to box? He’s gone 1-4 his last 5, and got KO’d in 3 of the 4, this time suffering a concussion. I hope he passes all medical test, but what you can’t test for is down the road. Ali always talked about how he would never become, what he called “A cigar store Indian” in Joe Louis at the end of his career – look at him now. How is this gonna effect Jermain later in life? And what’s he fighting for now?, especially with over 10-1 odds right now, he’s thought of, I’m guessing, as the easy punching bag everyone wants to fight. We’ll see what happens.
In the second fight, we got to see WBC Champ, Froch, whose last fight was KO’ing Taylor in the last round, go up against Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell. Now, for the record, Dirrell was a great Olympic, got a Bronze medal, but his first shot at glory was on HBO, when he took on “Chin Checker” Curtis Stevens. Stevens followed, sometimes ran after Dirrell, who ran the whole fight, but would stop and score once in a while. Lampley and Merchant were disgusted, and after HBO human scorecard Harold Ledderman said, “They’re doing nothing” they asked him who he had ahead, and it was Dirrell, and when asked why… “Even though he’s not doing much, it’s more than the other guy” in Stevens, who needed to take a class on how to cut off the ring, not just run in circles after a guy. Dirrell got past that, but not on HBO, but he got mighty good looking in KO victories over Hanshaw and Oganov, which were provided by Showtime. I picked him to outbox, maybe KO Froch, with his speed and underrated power, and like Abraham, something I don’t like, it was in Froch’s home town. This was my fear of the tournament, these European boxers fighting in their backyards getting hometown decisions – hey, it happens in the US when you see a guy fighting in his home town, filled with his fans, his ref, his judges. At the end of the night, I thought Dirrell clearly out-boxed, out-foxed, out-hustled, won more rounds, scored more telling blows, got ripped off a point with no warning before it, got ripped off for Froch not losing a point because he hit behind the head the whole fight, and I thought Dirrell plain defeated the champ (did I say clearly?) and it was announced to be a split decision and I thought, “well, one judge made a mistake.” Nope, it was two. They gave the match to Froch, who stays unbeaten.
[adinserter block=”2″]Now we wait. Nov. 21st the first stage is complete when Olympian and undefeated Andre “SOG” Ward goes for WBA title against favorite Mikkel Kessler. Thankfully, it’s not overseas, not in Kessler’s hometown. This much is fact, whoever wins will have a title. And the winner of this fight goes up against Froch in stage 2, so after stage two we will have a unified Super Middleweight Champ, and that could be a huge European event with Froch and Kessler, but I see Ward, the younger guy, out-boxing and out hustling the older Kessler, whose only thing left to prove is that he was just as good as Joe Calzaghe – don’t get me started!
Robert Earle Stanton is a freelance writer, short fiction author and novelist.
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