|"King" Arthur Abraham KO’s Jermain Taylor with Just 11 Seconds Left
By Gabriel Montoya, MaxBoxing (Oct 18, 2009) Article provided by MaxBoxing (Photo © Photo SE Wende)
Before a sellout crowd at the O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany, the Super Six Super Middleweight tournament kicked off in exciting fashion when “King” Arthur Abraham took (31-0 with 25 KOs) knocked out Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (28-4-1 with 17 KOs) with just 11 seconds left of their scheduled 12 round bout. It was as competitive match as you can get with two top level fighters such as this and fulfilled the promise of what this tournament is all about. The atmosphere was electric as Taylor entered wearing red with white trim to “Bad” by Michael Jackson looking focused and confident. Abraham entered wearing the oddest robe of all time to a live pyrotechnics laden performance by German heavy metal gods The Scorpions. The robe was a gold with lion fur trim oddity that undercut the fierce look in his eyes. The importance of the moment was evident during the staredown which was so intense it should have been included in the scoring.
Taylor started out boxing very well behind a jab despite most of his shots landing on the turtle shell defense of Abraham. The knock on Taylor is that he has forgotten about his jab (his best weapon) and gassed out late in fights but tonight he threw it with abandon and seemed to pace himself well. Abraham, who is known as a heavy but hyper-economical puncher and a very slow starter, did nothing to change that as he moved forward behind his shield and threw occasional but very hard jabs to the head and body of Taylor who made up for power and accuracy with volume. It was clear from the outset one man was looking to win the boxing match and the other was going for the knockout down the stretch. In terms of scoring a fight like this it would come down to what the judges favored: volume or effectiveness of the punches landed.
Over the course of the first four rounds, Taylor dictated the action. He jabbed at will, mixed in hooks and uppercuts along with his looping right hand. Abraham jabbed hard here and there but seemed to be losing by inactivity. What was clear was that when Abraham landed hard shots they were affecting Taylor (i.e. moving him back or rocking him) and when Taylor landed it was partially blocked and not really hitting Abraham flush much less hurting him. The jab and movement of Taylor was dictating the tempo and long range geography of the fight but the body work of Abraham and sporadic hard rights and jabs were laying a foundation that would be built upon later.
In the middle rounds, Abraham began to step up his aggression, landing hard right hands and digging lefts to Taylor’s ribs but the Arkansas native remained poised and focused on his game plan. Jab, jab, right hand, move away. Rinse repeat. Abraham stayed in that shell and pressed forward only to explode when he had Taylor in close. This forced Taylor to open up more of his offense and get off with hooks and uppercuts along with that right hand and jab. But still the tough defense of Abraham seemed damn near impenetrable while his offense was becoming increasingly dangerous.
On factor coming into the fight was the refereeing and judging of the respective hometown fighters. Germany is every bit as notorious as Las Vegas for suspect versions of both but in this fight it seemed as if the referee Jose Garcia was going to call it very tight. Taylor landed a few borderline and some clean low blows early in the fight and was penalized for it in the sixth round. Still, even though the round, one in which this writer scored it for Abraham, may have been a 10-8 round, Taylor stuck to his game plan and remained poised heading into the championship rounds. His experience fighting many of the top fighters in and around the middleweight division he once stood atop showed on this night as he jabbed, jabbed, and jabbed some more while circling away from Abraham and staying for the most part off the ropes. The ninth was close as Taylor dictated most of it early on but he was hurt by a huge right hand from Abraham off a jab. King Arthur tried to follow up but Taylor regained his composure and fought him off.
Down the stretch Taylor didn’t seem to be fading as he had in previous big fights. He kept up his volume jabbing but strayed away from using the right or any other punch from keeping Abraham. King Arthur showed patience if no urgency at all while stalking Taylor with the confidence that if he could hurt him once he could do it again. In the twelfth round he did just that.
It was nip and tuck in the final round with Taylor trying to keep Abraham at bay and the Armenian knockout artist walking him down. Taylor got in a nice jab, jab, right to the body combo but Abraham came back with a right of his own. Abraham opened up on Taylor and rocked him with a left hook but still Taylor seemed ok on his feet. Abraham, the clock ticking down inside 30 seconds and the fight possibly on the table, blinded Taylor momentarily with a jab and split Taylor’s raised guard with as hard and as accurate a right hand as they come. Taylor was out before he hit the canvas, landing with his hands in the air and his senses completely removed. A count was merely a formality. The time was 2:54 of twelfth round.
Where Taylor goes from here is uncertain. While he did not talk retirement in his post fight comments, he was taken to hospital for observation with what is surely a bad concussion. While he is still in the tournament, back to back late knockout losses are dangerous for fighter’s long term health. While this is the hurt business, safety of the combatants should come first.
“He just caught me. I thought I was in the best shape life,” said Taylor. “It hurts but it goes with the territory.”
According to the tournament rules, Abraham scored 3 points for the win and the knockout and moves on to face Andre Dirrell in Stage 2 of the tourney.
“Great fight, great KO,” said Abraham afterwards. “He is a good fighter. I think I was ahead on points. All the time I was waiting for the KO. I was just waiting for him to open him up. For the opportunity and it worked.”
The Super Six Stage 1 delivered on its promise. A breath of fresh of air to have the fight live up the hype.
Gabriel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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