Tag Archives: showtime super six

The Forgotten Super Six–Ward vs Abraham

The announcement of the Super Six Supermiddleweight tourney a couple of years back was a huge promotional boost for boxing, Showtime, and the original fighters, Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell, Jermain Taylor, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, and Andre Ward.

Promotional squabbles, injuries, poor health, poorer officiating, and sorry scheduling have combined with short term fan memories to take considerable shine off of the involved parties.

Andre Ward

Andre Ward

The tourney favorite now, Andre Ward, should be at a high career point as the last American Olympic Boxing Gold Medalist, but hardly anyone outside his immediate family knows him, and certainly nobody bigs up his flashy resume, silky boxing skills, and thrilling public persona for good reason since he is none of those things.

Arthur Abraham enters this bout at the lowest point of his previously undefeated championship career, coming off his only two losses with critics now questioning his style, heart, and talent.

So, the fight has become essentially meaningless with the general public and barely registers with boxing enthusiasts as the Super Six Supermiddleweight tourney officially slides into terminal torpor, which is a shame given the level of talent packed into this tourney and the hoopla it stirred.

That Ward continues to recieve blatant favoritism by never having to travel beyond his home environs should be a warning for future fighters signing on for these tournies. So far the “homies” have remained undefeated thanks to sometimes specious officiating designed to protect the hometown fighter whenever things ain’t going his way.

That’s not to say some of the hometown fighters didn’t deserve their hard earned victories, but rather noting that in the more competitive contests, clearly the odds were stacked against the visiting fighter, the reason why the Froch/Abraham bout was held in Finland. That eliminated hometown boxing commission favoritism and it was telling the fight was the cleanest of the tourney thus far.

How the Ward/Abraham fight plays out is hard to tell other than Ward should be a substantial betting favorite with recent career momentum and home advantages swinging his way. Stylistically, his current form shows him to be a fundamentally sound boxer type with a strong bent towards dirty fighting, headbutts being his dirty little favorite, but also some unseemly grappling, rabbit punches, hitting on the break, and general ugly mayhem, things that get opposing fighters complaining to the ref and off their fight plans.

Arthur Abraham

Arthur Abraham

Abraham is the slugger in this match with proven power, but he can also be a slow starting, clumsy looking fighter when on the hunt, open to being out maneuvered and outboxed as Carl Froch most recently showed in his last encounter. Abraham is the shortest boxer of all the super six by a substantial margin which may innoculate him against the Ward butts. Though Abraham is extremely strong for his size, it’s a given that Ward is the bigger man and may try to test Abraham early by muscling him inside and brawling to confuse him.

It’s up to Abraham to figure out how to best apply his power to Ward. He did hurt the durable Froch late in their fight, but it was too little delivered too late and I just can’t see him outboxing Ward, so it’s knockout or bust for this fight, something Abraham thrived on in before his last two fights robbed him of his invincible mojo.

Ward turned pro with rumors of a weak chin being the reason this touted Olympic Gold Medalist has taken the slow train to nowhere approach to his career and likely the real reason for his dirty fighting. Thus far though, he has endured every good shot, but it’s fair to say that Abraham even in his diminished capacity of late has more power than Ward has ever experienced, and in an awkward fight as I suspect this will be, King Arthur could well surprise.

They turned pro within a year of each other, but Abraham has logged considerably more fights and rounds, 34/226 compared to Ward who has notched 23 fights in 139 rounds. So add in that Abraham has been fighting at championship level for some 7 yrs and near his athletic prime at age 31, that’s a significant advantage that many are overlooking for this fight since the 27 year old Ward is a relative newcomer to title fights with his 3rd defense of his WBA strap .

Strategically, King Arthur’s long time trainer Ulli Wegner is used to European style boxing where German refs don’t tolerate dirty fighting. Wegner and Abraham had a public falling out after the Froch loss before making up, but I can’t say if all the residual bad feelings between the two have been settled coming into this fight. Can Wegner properly train a fighter for the foot movement and brawling, mauling style of a Ward type of fighter?

More disturbing, Abraham’s promoter, Hall of Famer Wilfried Saurland has warned that he will keep Abraham at home if the California Boxing Commission can’t appoint “neutral” officials for this fight, so lots of “ifs” going into the fight.

