clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Super Six Hype: Froch confident, Taylor retooling, Kessler and Ward ready

The fast-approaching, much-ballyhooed Super Six World Boxing Classic has been a bit lost in the shuffle during Mayweather-Marquez week, but make no mistake, this is still the most impressive event of 2009. Here are quick looks around at the build for each of the three first stage bouts in the round robin portion of the tournament.

Arthur Abraham v. Jermain Taylor - October 17, Berlin, Germany

As Brick mentioned yesterday, Jermain Taylor is apparently taking training camp more seriously for this fight, as even though he's obligated to fight on in the tournament, you can make a case that this fight is kind of do-or-die for JT. Taylor is working with George Foreman on stamina (I know it sounds weird), making sure he eats six small meals a day, and also lifting weights for the first time. Stamina has been his downfall in the eyes of just about every observer, especially in his last fight, a bout he should have won before being stopped in the final 20 seconds of the bout by Carl Froch. It's crazy to think Taylor has never lifted weights and that at age 31, at 32 fights into his professional career, he's just now getting around to the weights, the eating, and recognizing an issue with the way he prepares for fights. Jermain has worked with Pat Burns, Emanuel Steward and now Ozell Nelson, so it's puzzling that this stuff has gone unchallenged by his trainers.

Arthur Abraham has a lot of respect for Taylor, and though he's a pretty massive favorite among the boxing public that has largely given up on Jermain, he's not looking past him. Abraham has home field advantage in Berlin for this fight, and it's Jermain's first fight outside of the States.

Carl Froch v. Andre Dirrell - October 17, Nottingham, England

The always-outspoken Froch has finally given up on trying to call out Joe Calzaghe, instead wisely focusing on the massive task in front of him. It was almost bittersweet to read Froch say, "Good luck to Joe" in that article, as I got the feeling it almost hurt him to let that dream go and finally say something nice about Calzaghe.

This will be the third straight superior athlete Froch has faced, and I think you can argue they've gotten better in each fight, at least in terms of pure athletic ability. Jean Pascal gave Froch a damn tough fight in a war last December, and Jermain Taylor all but had him beat this past April. Froch passed both tests with flying colors, showing that while he's slow and flawed as a fighter, he's got an absolute ton of heart and never, ever quits. He's so confident that he'll beat the tricky, quick Dirrell that he plans to "smash him to smithereens," at which point he fears Dirrell may want to retire.

Dirrell, as expected, is confident in his pure ability being the difference maker. The fun thing with this fight is that yeah, if you watch them fight, Dirrell looks like he has it all over Froch. He does, at least with his gifts. But we've seen Froch tested. Dirrell? Not so much.

Mikkel Kessler v. Andre Ward - November 21, Oakland, CA

Ward gets home court after Kessler just packed a house in Denmark and did an enormous TV rating in his home country, fighting Gusmyl Perdomo. The same night, Ward smoked Shelby Pudwill in a tune-up fight in Temecula, CA. Ward will be in his hometown of Oakland at the Oracle Arena for this fight, and he'll have the entire crowd behind him. This will be Kessler's first trip to the States.

Kessler is my personal favorite to win the tournament, and the favorite of many. He and Arthur Abraham seem to be leading the unofficial balloting of boxing fans around the globe. Ward has skills, but Kessler looked phenomenal in disposing of Perdomo, a fighter better than his record.

These guys aren't exactly talking major trash. At a press conference, Kessler said of Ward, "I have never fought a fighter who was so nice as Andre Ward." Of Kessler, Ward remarked, "You beat a guy like Mikkel Kessler and it is going to send shock waves through the boxing world and send shock waves through the Super Six."

But they do see their places in the fight differently. Ward believes he's the obvious underdog, and is trying to revel in that. Kessler doesn't see himself as the favorite, and compliments Ward's skills enormously. This is shaping up to be a really interesting fight, and like Carl Froch for Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler will truly teach us something about Andre Ward.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook