Ricky Hatton to be Guest Host of WWE Raw on November 9

As the song goes, there's only one Ricky Hatton. And it seems even Vince McMahon realizes this.

Confirmed by that paragon of British journalism, The Sun, Hatton will follow in Floyd Mayweather's footsteps and serve as the guest host of WWE Raw when the show hits the Sheffield Arena on November 9. According to the tabloid, the WWE wanted someone from England who was also well known in the U.S., and Hatton certainly fits the bill - though unfortunately many folks in the States know him best for getting knocked out by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

For those who aren't up on their scripted fighting, the guest host fills the role formerly played by the (storyline) General Manager, setting up matches, making announcements and the like. Other recent hosts include personalities from the NFL (Ben Roethlisberger), NASCAR (Kyle Busch and Joey Logano), music (Snoop Dogg) and television (Bob Barker).

Hatton actually has the perfect personality for a gig like this, so it should be a fun show.

Posted by The Franchise

Manny Pacquiao Says What Many of Us Were Thinking About Floyd Mayweather

It's not like Manny Pacquiao is much of a trash talker. Heck, trainer Freddie Roach usually provides most of the provocative quotes before any Pac Man fight.

But Manny usually gives his heart-felt thoughts when asked, so perhaps it isn't a big shock that he came right out and said what he felt about the possibility of Floyd Mayweather fighting him. To sum up, he doesn't think Money will face him.

Said Manny to Greg Beachem of the Associated Press:

"Boxing for him is like a business. He doesn't care about the people around him watching. He doesn't care if the fight is boring, as long as the fight is finished and he gets (plenty of) money."

Honest, no? Also perhaps not the best way to get Mayweather to fight him, unless Pacquiao is trying to use some reverse psychology.

Even with the disclaimer that I'm a big Pacquiao fan (like the other BoxingWatchers, I'm part Filipino), it's hard to find too much fault with that quote. For all his brilliance inside the ring, Floyd isn't about challenging himself as much as he's about having things set up in his favor.

He's also about the money, obviously, and therein lies the interesting part when it comes to a potential bout with Pacquiao, who undoubtedly would make Mayweather more dough than anyone else out there. If Pac Man gets by Miguel Cotto in a few weeks and Floyd decides not to make a fight with him, it can pretty much only be because he feels like it's not worth the risk.

Mayweather may very well feel like he doesn't need Pacquiao to have a decent payday in 2010 after doing over 1 million pay-per-view buys against Juan Manuel Marquez, who isn't known as a huge draw. The ball really is in his court. He can make the fight that would give the fans what they want, create a ton of buzz for the sport and silence all but his most ardent critics - and by the way, would add the most to his bottom line.

Or Mayweather could do what he often does and play it a little bit safer. Lots of us were thinking it, and now one of his contemporaries has actually said it.

Posted by The Franchise


MGM Grand Offering Pacquiao-Cotto Closed Circuit Packages

The BoxingWatchers all enjoy the occasional gambling trip to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, so we are on mailing lists for a bunch of casinos. Every now and then something comes my way that is boxing-related, and that's the case today.

The MGM Grand is offering two different packages that include lodging and tickets to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight on closed circuit television. One includes two nights in a deluxe room for $409, and the other features two nights in a junior suite for $449. Both packages include a $75 food and beverage credit and two comp admissions to Studio 54 or Tabu.

You can book up to November 11, so if you are on the fence about heading to Vegas for the fight, this sounds like a pretty sweet way to watch amongst other boxing fanatics at a decent price. I think this link should get you to the reservation page.

Posted by The Franchise


Franchise Thoughts: Health Scares for Pavlik and John, Plus Adamek's Chances As a Heavyweight

Apparently I owe Kelly Pavlik at least a partial apology.

As an Associated Press article detailed earlier this week, The Ghost's stubborn staph infection - which has already derailed his fight with Paul Williams twice - is not only the drug-resistant MRSA variety, but it also caused him to have a near fatal allergic reaction to medication. So yeah, that's bad stuff, and I kind of feel bad for doubting that everything was as it appeared to be with regards to the infection.

Interestingly, the article also mentions the fact that some fans who were attracted to Pavlik's "Pride of Youngstown" persona have grown weary of the constant drama surrounding him this year and basically given up on him. I find that amusing because I've always felt that more than any other top boxer out there, Pavlik's public image is something of a sham. While it's certainly rooted in the truth, it's been carefully cultivated and spun to keep the most compelling parts and eliminate all the negative ones.

In the end, it really doesn't make that much of a difference to this boxing fan, as I tend to not care what boxers are like outside the ring (unless you're acting like, say, Mike Tyson at his craziest). I'd like to see Pavlik back inside the ring, free of medical problems and the unfortunate decisions and mishaps that have stalled out his career.

Speaking of medical problems, hot on the heels of the Pavlik report came the story that Chris John was hospitalized with dengue fever. Dengue isn't usually life-threatening, and isn't uncommon in John's native Indonesia, but considering that it belongs to the same family of diseases as West Nile Virus and other hemmorrhagic fevers and was once researched as a possible biological weapon, it's nothing to play with either.

ESPN's Dan Rafael says John hopes to return to action around May of next year, and I hope that's the case because at age 30, he should be in the prime of his career. Some fans dislike his lack of power, but I was impressed with his skills during his two fights with Rocky Juarez, and I would look forward to seeing him fight a few more times in the U.S.

In any event, my early hope for 2010 is good health for fighters everywhere. The sport seems to have avoided the clutches of the H1N1 outbreak for now, so let's hope it stays that way.

The other thing that caught my attention over the last few days was Tomasz Adamek's smoking KO of fellow Pole Andrew Golata. Not that beating Golata was that much of an accomplishment in and of itself, mind you, but at least the Foul Pole is a very legitimate heavyweight size-wise, and Adamek's power translated beautifully.

Is Adamek a credible threat to the heavyweight titleholders if his handlers at Main Events try to push him that way? I'd like to think so because of his power, sturdy chin and more than passable skills, but I can't see him dethroning either of the Brothers Kiltschko if he ever landed a date with one of them.

The reason is size, and not just giving away pounds, though that would certainly be a factor. Adamek is about five inches shorter than Wladimir and six shorter than Vitali, with reach disadvantages that are just as daunting. That means he'd have to bull his way inside, and no one has been successful with that tactic against either brother during their current reign.

Now a fight with David Haye, assuming he's able to wrest the WBA blet away from giant Nikolai Valuev, is one I'd pay to see. Both men have explosive power and are similar in size, and they'd be hit enough to make for an exciting bout. HBO, please suggest that you'd be interested in that one if Haye wins next weekend.

Posted by The Franchise


Pavlik-Williams Off Again... This Time for Good?

Though I've made jokes in this space a couple of times about not getting myself too excited about the Kelly Pavlik-Paul Williams fight that was supposed to take place on the first Saturday of December, I really thought it was going to happen. Maybe that was wishful thinking on my part, since Atlantic City is within reasonable driving distance of BoxingWatchers HQ, and I may have been able to attend the fight in person.

Of course the fight has now been called off again, because the staph infection in Pavlik's left hand has still not healed. Williams will still fight someone on HBO, possibly paired with a second fight from another location.

But will Williams ever fight Pavlik? ESPN's Dan Rafael says no. He goes on to say that Pavlik hasn't been completely healthy since before the Bernard Hopkins fight, and even though it was a tough decision, his team made the right call pulling him out.

Maybe so, but personally, I think his team's decision-making has been questionable since right after his second win against Jermain Taylor in February of 2008. Pavlik was a rising crossover star with seemingly nothing but good things in front of him.

Since then, he's had one joke of a middleweight title defense, another questionable one and was soundly outclassed by Hopkins. The infection can't be blamed on the boxer or his team - though promoter Bob Arum suggested the first time the Williams fight was postponed that Kelly wasn't making all of his doctors' appointments - but when he finally returns to the ring, he will be coming off of well over a year of inactivity and who knows how many missed opportunities.

For someone who fights a crowd-pleasing style and had such a good thing going with his "Pride of Youngstown" blue-collar back story, Pavlik has managed to turn into something of an enigma. It's hard to tell at this point whether his career has been waylaid more by bad choices or bad luck, but it's pretty astounding that it's gotten to this point less than two years after it was flying high.

Posted by The Franchise


Shoe Shining: Vargas the Promoter, Hopkins Gives and Jack Johnson Pardon Watch

I had so much built-up anticipation for the beginning of the Super Six World Boxing Classic that it's almost a letdown now that we're past the first weekend of fights. You know, like you used to feel six hours after you unwrapped that last Christmas present.

But the sport goes on, and actually in fine fashion with a number of fight weekends between now and the end of the year. We'll see the big Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight, Kelly Pavlik do battle with Paul Williams and more Super Six when Mikkel Kessler faces off with Andre Ward. Not too shabby.

Until then, let's do some...


I was really scared that when I saw Fernando Vargas' name in the boxing news that he was coming out of retirement. Instead, he's working on promoting boxing and MMA shows, including the Nov. 6 show at the Palms in Las Vegas with Zab Judah and Joel Casamayor. He's got his eye on doing shows in Lindsay, California with local fighters starting early next year, and yes, he hasn't closed the door entirely on returning to the ring...

