Showtime got what it wanted – sort of – in the first round of the Super Six super middleweight tournament Saturday. Arthur Abraham knocked out Jermain Taylor with a crushing right late in the 12th round in their fight in Berlin, and Carl Froch won a split decision later in the night over previously unbeaten Andre Dirrell in Nottingham, England.
The fights were good, though hardly great. There was nothing other than Abraham's one-punch knockout in the waning seconds that pulled you out of your seat.
Taylor, not surprisingly, had little to offer and was pretty much a sacrificial lamb by about the fifth round. Clearly, it's time for Taylor to drop out of the tournament and retire. He's been brutally knocked out in three of his last five fights. If he keeps going, he's going to wind up seriously injured.
One could have made an argument prior to the tournament that Taylor didn't even deserve a spot, given he'd only had one win at super middleweight (that over the faded Jeff Lacy) and had lost three of four coming in.
Now, there is no question. Taylor should step aside and give his spot to another fighter, not only for the sake of the integrity of the tournament but also for his own health.
Showtime would have been wise to put a marquee matchup on first to help boost interest. Froch and Abraham, for instance, are scheduled to meet next year in Group Stage 3. That fight would have been a terrific opener, far better than either of the two that were shown. But the tournament is a great concept which could do much for the sport.
Let's get into a busy mailbag. I'll answer plenty of questions about the Super Six, as well as numerous other boxing topics.
Super Six chatter
I just finished watching the Arthur Abraham-Jermain Taylor fight. Though I feel Abraham was ahead going into the 12th, I was not that impressed by his performance. He just does not throw enough punches early on to beat someone like Mikkel Kessler or Andre Ward. My problem, though, is with Taylor's trainers. I heard them telling him to be careful throwing the right hand. He should have been loading up on them early and often, to the body and head. I feel he was the much more skilled fighter and really would have benefitted from a trainer like Freddie Roach, who seems to preach the in-and-out approach, but with real punches being thrown while the fighter is within reach.
Taylor did little more than jab in the fight and that's no way to defeat Abraham, especially in Germany. He clearly wasn't prepared properly in terms of tactics and wasn't getting the right advice in the corner. As for Abraham, he did what he had to do. He broke Taylor down and stopped him when he had the chance.
After watching the Carl Froch-Andre Dirrell fight, I can see why many people believe boxing is a dying sport. This was completely pathetic. I watched it with my mom and I told her everything that would happen just like it did. In the first round Froch would become discouraged and start fighting rough. After all the illegal crap Froch threw, Dirrell would be docked, and last but not least that Froch would win on a split decision with, coincidentally, the two European judges giving him the win. Don't get me wrong: I like rough fights and little boxing, but Dirrell clearly won this fight.
Fort Meade, Md.
I had it 114-113 for Froch. I scored it six rounds apiece, but Froch got the win because of the deduction. I don't think it was a travesty and I think Dirrell has no one to blame but himself. He didn't punch nearly enough and held far too much.
I don't think Jermain Taylor should be in the Super Six tournament. I think Winky Wright or even Kelly Pavlik would better. Who do you like to replace him?
I agree. Jermain should retire. I like your suggestion of Winky. Pavlik is out, because he's fighting Paul Williams on Dec. 5. But if I had to bet who would replace Taylor if he dropped out, I'd put my money on Allan Green.
Your take on Froch as a dedicated, strong-willed achiever is refreshing. I say this because of the impression Froch himself projects: Cocky, arrogant and self-absorbed. I first noticed this in the Froch-Taylor post-fight interview, then again in the first installment of "Fight Camp 360," where Froch was shown holding a coffee mug bearing his own image, and his girlfriend was shown in their home, standing before a giant poster of herself. Froch's arrogance recalls that of another English fighter: Prince Naseem Hamed. How do you reconcile Froch's 'good guy' image with this narcissistic streak?
I don't profess to know Froch particularly well, but every time I've seen him at a news conference, talked to him at a fight or taken part in a conference call he was on, he was friendly, accessible and a guy determined to make the most of his ability.
I agree that this tournament is a novel and positive event for boxing, except for two things: First, the bouts are in Europe. Yes, the energy in those arenas will be awesome. Secondly, the fights will be shown on the cable network Showtime? Granted, at least Showtime stepped up to promote and televise this event. They deserve kudos for that. But, where does Showtime rank as a cable network and how many people in the US get Showtime? Most people probably have Showtime because it was required by their cable provider to receive a certain package!
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The tournament wouldn't be taking place, Scotty, without Showtime. It was Showtime Sports general manager Ken Hershman who conceived the idea and did the legwork to put it together. HBO has a significant edge in subscribers, but Showtime deserves credit for trying something outside of the box.
Welterweight Super Six
If there were a Super Six in the welterweight division, who would you include and how would you set the matchups?
I'd pick eight and have a single elimination. I'd seed them thusly: 1, Floyd Mayweather Jr.; 2, Manny Pacquiao; 3, Miguel Cotto; 4, Shane Mosley; 5, Joshua Clottey; 6, Andre Berto; 7, Luis Collazo; 8, Zab Judah. I'd take Mayweather to win.
I'm an avid follower of your work. In your recent piece on Don King, one thing struck me as odd: the fact that the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight had over 1 million pay-per-view buys. It just doesn't fit with the rest of the evidence you talk about in your story: Vegas being depressed, little pre-fight excitement, lack of an arena sellout, etc. It made me wonder if an independent third party estimates the PPV total, and/or is there an auditor of the announced total? It just seems fishy to me.
Part of the reason I used that was it illustrated my point. People were interested in the fight outside of Las Vegas, but things are so tough here (I live in Vegas), they're more worried about getting a job and paying the bills. Las Vegas' unemployment hit 13.9 percent on Monday, so those folks aren't looking to buy $300 boxing tickets. HBO is a public company and will include the information in its end of year reports. They get their figures from the cable and satellite companies around the country and that's how they pay the fighters their bonuses. Only fighters who have a stake in the PPV results can request an audit. I have no doubt the number is legitimate, Ian.
Good article on Don King with information I never read before! The emphasis on the promotional aspect is awesome, if it can be combined with what have been great matchups and action by other promoters. When "fight night" takes a back seat to the promotion is where I tuned out before.
Jose L. Munoz
Promoting a boxing match is like of like running a steakhouse. If you create a great ambience and deliver superior service, people will come and give your restaurant a shot. But what brings them back is the great steak. The promotional and marketing aspects are hugely important, but the bottom line is a deep and intriguing card. We'll see how Don fares.
Floyd against who?
I just want your reaction about the articles I have read that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be fighting a 19-year-old Mexican, Saul Alvarez, next year. If it really happens, then I think it will be a shame.
He's not going to fight Alvarez, who is 29-0-1 with 22 knockouts. Trust me. That fight is not happening. If by some strange phenomenon it does, I will lead the charge to portray it as the complete farce it would be. To me, the possibility of this happening is less than one on a scale of 1 to 10.
I read that you said about 10 boxers in history have had the punching power of Mike Tyson. Who do you think are the top 10?
You're trying to get me in trouble, aren't you, Reggie? OK, this is a quick stab at it off the top of my head. I invite dissent: 1, Joe Louis; 2, Sugar Ray Robinson; 3, George Foreman; 4, Archie Moore; 5, Earnie Shavers; 6, Rocky Marciano; 7, Jack Dempsey; 8, Stanley Ketchel; 9, Sandy Saddler; 10, Mike Tyson.