YORK (Nov. 24, 2010) – The experts both in the States and abroad may not all agree on who is going to win, but there is a general consensus that the Super Six World Boxing Classic matchup between Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham has Fight of the Year potential.
As the close Las Vegas odds indicate with Abraham listed as a slight 7-5 favorite (-165), people are having a tough time picking a winner in this clash of European heavy hitters. In a recent poll, national and international boxing writers were evenly split between Abraham and Froch with nine writers picking Abraham and nine predicting a win for Froch..
In quintessential Showtime Championship Boxing fashion, Abraham-Froch is considered by many as too-close-to-call and a can’t-miss war. “This is a great fight. It has Fight of the Year written all over it,” says one U.S. boxing writer. “These are two extremely tough, durable guys who love to fight and whose skills are probably a little better than they get credit for.”
Added another international scribe, “I think it could be a classic because Abraham likes to stand in the middle of the ring, dominate and trade, and so does Froch. It has all the potential for a memorable fight.”
And another, “Froch and Abraham has every ingredient to make it the best fight so far in the Super Six. The main ingredient is desire; a desire to get back on top.”
Not only is getting back on top at stake, but so is crucial seeding for the semifinals of the World Boxing Classic and the vacant WBC Super Middleweight title belt when Froch (26-1, 20 KOs) and Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs) climb into the ring on Saturday, Nov. 27, on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT) on same-day-delay from Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland. In the second bout of the split-site doubleheader, unbeaten Andre Ward (22-0, 13 KOs) will defend his WBA 168-pound crown against Sakio Bika (28-4-2, 19 KOs) from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
A couple of SHOWTIME boxing analysts are split as well. Antonio Tarver believes Froch will win by unanimous decision. “I feel this fight has a great chance to be Fight of the Year. These two fighters have serious disdain for each other,” said the former light heavyweight champion turned heavyweight contender. “If this fight is going to end with a KO, I see Abraham having that type of power and not Froch. But if this fight comes down to a knock down, drag out where both fighters are having there moments and need to adapt and make changes along the way, I see Froch having the ability to out box and out fox Abraham for a decision win – which I feel is more probable.”
Longtime SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray sees it differently. Said Gray, “I think that Abraham will win. His performance against Dirrell will be a motivating factor. Froch does not have a good enough defense for Abraham. Also, Froch has been taunting Abraham and I believe that he has gotten underneath Abraham’s skin, and he will pay a price for that.”
Calling the fight for SHOWTIME, analyst Steve Farhood remains neutral but expects fireworks. “It's difficult to envision anything but an action bout,” said Farhood. “The taller Froch might try to box more than usual, but Abraham doesn't figure to wait as long as he did against Dirrell, so no matter the strategies, there are going to be several exchanges between championship-caliber fighters with big punches and solid chins. That's a pretty good formula for any fight.
“When you add the fact that they're both coming off their initial losses, the motivation is deep. And a vacant title is at stake as well. I won't offer a prediction since I'm calling the fight, but I see a Super Six war--and probably a distance fight as well.”
Here’s what just a few national and international boxing experts think will happen during the mega-matchup Saturday:
Marcus Henry, Newsday, (Froch): “Arthur Abraham was exposed during his bout with Andre Dirrell. That said, he still has the power to end any fight quickly. But he won't be able to end it with Carl Froch early. Froch has proven to be one of the most resilient fighters of this era. His chin and his jab will enable him to outlast Abraham. Froch prevails on points, 115-113.
Lem Satterfield, AOL FanHouse.com, (Froch): Carl Froch W 12 Arthur Abraham is my pick. If Froch can resist the urge to get into a slug-fest, I believe that he can and will be the busier fighter over the course of a 12-round decision over Abraham. Froch is capable of displaying his boxing skills against Abraham, who failed to adjust while being outboxed in his most recent loss to Andre Dirrell. Froch fared much better opposite Dirrell in a disputed split decision win, and he still is working with the confidence of believing that he is an undefeated fighter coming off of his disputed loss to Abraham's promotional stablemate, Mikkel Kessler. So my pick here is Froch by decision.
Michael Rosenthal, RingTV.com, (Abraham): “First, this is a great fight. It has Fight of the Year written all over it. These are two extremely tough, durable guys who love to fight and whose skills are probably a little better than they get credit for. That said, Andre Dirrell demonstrated that Abraham has problems with quick, slick boxers who are reluctant to engage him. Froch is slower and a lot more aggressive than Dirrell, which will work to the hard-punching Armenian's advantage. I believe Abraham, a little tougher and a little better, will score a late knockout.
