LL Cool J has probably never met Arthur Abraham. And Abraham probably doesn't have any of Cool J's songs on his iPod.
But it sounds like he wrote the lyrics of one of his songs especially for Abraham, the former International Boxing Federation middleweight champion who fights Jermain Taylor on Saturday in Berlin, Germany, in the opening round of Showtime's "Super Six" super middleweight tournament.
LL Cool J's Grammy-winning 1990 rap, "Mama Said Knock You Out," opens: Don't call it a comeback/I been here for years/Rockin' my peers/Puttin' suckers in fear
It's the chorus, however, that should probably become the power-punching Abraham's anthem:
I'm going to knock you out/Mama said knock you out
If you don't know Abraham, all you need to know is one word: Power.
Taylor faces perhaps the most difficult task in the first round, and not simply because an American defeating a German in Berlin has historically been more difficult than a non-Texan getting a fair shake against a Texas native in the Lone Star State.
No, Taylor's concerns have to be the thunderous power in Abraham's fists. Taylor's been knocked out by Kelly Pavlik and Carl Froch, both of whom are hard hitters but neither of whom hit as hard as Abraham.
"Arthur is kind of like a young Mike Tyson with the way he draws you into the ring and can end the fight with both hands, (whether) it's with a hook or an uppercut," promoter Kalle Sauerland said. "He's knocked down people in many different ways."
OK, the Tyson bit is a stretch. Few men in the history of boxing – probably less than 10 – have hit harder than a prime Tyson and Abraham clearly isn't one of them.
Sauerland's larger point, though, is well taken. Abraham is 30-0 with 24 knockouts and has racked up seven stoppages in 11 world championship fights.
His trainer, Ulli Wegner, insisted Abraham's power would have a major impact upon Saturday's bout at the O2 World Arena.
"I already feel sorry for Taylor," Wegner said. "He does not know how hard Arthur punches. Once he finds out, it will be too late. Once Arthur lands, Taylor will wish to go back to America very quickly."
Taylor, though, has been talking out of character. Taylor is normally a humble and unassuming sort, which he should be given he's coming into the tournament having lost three of his last four, two of which have been by knockout.
Yet, Taylor could find little good to say about Abraham.
"There is nothing special about him," Taylor said. "He has some power and I know he will be prepared to do battle, (but he is) just a normal fighter. I would not rank him at the top with some of the other fighters I have fought."
That remains to be seen, though if Taylor truly believes that, he may change his mind by the third round or so.
The thing that makes Abraham unique as a slugger is that he's not a wild swinger who creates openings for an opponent to counter. He's a very solid defensive fighter and proved in the first of his two bouts with Edison Miranda he's one of the toughest men in the game.
He said his mouth was open when he was hit by an uppercut by Miranda in the third round of their Sept. 26, 2006, match. The jaw was broken in two places and Miranda later needed surgery. He had two titanium plates and 22 screws inserted into his jaw.
Remarkably, he continued to fight and won a unanimous decision.
Abraham desperately wants to become a star in the U.S. and specifically mentioned following in the path of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya.
He relentlessly pursued a bout with Pavlik, but Top Rank's Bob Arum was never able to find enough money to put it together. It was a great disappointment for Abraham, who has fought 28 of his 30 bouts in Germany.
The Super Six will be a coming out party of sorts for Abraham, who has only faced three American opponents and is looking for some love from American boxing fans.
"I'm very excited to be in this monumental event," Abraham said. "I've never been in the ring with someone like Taylor. He's a good boxer and a very strong boxer. I don't know what else to say about it. Everything else we will see in the ring on (Saturday).
"I want to make the really big fight in America. I want to win the title and have a big fight like Sugar Ray Leonard, Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in the States because I love America and it's my goal to make a big fight like in Las Vegas or Madison Square Garden in New York. This Super Six tournament will only help me get that big fight in America."
And if Abraham performs in the tournament like he has in the first 30 fights of his career, it also may help LL Cool J's catchy 1990 rap single mount something of a comeback.
- Jermain Taylor
- Arthur Abraham