We haven't said much about Bernard Hopkins fighting Enrique Ornelas in December because, frankly, there isn't that much to say. But here's an interesting angle: The Executioner is donating money from each ticket sold to three different charities, and Golden Boy is matching the donations. Good for them...

This blog is almost entirely politics-free, which is a good thing. What happens when boxing collides with politics though? I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Jack Johnson pardon watch, which seems to be kicking into high gear right now. Do I think Johnson should be pardoned? Absolutely. But seriously, President Obama and Congress have their hands full right now with the economy, Afghanistan, Iran, etc. Maybe this isn't the most ideal time...

Might as well finish with this: Ricky Hatton says he'd consider returning for a second fight with Floyd Mayweather. Um, yeah, and I bet Floyd would consider fighting you again, Hitman, because beating you probably wouldn't be much harder than it was the first time. For all our sakes, please don't give Mayweather an excuse to take an easy fight. I'm asking you nicely.

Posted by The Franchise


20/20 Hindsight: Europe 2, USA 0 Behind Abraham, Froch on First Night of Super Six

Credit the oddsmakers for looking good after an eventful first night of action in Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic.

All three Americans were toward the bottom of the list in terms of betting odds for winning the whole thing, with Jermain Taylor the longest shot of all at 10-1. That looked prophetic as Bad Intentions was victimized by a nasty KO at the hands of Arthur Abraham, delighting his home fans in Germany.

Taylor didn't look too bad in the opening rounds, using a high activity level and a steady diet of jabs to keep Abraham mostly at bay. But of course, King Arthur just settles in behind that high guard to study his opponents, and he starts throwing when he deems it's the right time.

I had Abraham comfortably ahead on the cards headed into the final round, with Taylor needing a KO to win. Instead, he was knocked silly by a gigantic right hand in a scene reminiscent but even worse than the shot that Carl Froch hit him with earlier this year.

Not surprisingly, ESPN's Dan Rafael is reporting that Jermain suffered a severe concussion which includes some short-term memory loss. If I was a betting man - and I am - I'd put money on Allan Green sliding into Taylor's spot for the remainder of the tourney. I think he'd be the weakest link in the field, but I already felt that way about Taylor. much as I pull for him because he seems like a decent guy.

As for Abraham, his last round heroics should play well with fans everywhere, helping him toward his stated goal of becoming a star in America. I think he could catch on (despite his shaky English), as he seems to have that "it" factor. Certainly with three points in the bank and a very winnable fight against Andre Dirrell in Stage 2, he looks like he's in the Super Six for the long haul.

The nightcap between Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell couldn't have been more different. As expected, it was Dirrell flashing the hand speed and Froch trying to walk him down to land power shots.

And it was ugly. Boy, was it ugly. Clinching, hitting behind the head, hitting on the break, holding and hitting, something that looked like a judo throw... you name it, this fight had it. Dirrell was deducted a point for clinching, which he was doing like a madman, but how you could pick just him to single out is beyond me.

Despite that, there was some drama with Froch coming on in the middle rounds and Dirrell fighting a superb 11th round followed by a spirited 12th. All three of us here at BoxingWatchers.com had Dirrell winning by comfortable margins, so much so that they are now calling us out in Hungary. Google Translate claims the one comment reads "I mean, the 118-109 and 117-110 they are not meant seriously."

Uh, actually Hungary, they are meant seriously, and if you browse through the rest of our round by round posts here, I think you'll find we usually do a damn good job of scoring, free of any agendas. I called my brother Uatu after the scores were announced and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade because I was so befuddled by the judges scoring the fight for Froch.

I've calmed down since and been surprised to learn that some people thought Froch won. Other reputable sources (plus this one) side with us. But it is what it is.

Froch deserves credit for a willingness to relentlessly come forward. He cut the ring off well and did trap Dirrell on the ropes at times, I just didn't think he did much clean, effective punching in those spots - mostly because Dirrell showed great head movement - or in many others, to be honest. The Cobra also demonsrated an iron chin, but we already knew he had that.

Dirrell shouldn't hang his head, and I don't think he will. He needs to shake it off and get his mind on Abraham, because that is going to be a tough one.

Discounting some dissatisfaction over the Froch-Dirrell score and some concern for the well-being of Taylor, that was a fun night of boxing. Fans in Europe were certainly digging it, but to really capture the imagination of American sports fans, the Americans are going to have to win some fights. Paging Andre Ward...

Posted by The Franchise


Froch v. Dirrell: Round by Round

The second of tonight's fights is about to get underway. Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell should be making their way to the ring in about 15 minutes.

Jimmy Lennon Jr. handles the entrances for the Froch v. Dirrell fight. Dirrell makes his way to the ring first. The crowd sends some boos his way, but he has a big smile on his face.

Froch comes to the ring now to "We Will Rock You" by Queen, which then changes to "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns and Roses.

Andre Dirrell is 18-0 with 13 KOs. Carl Froch is 25-0 with 10 KOs.

The intros are finished, here we go.

Round 1
Dirrell goes to work first and lands a couple of hooks to the body. Not much action from either fighter yet. They are feeling themselves out in there. Dirrell's speed is evident in the first round. Dirrell lands two jabs. Dirrell keeps talking to Froch; not sure what he's saying. Dirrell counters with a right hand. Dirrell switches to southpaw. Froch comes forward and Dirrell laughs and pounds his chest. Froch is keeping his left hand below his waist, while Dirrell is landing some good jabs.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 2
Dirrell lands a jab to the body. Froch keeps his jab going but misses because he's too far away. Dirrell is using good upper body movement to get out of the way of Froch's jabs. This looks like it's still a feeling out round. Froch leads off with a wide left hook, and Dirrell gets out of the way. Froch keeps both of his hands below his waist now. Dirrell lands a double left jab.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 3
Dirrell goes to work with a double right hand. Froch ties him up. They break apart and Froch goes back to the jab. Dirrell gets backed into the corner, and Froch tries to land but Dirrell gets away. Dirrell reaches inside for a jab to the body. Dirrell gets out of the corner again, and Froch misses with a body shot. Dirrell smiles. Froch lands a good right hand while Dirrell was off balance, and Dirrell counters. Froch can't take advantage of Dirrell when he is in the corner.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 4
Dirrell unleashes two left hands from the southpaw stance, and Froch puts his gloves up. Dirrell looks to be waiting to land his power punch. He switches back to orthodox stance. He counters with a right hand. Froch has Dirrell against the ropes, but Dirrell dances away. The crowd starts to boo. Froch goes to the body, and Dirrell comes forward and tries to land a straight left hand. Froch throws wildly while Dirrell is in the corner but misses.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 5
Froch throws a left hand, and Dirrell counters with a right hand. Now another great right hand by Dirrell. Froch isn't doing enough to win these rounds. He's really hesitating before throwing. The fighters tie up and Dirrell gets tackled down. Froch gets a warning. He looks frustrated in there. Dirrell throws a good combo, and they tie up. Froch lands a big shot to the body on the break, and the ref warns him again. Froch is clearly frustrated.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 6
Dirrell comes out in the southpaw stance. Dirrell gets caught in the corner. Froch throws wildly, and Dirrell slips. Dirrell lands two big shots. This has completely turned into a brawl. There's a lot of punching in the tie ups and on the breaks. The ref stops the action and tells both fighters to knock it off. Dirrell slips a right hand with a "Matrix" style move, earning his nickname.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Froch
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 7
Froch comes out and looks to be fighting with more urgency. They trade hard punches and tie up in the corner. Dirrell is baiting Froch while against the ropes to land a counter. Froch lands a punch to the body, and Dirrell clinches him. Dirrell has been clinching a lot, and the ref warns him. Froch lands a good right hand, and Dirrell ties up his other arm. This fight has really turned sloppy. Froch is now holding and hitting, and Dirrell complains to the ref. Dirrell lands a big left hand that backs up Froch.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 8
Froch goes back to the jab. Dirrell answers back with a jab of his own. Dirrell counters Froch's jab with a left. Not much from either fighter. Dirrell slips, which stops the action. Dirrrell lands a big right hand, the best of the round. Dirrell clinches, and Froch starts holding and hitting. Dirrell throws a power combination, and Froch smiles. Dirrell gets caught with a big right hand, and the crowd gets on its feet. Froch goes for a knockout, but Dirrell ties him up.

Spartan117: 10-9 Froch
Uatu: 10-9 Froch
Franchise: 10-9 Froch

Round 9
Froch goes to work with the jab again. Dirrell looks to counter. Dirrell gets a double left hand in. Dirrell misses with a jab but connects with a right hand. Froch starts coming forward more now. Dirrell is landing some great punches in this round, mostly left hands from his southpaw stance. Froch keeps trying to punch Dirrell in the back of the head; the ref warns him. Good round for Dirrell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Froch

Round 10
Dirrell keeps his jab going. Froch gets him in the corner and tries to throw his big power punches. Dirrell gets out of the way. Dirrell lands a stiff jab, and they tie up in the corner. It's still pretty sloppy in there. The ref stops the action and deducts a point from Dirrell for holding! Dirrell is not happy. He has already held twice since the point deduction. Dirrell lands two huge left hands. Dirrell lands an huge right hand, and Froch is on wobbly legs. He barely makes it out of the round.