Thankfully in a recent interview, Abraham sounded confident and ready to fight, so it may be worthwhile to tune in this Saturday, May 14th at Home Depot Center, Carson, California to see if anyone shows up.

!WoW-Abraham/Froch vs Marquez/Katsidis For FOY!

!WoW-Abraham/Froch vs Marquez/Katsidis For FOY!

Post Thanksgiving, November 27th this Saturday sees what could well be two of the top ranked action packed Fight of the Year candidates.

Just a quick note with all due respect to the abruptly terminated middleweight classic Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams put on.

Planted

Planted

Martinez is smokin’ red hot coming off his dramatic career signature victory and rumored to be in talks to face the newly Showtime signed Lucian Bute, two potential candidates to meet the winner of the Super Six tourney………double WoW!

 First serving this Saturday comes from the “exotic” locale of Helsinki, Finland as part of the Showtime Super Six SuperMiddleweight Tourney when former middleweight champ King Arthur Abraham goes against former supermiddleweight champ Carl The Cobra Froch for the vacant WBC supermiddleweight crown that used to belong to Froch.

These two are far and away the most physical and powerful fighters in the tourney and they usually get their way in the ring by knockout with each being the best or near that the other has ever fought. The ring is gonna get a workout in this one as most folks are thinking a knockdown, drag out, knuckle busting war here.

Both are coming off their first career losses and are hungry to reclaim the glory that used to be theirs. It’s also worth noting that Abraham has knocked the first two fighters he faced clean out of the tournament with brutal concussive force. In Froch’s last bout, Mikkel Kessler outgutted and outboxed him but took enough punishment to pull out of the tourney, citing eye problems that first surfaced in the Ward fight, so fighting Froch is no Sunday picnic.

The Cobra

The Cobra

Froch has really stepped up his competition in his last 4 fights, 3 of which he took some solid punishment in. At age 33, he’s beginning to enter boxing’s twilight zone when traditional athletic attributes start to erode and a fighter needs to make use of smarter conditioning, better ring craft, and nuance. Froch generally likes nothing better than to get in a slugout rather than box which has served him well since he’s so strong, but I rate Abraham’s power over his, so we shall see what transpires when push comes to slug.

One More Down, So Who Wants It Next?

One More Down, So Who Wants It Next?

Abraham is also a pretty basic boxer, never really looking to outbox anyone, but rather to engage in a test of wills, ring generalship, and power. To that end, he does two things exceedingly well: 1-He covers up well on the ropes as he uses them to rest, to gage, and to extend out the opposing fighter.  2-He tends to attack without warning in violent bursts that do a lot of damage and he’s a great finisher when needed.

That’s pretty much 90% of any fight against him that he controls using his style, the ringmanship.

Not many have given Abraham much credit for his footwork, but it’s also topnotch as he’s very quick on the mark, can cut the ring off, and has stayed very well balanced from what I’ve seen in his career save the Dirrell fight where he was forced into a chicken chase of the greased lightning Dirrell and looked off balance and off his game in the early going.

Nobody ever looked good chasing chickens around the pen, though.

If Abraham has any real weakness, it might be found in his titanium rebuilt jaw that Edison Miranda literally shattered in one of the most brutal fights in boxing’s history. It’s a gut wrencher to watch after you understand the full extent of that damage.

I wouldn’t claim to know how long a rebuild of that type could last, but Froch is very heavy handed and the fight game is about exposing and then exploiting any weaknesses as they show up, a predator’s artform.

So for me, it’s Abraham’s footwork and basic style over Froch who will be wanting to rock hard with Abraham in a brutal beauty.

About eight or so time zones later in the more traditional locale of Las Vegas, Nevada, modern Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez means to put his lightweight titles on the line against Aussie based Michael Katsidis for the Ring, WBA and WBO belts.

Marquez is getting up there in years and accumulated ring time, being 37 years of age now and having turned pro in 1993 some 57 fights ago, but he’s currently the man to beat in the lightweight division, so this is the goose who laid the golden eggs opportunity of a lifetime for former WBO champ Katsidis.

The Great Katsidis

The Great Katsidis

Katsidis is the younger, age 30, bigger, stronger, and more powerful puncher in this one whose natural style is as a swarming puncher/brawler. He showed he can box some as the undefeated young contender Kevin Mitchell found out this year when the cagey Katsidis moved and boxed to open before luring Mitchell in for the quick finish.

