Tag Archives: allan green

Showtime Supermiddle Final Showdown– Andre Ward vs Carl Froch

The action is supposed to occur December 17th at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, but this Showtime Supermiddle Tourney has been plagued by so many cancellations, reschedules and bad hometown officiating it’s hard to know how much the average fan cares about the final.

The Showtime tourney was announced with great fanfare and accolades, but only a few fights have lived up to the promise of the best fighting the best. Now the tourney limps home on the final leg.

The best officiated and by far most competitive fight was overseas in Mikkel Kessler‘s backyard of Denmark where he and Carl Froch went toe to toe with great overall boxing skills. Excellent ebb and flow and a very clean fight where both fighters had to dig deeper than ever before just to stay in the bout. Kessler won the bout but had to withdraw from the tourney because of a eye injury first suffered in the Ward fight where he was without vision. 

One thing is certain about this bout, Andre Ward and Carl Froch are two really tough fighters with a lot of strength at the weight. Ward holds the traditional prime age advantage at 27 years to Froch’s 34 years, but Froch is fighting as well as he ever has, so I don’t see age playing a factor though Froch has 5 more fights and 48 more rounds on his ledger.

Andre Ward is the last American Olympic Gold Medalist and was supposed to be boxing’s new star, but he has almost disappeared in the boxing landscape since his 2004 debut to become a small venue hometown California fighter well removed from the bright lights of Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden. Ward compiled a 24-0, 13 KO record in boxing’s hinterlands and will be making his 4th defense of the WBA belt he won off of Mikkel Kessler, the blueprint of his butting, elbow and grappling style offense he has employed during the tourney.

Froch vs Pascal

Froch vs Pascal

Meanwhile, Englishman Carl Froch turned pro to no acclaim in 2002 and stayed that way in England as he steadily fought his way up the chain until his spectacular “international” debut in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham, England. He dethroned undefeated Canadian Jean Pascal to snatch away his WBC belt in a very well fought bout with plenty of back and forth action. Since then he has done a foxtrot around the world against the best supermiddleweights in the business and has slowly built up a healthy following in the UK. He is a fan friendly action fighter with only one very competitive loss to Mikkel Kessler to sully his record, 28-1, 20 KO.

So Froch is better prepared to fight away from home than Ward and may have more fans in attendance than Ward since British fans love to hop The Pond to vociferiously support their fighters. However better prepared Froch is to fight away from home, Ward is clearly the Showtime “house” fighter, the only fighter to fight all his Showtime fights on his hometurf until this fight was scheduled.

Ward is more than the last Olympic Gold Medalist, he is also undefeated, so there’s much more upside to keeping him undefeated for Showtime than if the British fighter wins. This means Froch has to beat him substantially to secure a draw, and knock him out cleanly to secure the win, but Froch is the slugger in this match even if his power seems on the wane of late.

Up Close Dark Arts

Up Close Dark Arts

The biggest problem for Froch being that Ward is also the dirtiest fighter in boxing, well experienced in spoiling tactics and various “Dark Arts.” More to the point, Ward is strong enough and willing to use them as his primary offensive weapons in naked view for all to see. So far only the brawling Sakio Biko could match his dirty tactics, and poor Bika had the ref interfering anytime he looked to be up against Ward, and of course the hometown judges awarded Ward almost every round of the ugly fight only Ward’s family might like to judge.

There is no easy way to prepare for the strength and skill Ward uses to employ his Dark Arts any more than there is to counter the interference from the referee. If Froch is to win he has to fight in a defensive grappling  style any time Ward gets in on him for a butt while aggressively setting up his knockout punches on the outside.

Grappling inside with dirty fighters is not Froch’s forte.

Ward is easy to find in ring center usually, but harder to hit cleanly with his octopus arms and elbows sucking up a fighter’s offense and spirit. He did employ cleaner tactics against Arthur Abraham and Allan Green, but Abraham is a pure upright slugger that a good boxer with footwork in a hometown setting can secure a win against and Green barely showed up, meaning that Ward does have some legitimate boxing skills to employ when he chooses and knows how to stay away from sluggers.

Nonetheless, Ward makes a very awkward fight to score because even when he chooses to box outside, he’s still got a quick low shoulder rush inside that knocks other fighters off balance and disrupt continuity.

