Knockout Nation: Taylor KO'd, Dirrell Robbed? Mayweather-Leonard Fight
Arthur Abraham Kicks Off Super Six with KO
Jermain Taylors (28-4-1, 17 KOs) hope of exorcising the demons from his disheartening TKO to Carl Froch were dashed when Arthur Abraham (31-0, 25 KOs) delivered a dramatic KO with 11 seconds left in the 12th.
As predicted, Taylor started off well working the jab and circling the plodding Abraham. The German was content to just stalk after Taylor behind his trademark high guard. Abraham would sparingly let loose an overhand right, but Taylor was much too quick early on to catch anything flush. However, Taylors jab was just a range-finding punch and Abraham was paying no physical price for walking down the former middleweight champ.
When Abraham did throw, whether it was a jab or a hook, his punches were considerably harder and normally pushed the larger Taylor back. The Berlin audience cheered their mans every move, but were audibly anxious as round after round passed with Taylor assumingly ahead just on activity.
Another subplot was Abrahams complaints of no blows, which made Taylor reticent to utilize his best asset when dealing with Abrahams high guard. The referee warned Taylor several times, making the threat of point deductions imminent with more than half the fight remaining. Additionally, Taylor complained of several rabbit punches and audibly chastised Abraham for the tactic.
Through the middle rounds, Abraham became more aggressive and let loose with several thudding body hooks to Taylor. In the 6th, Taylor lost a point for low blows, and was rattled by looping right hands. The pattern continued in the 7th, with King Arthur knocking Taylor back with hook combinations to the body. A huge left hook to the head stunned Taylor, who now was hesitant to counter the firepower coming his way.
In the corner, Taylor assured them he was ok, and could see the right hand coming. Despite that proclamation, it was Abrahams hard jab that was blinding Taylors vision and setting up the powerful right hook.
That combo paid dividends in the 9th when the right hand crashed home and left Jermain badly hurt and wobbly with 2:02 remaining. Taylor was knocked around the ring with more hooks before wisely holding at the 1:46 mark, which almost certainly saved him from a knockout. Luckily for Taylor, Abrahams plodding nature allowed him to recover, and a ripping right hook to the body kept the German on defense for the rest of the round.
The 10th and 11th were all Abraham. Taylor could mount no consistent offense outside of a flickering jab, while Abraham was mauling him with wincing hooks to the body and head. Still, Taylor never stopped trying and kept Abraham honest with an errant hard overhand right.
Before the final round, both corners advised their men to box smart, with Taylors side emphasizing they needed to have this round.
Taylor stormed out working the right hook to the body. For most of the round, Abraham was content to play peek a boo defense and slowing stalk forward as seen in the early rounds.
But then Abraham started opening up at the 1:30 mark and strafing Taylor with hooks. Two left hooks hurt Taylor with less than a minute remaining, and the Little Rock, Arkansas native must have started seeing flashback of his previous fight and loss to Carl Froch. But he stayed defiant, and visibly shook his head as if to say no, I will finish this fight on my feet.
But it was not to be.
As Taylor desperately went after his foe, he was blinded by a left and caught flush with a perfect straight right through the gloves. Taylor was gone before he hit the floor, and received a concussion when his head crashed into the canvas.
The referee stopped counting midway through as medical personnel were already in the ring to assist Taylor.
The win gives Abraham the early lead in the tournament with 3 points (2 for winning and an additional point for the KO), and the colorful fighter was of course ecstatic with his performance.
All the time I was going for the KO, but I knew I was ahead on points, Abraham stated. I was just waiting two and half minutes for him to open up [in the last round]. I was waiting for this opportunity and then I hit him, and it finally worked. Only the win is important, nothing more. He [Taylor] doesnt hit hard. I havent seen a single fight of Dirrell [my next opponent], but I will starting watching tapes and prepare. I hope to go to America , and I will take America. Thats my next plan.
Before going to the hospital, Taylor explained that whether the loss was a decision or a KO, it's still just as devastating.
A loss is a loss to me, man. This aint the first time, this is boxing, Taylor reflected. You have to expect the worst. Its a hard sport.
Next for Arthur Abraham will be Andre Dirrell. Regarding Taylor, some fans and critics are already calling for him to vacate the tournament, citing dangers to his health for having back to back brutal KO losses.
At press time, Taylor has expressed no desire to leave the Super Six.
Froch Wins Controversial Split Decision Over Dirrell
WBC super-middleweight titlist Carl The Cobra Forch (26-0, 20 KOs) had to make it an ugly, mauling bout over the last few rounds to take a disputed, and some say robbery level split decision win over young American upstart Andre Dirrell (81-1, 13 KOs).
With the bout taking place in Frochs hometown of Nottingham, England, the challenger already knew he had a difficult task in front of him.
For the first few rounds, Dirrell controlled the action with a peppering jab to the head and body. A switch-hitter, Dirrell would change his stance once or twice a round to throw off Frochs rhythm.
After 2 rounds of not landing anything clean, Froch started to make things rough by rabbit punching and blatantly hitting Dirrell on breaks. The challenger complained on every foul, and the referee gave Froch a warning in the 3rd. Still, it was Dirrells movement and crisp straights to the body and head that carried the round. Froch looked frustrated, but managed to land a glancing right after running down Dirrell.
In the 5th, Froch got a warning for hip-tossing his foe to the floor, while Dirrell was reprimanded for leaning on Froch in the clinches. These rounds were close depending on what you favor: the aggression of Froch or the cleaner punching and movement of Dirrell. Later in the round, Froch received another warning for hitting on the break after clipping his challenger to the body.
