It was a long week, but luckily Showtime has a great fight night in store for fans as the network replays the Pacquiao-Mosley fight from last weekend before the two Super Six semi-finals. Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham, tonight’s contenders will touch’em up in the semi-final bout that will decide who will go on to fight the winner in June 2011 between Carl Froch and Glen Johnson.
The Super Six has seen its share of challenges, but in no way has the network, donned for bringing boxing back to casual fans, failed to produce a great, drama filled boxing tournament.
The tournament has set the stage for all that is true of boxing. The square circle is the grandest stage of all where drama unfolds one jab at a time, basically as it does in life. We have witnessed a plethora of exciting action and mind boggling dilemmas during this journey, and the end is near.
There has been very little consistent about the Super Six Tournament, which is the essence of the sport. The sport of boxing is unpredictable; one of many reasons we love it. As we get down to the last two fights before the tournament finals of crowning the best fighter at the end, Showtime deserves accolades for delivering such a great production. Hats off to Showtime for bringing boxing back.
That said, We are only hours away from the WBA super middleweight champ and former Olympic gold medalist, Andre Ward (23-0, 13 KOs) who will be making his third defense title against former middleweight champ, Arthur Abraham (32-2, 26 KOs). Tonight’s match is the beginning of the semi-finals for Showtime’s Super Six super middleweight tournament that will be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, a neutral location for both fighters. The event will air on Showtime at 10pm ET/PT.
Ward’s opponent, Arthur Abraham, has lost two of his last three fights and has shown signs of frustration when faced with losing. Abraham moved up in weight, but his punching power didn’t seem to follow. The loss of Abraham’s mental control and situational intelligence in the ring for his fight with Andre Dirrell and Carl Froch seems to be an important factor in why he has lost 2 of his last 3 bouts.
In March 2010, Andre Dirrell (19-1, 13 KOS) fought Arthur Abraham at the Joe Louis Arena in Dirrell’s home state in the Super Six bout that was engulfed by drama and shock. The fight was full of action as the talented Dirrell came to fight with his technical prowess in tow and his head in the game. Dirrell is a rarity in the fight game that is afforded exceptional boxing skills and intelligence that shows once he steps onto the canvas.
Dirrell transitions seamlessly between southpaw and orthodox styles that have left many opponents other than Abraham confused and frustrated. Frustrated and desperate are two words to define Arthur Abraham’s actions when he faced the slick Michigan boxer.
The action in the ring was plentiful and exciting in March, Dirrell kicked it up a notch and dropped Arthur Abraham for the first time in Abraham’s career with a hard counter left hand. However, the shock of the night was when Abraham’s frustration became worse when the Matrix was not so easy to figure out and dominate. Andre Dirrell was backed into a corner where water was on the canvas causing him to slip and fall.
While Andre Dirrell was down, attempting to get up, one knee on the canvas, the aggressive Abraham walked quickly into Dirrell and threw a punch to Dirrell’s head. The punch knocked out the boxer. I spoke to Laurence Cole, the referee of the night, and Cole told me that he had never quite witnessed such, and that Dirrell was out cold.
Cole quickly recruited medical help because signs of seizing were present. The ring was rushed by the crowd. Dirrell woke to an arena of chaos thinking he had lost the match and was still not completely coherent. The night ended in shock and concern from fans, doctors, viewers, announcers.
Everyone but Abraham seemed to be confused by the moment, but the man that threw the illegal punch danced around the questions. In the post interview, even after the replay was shown to Abraham, he refused to take accountability for his bad and dangerous behavior, denying the punch.
Arthur Abraham lost in a eleventh round disqualification, the punch that knocked out Dirrell, leaving him disoriented caused Dirrell to take a temporary medical leave from the sport on the advice of his doctors due to neurological problems that appeared shortly after the bout. Fans are awaiting the return of Dirrell to ring. The sport has missed this talented warrior.