Marquez is a natural counter puncher, but he won’t back away from a tear up when it comes to him, which it will since Katsidis figures his time is now and knows he could never outbox Marquez on the cards in his adopted Las Vegas fight home.

Marquez knows that he should be able to sharpshoot this one to mark up Katsidis badly, so the question is whether he can finish it before the swarm comes when his old war weary bones will be forced to trade heavily?

A Spritzer Para Tu, Senor

A Spritzer Para Tu, Senor

This one is tougher for me to call. Marquez beat their common opposition that Katsidis lost to, Casamayer and Diaz, but he was struggling although the Diaz rematch went much smoother for him.

Katsidis had Casamayer finished but wasn’t smart enough back then to close the show, and he was never troubled by Diaz, a split decision loss in Diaz’s hometown of Houston, a lackluster fight between two dispirited fighters coming off their first losses and boxing too carefully without any of their usual fire.

Katsidis is now back on the upswing again with a new swagger and better experience whereas Marquez is coming off a dispiriting, lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr that his rematch win over Diaz scarcely bandaged. Marquez knows that a win puts him in the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes, a rubber match that has plenty of support in the boxing community, but he also knows that his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, they are being sued by Manny Pacquiao for defamation, so what was a natural 3rd fight between them becomes problematic.

Katsidis could well wear down the creaking Marquez, but only if his face lasts the distance. Marquez will be the substantial betting favorite though, and Vegas is effectively his home town, so he gets all the officiating perks of the hometown fighter, all ring conditions the game road warrior Katsidis is experienced with. He means to walk through fire for this Golden Goose or go out on his shield trying.

WoW, 2 likely Fight of the Year candidates on the same day well separated by time constraints for your select viewing. Must see to believe!

A Poke Here + A Poke There x 12 = A Lotta Pokes

A Poke Here + A Poke There x 12 = A Lotta Pokes

GrandMaster Marquez Survives to Thrive

GrandMaster Marquez Survives to Thrive

 

Contender Star Brinkley Gets Shot at Lucian Bute

This October 15 on a low key Friday evening in Montreal, Canada, former Contender star and current IBF mandatory Jesse Brinkley gets a shot at Lucian Bute’s IBF crown.

Bute is the top ranked Ring and Boxrec supermiddleweight, a Romanian transplant fighting almost exclusively out of Montreal. His style is of a slick, quick, savvy southpaw not likely to lose any rounds against the overachieving Brinkley who has rebuilt his career the last 4 yrs in solid fashion to get to this point.

Jesse Brinkley with hair

Jesse Brinkley with hair

I hate to see a fine, popular, salt of the earth type of fighter get blown out of the water with little effort as is likely to befall Brinkley, but sometimes in the real world, nice guys lose, and there are no better fighters than Bute for him to lose to.

Brinkley will probably be pumped to the gills for this opportunity of a lifetime and he earned every minute that it lasts. It will be quite the experience for him in Montreal, one that he can pass on to the grandkids one day.

With some good luck combined with spot on timing, maybe Brinkley will land a few stingers on Bute and create some highlight footage for himself before succumbing to the inevitable.

Lucian Bute

Lucian Bute

There are of course much bigger fights for Bute in the grand future queue of things since he recently signed a lucrative contract with HBO.

That was unprecedented for a Montreal centric fighter, but the notion is to feed off the excitement of the Montreal crowd and eventually lure Bute in to Las Vegas for a superfight against the winner of the Showtime Super Six tourney, or at least one of the drop outs.

He also has another IBF mandatory, the undefeated Frenchman Jean Paul Mendy who fights out of Paris that should be a natural fit in Montreal or even Paris.

The biggest option would be to move up a division to challenge the very popular newly crowned Ring Champ, Montreal lightheavyweight Jean Pascal. 

HBO would be all over that fight in a heartbeat, doubtless the biggest Canadian promotion ever put together and a geniune modern day superfight. First things first, however, so Bute has to take care of at least one of his current mandatories in the here and now that can be quite treacherous for a champion with stars and dollar signs clouding his focus.

Brinkley vs Bute

Brinkley vs Bute

Gonna be a fun night that also sees two more popular Romanian transplants fighting out of Montreal, Adrian Diaconu and Ionut Dan Ion back in action, so tune in if you have the chance.

A Spritzer With Your Nightcap, Sir

A Spritzer With Your Nightcap, Sir