Super start to a super tournament?
Courtesy of American TV giant "Showtime", boxing's Super Six Boxing Classic tournament begins this weekend. Jonathan Cordingley previews the event.
"It's the biggest thing to happen in boxing in at least 20 years,"-Mick Hennessy
Not since the heavyweight unification tournament in 1986, which a young Mike Tyson won, have we seen such a concept in top level boxing. Take away notable absentees Lucian Bute (IBF Super Middleweight Champion) and Librado Andrade (soon to fight Bute in a rematch) and there is unquestionably a great deal of merit to Hennessy's comment.
The boxers can be broken down into three categories:
Current Super Middleweight Champions
Carl Froch (WBC)
Mikkel Kessler (WBA)
Former Middleweight Champions
Jermaine Taylor (Undisputed)
Arthur Abraham (IBF)
Odds to win the tournament:
The way it works
There are six fighters and each is guaranteed at least three fights via the group stage. Points are scored as two for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. An extra point is awarded for a stoppage win. The four boxers boxers with the highest point totals advance to the semi-final stage where the highest scorer meets the fourth boxer and the second ranked fighter meets the third. The winners of these bouts then meet in the final.
The bouts are spread out over the foreseeable future and the tournament is not expected to be finished until 2011. The first matchups begin this weekend and are previewed below.
Arthur Abraham vs Jermaine Taylor (Berlin, Germany)
-The stronger of the two
-Has a lot of heart as shown in his first match with Miranda-He broke his jaw in the fourth round and still won on points!
-Often a slow starter, but improves as the rounds progress
-Accustomed to long fights and is very durable
-He has home advantage
-Only one fight at Super Middle, but looked impressive in stopping Miranda in their rematch
-The more athletic, faster fighter
-Has a good jab
-Probably a better pure boxer than Abraham
-Is not a fan of the sport and has questionable heart
-Starts well, but fades badly in the latter rounds
-More experienced than Abraham at Super Middle, with three fights under his belt (inc 166lb catchweight fight with Pavlik)
My prediction: Taylor to win the early rounds, Abraham to come on strong in the latter rounds and win by stoppage in the 12th. 20/1 Arthur Abraham in Round 12
Carl Froch vs Andre Dirrell (Nottingham, England)
-Has big fight experience
-Hard hitter with plenty of knockout power
-Likes to fight at his own pace and often leaves himself open by keeping his left arm low
-Has great heart
-Olympic bronze medallist at middleweight in 2004
-Southpaw switch hitter
-Has more speed than Froch
-His career has moved along very slowly since his debut, with only 18 fights under his belt
-Many argue that he has been carefully matched throughout his career
-He is yet to fight a former World champion or even a contender
-Has never gone 12 rounds
My prediction: Dirrell to use his speed in the early rounds before Froch works him out and wins by stoppage. 13/8 Carl Froch by KO TKO or DQ