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Michael Taylor 25th Apr 2009 - 12:26

Froch takes a gamble with US trip

William Hill's resident boxing trader, Sam Foulkes, shares his expert opinions on the forthcoming WBC Super Middleweight title bout between Carl Froch and Jermain Taylor.

Carl Froch won an absolute thriller in his hometown of Nottingham last time out when he outpointed the world class Jean Pascal to win the vacant WBC Super Middleweight Title. You really have to admire Froch for taking a gamble on travelling to America and tackling a big marquee name like Jermain Taylor for his first defence. The move speaks volumes of Froch's seemingly unshakeable belief that he belongs in the elite class.

Taylor, aged only 30, is a seasoned boxing veteran accustomed to mixing it with world level opponents such at Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright and Kelly Pavlik. He will be coming into this fight to win although the prefight talk seems to give the vibe that he may even be underestimating Froch's ability. While Taylor is still relatively young in years I think that it's very clear that he is past his prime as a boxer.

The back to back wins over Bernard Hopkins seemed to take something out of Taylor mentally. He went on to defend his Middleweight Titles with a draw against Ronald Winky Wright - this wasn't a bad result on paper but at the time it was a fight that some had expected Taylor to dominate with his superior physical tools.

He followed this up with a somewhat lacklustre win over Ugandan light middleweight Kassim Ouma. Then again in his next contest, against a much smaller man in Cory Spinks, he edged out only a split decision victory. Taylor chisels down to the 160lbs limit from a big 170lbs frame but he struggled badly with Spinks, a fighter who had been knocked out at welterweight.

Next up came a classic contest against Kelly Pavlik. Taylor started well, and he almost had Kelly out of there inside two rounds but seemed to exert too much energy going for the overdue knockout win that his career was craving. The rest of the fight as they say, is history with Pavlik roaring back to badly knockout Taylor in the 7th Round.

Taylor admirably chose to comeback with an immediate return versus Pavlik, this time up at a slightly higher catchweight - Pavlik won again though, this time on points.

Last time out Taylor returned at 168lbs Super Middleweight to beat a past his best Jeff Lacy with a wide points decision. I caught the tape of this fight and I although I hate to criticize a boxer of Taylor's calibre it had to be noted that he had that vulnerable look about him, perhaps the look of a shot fighter. He was down in the 5th round (ruled a slip) but he definitely looked shaky. Jeff Lacy has got so little left these days that even the lesser Taylor scored an easy win.

Now Taylor goes back in for the title against Carl Froch. We all know about Froch; he was an international class amateur and he has steadily made his way up the ladder as a pro - although he still lacks that defining fight that will put him into elite class, this will all change tonight though.

Stylistically it's difficult to visualise how these two will match up. Both are orthodox boxers who carry their lead arm low. Taylor has tremendous athleticism; he throws a quick jab from that low guard and usually follows it with a pretty telegraphed big right hand. Froch is much more unorthodox, he throws punches from awkward angles, and he hits very hard.

William Hill are one of very few bookmakers who have Froch as the favourite to win this fight, although the late money seems to be going on Froch as the market moves that way.

It's a tough fight to call, a peak Taylor would be a different proposition for Froch. I get the feeling that Taylor will be in for a real shock with Froch. Jermain might be able to fiddle his way through the opening rounds with his quick jab but I don't feel that he has the power to keep a big natural super middleweight like Froch off him for long.

Once Carl starts to land those big shots, Taylor will go into retreat, just as he did in his Pavlik rematch; this is when he will be in real trouble. Froch is too big and powerful; his appetite to succeed seems incredible, and this has the feel of a crossroads fight with Froch seemingly on the cusp of a breakthrough.

I am picking Froch to win big. On points is the most likely outcome but I fancy that an accumulation of hurtful punches might just see Taylor be rescued from further punishment, sometime around the 10th Round.


4/5 - Froch to win

25/1 - Round 10

Carl Froch v Jermain Taylor - view all betting markets

The Fight podcast - Steve Bunce previews the big fight

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