Spartan117: 9-9
Uatu: 9-9
Franchise: 9-9

Round 11
Dirrell looks to be going for the knockout. This is the first fight where Dirrell has gone past 10 rounds. Dirrell is landing some thunderous shots in this round. Froch keeps tying up. Now Froch lands a good left hook. Dirrell goes to work in the corner and lands a two-punch combo. Dirrell is using great movement to dodge Froch's punches. Dirrell lands a great right hand counter. Froch is taking the punches well. Froch is still bouncing on his feet. Good round for Dirrell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Dirrell
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

Round 12
They touch gloves in the center of the ring. Froch was told between rounds that he needs a KO to win. He comes out swinging. Dirrell lands a big right hand. Froch fires back with a combo that grazes. Dirrell lands an uppercut. Now he goes to the body. Dirrell dodges two punches while trapped in the corner. Froch lands a jab. Froch throws a combo in the corner. Dirrell gets stuck in the corner again, and Froch lands a combo. This has been a great round. Froch comes forward to land a a big punch but goes to the body. The bell rings. This one is up to the judges.

Spartan117: 10-9 Dirrell
Uatu: 10-9 Froch
Franchise: 10-9 Dirrell

The judges score the bout 114-113 Dirrell, 115-112 Froch, and 115-112 for the winner... and still WBC super middleweight titleholder... Carl "The Cobra" Froch.

Spartan117: 118-109 Dirrell
Uatu: 116-111 Dirrell
Franchise: 117-110 Dirrell

Dirrell says he "worked his ass off" and says he knows he did enough to win, "but that's a hometown decision." He says he didn't think he needed a knockout, and he deserved the decision. He sees a harder opponent in Arthur Abraham, who he fights next. He says he's ready to get back into the gym to put in that extra mile.

Froch says that he knows he won the fight. He credits Dirrell for being tough and quick but says that he didn't fight on the inside and fight like a man. He says that Dirrell had to make an excuse for his loss, and that's what he did. He says that Dirrell will never beat The Cobra.

Posted by spartan117

Abraham v. Taylor: Round by Round

The broadcast has just started, live from Nottingham, England. Al Bernstein, Gus Johnson and Antonio Tarver are taking care of the commentary. This is the first time I've seen the Super Six Championship cup. It looks pretty cool.

Steve Farhood is live from Berlin. Michael Buffer is handling the ring entrances. Jermain Taylor is coming to the ring first. Taylor is entering to Michael Jackson's "Bad." The crowd sounds surprisingly behind him, clapping to the beat and cheering him on.

Arthur Abraham comes to the ring now to music by The Scorpions. The Scorpions are actually performing above the entranceway. The crowd is really into the band. Abraham descends from behind the screen in an elaborate robe with fur.

Michael Buffer is working on the intros now. Abraham is 30-0 with 24 KOs. Taylor is 28-3-1 with 17 KOs.

And here we go!

Round 1
They meet in the center. Taylor's style looks slightly different than when he fought Froch. He's not rocking back and forth as much. Abraham lands a good jab. Taylor tries to back him down with his strong jab. Taylor tries a left hook that gets partially blocked. Abraham is starting slowly as expected. He backs Taylor off with a wide right hand. The crowd starts an Abraham chant. Taylor lands a right to the body. Taylor ducks a right hook. Abraham lands a jab. Taylor gets out of the corner. Taylor lands two hooks to the body.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Taylor
Franchise: 10-9 Taylor

Round 2
Taylor gets the jab going again. Abraham's hooks are very wide and are getting blocked easily by Taylor. Taylor gets some more jabs between the gloves of Abraham. Taylor lands some hooks and one was way low. Abraham gets some time to recover and Taylor gets a warning. Abraham is using his own jab more now. Taylor keeps his going and mixes in an uppercut. Taylor lands a good left hook. This has been a good round for Taylor so far. Abraham gets in a left hook and Taylor backs off. Taylor gets against the ropes and Abraham goes to work. Taylor complains that the punches were in the back of the head.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Abraham
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 3
Taylor starts his jab again. Nothing from Abraham yet. Taylor keeps the jab going. Abraham unleashes a combo of hooks to the body. Taylor is wasting a lot of energy throwing his jab into Abraham's gloves. Abraham goes inside again and throws his combo of hooks. Abraham lands a great right hook. Abraham is starting to come alive. Taylor starts jawing with Abraham about punches to the back of the head at the end of the round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham
Uatu: 10-9 Abraham
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 4
Taylor comes out swinging hard and backs up Abraham immediately. Now he gets back to his jab. Taylor lands a shot to the body that the ref called low. It didn't look low to me. Abraham works the body with a hook. Taylor's corner told him to use his right more, and it looks like he listened. Taylor gets backed up with some Abraham jabs. Abraham goes to the body once more. Taylor throws an uppercut, but Abraham blocks it. Abraham throws a four-punch combo to the body again. Very close round toward the end.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Taylor
Franchise: 10-9 Taylor

Round 5
Taylor throws some more jabs and one right to the body. There is some swelling starting over the right eye of Abraham. Abraham is starting to throw more punches now but almost all jabs. Taylor lands a good hook to the body. Abraham goes to his trademark combo to the body. Abraham lands a good right hand upstairs. Taylor dodges another combo from Abraham. They trade blows on the inside now, swinging wildly. Abraham lands a great straight right. Abraham's best round yet.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham
Uatu: 10-9 Abraham
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 6
Abraham is starting to go to work now. His punches look way wider than I've ever seen them. Taylor gets a left hand around Abraham's glove. Taylor keeps his jab going. Abraham gets a good right hand to the body. Taylor goes to the body again that Abraham calls low. The ref takes a point away. It looked like it was right on the beltline. Abraham gets in a good right hand. They trade in the middle of the ring but nothing landed for either fighter.

Spartan117: 10-8 Abraham
Uatu: 10-8 Abraham
Franchise: 10-8 Abraham

Round 7
Taylor lands a combo to the head and body. Abraham answers back with a hook upstairs and one good shot to the body. Taylor keeps throwing his jab. Taylor gets rocked with a big right hand. Taylor isn't throwing much other than his jab. Abraham lands three shorts to the body and one more with a right to the head. Abraham tries for a knockout punch but misses by a lot. Abraham lands a right hand and Taylor shakes his head. The crowd is on its feet now.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham
Uatu: 10-9 Abraham
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 8
Taylor has already thrown about 10 jabs in the first 30 seconds. Abraham drops his gloves below his waist now. Taylor throws a right hand but misses. Taylor misses two jabs as Abraham backs away. Not much coming from Abraham in the first two minutes. Taylor lands another jab. Abraham misses with a right hand. Taylor tries to sneak in another right hand. Abraham lands a flurry while Taylor is against the ropes. Abraham backs off for the last 10 seconds of the round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Taylor
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 9
Taylor continues to throw the jab. Not much from either fighter yet in Round 9. Abraham gets through a crushing right hand, and Taylor is on wobbly legs. He's holding on to survive. He's trying to regain his composure in there. I'm surprised he survived. Abraham backs off now. Taylor lands a right uppercut on the inside. Taylor has his legs under him again. Abraham does almost nothing for the last 20 seconds of the round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham
Uatu: 10-9 Abraham
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 10
Taylor keeps his jab going. Abraham goes back in defensive mode. Taylor's not throwing enough right hands to win these rounds. He's throwing the jab almost exclusively. Abraham throws some more wide hooks. Taylor gets backed into the ropes and eats some hooks from Abraham. Abraham is pouring it on now and Taylor is backing off. Good round for Abraham.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham
Uatu: 10-9 Abraham
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 11
Taylor lands a right to the body after a jab. Taylor starts throwing some more right hands. Taylor gets out of the corner and Abraham misses some wide hooks. Taylor goes back to the jab. Abraham lands a five-punch combo to the body while Taylor is in the corner. Abraham throws a flurry and lands at will. Taylor is in trouble in there. He's not doing enough to win any of these rounds, and Abraham should be well on his way to a decision victory.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham
Uatu: 10-9 Abraham
Franchise: 10-9 Abraham

Round 12
Taylor keeps his jab going and throws one to the body. The ref tells him to keep his punches up again. Nothing from Abraham yet. There isn't a sense of urgency from Taylor like there should be if he wants to win. Abraham lands a right hook. Abraham lands a right hand that backs him up into the corner, and they trade wild shots. Abraham lands a left hook and then another. Taylor throws a right hand but misses. Abraham lands an enormous right hand and Taylor is knocked out hard. The fight is all over. They are checking to see if Taylor is OK in there.

The winner by TKO at 2:54 in the 12th round... "King" Arthur Abraham.

Abraham says that "it was a great fight and a great KO, and Taylor is a good fighter, but I am better." He says he wasn't looking for the knockout, his main goal was only to win. He's asked if Taylor hits hard and he laughed and says no. He says his next plan is to go to America and "take America."

Taylor sounds really discouraged in his interview. He says he trained hard and of course he wanted a victory. He says he just got caught with a punch he didn't see.

Posted by spartan117

Live Froch-Dirrell Round By Round Updates Plus Abraham-Taylor Round By Round Tonight

It's time! Time for the Super Six World Boxing Classic to get underway, that is.

Tonight's first wave of fights will see Arthur Abraham take on Jermain Taylor, while Carl Froch defends his super middleweight title against Andre Dirrell in England. Showtime will televise both fights in the U.S., and it appears that Abraham-Taylor will air on a delay and Froch-Dirrell will be live.

