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

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