Saturday, October 17, 2009

Super Six Opening Night Predictions: Froch vs Dirrell & Abraham vs Taylor

Showtime's Super Six tournament gets underway tonight with two big opening round fights.

Leading off from Berlin's O2 World Arena will be Arthur Abraham against Jermain Taylor (tape delayed), followed by a trip to Nottingham's Trent FM Arena for the match-up between Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell.

Make sure to check out our round by round coverage of both fights, starting at 8 PM EST.

Let's get to our writer's picks...

Carl Froch vs Andre Dirrell & Arthur Abraham vs Jermain Taylor

Froch/Dirrell - I view Dirrell as the weakest fighter in the Super Six tournament and don’t believe he’ll record a win in the competition. He’s got good footwork, flashy combinations and has quick hands, but he doesn’t seem to carry serious power, has a big question mark over his chin and has no experience of fighting at this level.

I think Froch will start slowly before settling into his usual methodical rhythm. Dirrell might be hard to hit clean early on but I think as soon as Froch starts to land, he’ll hurt Dirrell and stop him. I think Froch will win by stoppage sometime in the final four rounds.

Abraham/Taylor - I feel the fight between Jermain Taylor and Arthur Abraham will be a much closer affair than the Froch-Dirrell fight but will take on a similar pattern. I think Taylor will do well in the first six rounds before his stamina problem resurfaces and allows Abraham back into the fight.

I can see Taylor being ahead on the scorecards before getting stopped late on. It’ll be interesting how Abraham fights at super- middleweight, although it’s worth noting that he demolished Edison Miranda up at super-middle in their rematch of June last year. If that fight is anything to go by, Abraham might be a much bigger puncher at the higher weight, which spells danger for Taylor.

- Dave Oakes

Froch/Dirrell - Completely agree with Dave's first paragraph. I also view Dirrell as the weakest fighter of the bunch. He has some physical tools... and that's about it. Chin's too high, defense is amateurish and so is his delivery. I think he has to come out of nowhere with a huge KO shot to defeat Froch. Given the youngster's lack of one punch knockouts, and the man from Nottingham's chin, that seems like more than a bit of a stretch.

I'll take Froch to rough him up on his way to a clear decision. Dirrell is going to be introduced to a whole new level of fighting, as well as pain.

Abraham/Taylor - Many people are going to disagree with me on this, but I think this is Taylor's fight to lose. I really believe he has an advantage in physical stature as well as the style to force Abraham out of his game a little bit. If Jermain can maintain a safe distance most of the night, he'll keep his opponent's hands pasted to his face with jabs and long rights that don't need to land clean. As long as he keeps Arthur busy on defense, he'll be able to fight at his pace.

I think the key to beat Abraham is to stay at long range. He wants to counter aggression with his bombs, but if you don't give him anything he'll be content to just block the incoming. Many think that his lack of aggression in the recent past is because of the toll making 160 had on his body, and I think there is something to that, but I also believe he is just a patient and careful fighter.

Arthur can end the fight at any moment with his cannon ball fists, but I'm going to go with my gut and say this fight lasts 12 rounds. It's going to be hard for Taylor to get a decision in Germany, and that crowd will probably bring out some doubt in him, so I'll go with Abraham to up the pressure just enough to get a close decision.

- Lee Payton

Check out Lee's Previews for both of tonight's fights: Can Jermain Taylor Upset Arthur Abraham? & Carl Froch Is Too Rough And Tough for Andre Dirrell

Froch/Dirrell - I think Andre Dirrell is being a little underrated here. True he's completely untested at this level, but he's got a ton of natural ability - quick feet, quick hands and some good pop. I'd rate him #4 of the 6 fighters - just a little ahead of Ward (I've got Taylor 6th).

I'm picking Froch to grind out the win, but I think he'll be pushed in a similar manner to the Pascal fight - and this one might even be a bit tougher.