That being the case, we'll be here for any boxing fans unfortunate enough to not be able to see the bouts on TV. We'll have separate posts for both fights out on our home page, and we'll even act like the Abraham-Taylor fight is happening live. Just keep yourself away from spoilers elsewhere on the internets and you'll be fine!

Join us here around 8 pm Eastern time tonight as the World Boxing Classic begins.

Posted by The Franchise


BoxingWatchers Round Table: Super Six Picks

The BoxingWatchers each have their own opinions on the sport, but we don't get a chance to come together and express them very often. On the eve of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, we figured now was as good a time as any.

It goes without saying that we're excited for the super middleweight tournament to begin. Everything from the format to the participants suggests that boxing fans all around the world are in for a treat.

What's going to happen over the next year and a half? Here's our take...

Who is most likely to win?

Uatu: This is a difficult question. All of these fighters have question marks. The consensus pick seems to be Mikkel Kessler because of his size, his strength, and his skills. He also only has one loss, and that was to Joe Calzaghe in his prime. But he doesn't fight often and not here in the US. Still, he is the most likely.

Spartan117: I like Kessler to win it all. He has more experience in the ring than most of the other fighters in the tournament, and he has faced some tough competition in the past. An argument against him is that most of his opponents throughout his career have been no-namers and he faced them in his own country, but he's the only one in the tournament that faced future Hall of Famer Joe Calzaghe and even made it somewhat competitive.

I think he and Arthur Abraham have the most pure boxing skill in the tournament, but I have more faith in Kessler's style to win it all.

The Franchise: Will Abraham be the same fighter at super middleweight that he was at middleweight? If he is, then I think he's got the best shot at winning. He's tough, accurate, patient and powerful, and I don't think any of the other entrants have styles that will be too much for him to figure out.

I like Andre Ward's chances too, provided he gets past Kessler in his first fight, which should give him confidence that he can win it all. He is just so solid in all facets of the game, I would not be at all surprised to see him in the final.

Who is least likely to win?

Uatu: Since all of the fighters have question marks, this is also hard to choose. Could be Andre Dirrell since he lacks experience or Abraham since he's coming up in weight, but I will go with Jermain Taylor.

Despite his vast experience edge over the others, he has already lost to Carl Froch, and he's always looked a little shaky in the late rounds. So unless he has something new up his sleeve, Taylor will have the hardest road to victory overall.

Spartan117: Dirrell is the underdog in my book. We haven't seen him face the top-tier opposition, unlike every other fighter who's competing. This could make him a bit of a wild card, but I think experience will decide the winner, and Dirrell might be a bit over his head. That being said, I am still looking forward to see what he brings to the tournament.

The Franchise: I'm having the hardest time envisioning Froch as the last man standing. I respect his toughness and power, but considering Taylor was about 15 seconds away from beating him on the cards, I can see all of the others winning decisions against him.

What will happen during the tournament that will surprise a lot of people?

Uatu: Dirrell will both impress and excite the naysayers out there.

Spartan117: I feel the biggest surprise of the tournament will be Taylor. I see Jermain as the only fighter in this whose career is at stake if he doesn't perform well.

We have seen him fade in late rounds in many of his past fights, but it looks like he's been working harder to fix that then ever before. He's seen plenty of elite competition in his career (most notably bringing Bernard Hopkins' title defense streak to an end), which should prepare him for what he's about to face.

I think he understands what this tournament means for him and his career, which means we'll see him at the top of his game.

The Franchise: I'll go in a different direction with this question and say I expect that we'll see at least one of the Super Six drop out, and the substitute will shake things up by winning a match. It will cause some controversy but not enough to take away from the whole thing.

Some people may be surprised when more mainstream media start paying attention to the tournament in its later stages, but if it delivers as I expect, I won't be surprised.

Anything else to say about the Super Six?

Uatu: There is absolutely no way this tournament can fail. None.

Even if every fighter gets hurt in the first round, or if every fight is boring, so what? These are all matchups we want to see, even in the first round. It could slightly fall short of expectations if some of the fighters drop out along the way, but once again, so what? You might as well aim high. At least there is a blueprint in place.

Now, maybe the true champ at 168 won't truly emerge at the end, but once again, so what? I am not watching this to see a true champ crowned as much as I am watching to see a slew of even fights among super talented fighters in their prime. I am not getting those types of fights anywhere else.

Dare I say, this is a very UFC way of putting together fights. There are winners, there are losers, but we get a bunch of even fights and one loss doesn't take you out of the picture forever.

Oh, and for right now, I like Abraham to win it all.

The Franchise: It's been said before in other places, but it bears repeating: I hope other promoters, networks, etc. are paying attention to the fan reaction for this event, because it has been almost entirely positive. I don't expect the Super Six will "save" boxing, but it's a giant step toward eliminating some of the ill will and indifference toward the sport that's been building up over the last 20 years.

Goods fights speak for themselves, and while nothing can ensure exciting matches, this format provides the best conditions for them to occur. I hope and I truly believe that the eventual winner, and perhaps one or two other boxers who impress along the way, will emerge as big stars.

Posted by The Franchise

Predictions: Abraham-Taylor and Froch-Dirrell

The Franchise says...

The Super Six World Boxing Classic is finally here, and it's a damn good time to be a boxing fan. If you're like me, one of the things you always hope for is to see top fighters facing each other, and this tournament ensures that we'll be watching exactly that in the super middleweight division for the next year and a half or so.

The first two fights have some intriguing subplots. Arthur Abraham and Jermain Taylor were both champions at 160 pounds, and while Taylor has two fights under his belt at 168 (going 1-1), Abraham is making his first serious foray into the division.

He's physically the smallest man in the tourney, and that could turn out to be an important fact, because he's a serious threat to win the whole thing if he can translate his style to the higher weight class. Abraham is efficient and accurate, content to wait for the right time to let loose even if that takes a few rounds.

Taylor is the only man in the field for whom the event is something of a final stab at regaining elite status. His days as the undisputed middleweight champion seem far behind him now, and he heads in off of three losses in his last four fights.

If Taylor can use what looks like a significant reach advantage and keep Abraham at bay with his jab, he has a definite chance to make his statement. He's capable of some very smart boxing - it's easy to forget that he did some good things in his first loss to Kelly Pavlik and would have beaten Carl Froch is he could have held on for another 14 seconds - but he has to be able to put it togehter for 12 rounds, and his track record on that score is not good.

I think this fight will be closer than some will suspect based on each man's recent performances, as Taylor uses what he's learned fighting some truly top-notch competition to make it very competitive. Ultimately, I just believe that Abraham will show his true quality over 12 rounds, and with the home fans urging him on, King Arthur will earn a narrow but unanimous decision.

The other fight on the tournament's first night sees WBC super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch put his gold on the line against undefeated but relatively untested American Andre Dirrell. It shapes up as the champ's power and toughness against the challenger's flashy quickness in front of Froch's literal hometown fans in Nottingham, England.

It's really hard to know exactly what we've got in Dirrell, who is two years older than fellow participant Andre Ward but has been in even lighter to this point. It's no mystery that he has a solid amateur background as a former Olympic bronze medalist, has speed in both his hands and his feet and he can switch from his normal southpaw stance to an orthodox look any time and be comfortable either way.

The unknown is how he'll handle taking shots from a puncher like Froch, who proved he can bring the thunder even after going 12 rounds with his dramatic victory over Taylor earlier this year. We should know early on if he has an answer for the movement and hand speed of Dirrell, and if he does, it could be a long, painful night for the American.

This is the rare fight where no outcome would surprise me. There's a lot to like about Froch's experience and power (plus the friendly crowd and, perhaps, judges), but it's possible Dirrell's athleticism will trump those factors.

I'm going to go with my gut over my head for this pick. While acknowledging Froch could catch his foe with a fight-ending shot, I think Saturday will be a coming out party in the form of Dirrell winning by decision, which may be closer on the cards than it appears on television.

Uatu says...

I like Abraham to wear Taylor down late and win by KO.

I will take Froch to wear Dirrell down late and win by decision.

Spartan117 says...

I like Taylor to get the upset victory tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to see how his new training methods will prepare him for a tough opponent like King Arthur. Taylor by decision.

I see Dirrell trying to make a statement with an early round K.O. Dirrell by K.O. in round 3-6

Posted by The Franchise


Carl Froch vs. Andre Dirrell: Super Six In-Depth Preview

Carl "The Cobra" Froch

Birthplace: Nottingham, England
Resides: Nottingham, England
Height: 6' 1"
Reach: 74 1/2"
Current World Titles Held: WBC Super Middleweight (168 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: None
Professional Record: 25-0, 20 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 2-0, 1 KO
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 4-0
Record at 168 lbs.: 16-0

Notable Wins: TKO12 Jermain Taylor, UD12 Jean Pascal

"The Matrix" Andre Dirrell

Birthplace: Flint, Michigan
Resides: Flint, Michigan
Height: 6' 2"
Reach: 75"
Current World Titles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: None
Professional Record: 18-0, 13 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: No previous title fights
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: None
Record at 168 lbs.: 16-0

Notable Wins: TKO6 Victor Oganov


For those who care about the sanctioning body titles up for grabs in the Super Six super middleweight tournament, this will be the first time one of them is on the line. Reigning WBC champion Froch won his strap by beating Jean Pascal last December, and he'll defend it against a man who's never been in a spot like this - or anything close - in Dirrell.