Adding it all up, Ward has to be considered a favorite. I’ve no doubt Froch could outbox and outslug him in a cleanly officiated and scored bout, but such rules of fair play are regrettably not likely to be in force. I don’t envision a knockout, but a headbutt could stop the fight. The fight was originally delayed when Ward got a truly nasty cut in sparring, possibly working on a headbutt that went awry.

Should be interesting to see what tactics each employs, and if Froch is smart, he’ll stay clean and use his considerable skills to work as hard as he can and let the chips fly where they may. Two high profile Brits, Dereck Chisora and Amir Khan have lost against hometown fighters recently. Chisora employed headbutts and clowning strategies that clearly didn’t win over the judges. Khan was warned repeatedly for pushing before being deducted points. Both were winnable fights with a smarter, cleaner strategy.

Wonder what the over and under odds are for a clean fight vs a dirty fight?

Shame it has to come down to a question like that, but the Showtime folks and New York Commish have a chance to correct what has been largely a disappointing tourney with some genuine sporting rules of fair play enforced to finish the tourney and the year with a great fight.

Here’s a Shout for Carl Froch vs Glen Johnson

Another leg of the forgotten Super Six Supermiddleweight tourney takes place on June 4th this Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City when the Old Road Warrior, Glen Johnson challenges Carl Froch for his WBC belt and the right to advance to the finals of the tourney.

This should be a cracker of a fight as the Brits are fond of saying, but alas, is anyone else interested outside the usual boxing fanatics? Hopefully there’s enough boxing fans still left on the East Coast to fill the venue in order to honor the fighting credentials of these gentlemen who are loathe to take a step backwards in the ring and willing to take on all comers, a rarity in boxing these days among the plethora of spoiled belt holders. 

In his last outing Froch put on his finest boxing demonstration ever in handling the frustrating style and power of Arthur Abraham. Johnson proved there’s still thunder in those ancient mitts as he knocked out Alan Green who had never been stopped before.

The Fatal Blow

The Fatal Blow

Incredibly, this is 42 yr old Johnson’s 18th year in boxing, and while he has slowed up some physically as to be expected, he is still one of the all time toughest fighters in history and nobody fancies a walk in the park with him unless they are forced to. No surprise that Johnson has logged well over double the fights and rounds of Froch who has become quite experienced in the last few years at the elite level of his division.

Since both are coming off previous performances that were out of character for each fighter, that makes this fight something of a wildcard where anything might happen. Johnson is a pure pressure fighter and Froch thrives at ring center against come forward fighters so there is sure to be plenty of give and take in this donnybrook.

Carl Froch

Carl Froch

Does Froch have the power to keep Johnson off of him in order to pick him off? Can Johnson get inside to outwork and outbrawl Froch?

I must confess to loving the career of the old Road Warrior, but probably he needs a big knockout to win this fight, and of course Froch has proven to be very durable, so my fear is that Froch’s power may trump Johnson by the fight’s end.

Froch will enter a substantial favorite, but he best be running on all cylinders as this will take a huge effort to derail Johnson who is probably as hungry a fighter today as he was 15 yrs ago.

Time for a Big Shout to rattle the cages of fight fans down Jersey way. Everyone always moans about returning to some golden era of old school fighters, and now two of the best modern throwbacks to any golden era in history are gonna duke it out in your backyards, so, gentlemen, “Let‘s git it on!”

Knockout of the Year– Sergio Martinez KO2 Paul Williams

~((BooM))~ The CHAMP:

Como se dice, "Adios, Amigo?"

Como se dice, "Adios, Amigo?"

Sergio Martinez shattered the glass ceiling that has kept him from the pinnacle of boxing by doing the unthinkable, airmailing the concussive force of a single short looping left handed grenade that blasted the immovable, unstoppable Paul Williams straight into dreamless Bolivia. Both were highly ranked in their multiple divisions for some time now and consensus type P4Pers, so this rematch was highly anticipated. The towering Williams come out hard with an evil blood in his eye glint to him as he went about the task of pounding Martinez into dust bunnies. Perhaps the only criticism might be it was too short of a fight with no chance for ebb and flow or drama, but it was a shocking, turnabout type of moment and absolutely the highest level signature KO of a fine bunch for me, one for the ages.

All 2 rounds of the fight here with the KO just after 5:30 mark. There seems to be a sound lag, so you will hear a huge bomb go off with the crowd roaring about 1 second before it happens on the tape.

