Super Six – Showtime’s Super Middleweight Experiment
By John Novoselac, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 17, 2009) Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME  
Showtime has managed to generate excitement and anticipation for a multiple fight series greater than one can remember since the historical middleweight tourney that crowned Bernard Hopkins king of the middleweights 8 years ago. Saturday kicks off the 6 man, modified round robin super middleweight competition that’s unlike anything we’ve seen. Involving the division’s hottest fighters from both sides of the Atlantic appeases fans across the globe as we embark on a journey that will create a star.

Starting off the action are 2 fighters who established themselves at the 160 pound class that are moving up after growing out of the weight. Former undisputed champion and 2 time Bernard Hopkins conqueror Jermain Taylor faces off with the undefeated former IBF titlist Arthur Abraham, who fights out of Germany. Abraham will enjoy home court advantage as Taylor travels to Berlin looking to gain some momentum in his career after dropping 3 of his last 4 fights, 2 by brutal knockouts.

Although both men are former middleweights, Taylor will hold a distinct size advantage over the shorter Armenian – German. Despite being listed at only an inch apart in height, Taylor is clearly the taller man by at least 3 inches. He also has the longer reach at 74.5 inches to Abraham’s 72 inches. In order for Taylor to win he’ll have to use those advantages and out box the peek a boo Euro slugger. He’s shown the ability to fight his own fight in the past, but in his recent losses he’s succumbed to both fatigue and falling out of his game plan.

Arthur Abraham has fought through tremendous adversity in his broken jaw victory over Edison Miranda, and he’s shown solid knockout power. Whether or not this will carry up as he moves in weight remains to be seen, yet he’s the favorite to defeat Taylor. His power is expected to be too much, and his perseverance may also prove to be problematic for the Little Rock native.

Leading up to the fight I favored Abraham’s power and pressure to be too much for Taylor, but after the weigh in Jermain appears to be in tremendous shape, and the physical disparities were also more evident as the 2 faced off for photos. If Taylor has overcome his previous stamina issues and fights smartly, I think he’ll pull off an impressive, close decision win. Winning a decision in Germany is known to be difficult, so he will have to be a very clear winner to emerge the official victor.

In the second fight of the day, undefeated WBC titlist Carl Froch of Nottingham, England faces off with undefeated Andre Dirrell of Flint, Michigan. Froch amazingly knocked out Jermain Taylor with 14 seconds to go while down on all cards in his last fight defending his belt in April of this year. Meanwhile Dirrell is risking his 18 win and no loss record while having little serious competition on his resume. Once again the European fighter will be at home as they face off in Nottingham.

Dirrell is a well accomplished amateur and former 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist, and has shown superior athletic talent in his professional career thus far. The question is can he display the same abilities against the highest level of competition. If he is able to carry his skills up the ladder of difficulty, he should be able to hit and move enough to pull out a decision win. He’s shown he’s not afraid to stink up the joint to win in the past, so it’s plausible he’ll do it again.

As natural super middleweights, both Dirrell and Froch are about the same size, but the Nottingham native is far more powerful in winning 20 of 25 wins by KO. He’s never out of a fight, and he can absorb a lot of punishment with his hands held at his waist style. He’s not that fast, but he manages to land, and if he lands it may be a short night.

I’m expecting Dirrell to take a safety first approach in this fight, and try to avoid any flush shots. There will be boos, but he won’t care. Like Taylor, if he stays true to his game plan, he’ll come away with a decision win. If not, then he may taste defeat for the first time in a bitter stoppage loss.

No matter the outcome of either fight, boxing fans around the world will be tuning in to enjoy the excitement Saturday night, or afternoon depending on your locale.

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