Froch has a unique claim to fame among the Super Six in that he's already beaten one of them, knocking out Jermain Taylor in dramatic fashion six months ago. Down on two of the three scorecards and having already shaken off a third-round knockdown, The Cobra rallied to stop Taylor with just 14 seconds left in the fight.

In contrast, Dirrell isn't taking a step up in competition as much as he's taking a leap. The 2004 Olympic middleweight bronze medalist has dazzling athleticism and tons of potential, but he's never had to deal with the kind of quality he'll be facing as long as he hangs around in the tournament.

Direll himself has broken down the fight as his speed versus Froch's power, but that's probably oversimplifying things, because he has some pop, and Froch isn't exactly a plodder. The Cobra has also demonstrated a sturdy chin and championship-caliber heart; the next time Dirrell has to show what he has in either of those categories will be his first.

The other factor that can't be overlooked is that Froch will practically be fighting in his backyard in Nottingham's Trent FM Arena, also the site of his victory over Pascal. All of Dirrell's fights have come on U.S. soil, so he'll have to be mentally prepared for having a hot crowd solidly in the corner of his opponent.

Froch's Winning Strategy: Don't Wait

No one can find fault with Froch's assertion that Dirrell has never fought anyone of his caliber, so his pre-fight confidence is understandable. He can also feel good about the fact that he's shown in his last two fights that he is able to handle guys with really quick hands (Pascal), and that he has the power to win even if he's down on points (Taylor).

Indeed, he may be the hardest single-shot puncher among the Super Six. That doesn't mean he can afford to sit back and wait for his spot too long, though, because Dirrell is an entirely different animal than his two previous victims.

Dirrell is more technically sound than Pascal, and his young legs aren't likely to fade on him like Taylor's did. He'll also gain confidence from every round he wins or even fights competitively.

The Cobra's best bet will be to make Dirrell feel his power early and stay in his face. Winning the initial rounds will keep the crowd excited, give his younger foe some self-doubt and make the knockout shot he's looking for later on more likely to come from opportunity rather than desperation.

Dirrell's Winning Strategy: Keep Things Unpredictable

Even Froch himself would probably have to admit that Dirrell has the faster hands. The Matrix earned his nickname with his ability to get off first and throw truly ridiculous combinations that look like they came straight out of a video game.

But boxing is much more than a hand speed competition, and Froch is both crafty and sturdy. He's not likely to wilt under simple volume and he's too dangerous to stand in front of for too long, especially with Dirrell's whiskers so untested.

Fortunately for Dirrell, he has more tricks up his sleeve. Listed as a southpaw, he's actually adept at fighting from either stance and is fond of switching numerous times over the course of a fight. He's capable of some nifty moves with his feet too, hopping in and out and leaving opponents flailing.

Dirrell can't worry about proving himself or trying to impress anyone. He'll find success if he can keep Froch guessing by continually changing the distance, pace and his stance, and yes, unleashing his long combos when he gets a chance. Froch will be the best boxer Dirrell has seen, but The Matrix can win if he gives the champ something he's never seen before either.

Posted by The Franchise


Arthur Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor: Super Six In-Depth Preview

"King" Arthur Abraham

Birthplace: Yerevan, Armenia
Resides: Berlin, Germany
Height: 5' 10"
Reach: 72"
Current Titles Held: None
Former Titles Held: IBF Middleweight (160 lbs.)
Professional Record: 30-0, 24 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 8-0
Record at 168 lbs.: 6-0

Notable Wins: TKO4 Edison Miranda II, UD12 Edison Miranda I, KO5 Kingsley Ikeke

Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor

Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas
Resides: Little Rock, Arkansas
Height: 5' 11"
Reach: 74 1/2"
Current Titles Held: None
Former Titles Held: WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, Ring Magazine Middleweight (160 lbs.)
Professional Record: 28-3-1, 17 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 7-2-1
Record at 168 lbs.: 1-1

Notable Wins: UD12 Bernard Hopkins II, SD12 Bernard Hopkins I, TKO9 Raul Marquez
Notable Losses: TKO12 Carl Froch, UD12 Kelly Pavlik II, TKO7 Kelly Pavlik I


The first bout in Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic features a battle between the two men in the field who have the most accomplishments to their names, though those honors came one weight class south of super middleweight. Taylor is a former undisputed middleweight champion with two victories over Bernard Hopkins under his belt, while Abraham gave up his IBF 160-pound title to enter the tournament after making 10 successful defenses.

Those similarities aside, the two men couldn't be more different when it comes to styles and career paths. King Arthur may not have truly elite power or speed, but he's been able to turn back all challengers to this point by taking several rounds to study them, then dishing out punishment once he sees openings.

Taylor, meanwhile, limps into the Super Six off of a dramatic TKO loss at the hands of fellow participant Carl Froch that punctuated a 1-3 record in his last four fights. Despite his middleweight reign, he's never quite seemed to get his boxing savvy to the same high level of his physical gifts, and he's had a worrisome tendency to fade after looking good early.

While those factors would seem to dovetail into an easy night for Abraham, there's still intrigue thanks to the fact that he's physically smaller than every man he'll face in the tournament. He'll be giving away height, reach and overall bulk to Taylor, and he'll have to prove he can retain his effectiveness against top contenders at this higher weight.

The format of the Classic ensures the loser won't be out of contention to win it all, but of all the first round matches, this one stands to do the most psychological damage to the boxer who ends up in that position. Abraham would have to quickly show that he can deal with tasting his initial defeat, while Taylor would undoubtedly hear the whispers that he's finished - or even worse, that he shouldn't have been in the field at all.

Abraham's Winning Strategy: Patience is a Virtue

King Arthur's usual M.O. is to cover up on defense until he's comfortable with what he's seeing, unleashing accurate jabs and power shots once he thinks he's got his foe figured out. It's worked for him so far, and there's no reason to think he'll do anything radically different.

But Taylor could test his commitment to the game plan in a couple of ways. Jermain often looks impressive or even scores knockdowns in the first few rounds, earning a lead on the scorecards. The American can also be awkward and doesn't throw a ton of punches, leading to fewer opportunities for counter-punching than Abraham usually sees.

Though Taylor's chin is now rightly suspect, Abraham could still find his power punches don't do as much damage at 168. There are also the pressures of earning the extra points for a KO and fighting in front of thousands of adoring fans in his adopted homeland of Germany that could tempt him into extra aggression.

Abraham can't worry about any of that. He needs to dance with what got him here because it's his best chance to stay undefeated.

Taylor's Winning Strategy: Attack Early, Defend Late

Several media outlets have reported that Taylor has been working with doctors and coaches specifically to solve his problem of running out of gas in the late rounds. He'd better hope they come up with something, because Abraham will make him pay if he reverts to his old form.

That doesn't mean Taylor should sit back for the first few frames. On the contrary, he'd probably be better served by dialing up the aggression even more than usual in the hopes of building a lead - a task that may be tougher in Germany.

Since he's naturally bigger than Abraham, Taylor should be able to muscle him in the early rounds. King Arthur covers up well, so Jermain would be well served to mix things up to the head and body and throw combinations with the knowledge that not all of the punches will get through.

Assuming he feels like he's ahead after the halfway point, Taylor can ease off a bit and use the fact that he's taller and rangier to pick off a foe who will have to push the pace to catch up. And while it may not be pretty, getting on his bike may be called for as well, the better to avoid more final round drama going against him.


20/20 Hindsight: Juan Manuel Lopez Goes From Prodigy to Paradox

One of the things I love most about boxing is that even fights that look crappy on paper can turn exciting unexpectedly. The reason the phrase "puncher's chance" is understood in society at large is because it's rooted in the truth.

That was clearly evident this past Saturday, when a fairly ordinary title defense for Puerto Rican superstar-in-waiting Juan Manuel Lopez almost went horribly awry. Challenger Rogers Mtagwa, from Tanzania by way of Philadelphia, had virtually no chance of winning on the scorecards but stil managed to give Juanma much more than anyone could have predicted.

While Lopez flexed his superior skill and speed early and often, Mtagwa stayed in the fight with relentless pressure, an iron chin and wide punches that hurt when they found their mark. Lopez was stunned several times, including right at the end of the 11th round, setting up high drama as he literally held on for dear life and Mtagwa gave his all trying for the buzzer-beating KO.

We learned something by seeing Lopez pushed to his limits, something that had never even come close to happening in his previous 26 pro fights, and he put on a show of heart that was exactly what you want to see from a champion. Still, it's hard not to think the contradictions on display raised more questions than were answered.

How could Juanma, who has a complete arsenal on offense and is at least defensively aware, get tagged so often by Mtagwa's wild power shots? It could have been a desire to prove something - he briefly showed signs of boxing his way to victory in the middle rounds before reverting to trading in the championship rounds - or it could be that we saw an Achilles heel, a vulnerability to right hand thrown over or around his left.

