Carl Froch's movement, speed and boxing frustrated, dominated and shut out Arthur Abraham, giving Froch the vacant WBC super middleweight title and handing Abraham a second straight loss. Official scores were 120-108 (twice) and 119-109. Bad Left Hook scored it 120-108 for Froch.
Froch (27-1, 20 KO) built up a lead in the early rounds, as many expected he would, as Abraham (31-2, 25 KO) started slower than ever. But this time, he never did wake up. Froch used a pumping jab, good combinations to the body and head, and his length advantage to stymie the Armenian all night long en route to a dominant decision victory.
For Froch, it's a wake-up call to everyone that he's frankly better than he often gets credit for. Yes, many feel he should have been the loser against Andre Dirrell, but that fight was so bad it almost didn't deserve to have a winner. In his first loss, Froch fought his heart out against arguably the best Mikkel Kessler we'd ever seen, and nearly came out the winner there in a very close brawl. Against Abraham, he simply outclassed a slow, tentative, and quite honestly boring fighter who seems to have only one gameplan ever, and when it doesn't work, has no clue what to do with himself.
I don't want to take anything away from Froch's performance in this fight, but you have to note that Abraham was, in my view, particularly bad in this fight. Brick said during the fight that Abraham was no worse than usual; I disagree. Abraham was broken down by Froch and did absolutely nothing on offense. He couldn't land his jab, so he couldn't get rhythm. He couldn't keep Froch from teeing off, even if only at forearms and gloves. He almost never really fought back against the coming Froch. And when he made an offensive charge, he often looked amateurish and incredibly crude, stumbling around after missing terribly telegraphed wild rights and lefts.
Abraham came alive a bit in the 12th round, rattling Froch twice on good right hands. But even that round, Froch outboxed and outworked him. Abraham capitalized on nothing he did well in the round, and Froch collected himself and kept banging away.
"Overrated" is a word that is overused, but I think we're looking at a situation where it fits. Abraham's best wins are the likes of Khoren Gevor, Edison Miranda and a super shot Jermain Taylor. In his last two fights, he's been embarrassed by better boxers. What he needs to change seems obvious, but going about making those changes could be impossible. He's an almost impossibly stubborn fighter in the ring, refusing to do anything different than the same things he always does. Would a new trainer help? Maybe, but likely not. Guys his age, who have had some great success (even if that success is overstated by a mediocre level of opposition a lot of the time), just don't change at this stage of their career too often.
He's got physical gifts, but he also doesn't seem to react all that well to getting hit, which in this fight made him so defensive that Joshua Clottey might have been screaming at his television watching this. He's short for the weight class, doesn't take advantage of his power, and simply waits and waits. That works against guys like Lajuan Simon; Carl Froch, Andre Dirrell, the other top super middles -- they aren't Lajuan Simon. They're two classes above, and Abraham is looking like he's in the middle of that.
We'll be back tonight with round-by-round coverage of the HBO triple-header, and will have more tomorrow and Monday on all of this weekend's big fights.