Froch – a flawed Super Six favourite
Showtime's revolutionary Super Six Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament gets underway this weekend and while it involves the crème-de-la- crème of that weight division, it's simple, scrapping Nottingham fighter Carl Froch who heads the betting.
The Cobra, who defends his WBC Super Middleweight title at the weekend, has won over a big fan base with his swashbuckling style, final round flourishes and spirit, and he now has a chance to achieve genuine worldwide fame if he can justify his 5/2 outright winner favourite tag.
His campaign kicks-off with an intriguing contest against unbeaten Michigan fighter Andre Dirrell, a man with tonnes of potential but very little big fight experience.
There's no dodging a primetime fight here though for Dirrell with Froch desperate to make a big impact on his Super Six debut and on his beloved hometown fans.
So what can Froch expect from his first opponent?
The big thing is speed. Andre Dirrell is undeniably the quickest man in the tournament, if not the entire super middleweight category.
He'll come firing out of the blocks hoping to consistently land his trademark jab while also gaining a big advantage on the judges' scorecards in the early rounds.
He's sure to target Froch's sometimes suspect guard and it'll be up to the champ to ensure he keeps his hands up and doesn't get cocky if Dirrell is failing to land.
If the fight goes to plan for the American then, not for the first time, Froch may be forced to muster up another epic end to the fight in an attempt to rescue the bout with a late round KO.
This is why I still have a few lingering doubts over the WBC champion. He may have courage and a great chin but late round knockouts are never a guarantee, something that he so nearly found out to his peril in his first title defence against fellow Super Sixer Jermain Taylor.
I'm just hoping the Englishman doesn't wait for Dirrell to start tiring before making his move.
If the scorecard is out of play after round seven or so then you have to ask questions about whether Froch has good enough conditioning to stop the bout early and how well his opponent can take Froch's biggest shots.
In reality Froch should win this one quite comfortably and move into the second round of fights with no harm done, I would however express just a tiny bit of reluctance to back him at 8/15.
There looks to be far more value in a late round KO for Froch, with tenth or eleventh round stoppages looking the most inviting, both priced at 20/1.
In the other bout this weekend, Berlin gets chance to witness a potential classic between national hero Arthur Abraham and experienced American Jermain Taylor.
Undefeated Abraham, making his inaugural super middleweight appearance, starts as the resounding 3/10 favourite, but I see the bout as being much closer than the prices would suggest.
The step up in weight shouldn't cause the former long-term IBF Middleweight Champion too much trouble since he consistently struggled to make the weight but Taylor's robust style could be hard to handle.
Taylor was unlucky not to beat Froch back in April and if he has learned from his mistakes that day then he could be a real contender throughout this tournament.
He's a great technical boxer with quick hands and a decent chin, and would no doubt have been low on the list of fighters Abraham would have wanted for his first trip up to super middleweight.
I still fancy Abraham to win it and remain unbeaten but I think Taylor should take him all the way, eventually losing on points (Abraham on points in priced 11/8).