The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Boxing Preview For The Weekend

I may or may not get around to doing one of these for WEC; my knowledge of guys in those weight classes is sadly much more limited than for bigger guys. We shall see. Anyway, boxing:

Mikkel Kessler vs. Carl “Karl Frok” Froch

Ah, yes, the Super Six. I remain unconvinced that it’s ever going to actually finish given some of the rumors out there, but in the meantime it’s still at least doing a job of producing good to great fights, of which this is one. I had Frochachiccka-bow-wow picked out as one of the two guys- with Jermain Taylor- who I thought had no chance to win this thing when it started, but my mind has been somewhat changed, I must say, for two reasons: first, I think I’ve underrated his power and his confidence as an undefeated fighter; and second and more specifically, Andre Dirrell is an idiot. As much as I disagreed with the decision in his fight with Froch, Dirrell made it way, way too easy for such a decision to be reached. The version of him which fought Arthur Abraham would have put Froch to the sword, but the points from that fight have been won and lost and can’t be undone, so all Froch needs is to get a little lucky and all of a sudden he’s gone farther than anyone but him expected him to. And now, albeit on the road in Denmark, he faces a fighter who lost his title and his reputation as the top man in the division last time out in a thorough depantsing at the hands of Andre Ward. The last time Mikkel Kessler lost, he all but disappeared from the sport for two full years while fighting nobodies in small fights in Denmark and arguing with his promoters. Is Froch catching another guy at the right time?

He might be. The best Mikkel Kessler should win this easily, jabbing Froch’s head off to keep him at range and dropping a solid right hand behind often enough to work Froch over not entirely unlike the way he did Librado Andrade. I think he’s got the chin to resist Froch’s power for the most part, and he’s a good enough and skilled enough boxer to avoid most of the Englishman’s wild, flailing offense. But I honestly don’t know if that Kessler is going to show up; he’s been proven to have good during-the-fight mental strength, but he has not always been known to handle post-loss adversity as well and it’s been only 5 months since the Ward fight. I can see Froch leaping in with wild hooks, tying up on the inside and banging the body, making it an ugly fight and trying to discourage Kessler early, and maybe that will work; when you’ve got an undefeated cocky fighter against a guy coming off a crushing loss, the mental aspect can’t be completely dismissed. Despite picking against him last time out I still like Kessler, and I’m going to pick him here by close decision, but man… I will not be surprised if he goes into a shell, gives rounds away and loses.

Fun fact: Froch once KO’d a guy named Odin. Whether this gives him an advantage against other Norsemen is unclear.

Chris Arreola vs. Tomasz Adamek

Oh, for this one to be shirts vs. skins. On the one hand I don’t want to dwell on Arreola’s weight, but on the other hand… he’s one of those fighters who sometimes makes you think that by watching him, you’re taking his career more seriously than he is. He also has entered the category of heavyweights who just kind of make you sad: at 28 he’s had his shot at a Klitschko and got beaten on like a heavy bag for 10 rounds until the stoppage, which means while he may have any number of fairly entertaining fights from here on out he’s also got that Kenny Florianesque stink of “never, ever, ever going to be the #1 guy” on him unless he just plain waits out the Klitschkos and rises to the top when they’ve retired. All he can really be in the meantime, in a sense, is a spoiler- if Adamek can take this one than he may well end up facing a Klitschko in the near future, but if Arreola wins than good bye to those plans. Adamek, meanwhile, probably shouldn’t even be here. A magnificent cruiserweight who won the title in one of the greatest fights at that weight in December of 2008 against Steve Cunningham, Adamek ended up moving up to the bigger class shortly afterwards when he discovered that there was no real money to be found at cruiser, even for a rematch with Cunningham. Why that is is somewhat of a mystery, but HBO giveth and HBO taketh away and at least Adamek- consistently one of the more entertaining big men in the sport- has a date this weekend on the network. Ironically, take away the TV money issues and Arreola’s waistline and in another time and place this could have been a hell of a cruiserweight title fight.

I like Arreola in this one, pretty easily. Adamek is tough and game and strong, but Arreola is naturally larger with a great chin and presents a rough style for Adamek to deal with. Adamek likes to jab and time and catch you with one big shot; Arreola throws endless punches and walks men down, pressuring them and imposing his size and strength to break them down, and hits like a real heavyweight. Some guys coming up from cruiser might be able to do the bull-and-matador routine with Arreola, but Adamek is a linear and largely stationary fighter. He’ll probably catch Arreola a few times early, but I don’t think he really has the power at this weight to finish him, and if he can’t finish him he likely has little chance of winning a decision given his limited activity level. I’m thinking Arreola just grinds away at his smaller opponent, outworks him and breaks him down to the head and body, finishing him in the 9th or 10th of an entertaining but somewhat one-sided contest.

Joel Julio vs. Alfredo Angulo

I’m less excited for this one than some people I think, mostly because it seems somewhat one-sided to me. I’ve had the misfortune, perhaps, to see Julio almost exclusively in his losses; perhaps it gives me a distorted view of his ability, but to me this seems as though this should be an exciting but quickly one-sided pounding. Julio is not unskilled, but he’s not the kind of slickish Cintronesque mover who can give Angulo trouble and at times he seems to develop Rocky Juarez disease and become oddly passive- NOT a great idea against a pressure-mauler who comes to the ring in a hound collar and fights like an unfed guard dog. I expect Angulo to go right at Julio from early in the bout and put him in a fight, and despite Julio’s impressive KO record his instincts are a boxer’s- he’s going to jab, back off, reset, move, reset, jab, hold, move, reset, and try to find some space to make the fight into a slower-paced skills contest where he can pick his spots and get into a comfort zone. Angulo will never let him do it, and will be landing to the body and the head the entire time. He may lose an early round or two, but I fully expect him to break Julio down and stop him late on an accumulation of blows. It will be action-packed, if nothing else.

All in all this is potentially a really great night of fights, the kind of night that boxing has really been hurting for so far this year. Let’s hope it lives up to its potential.

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April 22, 2010 - Posted by | Boxing

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