By the 7th, Dirrell had slowed enough to allow Froch to maul him on the inside. In the clinches, Froch would blatantly rabbit punch and hold and hit. Instead of defending himself, Dirrell would complain to the ref and eat more punches in the process. These punches not only got the crowd back into it, but no doubt made an impression on the judges.
Dirrell tried to reassert himself briefly in the 8th by winging fast lead hooks. But it was Frochs constant pressure, and a huge left hook that carried the round.
Things were still nip and tuck by the 10th, when Dirrell was shockingly deducted a point for excessive holding. The deduction was strange considering all the roughhousing going on, and Dirrell sough to salvage the round with a couple of huge lefts hooks that wobbled Froch. The champion grabbed and began holding and hitting, and a few more rabbit punches were snuck in.
In the last 2 rounds, Dirrell stood more flatfooted and gave Forch more opportunities to flurry him wildly against the ropes. However, it was Dirrell with the advantage courtesy of several homerun hooks. Froch kept up the pressure, but the majority of his shots did not have the accuracy of Dirrells.
Final scorecards read 113-114, and 115-112 twice for Froch, who retained his WBC title.
We know where we are with a hometown favorite. He came on strong in the last round, Ill give him that. But I boxed him enough to gain a decision, Dirrell stated in the post-fight interview. I still dont know why he took the point from me hes been holding and hitting me in the back of the head the whole time. Hes been rough the whole fight I got another fight next. The most dangerous ones are the ones who got that loss first.
It could have gone either way [regarding the point deductions]. Andre Dirrell was holding non-stop, Froch argued. If hes going to duck low, Im going to hit him on the back of the head because its there to be hit. Thats fighting, thats boxing. Not illegally, but because hes ducking low. Its the only thing you can do .Im in there to win the fight.
In the next round, Dirrell will face Arthur Abraham, while Froch goes up against tournament favorite Mikkel Kessler.
Vitali Throws Down in Politics
I wonder if the issues in American politics would be solved quicker through behavior like this. Check out heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko involved in a minor scuffle during some type of Kiev, Ukraine political meeting.
Anyone care to translate?
Tyson-Holyfield Reconcile on Oprah
There are three things guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and the world will love you following an Oprah cosign. Last Monday, Mike Tysons emotional interview over the loss of his daughter and his poor life choices changed his public perception from vilified convicted rapist to a misunderstood, emotionally scarred man trying to rebuild his life.
On Friday (October 16), Evander Holyfield showed up and the two future Hall of Famers had their first meeting since the infamous ear-biting incident from their 1997 rematch.
And for those who missed it, check out the last rounds of their first fight, named RING Magazine Fight of the Year in 1996.
Mythical Matchup of the Week: Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Floyd Money Mayweather
Here we have two of the greatest fighters of all time. One is an all time great at welterweight, and the other has been one of the premier fighters at that weight class since 2005. So who would win this epic mythical showdown?
Sugar Ray Leonard is an offensive machine. He possessed the ability to land any type of punch with the deadly combination of speed and power. He was equally adept at boxing (Duran II, Benitez) or slugging (Hearns I) when needed.
Since moving up to welterweight (his 4th weight class), Mayweather has become even more of a defensive specialist. Hes been content to potshot opponents with quick counters and through his immense skill completely shut down the offenses of his opponents. Against him, Mayweathers welterweight opposition have a combined connect percentage of less than 20%.
Head to head, Leonard holds the distinct advantage of being a natural welterweight. Mayweather is not a big hitter at welterweight but very capable of getting the respect of most fighters with his stinging counters.
But Leonard isnt most fighters. And as a man whos walked down Tommy Hearns to a stoppage win (getting a detached retina in the process); its likely hell go through Mayweathers punches.
Leonards speed and power will keep Floyd cautious, and the multi-division champ would be focused more on defense and not getting KOd as opposed to initiating any offense.
Mayweather hasnt fought anyone similar to Leonard, but Sugar Ray has a close facsimile (at least in defensive prowess) in Wilfred Benitez. Unlike most of Mayweathers opponents, Leonard wont get discouraged, and will keep the steady pressure on him despite the missed punches.
Prediction-wise, Id go with a Leonard win by clear unanimous decision, probably by the score of 10-5 or higher over a 15 round bout. A knockout is possible, but I feel Mayweather takes less chances than say a Benitez on offense and wont give Leonard the openings needed.
Of course, Mayweather doesnt quite feel the same way. When I broached the topic to him last month preceding his comeback bout versus Juan Manual Marquez, Mayweather pointed to how Leonard did against his own lightweight opponent moving up.
Sugar Ray always gives me a hard time [when I see him], Mayweather told Knockout Nation. I told him I respect what he did in his era, but he always talks about what he wouldve done to me. Roberto Duran was a legendary fighter, but he came up from lightweight to welterweight and beat you! [Leonard] is always trying to size me up. He was a beast, he beat my dad before. But my dad was giving him problems and he only had one hand. He was injured but had to take the fight because of the opportunity.
Of course, Roberto Duran isnt exactly your normal lightweight, a point Floyd acknowledged.
I probably wouldve had my hands full with him. But I have the blueprint on how to beat everybody because Ive seen everybody lose, Mayweather countered. Nobody has the blueprint on me because no one has seen me lose.
So how about it, everyone? Who wins this mythical welterweight matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Ray Leonard?
Leonard vs. Finch