Decisions, decisions; Was Froch/Dirrell a bad one and what will Jermain Taylor decide to do next?
By Peter Howells: Last night, Showtime’s revolutionary super six super-middleweight tournament got going with two different bouts and two different fights. I’ll start with the bout from Berlin as fearsome IBF Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham stepped up a weight to take on another former middleweight champion in American star, Jermain Taylor.
This promised to be very interesting with Taylor being by far the biggest name in the tournament even though he had already lost to one of the ‘super six’ Carl Froch in a thrilling 12th round KO in his last fight. As we are all aware, Taylor was at least a couple of rounds ahead on most people’s scorecards that night before completely running out of gas and being taken out by Froch. We were assured that wouldn’t happen again in Taylor’s bout with Abraham, that Taylor was much fitter and in better control of his weight throughout his training camp. And they (Taylor’s camp) were right.
Yes, Taylor lost by 12th round KO again to Abraham but it wasn’t as a result of his stamina. He just got caught with a beautiful right hand from the hard-punching Armenian. This was a very different last round to the Froch fight. Taylor came into this round trailing on points (I had it 106-103 for Abraham going in) and needing a knockout himself. Yet he clearly did not look tired. He came out pressing forward, throwing the jab out (unlike the Froch fight where he just ran backwards in a straight line) and up until he got caught, I thought Taylor was going to nick the last round. Yet get caught he did, a huge right hand landing as he came forward himself, and as we all know how hard Abraham punches, the result was inevitable. Taylor was out on the canvas and the bout waved off.
This was a huge win over a big US name for Abraham after Pavlik has avoided him ever since beating Taylor himself, and it has made Abraham an early favourite to win the tourney. But what now for Taylor who was apparently hospitalized after the fight for a concussion? Personally, I think Taylor should, and will, fight on. He looked good in this fight just not as good as Abraham, and struggled to deal with Abraham’s power. He was however, clearly not a shot fighter and should have the tools to defeat Ward in his next bout as I don’t believe Ward can keep Taylor at bay with his power like Abraham did. If Taylor does fight on, I still see him as a player in this tournament.
Now on to the other, and much more controversial fight in Nottingham where Carl Froch defended his WBC Super-Middleweight title against rising U.S star, Andre Dirrell (I refuse to call him ‘Matrix’!) This bout of course, ended with a split decision for hometown boy Froch handing Dirrell his first defeat. As everyone who watched this fight knows, it was not entertaining to witness. With Dirrell’s constant running and Froch’s frustration showing itself in some dirty tactics, there was very little to write home about. Until the judge’s results came in.
Froch had been given the split decision, a result which has not sat well with a certain biased writer on this website who shall remain nameless and has thrown all his toys out of the pram over it. My scorecard had it 115-113 for Dirrell but I still don’t think he was robbed. The fact is this; This fight was terribly difficult to score. Dirrell landed when he threw punches but he didn’t do this often enough as he was too busy running everywhere, not wanting to test his chin. Froch threw punches but often only hit air due to Dirrell’s speed and footwork. There was only a couple of clear cut rounds I feel, the rest could have gone either way. I honestly wanted to score a lot of them as even but knew that the judges wouldn’t so I forced myself to find a winner in most of them which was almost impossible to do. The majority of these I gave to Dirrell but knew that there was a case to give them to Froch. It really did depend on what you saw; Dirrell’s defensive skills or Froch’s aggression and dictation of the pace. Obviously two of the three judges went with Froch’s aggression, and that is nothing to do with a so called ‘hometown’ decision, that is just down to individual opinion. Was Dirrell unlucky? Perhaps so. But imagine if Froch had lost his title in a fight like that, I would also consider him unlucky. The fairest result here would have probably been a draw, but judges rarely do that. There has to be a winner and a loser and it 100 & could have gone either way and as such I don’t consider it a bad decision. Dirrell will learn from this fight and learn that to beat someone at this level, he has to do more than what he did last night.
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