Since Lopez landed numerous bombs of his own, including right hooks, straight lefts and body shots, why couldn't he get Mtagwa out of there? It was widely thought that we saw Gerry Penalosa show off a superhuman chin hanging around for 10 rounds back in April (and even then, the stoppage was because Freddie Roach had seen enough, not because Penalosa got starched). Mtagwa may have been showing one too... or maybe Juanma isn't quite as devastating a puncher as we assumed he was. Since he's going to be moving up in weight, the answer to that question could be critical.

Finally, it was a little surprising to hear Lopez say in his post-fight interview that he's rather fight champions than guys with nothing to lose like Mtagwa. On one hand, it was refreshingly honest, and it was easy to understand his point. On the other, it seemed like a bit of excuse-making, and Bob Arum made that impression worse by acting like it would be ludicrous to give Mtagwa a rematch.

Every boxer has off nights or makes occasional poor tactical decisions. Either or both of those things happened to Lopez on Saturday and he still won, so that counts for something. It may be a cliche, but real champions find a way to come out on top when the script gets tossed out the window.

But Lopez and his team are doing themselves a disservice if they simply dismiss what just happened. He may simply brush off that life-or-death 12th round and return to racking up victims. For the first time, though, there's some doubt about whether that's a slam dunk.

That's especially true when you consider that Juanma is being positioned for an eventual showdown with Yuriorkis Gamboa, who looked great in dispatching Whyber Garcia in just under four rounds. I've always favored Lopez in that hypothetical bout. Now I'd say it's a toss-up.

Juanma may not have become a full-fledged enigma on the basis of one surprisingly tough fight, and his future still looks bright. It's just a little tougher now to figure out if he's as good as advertised than it was a few days ago.

Posted by The Franchise


Fight Camp 360: Episode 1 Recap

Fight Camp 360 is Showtime's answer to HBO's 24/7 or countdown series. It's a documentary style behind the scenes look into Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic.

It starts with ESPN's Dan Rafael discussing how this tournament came to be. There's some great footage of George Foreman and Mike Tyson commenting on how big a deal the tournament is.

Carl Froch is shown at dinner with his wife and family discussing his fight against Taylor and what the tournament means to him.

Next is Andre Direll. He's been training at Big Bear, California. He's been close with his father and he's dedicating his performance in the tournament to him.

Jermain Taylor gets the floor now. He's met with doctors to see why he's been getting tired late in his fights. They say it's because he's been losing weight too fast. Since then he's completely changed his training style.

Showtime now focuses on the meeting between all of the fighter's promoters. There were long conversations discussing how the tournament would be scheduled and who would face who.

Arthur Abraham gets focus now. He talks about how he got into the sport. He idolized Mike Tyson growing up and he says that this tournament will get him to where he wants to be in boxing.

That's it. It was a great look into the 4 boxers that fight next week.

Posted by spartan117

Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Rogers Mtagwa: Round By Round

We're almost set for Juan Manuel Lopez to headline the Latin Fury 12: Island Warriors pay-per-view by defending his WBO super bantamweight title against Rogers Mtagwa. A few early knockouts on the undercard have slowed down the action from the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, with footage of an earlier victory by local favorite John Duddy filling the extra time.

Lopez is 26-0 with 24 KOs, and is making the fifth defense of the belt he won with a first round knockout of Daniel Ponce de Leon in June of 2008. He has scored 13 knockdowns in his last six fights, and no one has been able to take him the distance in a 12-rounder.

Mtagwa is originally from Tanzania but now calls Philadelphia home. The tale of the tape shows him with a four-inch reach advantage despite being slightly shorter than Juanma.

As this is a Top Rank pay-per-view, we get another video promo for the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight.

Mtagwa makes his way to the ring first to a mostly indifferent reaction from the pro-Lopez crowd. Juanma gets plenty of love as he makes his way out, and plenty oif Puerto Rican flags are visible in the stands.

Michael Buffer performs the introductions with his usual flair, and we are set for a scheduled 12 rounds of boxing.

Round 1

Mtagwa comes out as the aggressor but Juanma quickly puts him off-balance. There's a quick tie up as Mtagwa comes charging in. A clubbing right hook by Lopez makes his foe stumble a bit. Another right hook finds the mark. Juanma scores to the body as Mtagwa misses a wild right. The right hook is landing at will, and Lopez hardly even needs his left hand right now. Mtagwa goes down late in the round, but it's correctly ruled a slip.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 2

Mtagwa is having all kinds of problems with Juanma's hand speed and his balance has been poor as well. CompuBox had Rogers landing only 10 percent of his punches in Round 1. Two left hands score for Lopez as both men swing away. Mtagwa bears down and actually lands tow right hands, but counters knock him back immediately. Mtagwa tries to mug his foe in close as Lopez throws back to the body. Juanma eats two right hooks before the bell, but he laughs as he goes back to his corner.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 3

A straight left opens up the round for Juanma. Mtagwa charges in and is met by a flurry. Lopez feints and connects with a sharp right hand. Both men throw and land with right hands and the fans are into it. They are each eating bombs as they stand and trade. Juanma pushes his foe back into the ropes as he works the body. It's a brawl again in the center of the ring. Lopez is cut near his right eye. Wild round that may have gone to Lopez, but he doesn't need to fight this fight.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 4

The ref has declared that Juanma's cut was caused by an accidental clash of heads. Mtagwa slips down in the early going. Both men have displayed serious chins thus far. Here we go again as they trade in the center of the ring. Lopez gets the better of it thanks to some mean left hands. Mtagwa scores with two left hooks along the ropes. Wild swing and a miss by Mtagwa. Right to the body forces Lopez back. Juanma trying to keep his distance right now.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 5

Mtagwa certainly doesn't get cheated on any punch. The announcers discuss Juanma's low punch output, especially when it comes to jabs. Lopez finds the mark with two straight lefts, followed by a right hook. Mtagwa goes down, but he doesn't look hurt. They resume fighting and quickly get tangled up. Mtagwa stays in Juanma's face, but Lopez makes him eat a left hand. Big right hand by Mtagwa smacks Lopez in the face. Lopez thunders a right hook home, though Mtagwa is mostly undeterred.

Franchise: 10-8 Lopez

Round 6

There's still some debate about the knockdown from the last round, but the ref scored it that way. Mtagwa bulls his way forward and is met by a hook and a headlock. Mtagwa comes over the top with two right hands. Lopez switches stances so he can stick and move. Right hook inside by Juanma. Mtagwa effectively goes to the jab. He stalks but Lopez is moving very well. Things heat up with 30 seconds to go with a few nice exchanges.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 7

Lopez strafes Mtagwa with left hands and keeps his legs moving. Mtagwa leans in and connects with a big right hand along the ropes. They stand and trade and Mtagwa is able to knock Lopez back with more straight rights. Lopez doesn't look too hurt but he ate some nice shots. Both men score with hooks, and Mtagwa follows with another right. Lopez got lured back into a brawl and paid for it this time.

Franchise: 10-9 Mtagwa

Round 8

Juanma gets his right hook untracked as Mtagwa continues to come forward. Uppercut by Mtagwa is answered by a right hook from Juanma. One-two by Lopez and a right hook before they clinch. Big miss by Juanma and they trade again. The ref is busy and has to separate them several times. Each man stumbles as power shots crash home. Mtagwa is showing some serious heart right now.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 9

Mtagwa's corner urges him on. We'll see if anyone fades down the stretch. Both men miss and Mtagwa stumbles Juanma with a hook. Short left by Lopez but Mtagwa slugs him right back with right hands. The ref warns Juanma for low shots. Lopez is clinching again when Mtagwa moves in. Quick right by Mtagwa and Lopez tries to answer. Right-left by Lopez and Mtagwa scores right at the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Mtagwa

Round 10

Lopez goes right to work and catches Mtagwa with several left hands. No one has ever taken Juanma past 10 rounds before. Body shots from both men look low. Mtagwa mugs his opponent on the inside. Lopez goes to the body and head with left hands. Right hand by Mtagwa and another on the inside. Uppercut by Mtagwa and Lopez answers. Lopez staggers and Mtagwa goes down, but it's a slip. Wild last minute of that round.

Franchise: 10-9 Mtagwa

Round 11

However this ends, it's been worth the price of admission. Lopez is backpedaling and Mtagwa lands a vicious right. Left hand by Lopez as he gathers himself. The crowd gets behind Juanma with 90 seconds left in the frame. Left by Lopez and the ref steps in. Right hand by Mtagwa and a straight left by Lopez. He walks through some uppercuts to connect to the body and head. Left hook and a right hand by Mtagwa have Lopez in trouble but the bell bails him out.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez

Round 12

We'll see if Juanma was hurt by those last two right hands, because he was controlling the 11th round until those landed. Mtagwa comes forward and lands a big right. Juanma digs in and lands a right hook. Mtagwa stumbles into the corner, swinging wildly. Lopez looks like he's in trouble as Mtagwa charges in. He smothers Mtagwa to buy some time. Both men stumble as they trade. A minute and a half to go. If Mtagwa wasn't so wild, he may have knocked Lopez down already. Sixty seconds to go. Right hand by Mtagwa. Lopez smothers him again in the corner. He has to hold just to stay up. Left hand staggers Lopez but he stays up. He makes it to the final bell in a thrilling show of guts by both boxers.

Franchise: 10-8 Mtagwa

Franchise: 115-111 Lopez

The judges score it 116-111, 114-113 and 115-111 for the winner by unanimous decision... and still WBO super bantamweight titleholder... Juan Manuel Lopez.

