25
Jun
10

Showtime Super Six Forecast

Michael Shou-Yung Shum – The group stage of the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Showtime is entering its final round, and – other than Andre Ward who has already advanced – the remaining five fighters are still in contention to reach the knockout stage. Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler, and Carl Froch are all on two points after two matches, and will be looking for results in their next fights to go through. Arthur Abraham is in second place with three points and is likely to advance. Allan Green needs a knockout and some help. Here’s how I see the rest of the tournament playing out:

ANDRE WARD VERSUS ANDRE DIRRELL (Sept. 25)

I like Ward on points in this match-up. He has looked great in his two tournament wins (over Kessler and Green), and shown a level of toughness that bodes well for his professional future.. Dirrell has faster hands and is more mobile, but Ward’s reflexes are sharp (as shown against Green) and he may negate Dirrell’s advantages with his excellent timing. Because Ward is already through to the knockout stage and Dirrell needs points to advance, one may suspect that Dirrell has greater motivation, but it is difficult to find a young American fighter that is more competitive and focused than Ward. “S.O.G.” doesn’t want to lose a) his zero, and b) the WBA title he wrested from Kessler; expect him to retain both in another mauling type of effort. Prediction: WARD UD 12 in a potentially tedious fight.

CARL FROCH VERSUS ARTHUR ABRAHAM (Unscheduled)

Both fighters are coming off their first losses, Froch to Kessler in a hard-fought war and Abraham to Dirrell in a match where Abraham was dominated and then disqualified for a late blow. Abraham does have an extra point from his K.O. of Jermain Taylor In the first round, which may be enough to see him through to the knockout stage regardless of outcome. Froch will be looking for a result here, and I think this additional incentive is enough to give him an edge in this fight. He is also the bigger man with a 2.5” reach advantage. Froch has had problems with quick opponents (i.e., against Jean Pascal, Taylor, and Dirrell) and Kessler outworked him, but Abraham is neither especially fast nor active. I expect Froch to use his size to maintain range and box his way to a close decision, although no doubt there will be some dicey moments. Prediction: FROCH SD/MD 12 in a tense fight.

MIKKEL KESSLER VERSUS ALLAN GREEN (Sept. 25)

As is his wont, Green talked a lot prior to his fight with Ward and then phoned it in once inside the ring, barely throwing any meaningful punches after the third stanza en route to losing every round on all three judges’ cards. I’d like to say that he shows up against Kessler, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Kessler, who just picked up his third belt at 168 lbs. by beating Froch for his WBC title, doesn’t have any clear physical advantages over Green: this isn’t the same Kessler who faced Joe Calzaghe; Mikkel is older, slower, and no longer seems to have the same zip in his straight right. However, he does have a champion’s heart, which is the ingredient Green seems to lack, for all his physical talent. Prediction: KESSLER UD 12 in another fight where Green fades badly down the stretch.

KNOCKOUT STAGE FORECAST

Ward will have six points from three victories, and will be seeded #1 in the knockout stage. Both Kessler and Froch will have four points from two victories, but Kessler will be seeded #2 due to his head-to-head win over Froch. The #4 seed will be Arthur Abraham, on three points from his KO win over Taylor.

In the #1 vs. #4 match-up, Ward easily outboxes Abraham, possibly winning every round. In a rematch of their fight from the group stage, I see Froch coming out on top this time over Kessler in another rugged brawl. Froch just seems to have a little more left in the tank at this point.

In the final, I expect Ward to beat Froch, and then to face Lucian Bute sometime in 2012 to unify the 168 lb. titles (Bute has the IBF belt). This would be the biggest fight in the super middleweight division since Roy Jones fought James Toney in 1994.

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