The two favorites in the Showtime Super Six tournament have losses on their records now. Mikkel Kessler was dominated en route to a decision loss to Andre Ward, and recently, undefeated Arthur Abraham was disqualified for an illegal blow to underdog Andre Dirrell. The two defeats demonstrated why this tournament is so good.
It’s a very hard thing to predict, but there is now a clear favorite…or not so clear favorite, a dark horse, a new entry trying to prove he belongs, and the two favorites trying to regroup. What do the participants need to do and what are their chances?
“King” Arthur Abraham, 31-1, 25 KO’s
Tournament Record: 1-1
The former IBF Middleweight Champion seemed like nearly a sure thing after Kessler was defeated to win the tournament. He made a statement in his first showing, knocking former Middleweight Champion, Jermain Taylor, into tomorrow and out of the tournament, picking up three points. His tight defense, iron chin, and courage made him a near impossible man to beat and not too many gave Andre Dirrell a chance to defeat him.
The tight defense proved to be his downfall against Dirrell. The quick and light-footed Dirrell was so quick and active that Abraham remained in a shell, and shockingly, Abraham was dropped for the first time in his career in the fourth round. Going into the 11th round, Dirrell was well ahead on the cards (98-91 and 97-92 twice), and Abraham was desperate, so desperate that he threw a wicked uppercut to the chin of Dirrell when he was on his knees, slipping on some water in the corner. Dirrell was knocked cold and the fight was over with Abraham was DQ’d.
What does the future hold for Abraham in the tourney? Abraham will face off against Carl Froch in his next outing with the hopes of rebound. Froch has a big punch but can be bullied at times, which should work out well for “King” Arthur. There is still hope for King Arthur to win it.
Mikkel “Viking Warrior” Kessler, 42-2, 32 KO’s
Tournament Record: 0-1
The former WBA Super Middleweight Champ only had one defeat on his record coming into the tournament against all time great, Joe Calzaghe, and most focused on that as the reason why he would win it. At one time, Larry Merchant said he didn’t trust any fighter whose reputation was based on a defeat, and this was a case of it. When he took on Andre Ward, he was favored to win, but from the opening bell, Ward dominated. Kessler was frustrated and rocked on several occasions. The bout would be stopped in the 11th round from a cut on Kessler, and it would go to the cards with Ward winning a wide decision.
Kessler now focuses on his April 24th showdown with Carl Froch, which should be fireworks from the opening bell. Kessler wants desperately to win convincingly and Froch has dynamite in his fists meaning that something is going to happen and happen early. I expect Froch to win and put Kessler out of the tournament.
Andre Ward, 21-0, 13 KO’s
Tournament Record: 1-0
Ward proved that he had grit and skill when he outmuscled and dominated Edison Miranda, taking an easy decision win. Ward was the underdog going into the Kessler fight, but his timing and puzzling style, mixing holding and movement to frustrate his opponent. Ward is not a pretty fighter to watch but he is going to be hard to beat.
The next fight up for Ward is a collision tournament newbie, Allan Green on June 19th. Green may prove to be the most difficult opponent style-wise and most dangerous with his great power. It will be a grudge match that will most likely not go the distance. It’s one of the most exciting matches of the tourney. Ward is now considered the favorite to win, especially after Abraham’s defeat to Dirrell.
Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell, 19-1, 13 KO’s
Tournament Record: 1-1
In his first showing, Dirrell lost a close decision to Carl Froch, but he gave a good showing, but was a big underdog going into his showdown with Arthur Abraham. Dirrell fought the fight of his life, using his speed, timing, and just enough movement to keep Abraham confused and frustrated. For ten rounds, Dirrell owned the fight, only to be fouled in round 11. In a scary situation, Dirrell was trembling on the canvas and wasn’t aware of where he was when he came to.
Dirrell’s style is going to pose problems for anyone he faces. He doesn’t possess a huge punch but he has established himself as a player in the tournament, taking down the top guy in Abraham.
Carl “Cobra” Froch, 26-0, 20 KO’s
Tournament Record: 1-0
In April of 2009, Froch defended his WBC Super Middleweight Title with a come from behind, last round stoppage, of Jermain Taylor, and quickly accepted the invitation into the tournament. In his first outing, he struggled to outpoint Andre Dirrell and now looks ahead to the April 24th showdown with the much more manageable, style-wise, Mikkel Kessler. Froch is the dark horse in the tournament and could prove to be a big surprise to everyone with his big punch and big heart.
Froch should defeat Kessler and it will most likely be a knockout victory, giving him a solid 5 points, leading to his third round bout with Arthur Abraham, another guy that will be right in his face, allowing him to land his power shots.
Allan Green, 29-1, 20 KO’s
Tournament Record: 0-0-0
Allan Green wanted into the tournament badly and when Jermain Taylor was convinced to leave, he quickly jumped at the opportunity and has Andre Ward and the WBA Title in his sights on June 19th. Green is a big puncher with an exciting style that will give Ward some scares and might even be more than that.
Green has wanted to face the best of the 168 pound division and this is his chance and if he can figure Ward out, he may shock the tournament, knocking another #1 guy out of their spot. This is a tourney of surprises and Green plans to add one more and pick up 3 points. The addition of Green and removal of Taylor was a good thing.
Carl Froch is my pick at this time. He got over the hump with the tough outing against Dirrell, and now has some more style-friendly fights ahead of him. The second choice would be Ward. Ward’s style and confidence will be hard to beat. Dirrell would be the third choice to win it. Arthur Abraham falls from my pick to the fourth most likely to come out victorious. He is tough and will hopefully become more active when facing a guy like Dirrell. Green comes in at number five, but that may change dramatically should he defeat Ward, and now sitting in my least likely to win spot is Mikkel Kessler. He looked like damaged goods in the Ward fight. Edison Miranda seemed to accomplish more than he did against Ward.
It’s a great tournament and I’m sure my picks will be rattled by the twists and turns of this fun tourney.