Both Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham entering the ring tonight in Helsinki, Finland will be guaranteed the next step through the Super Six tournament to the semi’s.
It just depends on how they fare on the night and the decision that comes after as to whereabouts they are in the proceedings i.e knockout win or points win or loss.
This is because of two men that have left the tournament on medical grounds, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Dirrell. Dirrell has had to pull out citing neurological damage caused by the illegal punch that Abraham landed in their fight not long ago.
Kessler, after beating Froch over twelve rounds, has had to pull out of the tournament due to an eye injury he has sustained, and is set to take approximately nine months off from boxing.
In defeat, although both had lost their undefeated records, Froch and Abraham had still done enough damage to their previous opponents to the extent that they have had to retire from the tournament.
It is quite clear then that these boys can bang, Abraham’s record stands at 31-1, 25 KO’s and Froch’s stands 26-1, 20 KO’s.
They are both very unorthodox fighters. Abraham tends to be a slow starter, takes a look at the job in hand, feels the opponent's shots and generally likes to sit behind a very high guard.
Often losing the first few rounds, he uses very little, if any, lateral movement or footwork and will plod forward until he pins his man against the ropes and throws straight right hands and wild looping hooks.
The best practitioner of the sweet science, he is not, but looking at his record and watching him fight, he has a very tough style for a lot of fighters to deal with.
Five of his knockouts have come after the tenth round, where he has worn down the opponent, taken all his shots, and started throwing the big bombs. And he is a concussive puncher; ask Jermain Taylor, Khoren Gevor or Andre Dirrell.
He has a good engine, as his fighting style dictates that he may have to suck up a lot of shots, and keep pushing forward. He was getting to Dirrell towards the end of the fight, tagging Dirrell and put him down, which the ref declared a slip.
Dirrell did however show that Abraham is vulnerable himself and that he can be troubled. Abraham looked to be having a nightmare in the middle rounds as he was being treated like a walking punch bag and could not catch Dirrell at all.
It was when Dirrell slowed down that ‘King’ Arthur started beating up on him. Just like what happened with Taylor, almost exactly the same.
Nothing wrong with Abraham's heart though, In the first Edison Miranda fight, Miranda broke Abraham's jaw in two places early in the bout and Abraham refused to give up and finished the fight winning on points.
Froch, however, does not fight like Taylor or Dirrell; he is not a slick mover, he is not gifted with exceptional handspeed or defensive wizardry.
Froch does share some traits with Abraham though, his chin being one. Froch has taken some big shots in his career and barely blinked. He is extremely tough and has only been dropped once or twice, against Taylor he was caught off balance, the shot didn’t hurt him, he got up and did the job, stopping Taylor late in the twelfth.
Like Abraham was tested in his last fight with Dirrell, Froch was with Kessler. Froch ate some right hands that slightly wobbled him. Froch hadn’t been hurt before or he hadn’t been seen to be anyway, and so in both fighter's last outings, chinks have been revealed in the armour.
Froch's fighting style is, again, unorthodox in that he will throw shots that other fighters wouldn’t. And he likes to mix up the angles and come at the fighter in different directions.
He will have no problem in throwing a huge, telegraphed right uppercut from the outside only to get countered but land a good body shot on the inside as he can be relatively accurate, as opposed to Abraham’s sometimes wild swinging.
Both men have proved they can go the distance, more than a few times. Both men are extremely durable, both men like to stand and trade. Both will really want redemption. On paper, this looks like its going to be a good fight.
Since both of them lost for the first time in their last contests, will they have changed anything coming into this clash? Will Abraham look to start quickly as to not give any rounds away early? Will Froch try to box more? And look to sit on the back foot waiting for the counter in place of sheer aggression? Or will he get caught like everyone else Abraham has fought and expend all his energy early only to get stopped late?
This fight really does have many tangibles, if's, but's and or’s. I really am torn in picking the winner but if absolutely made to then it's Froch over the distance in an epic war.