The Worthy Contenders:

Fernando Montiel TKO4 Hozumi Hasegawa

The Swarm

The Swarm

Fernando Montiel put together a 6 second highlight clip of his career with a stunning left hook that sent the monstrous Hozumi Hasegawa stumbling back to the ropes where Montiel leaped in to snap off a flash combination that caused the ref, Laurence Cole to stop the fight in the last second of round 4. Both highly ranked in their divisions and fringe P4Pers with Montiel stepping up in weight and flying all the way over to Japan to take on a dominant champ who had a string of KO defenses. What mars this bout for me is the poor reputation of the ref, Laurence Cole, who has uncanny habits of terrible timing among many bad habits, stopping what had been 4 rounds of a Hasegawa textbook masterclass performance after 6 of the last 7 seconds that remained of the 4th round. The champ was just starting to recover when Cole steps in, losing the one minute’s more rest time due him.

Longtime Japanese boxing icon, Joe Kozumi, reported alternately that Hasegawa suffered a fractured rib or fractured jaw either in training or during the fight, but, regardless, that was a booming counter left hook that stumbled Hasegawa and a brilliant flash combo that forced the stoppage of the unstoppable. I would also add that had to have been one of the most gentlemanly technical fights fought at such a high level with nary a thing for the ref to do, both showing complete respect to the other for any minor incidents common in lefty/righty clashes. Hasegawa was very tight at the weight and only trying to break the Japanese record for consecutive defenses. He subsequently moved up two full divisions to featherweight to stage a rough tough masterclass over a bigger, stronger, younger undefeated contender for that WBC title in spite of suffering a terrible cut from a butt early on. He must have been really tight at banty to jump 2 full divisions with such a strong performance.

Rounds 3-4 with the final punches just after the 6:00 mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpUf_mqg9Sg&feature=related

Glencoffe Johnson KO8 Alan Green

Put a Knot on Your Noggin That Grandpa Soap Won't Wash Out!

Put a Knot on Your Noggin That Grandpa Soap Won't Wash Out!

I like that ol’ man Johnson took this bout on somewhat short notice and made a weight he hadn’t been out for a decade and then knocked out a prime contender who had never been stopped. Thing is that Green was coming off a one of the most technical lopsided losses I’ve ever seen against Ward and was not a highly regarded contender, but still, it’s the Road Warrior for the HOF for me. Nobody comes close to his decade long quality of competition, not to mention being well into his 40s and still willing to travel and cede unfavorable conditions and short money just to get a crack at the cream of his division. He’s become the signature ol’ timer of boxing, more so than any of his contemporaries.

All 30 seconds of round 8, a complete carpet bombing:

Wlad Klitschko had 2 stunning highlight reel knock em dead K-Os of Chambers in the last 5 seconds of the 12th and Samuel Peter at 1:22 of the 10th.

Diced, Then Iced

Diced, Then IcedThe downside is there was no drama of a tough fight or necessity other than Manny Steward challenging Klitschko to stop his methodical beatings and go for it. Still, nobody had ever iced these guys stone cold before, so a combination of being young, highly ranked and rock solid durability type of contenders to be so utterly dominated before the icing, it’s quite an accomplishment in one of the great dominating heavyweight careers.

Entire 12th rd with the KO just after the 3:00 mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhKcVDfp9F8

My complete respect for the poor, unfortunate victims of these bombings. Takes a brave man to enter the ring and risk his physical and emotional integrity to end up on the down side of the latest highlight clip for schoolboys to giggle over, but such is the risk and nature of boxing.

And Then There Were Three-The Demise of The Showtime Super Six

Chop-Chop

Take out your photoshop shears and saw off the right side from the middle of the above photograph, a scarily eerie sequential grouping portending the fate of this acclaimed elimination tourney launched with much fanfare.

There was hope for all the parties involved, not withstanding expectations of boxing fans everywhere. Oddsmakers quickly put together their numbers and folks lined up on the side of their favorites. Sleeping nationalistic fervors were fired up and internet boxing forums were buzzed as the prefight debates and squabbles commenced.

Even the casual viewing general public stood up to take notice, proving that boxing is not yet dead in the hearts and minds of the larger populace just yet. This was a new world order shaping up the boxing world where 3 Americans and one Dane, Brit, and German apiece were mixed and matched in a dream come true, the best fighting the best.

The Fates Plot
The Fates Plot

Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men get dashed so easily in the grand scheme of things once The Fates of Perchance enter the picture. 