Steve Farhood gets a word with Mtagwa, who felt like he won the fight. He certainly won over some of the fans, who were almost 100 percent pro-Juanma at the start of the fight. Mtagwa says Lopez was very tired, and though he gives Juanma credit for being a good fighter, he doesn't think the champ hits particularly hard. Not surprisingly, he'd like a rematch.

For his part, Lopez says Mtagwa was very strong and fought as if he had nothing to lose. Juanma admits to being fatigued in the final round but feels he did enough to control the early action to win. Bob Arum isn't so willing to give Mtagwa credit, and the fans let him hear it a little bit. Lopez wants to fight the best guys at 126.

Al Bernstein states that there was an error reading the scorecards, and it's actually a unanimous decision for Lopez.

Posted by The Franchise

Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Whyber Garcia: Round By Round

We've made it to the co-feature of Latin Fury 12: Island Warriors, from the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Undefeated Cuban featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa looks to keep a possible future date with Juan Manuel Lopez on track by adding Whyber Garcia to his hit list.

The tale of the tape shows Garcia with a two-inch height advantage, and both men came in even on the scales. Gamboa is 15-0 with 13 KOs, while Garcia is 22-6.

Michael Buffer does the introductions and we're set for a scheduled 12 rounds for the WBA featherweight title.

Round 1

Both men lead off with wide hooks. Gamboa tries to duck in behind his jab. Garcia is very patient as he takes a left hook to the body. He quickly ties up as Gamboa comes in. Left hook to the head by Gamboa. One-two by Gamboa is mostly blocked, so he tries the body instead. Gamboa gets his foe's attention with a few shots right at the end of the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round 2

Gamboa starts out with a nice right hand but gets whacked back by a left. Yuriorkis loads up another left hook that glances off his opponent's head. Garcia looks a little bloody under his right eye. Gamboa flurries and lands a couple punches before walking back out of range. Garcia is forced to lunge just to find Gamboa right now.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round 3

A pair of right hands have Gamboa feeling confident in the first minute, but Garcia shows something by sneaking in a few rights of his own. Garcia is smart about holding when he's under pressure. Nothing too dangerous comes back toward Gamboa for the last 90 seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round 4

Gamboa hits Garcia with a blazing right hand in the opening seconds and he goes down hard. Garcia beats the count, but Gamboa stays on him and keeps peppering him with both hands, and the referee finally decides that he's seen enough.

The winner by KO in Round 4... and still WBA featherweight titleholder... Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Posted by The Franchise

Latin Fury 12 - Island Warriors Undercard Live Blog

The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden is the site for the latest installment of Top Rank's Latin Fury series. Tonight's card is subtitled Island Warriors because the headliners are Puerto Rico's Juan Manuel Lopez and Cuba's Yuriorkis Gamboa. Al Bernstein, Steve Farhood and Raul Marquez are on hand to discuss the rising stars of Juanma and Gamboa.

The first televised fight is a junior middleweight scrap between Pawel Wolak and Carlos Nasciemento. Michael Buffer is handling the introductions, which is a slight surprise. Both men are 24-1, so at least on paper this should be fairly even. Wolak shares the "Raging Bull" nickname with Vic Darchinyan while Carlos is known as "The Butcher."

Not much subtlety to this one as Wolak comes straight forward, getting in close and throwing tons of body shots. Nasciemento also looks like he may have suffered a cut during Round 1.

Nasciemento is staying busy but Wolak is right in his face and is just relentless. Wolak keeps thudding away to the body and mixing in the occasional shot upstairs. He pours it on toward the end of Round 4, but Nasciemento is showing a good chin and lots of heart.

Wolak lands a vicious right hand in the opening minute of Round 5, though it's still not enough to send Nasciemento down. A hook does put him on the canvas a few minutes later, and his right eye is a bloody mess as well.

There's a little bit of confusion before Round 6, but Nasciemento isn't coming back out for more. Wolak wins by TKO at the end of Round 5.

Next up is a heavyweight fight between Odlanier Solis and Monte Barrett, who was a last minute replacement for Fres Oquendo, who himself was a replacement for Kevin Johnson. Cuban defector Solis is undefeated as a pro but there are questions about his work ethic, and he tipped the scales at a career high 271 pounds.

Barrett comes out jabbing and moving well. Solis stalks and looks to load up a right hand. It's not a thrilling first three minutes, to be sure.

Both men are more active in the second round, but that's to Monte's detriment as Solis lands a huge left hook a minute in and goes down hard. He beats the count and has to try to hold on. Solis keeps up the pressure and the referee is forced to stop the fight. Solis wins by KO at 1:54 of Round 2.

Solis tells Farhood that a 40-second clip of Barrett fighting David Haye was enough to let him know he could catch Monte with a left hook. He plays down the weight issue, and his promoter mentions that he's like to see him in against one of the Klitschkos.

A video package hypes up the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight. I like how they are promoting it as the "Fight of the Year" ahead of time! Maybe, but we'll have to see.

Posted by The Franchise

Live Latin Fury 12 (Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa and More) Round By Round Updates Tonight

Part of me definitely does not like covering things like tonight's Latin Fury 12 pay-per-view, because it's hard to get excited about a card whose top two fighters should easily emerge victorious. Then again, perhaps we're doing readers a service by watching it for you, in case you decide (understandably) that you'd rather hold off and save the money for, say, the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight next month. Top Rank would be okay with that, I think, because they get your money either way!

Anyway, whether you opt out or just can't see the fights tonight for whatever reason, you can get live round by round updates for Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa and whoever else fights on the televised part of the card tonight. Where? Right here! Or more precisely, on the home page where we'll have new posts for the undercard and the co-features. Then just refresh and enjoy.

The action begins at 9 pm Eastern time tonight, so join us then.

Posted by The Franchise


Predictions: Island Warriors - Latin Fury 12 - Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa and More

The Franchise says...

I don't mind paying money to watch Juan Manuel Lopez fight, because he's almost always worth the price of admission. What I do mind is buying a pay-per-view that's so clearly intended to set up a bigger one down the road.

Such is the case with Saturday's Latin Fury 12 (subtitled Island Warriors) as Juanma and co-featured star Yuriorkis Gamboa are definitely being positioned to fight each other, perhaps next year. Since local favorite John Duddy is also in action, this card strikes me as one that would be better to attend in person than watch on TV.

But I digress. To get to a Lopez-Gamboa showdown, it would help if both men win on Saturday. Juanma's foe, Rogers Mtagwa, doesn't have anything on his resume that makes one think he'll be much of a challenge. I'm saying Lopez by KO inside of five rounds.

Whyber Garcia, the man facing Gamboa, also seems like light work. He's twice before been a KO victim for undefeated boxers: to Edwin Valero in 2006 and Jorge Linares last year. Let's say it'll be three for three and go with Gamboa by mid-round KO.

I should mention that the most interesting fight on the card may be a heavyweight bout that has switched participants multiple times. Cuban Odlanier Solis is the constant; he was originally supposed to fight Kevin Johnson, got switched to Fres Oquendo and has ended up with Monte Barrett.

Solis has yet to show he was worth the hype he got beginning his pro career, and he seems to be a student of the pre-Klitschko Chris Arreola school of conditioning. I actually think he caught a break not facing Oquendo, because Fast Fres has enough left in the tank to be a real headache.

Barrett can certainly bang, but appearing as a late replacement may neutralize any cardio advantage he'd have. Solis has never gone ten rounds as a pro, so who knows what happens if the fight goes the distance?

I'm taking Solis by late TKO, but that's a pick made without a whole lot of confidence.

Posted by The Franchise


Super Six: A Case For and Against Each Man Winning the World Boxing Classic

First it seemed like a pipe dream that couldn't possibly come true. Then it felt far enough in the future that it would never get here.

Yet here we are, less than two weeks away from the start of Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic. A half-dozen of the world's best super middleweights are getting set to take part in a tournament that will last into 2011, with the promise of fame and fortune going to the winner.

For boxing fans, one of the most appealing aspects of the tournament is that despite the differences in age, experience and nationality among the participants, all six men are (on paper anyway) fairly evenly matched. Handicapping the field is tricky, and it's not hard to make compelling arguments for why each fighter can win the whole thing - or why you could see each one coming up short.

So I'm going to do just that. In no particular order, here are the boxers who make up the Super Six and the biggest factors that could help them succeed... or fail:

Andre Ward

Why he'll win: Ward has youth on his side. At 25, he's a full seven years south of the oldest competitor, Carl Froch. He's already gone 12 rounds twice in 2009, so he's shown the ability to keep up his movement and activity level while going the distance. That could prove vital when fighting top ranked foes every few months.

As a former Olympic gold medalist, S.O.G. also has the full compliment of boxing skills. Ward looks smooth om both offense and defense and has no glaring weaknesses in his game.

Why he won't win: Of the Super Six, only Jermain Taylor has a lower KO percentage, so there are legitimate questions about Ward's power. He dominated Henry Buchanan and Edison Miranda earlier this year, but he was never able to put either man away.

It's another significant step up to the level of the competition he'll face in the Classic. Ward may be able to take a decision against any man in the field, but winning five in a row is a tall task.

