Boxing State of the Union 2010 (Super Middleweight)
By Karim ‘Kato’ Godfrey - When the “Super Six” tournament was first announced in 2009, I was mildly interested. I read a few articles on various websites, The Ring Magazine and became a little more interested. As the start of the first round drew a little closer, I sucked it up and ordered Showtime with the thought that I’d check out round one and then cancel my subscription when it was over. (Heck these are lean times we’re living in and I’ve got to watch every penny.) So far, I’ve not been disappointed with my decision and I’m glad to have witnessed the exciting matchups in the first round. I can’t wait for round two to begin.
Article posted on 07.03.2010
So far this tournament is the most exciting thing in the Super Middleweight division and I’m really glad it is taking place. The participants are top notch fighters who deserve to be ranked in the Top Ten and all are more than qualified to be Champions of either of the alphabet organizations.. This tournament is a way to get these high quality fighters real exposure by fighting each other, and should really be used as a template for other weight divisions because it has proved itself to work. We the fans want and demand the best fighters facing the best fighters in the division and this tournament have given us just that.
Super Middleweight Division:
The #10 ranked Super Middleweight Eduard Gutknecht and #9 ranked Robert Stieglitz are set to square off in April. Gutknect is a very “fan-friendly” fighter who looks very comfortable in the ring and has shown he has the goods to be ranked in the top 10. Robert Stieglitz had a decent showing against Balzsay Karoly and outworked Balzsay, especially in the later rounds. Taking on Eduard will be a good test, but if he couldn’t get past Librado Andrade previously, then where can he possibly go from here? The next 7 contenders are tough as nails for either fighter. This is what we want though, the #10 guy taking on the #9 guy. Whoever wins should take a step up to the next rung of the ladder. It won’t be an easy task against granite chinned Andrade.
Librado Andrade has one of the toughest chins in the game. If he could hit back as hard as he take shots, he’d be a pound for pound champion for sure. I’ve never seen anyone take shots the way he has all the while smiling as he’s walking into the next big shot. His first fight against Bute was a war and I really thought he was ROBBED. To this day I have no idea what the referee was thinking when he began counting out Bute, to then turn around and admonish Andrade to get back in the corner. After a few back and forth with fans on Eastsideboxing.com, I re-watched the fight on YouTube and saw Bute had gotten up before 10 seconds had really passed, regardless of the 17 seconds that passed when the ref finally picked back up the count. Librado, who’s currently ranked #8 has no problem taking on the best level of competition and has proven that he’s no cake-walk.
How could you possibly have one of the biggest tournaments and not invite Allan Green? Despite the fact that Edison Miranda is the biggest name on Greens’ resume, that should be no indication that he can’t hang with the big boys. I’ve seen a few of his fights and can tell that this guy has what it takes to become an elite fighter. He has a great work ethic, can box, can bang and uses the ring very well. After seeing him on Showtime 360, I’ve warmed up to him quite a bit. His fun personality is really coming across and I now consider myself a fan. Taking over for Jermaine Taylor in this tournament has put Green in a really good position. Even if he loses his upcoming fight against Andre Ward, his stock should go up just by looking good and doing his best.
My favorite fighter at Super Middleweight has got to be King Arthur Abraham. Abrahams’ boxing skills are not comparable to say Mayweather or Mosley, but the intangibles this man brings to the ring cannot be denied. I am a little perplexed as to why he’s only ranked at #6 behind Bika, Kessler or Froch. His fan friendly style is very exciting to watch and I have never been disappointed yet. Abraham was the selling point behind me ordering Showtime to see the Super Six. I knew if I got to see anyone of his fights, it’d be money worth spending. So far I am not disappointed. Even if he did not win by spectacular KO against Jermaine Taylor, he still put on a very exciting fight. So, dare I say, he’s my pick to win it all.
Saiko Bika, The Contender alum, is a very brash, hard-nosed fighter. Like Andrade, he’s not a spectacular power puncher, but he’s so hard to KO that he’s not an easy walk in the park for anyone. Whoever is ranked above Bika, needs to realize that they’d better bring their “A” game on fight night or they’re not walking out of the ring with a win. I followed his progress on the reality show and had seen him fight prior to that as well. He seems to be having the same problems he had before the reality show, and it’s most promoters and managers know full well how dangerous he is, so they’re pretty much avoiding having to put their meal ticket in against Bika. His two loses were against number 1 contenders, Calzaghe and Bute, both Unanimous Decisions. With nothing on the horizon and having only fought once in 2009, Bika needs to get in the ring with anyone just to stay in the mainstream.
I’ve never been completely sold on Mikkel Kessler and maybe he’s one of those fighters that you can’t truly appreciate till they’re retired. I’ve never been wowed by Kessler, and maybe it’s because the first fight I ever saw of his was against Andrade which went the full 12 rounds. Maybe I was a little biased since here was the next “big thing” coming out of the Super Middleweight division and he couldn’t even dispatch Andrade who at the time wasn’t someone you’d know unless you were a rabid boxing fan. So far, Kessler has stepped up to the precipice of super-stardom and he’s not been able to get past it. Calzaghe and Ward both made Kessler look like an amateur so hopefully he can rebound in Stage 2 and 3 and make it further along in the tournament. Since his loss to Ward in Stage 1, I don’t see the tournament getting any easier.
Froch who is currently ranked #3 is a decent fighter. His balls to the wall style is what I like in a fighter however, I don’t think he has what it takes to fight that style for too much longer against world class fighters. He got lucky against a somewhat unprepared Jermaine Taylor and awarded some home-cooking against Andre Dirrell. So far though, he’s got the right attitude and work ethic to make a name for him self. At the end of this tournament, there will be a reshuffling of names and where ever Froch gets ranked, it’ll be a climb back to #3.
Andre Ward, the sleeper of the Super Six. His Mayweatheresque speed and defensive style is fun to watch in the ring and he’s a fighter who’s willing to take a shot to give one back. He was the underdog in his fight against Mikkel Kessler and proved to all the doubters that he’s ready. At 26 years old, he’s ready to settle into his prime but, If and only if he can get past Arthur Abraham, can he then be anointed to take the mantle as king of the hill when this tournament is over. One fighter who we can’t forget is reigning king, Lucian Bute.
Again, how can you have a “Super Six” Middleweight tournament and not invite the current #1 ranked middleweight? Lucian, who barely escaped with his win streak in tact against Andrade, needed to settle his rematch before he could move on. The rematch was spectacular and showed how a real champion is supposed to perform when given another opportunity to correct a mistake. Whoever wins the Super Six has a date with Lucian.
This tournament is the best thing happening in boxing right now. Where else can you showcase that amount of talent and have the opportunity to see them fight one another. This is what the fans have been clamoring for, the best fighting the best; elite fighters taking on other elite fighters. Not only are we getting better fights but, Showtime is also letting us see the participants up close and personal. It’s hard to really get behind and know a fighter when you only see him fight 2 or 3 times per year. We want to learn more about them; gauge their personalities and see what makes them tick. Hopefully other divisions can see the possibilities this tournament has and follow it as a blue print to engage the fans with a better product.
Bring on Group Stage 2!!!!!
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