Steve Kim, MaxBoxing.com, (Abraham): “I like Abraham in this fight. I think he and Froch will make for a good match-up of styles, but Froch can't or won't move like an Andre Dirrell and I think that plays into his favor. I like Abraham by decision.”
Damian Calhoun, Orange County Register, (Abraham): “This has the potential to be one of the best fights of the year. I’m picking Abraham to win by decision or perhaps late stoppage. Froch will dictate the early rounds, but at some point Abraham’s punching power will eventually wear Froch down.”
Michael Woods, The Sweet Science, (Froch): “To me, Abraham comes off as the ‘older’ guy, less fresh, even though at age 30, he's two and a half years younger than Froch. Cocky Frochy is coming off a loss against a fighter – Mikkel Kessler – not so dissimilar from Abraham, while Abraham is coming off a loss to a boxer quite unlike Froch, Andre Dirrell. Abe will have to make a much more severe adjustment to style. Both will have an extra element of desire coursing through them after the defeats – but I see Froch taking it to Abraham, and Abe not being able to counter as well as Kessler did. The action will be persistent, and back and forth. But Froch is a bit fresher, more active, more mobile ... and will get the UD, by a margin of two points or so.”
Franklin McNeil, ESPN.com, (Abraham): “While each of these fighters have an enormous amount of talent and the ability to bounce back after losing to high-caliber opposition, it is difficult to envision Arthur Abraham dropping two fights in a row. His will to win is unmatched. Froch is sure to bring his A-game, but it won't be enough to deny Abraham -- who wins by unanimous decision.”
Kevin Mitchell, The Guardian, (Froch): “If Carl is injury free, he should be too big for Arthur -- but Abraham is so tough. It could be a re-run of the Kessler fight. Froch on points, maybe getting off the canvas.
Niall Hickman, The Express, (Froch): “It is a great fight, brilliant match-up and I regard both Froch and Abraham as world class operators. I think it could be a classic because Abraham likes to stand in the middle of the ring, dominate and trade, and so does Froch. It has all the potential for a memorable fight. As for predictions, I take Froch to win, either with a late stoppage or on points. Froch has, I think, got the edge. His defense allows opponents to land, but Froch has got a fantastic chin.”
Steve Bunce, BBC News and author of ‘The Fixer’, (Froch): Froch and Abraham has every ingredient to make it the best fight so far in the Super Six. The main ingredient is desire; a desire to get back on top. Froch hates not being champion. I think that it will go long and that Froch will win a tight one. Can they stop each other? Yep, they can. But, I see some brain behind the power. Froch on points."
Phil Barnett, Press Association, (Froch): “If Froch has studied the tapes from the Kessler fight – and, crucially, of Abraham against Dirrell – he can frustrate Abraham and either stop him late or get the decision.”
Matthias Brzezinski, Welt, (Abraham): “I believe Arthur Abraham will win, because Carl Froch underestimates him. Furthermore, a loss would be a debacle for Arthur. He is extremely motivated to prevent a defeat.”
Haruka Gruber, Spox, (Abraham): “Abraham has the heart, the punch and the toughness. His biggest weakness throughout his career was that he was a slow starter in almost every fight, but he worked on it after his loss to Dirrell. If Abraham wins two of the first four rounds, he will win the fight. I don't know exactly what to expect from Froch, but he was a disappointment against Kessler and Dirrell.
Jörg Lubrich, Bild, (Abraham): “This can be the fight of the year. Abraham has learned his lesson from the fight against Dirrell and will win by KO in the later rounds.”
Björn Jensen, Hamburger Abendblatt, (Froch): "Froch on points because I think he will wear Abraham down and not allow him to get through.”
Torsten Püschel, ARD, (Abraham): "Abraham wins a close points decision. Froch will dictate with his jab but his combinations will land on Abraham´s guard. Abraham will be successful with counter-attacks to body and head. Both have a strong chin, that´s why a KO is unlikely."
Corey Erdman, SIRIUS 98, (Froch): “Carl Froch may be the most underrated boxer in the world. For some reason, the consensus seems to be that he's nothing more than the plodding, rugged type of fighter Arthur Abraham can prey upon. In reality, he certainly is rugged, but he has an excellent, well-timed jab and solid footwork. If he wants to keep Abraham at the end of it, he can. And after getting suckered into a brawl against Kessler, I can't imagine he'll do it twice in a row. Froch UD-12.”