Redemption Song: Abraham vs. Froch
By Ashley Thorpe (Nov 27, 2010) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME)
The careers of both Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch hit a sour note in the second stage of the Super Six World Boxing Classic. For both men it meant their first losses as professionals, to Andre Dirrell and Mikkel Kessler respectively. Since then, the unravelling of the tournament with the latter fighters pulling out has overshadowed the controversy surrounding Abraham’s disqualification, and Froch’s battle was so closely contested that it did not affect his standing in the minds of most fans. However, the fact remains that with the WBC super-middleweight title up for grabs this Saturday in Helsinki, Finland it will be both men’s chance for redemption.

It hasn’t come without disapproval from fans that two fighters coming off a loss should get to fight for a vacant title especially considering the nature of Abraham’s defeat. Whether you were supporting Dirrell or Abraham, and whether you believe the word of one over the other, there can be no doubt that the punch landed to the fallen man deserved the disqualification. Former tournament leader Abraham’s camp maintain that Dirrell would have been knocked out in the final round and Froch’s camp that they did not lose their fight in April but were victims of a hometown decision. Of course the WBC had initially decided that the belt would be fought for by another third round match-up: the ill-fated Ward vs. Dirrell, but ‘King’ Arthur’s promoters Sauerland successfully appealed for the decision to be reversed.

Politics aside no fight fan can deny that this is a mouth-watering match-up. Although both men are now guaranteed a semi-final place neither can really afford to lose a second consecutive bout and their appeal as throwback fighters who are willing to lay it all on the line have many pundits predicting that this could easily be fight of the year. Abraham showed his heart the first time he fought a notable hard-hitter in a middleweight defence against a still dangerous Edison Miranda. With his jaw broken in two places, Abraham could have quit but went the distance earning a lot of respect along the way. For Froch, a war against Jean Pascal followed by his breakout performance in the States, making a first defence against Jermain Taylor, showed his champion’s spirit when he came from being behind on two cards to make a last gasp stoppage. So, with their guts firmly in check and their knockout power speaking for itself with a combined record of 45 KOs from 57 fights, we could very well have a war on our hands.

Let’s not forget, though, that there are other attributes to each of their arsenals as you don’t make it to the top through having knockout power alone. For Froch his reach and a likely speed advantage could be the key. He is also known for having a good chin, but Abraham is hardly the fighter you want to have it tested against, and during Froch’s battles it usually is. Abraham has under-rated boxing ability and a pretty sound defence although chinks in the armour were found in his fight against Dirrell. While Froch declared that Dirrell laid the blueprint for beating Abraham, it remains to be seen whether ‘The Cobra’ (who does have a tendency to be drawn into a brawl) can implement the same strategy. A recent training video on YouTube showed that Abraham’s team have recognised the need to start faster earlier so it will be interesting to see if Abraham can maintain pressure for twelve rounds rather than fight in bursts, and whether his pressure will be as effective against a super-middleweight as physically strong as Froch.

For one of them, winning a world title belt will erase the memory of their early 2010 outing, and in-ring fireworks would certainly put the spark back into the waning Super Six tournament. So whoever gets to sing their redemption song on Saturday night, fight fans around the world will be singing with them.

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