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“Exposed” is an overused word in boxing, but two fights in a row now, super middleweight Arthur Abraham has had vulnerabilities in his style, well, exposed. What’s surprising is who did it this time: Carl Froch, who comprehensively outboxed Abraham despite having a reputation — clearly, as of today, undeserved — as a crude technician. Froch took the unanimous decision and never lost a round, despite one judge who found one to give to Abraham.
Froch was superb, including on defense, an area he often has neglected. Almost everyone in the Super Six tournament has had his shining moment. Andre Ward’s was when he dominated Mikkel Kessler. Abraham’s was when he scored a nasty knockout of Jermain Taylor. Kesslers’s was when he rebounded from the Ward loss to beat Froch. Glen Johnson’s was when he knocked out Allan Green moving down in weight at an advanced age. Andre Dirrell’s was when he bounced back from the Froch loss to comprehensively outbox Abraham.
Froch not only took Dirrell’s game plan, something few predicted he’d be able to do, but he improved on it. Abraham is a heavy hitter and sound defensive fighter, but it’s dumfounding how easily Froch kept Abraham away by keeping him busy at a distance. Abraham freezes the moment a punch is thrown at him. Froch kept Abraham’s high guard busy, working around it, in the middle, and under it, with his body punches really hurting Abraham in particular.
Abraham wasn’t exposed as a fraud, the way the word “exposed” is usually used in boxing. It’s just that his style can be beaten by another style, and he doesn’t know what to do when that style comes at him.
And all credit due to Froch for how he did this. Abraham is always dangerous with that power, and in the 12th, he seemingly wobbled Froch. But Froch stayed out of harm’s way beautifully otherwise and put on a masterful boxing exhibition.
In the Super Six, this was Froch’s moment.
More later this evening. (Although expect some of this to be repeated.)
[UPDATE: Dan Rafael reports that the semis will feature Ward-Abraham and Froch-Johnson. Ward might be able to out-Froch Froch out-Dirrelling Abraham, but Froch-Johnson is a helluva fight on paper.]