Carl "The Cobra" Froch
Birthplace: Nottingham, England
Resides: Nottingham, England
Height: 6' 1"
Reach: 74 1/2"
Current World Titles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: WBC Super Middleweight (168 lbs.)
Professional Record: 26-1, 20 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 3-1, 1 KO
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 5-1
Record at 168 Pounds: 17-1
"King" Arthur Abraham
Birthplace: Yerevan, Armenia
Resides: Berlin, Germany
Height: 5' 10"
Current World Titles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: IBF Middleweight (160 lbs.)
Professional Record: 31-1, 25 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 11-0, 7 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 8-0
Record at 168 Pounds: 7-1
The Super Six World Boxing Classic has been derided in some corners for its frequent delays and the loss of half of the original field, but it still has a pulse for now. In fact, the event is about to roll out one of its most intriguing matchups on Saturday when Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham meet in Helsinki, Finland in a showdown that has all the ingredients to be a Fight of the Year candidate.
Take two of the hardest hitters in the tournament, guys who have combined for 45 knockouts in 59 bouts. Add in some bad blood during the pre-fight build-up and mix in the motivation that comes from both fighters trying to bounce back from their first career defeats, and you've got the recipe for something exciting to happen.
Froch has been involved in two hard-fought decisions during the Super Six, getting the narrow nod against Andre Dirrell but coming up short versus Mikkel Kessler. Rugged and adaptable, he has an innate ability to find ways to win even when the rounds aren't all going his way.
In contrast, Abraham sticks mostly to the same script during his fights, and it worked for him every time out until he ran into Dirrell. Even then, he was bidding for a late knockout, but he landed a big shot while The Matrix was already on the mat and was disqualified as a result.
Both men have their share of skill, even defensively where Froch is sneaky quick and Abraham keeps a tight high guard that blocks a lot of punches. Yet there is a sense that this pairing is going to result in a very straightforward, toe-to-toe affair, which is why hardcore boxing fans are so anxious for it.
The site of the contest was the bone of some contention during the negotiations. The issue was made especially relevant by the fact that none of the Super Six contestants has won a decision on foreign soil during the tourney. Finland seems like a reasonable compromise, and each man should have his share of supporters in the arena on fight night.
Froch's Winning Strategy: Utilize Size Advantage Both Inside and Outside
Abraham is definitely a strong guy, but Froch is naturally bigger. He's been fighting at or above 168 pounds for his entire pro career while King Arthur made most of his mark at middleweight.
That should play in Froch's favor on the inside even though Abraham is effective at close range as well. The Cobra should have opportunities to bully his way forward at times, and body shots will be there when his opponent has his gloves up high.
Froch also has a reach advantage and should commit to throwing his excellent jab when he's on the outside. Landing that punch will be even more important early on, allowing him to score points against a foe who is a notoriously slow starter.
It isn't all that often that a fighter in a world title bout has edges in both length and mass, but Froch should on Saturday and he's crafty enough to make the most of both of them.
Abraham's Winning Strategy: Take the Lead at Times, Even Early
King Arthur's usual M.O. is to dress down in defense until he senses obvious openings to counter or that his opponent is wearing down. That may not work as well against Froch, who isn't a volume puncher and doesn't tire easily.
Abraham has the hand speed to at least match Froch, so he should be able to find success getting his shots off first, at least on occasion. The Cobra also isn't a defensive wizard, so Abraham's accurate power shots should be able to find a home.
He'll also want to open up a little earlier than usual to avoid a recurrence of what happened during the Dirrell fight, when he gave away too many of the early rounds and had to mount a furious late charge. That was fine against the competition Abraham faced earlier in his career, but it's not wise against a world class boxer like Froch.
Messing too much with success is never wise, but some tweaks are in order for King Arthur. If he takes his usual foundation and simply lets his hands go a little sooner and a little more often, he'll give himself every chance to bounce back with a big win.