I don't want to use this post to talk about what Arthur Abraham, others have already did that. What I want to do is look at how this fight affects the actual Super Six Tournament.
The most obvious is that we now have no pull-away leader. Abraham had the chance to race ahead of the pack here, with the other two group 2 fights toss-ups. Instead, he got absolutly schooled by Dirrell. It changes a lot of perceptions going forward . . . Abraham was building an aura about him that he was this stalking destroyer that would take the early rounds off to get warmed up and the unleash hell. Dirrell used his size, speed, skills, and surprising skill to frustrate Abraham. Art claimed that Dirrell wasn't a fighter, he was a runner. But what he did was use his movement and speed to take Abraham's jab away. Without it, Abraham tried to walk Dirrell down and throw wild, almost MMA style haymakers that a quick fighter like Dirrell could see coming. Dirrell also took some good King Arthur shots, Combined with the fact that Abraham wasn't getting the referee to call the fight he wanted, he got incredibly frustrated which I believe led to the finish.
Dirrell exposed Abraham and showed the world how to beat him. Be physical, be athletic, and GO TO THE BODY. There is no favorite anymore. Dirrell brought Abraham back to earth. Abraham has Carl Froch next, and if Arthur didn't like what Dirrell was doing, Froch is a big and powerful infighter who can get into fighters heads and has serious power. If Abraham fights like he did both mentally and physically, an animal like Froch will eat him alive. Abraham for the first time in his career is going to now need to adjust. He's going to have to figure out how to adjust his defense to protect his body, and perhaps come out faster so he doesn't lose early rounds. Dirrell was great with his looping hooks, and Froch has big long arms that can do that, too. The shine is off the apple, other fighters will watch what DIrrell did and no longer be afraid of Abraham. And for sure, say what you will about Carl Froch, he is absolutely fearless and will fight every second of every round. He doesn't have the skills that Dirrell does, but clearly knows how to make up for it. And Froch isn't WBC champion for nothing, he IS a good boxer. Abraham needs to get over this. If Froch gets past Kessler, not only is Abraham fighting him he might be fighting for his first world championship in the division. Abraham also has to get his corner together. These guys were so used to dominating him, when it became clear around round 9 that he was in real trouble they just sort of yelled at him and it seemed like there was chaos. Until last night, being Arthur Abraham's corner man was the easiest job in boxing. It didn't seem like they were analyzing what Dirrell was doing and telling him how to get through it.
As for Andre Dirrell, he finally put it all together. He melded perfectly his speed and ability to get away with his natural athletic talent and power. He also proved he could take a shot because Abraham did rock him on occasion. But in a lot of ways Abraham's style worked perfectly for Andre. But the most important part of his performance that, unlike against Froch, Dirrell stayed disciplined and did not let Abraham's constant complaining get to him this time. He showed a lot of mental strength that he didn't show against Froch. Dirrell's real test is his next fight against Andre Ward. Ward doesn't just stand with his hands up stalking you. He's as athletic as Dirrell, as fast, as disciplined, and as powerful. In the Froch fight, Dirrell clearly had problems with his constant punches. If Dirrell can match Ward punch for punch, he'll do well. But Ward will be Dirrell's true test. If he could have the Froch fight over, I think Dirrell post-Abraham would know what to do to win. I thought Abraham's style worked well for an athletic always moving fighter like Andre, Abraham would just turtle up and stand and let Dirrell hit him. But Ward can match Dirrell as an athlete and as a puncher. They're rise has been together since the '04 games, but Ward has risen just a little faster and a little cleaner. Ward won't stand there peek-a-boo, he'll bob and weave and move around. But Dirrell's punches had real sting on them against Abraham, and I think he might be the harder puncher. I actually think Dirrell will need to be better than his best performance of his career last night to beat Ward.
- Abraham - 3 Points
- Froch - 2 Points
- Ward - 2 Points
- Dirrell - 2 Points
- Kessler - 0 Points
- Green - 0 Points
Suddenly Carl Froch is in the driver's seat. He does go on the road against Mikkel Kessler, but if he can get past him he gets Abraham who is no longer superman. More importantly, if Froch beats Kessler he gets 5 points minimum. Only Ward has the chance to catch him, but I think we would all be surprised if he could KO Allen Green. He might beat him, but KO? That would put Froch on top with 5 points. Abraham's loss also helps both Allen Green and Mikkel Kessler. Both, if they can win, are right in the middle of it again to move forward because Abraham (and Froch, if Kessler wins) failed to build on their lead. Froch is the only fighter with no question marks hanging over him. With Abraham suddenly he's human. With Ward, how will he handle his knee injury and is it one that will become chronic. Dirrell looked amazing last night, but will that cheapshot that put him out have any lasting damage? Can Green make up the pace he has fallen behind. Froch is the only fighter with no injuries, no questions as to how he will fight, and with his destiny completely in his own hands.
I picked Carl Froch to win this in the beginning and right now, he's moving up.