Abraham/Taylor - I think Taylor can outwork Abraham early, but 12 rounds is a long time. Taylor always seems to be in very good condition - but he still gets tired. I think it's a tension issue. He just never seems relaxed and comfy in the ring, and I think against a crunching puncher like Abraham, those nervous issues aren't going to dissapear.

I like Taylor to get out to an early lead - and then 1 of 2 things will happen.

Abraham will land a sudden fight changing punch to turn things around, or Taylor will start to slowly fade and Abraham will steadily gain the advantage. Either way, I think Abraham takes it.

- Andrew Fruman

Froch/Dirrell - I agree with the notion that Dirrell, at this point is near the bottom of the pack and probably has the most to prove, however he also has the most upside.

I think someone gets embarrassed in Dirrell-Froch... meaning someone gets knocked out. Froch looked very slow against Taylor earlier this year, and Dirrell is faster than Taylor in my opinion. Dirrell has major firepower when he lets his hands go, and he could rise to the top of the tournament if he reaches the potential he may have. However, I think Froch is so determined and so willful that he will break Dirrell by the fights end.

I look for Dirrell's speed to be flashy and effective early, Froch to plod after him and ultimately put Dirrell in all out retreat mode. If the ending is as explosive as I think it will be, whoever wins this will suddenly be a tournament favorite. I like Froch by stoppage, but wouldn't be surprised if he went through major strife to do it. To me, Froch is the dark horse to take the whole thing.

Abraham/Taylor - As for the Taylor-Abraham bout, I agree with Lee that this is Jermain's to lose... the problem for him is that when a fight is his to lose, he usually loses it. Still, of all the match-up's for Taylor this one seems to provide him with the most advantages, as he will be the faster, busier man. If he can find the right pace, he may force Abraham into mounting an all out onslaught for a late KO win.

To me it's a 50-50 fight. I'll go with the mild upset and say Jermain puts it together against an Abraham who gets a little too defensive in the face of Jermain's quick combos. Abraham let's him off the hook enough during the fight for Taylor to take it slow and survive the twelve on the way to a close points victory.

- Jeff Pryor

Check out Jeff's Super Six Preview: The Brave & The Bold: The Super Six Shoot-out

Abraham/Taylor - Taylor’s going to lose. I don’t see where he has any advantages in the fight. HBO has manufactured this jab of his and his combinations aren’t that quick. They are quite loopy, and will give Abraham plenty of chances to find spots to counter.

I think the main reason Abraham doesn’t throw that many punches has to do with the trouble he's been having to make 160. He's been draining himself badly to make weight, and that's not the case this time. He looked like a wrecking machine at the weigh-in, and the decimation will begin right from the opening bell.

Froch/Dirrell - I'm leaning towards Froch by stoppage. For all Dirrell's athletic advantages, this is a very big jump in competition and my gut tells me he'll fold under the kind of pressure Froch will bring. Of course my gut has been wrong before, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Dirrell take it.

- Mark Lyons

Froch/Dirrell - I agree with Andy on both fights, except I'm on the fence concerning Dirrell-Froch. I think Dirrell's power is a bit underrated, and if Froch gets too reckless, he's gonna get hurt. I expect drama regardless of the winner. Force me to make a pick and I'll say Dirrell survives a late rally to eek out a decision.

Abraham/Taylor - I think Abraham-Taylor will play out like Froch-Taylor. Abe loses the first six rounds before coming back to KO Taylor in ten.

- Michael Nelson

Check out Michael's Froch/Dirrell Preview: Andre Dirrell Ready To Show He Belongs With The Heavy Hitters

Abraham/Taylor - I think Taylor pulls the upset. He's bigger, faster has better overall boxing skills and has fought the better opposition. If Taylor runs out of gas again, Abraham will have a real puncher's chance, but otherwise I see this being a decision win for Taylor.

Froch/Dirrell - Froch hits harder and has fought better opposition yet I can't see him being able to deal with a fighter as athletic and fast as Dirrell. It's pretty much the same thing as Taylor vs Abraham... if Dirrell gets tired, he'll get caught and finished, but otherwise he'll win by UD.

- Ivan Montiel