Apologies for the lateness of this post. I’ve been busy with family stuff — I’m an uncle twice over as of this weekend! — and I still don’t have time to give a full take on last night’s excellent action. Here’s the short version:
- Congratulations to Mikkel Kessler for getting some points on the board in the Super Six tourney. Kessler beat fellow super middleweight Carl Froch by unanimous decision in a bout that got better the longer it went on, with the 12th round a Round of the Year candidate. He won it 115-113 on my scorecard (judges scored it 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111, the last of which was very questionable — this home turf thing has been problematic for the tournament) basically through determination to outwork the usually ultra-determined Froch, who admitted afterward he’d had a mental letdown because of the possibility of the fight being canceled and suffered his first loss. As Showtime’s team pointed out, Kessler isn’t the same fighter he once was, technically, but after getting his guts ripped out by Andre Ward, it’s clear at least that he’s stuffed his guts back in his abdomen. Next for Kessler is Allan Green, which figures as a tough fight for him, as Green has the speed that has bothered him in the past and Kessler’s chin looks less reliable all the time. We’ll see if that comes off on schedule, because that was a Froch, meanwhile, takes Arthur Abraham next, and I don’t see Froch being able to employ the same formula to beat the German demonstrated by Andre Dirrell, so that’s a tough fight for him, too. Ultimately, this is all good for the tournament, to have gotten such a stirring battle that puts almost everyone on the same footing as of now, with the final round just around the corner.
- Tomasz Adamek beat Chris Arreola in his first bout with a top heavyweight in a fight that like Kessler-Froch wasn’t necessarily a Fight of the Year candidate but had a ton of nice action. I scored it a draw, as did one of the judges, but Arreola didn’t object to the other two judges scoring it for Adamek, and has become one of the funniest post-fight interviews in the whole sport (“I look like Shrek,” he said, noticing his swollen lumpy face). Arreola was by far the heavier puncher, but it wasn’t as if Adamek wasn’t exacting a toll, bloodying Arreola’s mug the way he did. Adamek started to figure out Arreola a bit in the middle rounds, timing him well and ducking most of his shots, and it was clear he was the better fighter. But Arreola summoned some energy late — was this the fight where his lack of conditioning betrayed him? — and overcame an injured right hand to make some of the final rounds competitive. As I mentioned before, this fight was not particularly meaningful, as Adamek or Arreola would be mere bait for a pounding by division bosses the Klitschko brothers, but it was nice to get some heavyweight action with a couple busy, brawl-natured big men, as opposed to, say, watching the Klitschkos dissect someone with their jabs.
- Alfredo Angulo landed a beautifully-timed right to knock out Joel Julio in the 11th of a fight he was controlling even if Julio was giving Angulo trouble with his movement. Angulo’s tombstone will read, “Good Action Fighter, Had Trouble With Movement.” Julio didn’t look bad, as he boxed smartly, but he didn’t have enough boxing chops to stay out of harm’s way, and he never really sat down on his punches to see if he could dissuade the forward-charging Angulo from charging so forwardly. I don’t know what Angulo does next. There are some good fighters in his junior middleweight division, but as previously demonstrated, promoter Gary Shaw is going to keep him away from the likes of Sergio Martinez. Miguel Cotto, maybe, if Cotto wins his 154-pound debut? The James Kirkland dream fight?