Andre Dirrell

Why he'll win: In terms of pure athleticism, Dirrell may top everyone in the field. He's got ridiculous hand speed and can throw combinations that can dazzle judges. The Matrix also likes to switch from southpaw to orthodox repeatedly in the middle of fights and is comfortable fighting either way.

Dirrell has less wear and tear on him than any of his potential opponents, logging under 100 rounds as a pro so far. On paper, at least, he's the tallest man in the tournament and has the longest arms as well.

Why he won't win: There's stepping up in competition, and then there's leaping, which is what Dirrell is about to do. None of his former victims were top ranked contenders when he beat them, so there's no telling how he'll fare against the best in the world at 168 pounds. He's still raw in some areas and is more of a work in progress than anyone he'll face.

It's also worth noting that Dirrell has never fought 12 rounds and has gone past eight rounds just once. So while he should be able to go the distance without a problem, he has no experience to fall back on should one of his bouts last into the the championship rounds.

Jermain Taylor

Why he'll win: In contrast to the other two Americans, Taylor has been to the top of the mountain. A former undisputed middleweight champion, he owns a pair of wins over a man (Bernard Hopkins) just about any boxing fan would say is better than anyone in the Classic.

Even when he was on top of the sport, Taylor has always been more athlete than boxer, but that sometimes works to his advantage because his style can be awkward. And motivation shouldn't be a problem - he's lost three of his last four fights, and his career could go into a tailspin with a poor showing.

Why he won't win: A tendency to fade late plus a questionable chin have been tough problems for Taylor to solve. He's lost two fights by knockout, and one of those came at the hands of a fellow Super Six member (Carl Froch).

Taylor was never a huge puncher at 160 pounds and his only win at 168 was by decision. If he can't get ahead on the cards early and make his foe respect his power, he may be facing some tough sledding.

Mikkel Kessler

Why he'll win: This may be the best boxer casual boxing fans don't know. The 30-year old Dane has skill and stamina, plus enough pop to get anyone's attention. He's tied with Taylor for the most pro rounds boxed of the six participants, so it's unlikely he'll see anything new.

Kessler shouldn't be intimidated, as he's fared well against top competition in the past. He completely dominated Librado Andrade when they met in 2007, and he gave a good account of himself while dropping a decision to Joe Calazghe - no shame there - eight months later.

Why he won't win: It's possible that Kessler may actually be a bit rusty, at least in terms of fighting elite opponents. By the time he takes on Ward in November, he'll have gone 13 months with just one bout, and that was against the hopelessly outgunned Gusmyr Perdomo.

Kessler has never fought in the U.S. and will be facing hostile crowds against any of the Americans. He'll have to be mentally tough because it's quite possible his opponent will be the rooting favorite in every one of his tournament matches.

Arthur Abraham

Why he'll win: King Arthur fights in a very deliberate style that's served him well over the course of 30 straight wins. Though he's a slow starter, he's excellent at covering up and avoiding serious damage while he figures out his opponent. He's got an uncanny sense for when to go on the attack, and he throws hard, accurate shots when he decides to flip the switch.

Abraham has made a trip to the U.S. to fight once before and won't be rattled by taking on the Americans on their home turf. It goes without saying that any fight that ends up in his adopted home of Germany, like his opener against Taylor, will give him tens of thousands of fans urging him on.

Why he won't win: Most of Abraham's career has been spent at middleweight, so it remains to be seen if the same approach that wilted people at 160 will work at 168. If he can't make his Super Six opponents respect his power, he may have to get out of his comfort zone and fight more aggressively in the early rounds.

Abraham is also the shortest man in the field and has the shortest arms. Against taller men like Dirrell and Froch, those disadvantages could be tough to overcome when added on top of the weight factor.

Carl Froch

Why he'll win: If there's a definite underdog in the tournament, it's probably Froch. His chances seem to be discounted by many fans, but that "me against the world" mentality can be a powerful motivator. He shouldn't lack for confidence since he's already beaten Taylor.

Speaking of that last round KO, The Cobra proved he's never out of a fight. Froch isn't the fastest or most gifted boxer in the Six, but he's resilient and has already demonstrated his chin and heart.

Why he won't win: Not to put too much stock in a single fight, but he was about 15 seconds away from losing to Taylor before he pulled out the knockout. He won't be able to lure headier fighters like Abraham or Kessler into the same type of situation, and it's not hard to envision him coming out on the wrong end of a decision against everyone else in the Classic.

Froch did beat speedy Jean Pascal last December, but he's certainly going to be at a hand speed deficit against the likes of Dirrell (who he fights first) or Ward. He'll have to be accurate and hope judges prefer quality to quantity.

Posted by The Franchise


Rubin Williams to be Thrown to the Wolves in MMA Debut

Boxers on the decline, here's a free warning for you: be wary of going to Japan to start your "new" career in mixed martial arts.

That's exactly what Mr. Hollywood, Rubin Williams is about to do when he fights for Dream (or as they like to spell it, DREAM), Japan's top MMA promotion, Tuesday night. It's likely that he's not going to enjoy the experience too much.

Why? Well, it seems Williams is making his multi-disciplinary fighting debut against Kazushi Sakuraba, a catch wrestling specialist who's considered by hardcore MMA fans as one of the greats of the sport and owns wins over four members of the famed Gracie family.

It hardly seems fair for someone just learning the finer points of the ground game to be matched up against someone like Sakuraba, and if the fight was in the U.S., it almost certainly wouldn't be happening. But in Japan, matchmaking is more WWE than UFC, with entertainment value weighing a great deal more than pairing two men of equal skill.

Sakuraba is 40 and is 0-2 in his last two fights, but there's little doubt that unless he's overcome by the desire to stand and trade with Williams, he'll be making Mr. Hollywood tap out. And let's be honest - it's not like Williams was a world beater as a boxer. He had a decent run until about 2006, but since then he's probably best known for being knocked out by Jeff Lacy, Allan Green and Andre Ward or getting eliminated from Season 3 of The Contender without even getting to fight.

So yeah, maybe going into MMA seems like an okay proposition to keep fighting for a paycheck once your boxing career hits the skids. Just make sure you do it on this side of the Atlantic or else you run the risk of becoming a cautionary tale.

(Note: In the extremely unlikely event that Williams knocks out Sakuraba, please disregard this entire post!)

Posted by The Franchise


BoxingWatchers.com: Boxer Power Rankings - October 2009

Slacking. That's what we've been doing on the site this week, and that's what I've been doing for several months with our power rankings (patent pending).

If you're new here, you're going to look at these and go, "Whoa! Hold up! Where's Money Mayweather?"

Yes, Floyd would likely be on top if this was a pound-for-pound list, but it's not. We only do one of those at the end of each year.

The power rankings are a mathematical way to show who's been staying active, winning and winning decisively against opponents with good records over the past three years. Boxers like Mayweather (since he retired for about two years) just haven't fought enough in that time period to qualify. A "perfect" score is 36, but anything over 17 is pretty impressive.

Now that that's out of the way, here's our list for the beginning of October:

1. Arthur Abraham - 24.13 - It's always easy to criticize fighters who build up gaudy records staying close to home, but King Arthur has begun taking on more challenges. He should get tested big time in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, where he'll not only face top fighters but he'll do it while stepping up in weight.

2. Wladimir Klitschko - 21.07 - Speaking of challenges, this guy could use one. It's hard to recall the last time Wlad was in any danger during a fight.

3. Juan Manuel Lopez - 20.59 - Over the last three years, JuanMa is 9-0 with 9 KOs. He'd have a truly monstrous score in these rankings except for the fact that two or three of his victims fall into the "highly questionable" category.

4. Nonito Donaire - 17.60 - The Filipino Flash is likely to stay somewhat in the very large shadow of countryman Manny Pacquiao for the next few years, but he's been doing some impressive work of his own. He should squeeze in one more fight before the end of the year.

5. Manny Pacquiao - 17.49 - Pac-Man has made it to the point where every time he steps in the ring, it's an event. Beating Miguel Cotto won't be an easy task, but you know Freddie Roach will have his man ready to go.

6. Celestino Caballero - 17.08 - Pelenchin wasn't exactly in tough his last time out against Francisco Leal. It's tough to see who may be on the horizon for him to fight that would get fans excited.

7. Kelly Pavlik - 16.97 - After several stops and starts related to a staph infection, The Ghost has finally been given the okay to fight Paul Williams on December 5. At least that's how it looks right now. That should be an entertaining bout.

8. Felix Sturm - 15.75 - The obvious fight between Sturm and Abraham is out of the question now that Abraham has departed middleweight for bigger (literally) and better things. Maybe he'll get a shot at the Pavlik-Williams winner, but I kind of doubt it.

9. Lucian Bute - 14.36 - He's possibly the most glaring omission from the World Boxing Classic, so he'll content himself with a rematch against Librado Andrade in November. You may recall he was lucky to avoid becoming a late KO victim the first time.

10. Carl Froch - 13.60 - Since he's also part of the Super Six, The Cobra could go soaring up this list over the next year. And he could just as easily be all the way out, too.

The next 10: Miguel Cotto, Fernando Montiel, Tomasz Adamek, Vitali Klitschko, Chris John, Juan Manuel Marquez, Mikkel Kessler, Robert Guerrero, Paul Williams, Chad Dawson

Posted by The Franchise