In perfect sequential order as per the photo, Jermain Taylor, Mikkel Kessler, and Andre Dirrell have dropped out of the tourney citing the bane of boxers everywhere, neurological problems.

Blame meisters are of course in overdrive trying to assign the blame for the collapse of the tourney, but technically, the tourney is still on with replacement fighters Allan Green and Glen Johnson selected to replace Jermain Taylor and Mikkel Kessler respectively.

 Showtime should instead be applauded for aspiring to such a grand idea that elevated the worldwide profile of boxing. So what if they fell short because of inherent structural problems involved in organizing a promoter controlled sport of brutal consequences? It was a wonderful learning experience that they can utilize as they launch their new Super Six Bantamweight Tourney.

Nobody is claiming that Super Six tourneys are the solution to boxing’s woes, but it is a nice piece of creative organizing that with a little luck, will open up promoters, broadcasters and boxers to better work with each other for better fights.

There are legitimate criticisms of course, the overriding one being the blatant home favoritism that has seen every visiting fighter losing with the taint of incompetent officials too often spoiling the show. Perhaps, tellingly, the venues have too often turned out to be small potato type hometown low attendance type locales for such a high profile global tourney.

Why are they fighting in Nottingham, England, Oakland, California, and Detroit, Michigan for example? Froch, Ward, and Dirrell have little local following and would be best served up in Las Vegas or London where their names and publicity would resonate more.

And what of the fates of the fighters you might ask?

Jermaine Taylor at age 32 was the first to drop out, but he has had a fine career with great earnings if he chooses to retire. Twelve of his last 13 fateful fights have been against past, present, or future champions. All four of his losses have come in his last 5 fights against prime, very strong, murderous punching undefeated fighters. If not the end of the road for him, the end surely must be near.

Mikkel Kessler followed Taylor, yet started the tourney as the favorite, and at age 31, he’s has had the longest professional career with a record of 43-2. As a 3x champion with great earnings, the end of his prime may be near with him still relatively intact. No sob stories yet, but that’s assuming his eyesight will return to normal.

Andre Dirrell is the latest dropout, a relative novice at age 27 with a 19-1 record. This was supposed to be where his career flowered, but his sole win in the tourney also saw him splattered incomprehensible on the canvas after Arthur Abraham was finished with him. It would be a shame for him, his family, and his team if this was the end of the road. His style is not to take punishment, so it could be that once his chin was finally cracked, the problems will only start to cascade. Every fighter has a limited time, so I leave those decisions to him and his advisors.

Arthur Abraham is still a strong favorite to win the tourney, and at age 30 with a 31-1 record, he’s had a fine career and earnings and seems well poised with the fearsome reputation of having knocked his first two opponents out of the tourney. One could easily imagine him doing the same to Carl Froch in his next bout.

Carl Froch at age 33 started as the elder statesman who has had a fine warrior type of career thus far, but not the big earnings and acclaim he might have hoped for as a British champion. He seems to have been shaken up by his loss to Kessler and perhaps sees the end of his own prime slipping away in the undertow of the tsunami of formidable talent washing over this tourney. We shall see.

Andre Ward at age 26 is the baby of the tourney with a perfect record of 22-0 still intact as Dirrell, Abraham, and Froch have seen the first nicks on their records. Ward has been the biggest winner of the tourney as far in jumping the ratings, but has shown some serious cracks in the façade that still sees him as a regional California fighter with a small following in spite of being the last US Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist. Probably the oddsmakers have him down as the favorite now, but that may change if he is ever pried out of his hometown and forced into a fight under neutral conditions.

Allen Green at age 31 is still waiting for his career to take off. The public was last seen waiting for him to throw a meaningful punch at Andre Ward, and may still be waiting after Glen Johnson finishes with him.

Glen Johnson at age 41 and record of 50-14-1, gives some serious gravitus to the tourney IF he can reduce down to the 168 lb weight limit. He has to be The People’s Choice of the tourney now and truly the pre-eminent road warrior of his era…..Have Gloves-Will Travel.

Insert the next replacement to fight Andre Ward here___________. Showtime is scrambling to find a suitable replacement to carry on. Good luck.

So, perhaps the rumors of the death of the Showtime Super Six are premature, but it’s been a grand experiment, so surely boxing enthusiasts can better appreciate the logistics of making credible fights when so much is at stake.