Again in November 2010, Arthur Abraham was once again out-boxed by the British boxer Carl Froch (27-1, 20 KO’s) where the grossly underestimated, talented Froch showed boxing fans that he’s a contender; not to be underestimated. Carl Froch seems to make boxing seem easy and he did quite the job using his cool mentality and technical prowess to frustrate Arthur Abraham. Froch dominated by UD.
Three months ago in February 2011, Abraham stepped back into the ring for a tune-up fight against Stjepan Bozic (24-5-0, 15 KO’s) which has also been knocked out 3 of his 5 losses. Abraham won the fight by way of TKO due to Bozic injuring his left hand when hitting Abraham’s right elbow.
After an examination by the doctor the referee stopped the bout. I am not sure how much of a tune-up those 2 rounds proved to be for Abraham, but it was an easy win added to his record. Bozic is certainly not a familiar name to hardcore boxing fans, but nevertheless, his left hand colliding into Abraham’s elbow sounds like the clash of school boys at recess and he got the W.
Frankly, the 2 round tune-up fight intended to help King Abraham get his mojo back that ended fist to elbow could not have helped Abraham tune-up anything. He didn’t leave his battery running long enough to see if it had enough juice to perhaps get him through his next journey in Carson, California this weekend, or find out if his battery is shot and doomed to die again in the ring tonight against champion Andre Ward.
To fight a great fighter and champion such as Ward, one should first be in control of their mind and body. Their head must first and foremost be in the game to win, but by way of dominating by control. I can never write enough about situational intelligence. Again, it is a must against an intelligent, slick fighter as Andre Ward.
Andre Ward, like Dirrell does not boast am incredible record of knock outs, but both of these fighters are so skilled in the sport of boxing, similar to Manny Pacquiao, where one punch power doesn’t have to be their biggest and best weapon in their arsenal. Ward has proven he is the man to beat in this division.
Eventually, Ward and Dirrell will chase the same belt which could be a mega fight in the making. To understand the greatness of the “Two Andres” one must see them float in the ring. One must analyze the inherent talent and hard work that these two fighters have invested in their craft.
|Breaking tonight down:|
For Andre Ward to win this fight, he must stick to his game plan of fighting the Andre Ward way. In his last couple of fights the crowd seemed to lacked entertainment, but it takes 2 fighters to entertain. That said, Ward should tune out the crowd, and just do his part. He should fight his fight that has proven to be successful. Ward definitely is superior in technique and footwork. I also give Ward the advantage of having superior mental control and situational intelligence to Abraham’s rough tactics and instincts.
Abraham has gone on the record saying that he would not be as cautious fighting Ward tonight and would be even more of an offensive fighter rather than using his high guard defensive style, which may or may not work for him.
Changing a long time fight style at this point in his career could really confuse him. Abraham stalks his opponents and has a good jab when used, but prefers to break a man down if possible when he least expects it. Considering that Ward has never been knocked out tonight will be a good night for his chin to be tested by the heavy fisted Abraham.
If Abraham finds a window of opportunity to land a punch in hopes of flipping the switch, I hope it is a legal punch and not similar to the fist that Abraham landed to Dirrell’s head while he was on his knees on the canvas.
While the King has moved up in weight, I am not convinced that his punching power chose to follow, but considering Abraham knocked out Jermain Taylor in the 12th round, I think the iron fist of Abraham is his strength tonight. I give the advantage of power to Abraham.
Abraham is fit and athletic, but I do not think speed his one of his competencies; considering that Ward has won all of his fights and has demonstrated the proper technique in which to do so, showing superior footwork, balance, and speed I give all of those important factors to Ward as an advantage.
I think both men are good defensively, neither has been knocked out, but it only takes one punch to change a fight. I think that if Abraham has a chance to do well it will be early on. If Abraham falls behind on the scorecards early, he may become frustrated and forget the game plan, thus handing over his crown to Andre Ward.
I predict Ward by unanimous decision to advance to the finals to face either Froch or Johnson in quest of the best. The Super Six will be then become the “Greatest One.”
- Charlene May