Sunday, April 26, 2009

Carl Froch Rescues Title from the Jaws of Defeat!

MASHANTUCKET - In an amazing display of guts and perseverance, WBC Super middleweight titlist Carl "The Cobra" Froch (24-0, 19 knockouts) snatched his title from the jaws of certain defeat with 14 seconds remaining in the 12th and final round to stop Jermain Taylor in what very well may go down as the comeback of the year - within a fight - and the knockout of the year.

Down 106-102 on points on two of the official scorecards (he was inexplicably ahead 106-102 on the third card) Froch needed the knockout to retain his title. Lucky for him, he was finally able to put together a powerful combination of punches to drop Taylor in the final round.

With the amazing stoppage in the waning seconds of the fight, Froch earned the victory and retained his title for the first time.

It was similar to Jake LaMotta versus Laurent Dauthuille which took place on Sept. 13, 1950. In that fight, hopelessly trailing on the scorecards, LaMotta, known as "The Raging Bull" charged back in the final seconds to keep his middleweight championship in storied fashion.

With 13 seconds left in the 15th and final round, LaMotta retained his title belt at the Olympia Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. It was the type of ending that went down in the boxing history books.

Froch did the same last night - with 14 seconds to spare.

The 3,726 fans in attendance at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods were left in shock and awe at the amazing result. Taylor's fans were standing with their mouths open at the stunning reversal of fortune. Froch's fans, many who came all the way from England, were overcome with emotion and their minds could barely process what they had just seen.

Quite simply, it was one of the most astonishing turnarounds in boxing history.

Taylor and Froch engaged in a pitched battle that produced an ending that was as sudden as it was shocking.

From the first bell, Froch was unable to deal with Taylor's faster hands and better overall boxing skills. Everything was working for Taylor early on in this fight and he was consistently able to nail the Englishman with right hands over his habitually low left. In short, Taylor, the former undisputed middleweight champion (28-2-1, 17 knockouts) punished Froch and made it a very frustrating evening for the man from Nottingham, England.

After winning the first two frames, the third round saw Taylor connect with a thudding right hand that stopped Froch in his tracks and sent him crashing to the canvas for the first time in his boxing career – amateur or professional. Froch gathered himself and calmly rose at referee Michael Ortega's count of eight.

Say this though: Carl Froch has an amazing chin, and for the next nine rounds he was able to absorb everything Jermain Taylor threw – and it was substantial. The only thing that kept Froch in the fight tonight was his uncanny ability to take a solid shot to the chin. Taylor put it all together for most of the fight as he was impressive, especially with his left jab. The native of Little Rock, Arkansas was able to work everything off the punch – right hands, left hooks and a few uppercuts sprinkled in for good measure. After nine rounds, Froch had won only the 9th stanza on my card.

It appeared as though Taylor may have hurt his right hand somewhere around the seventh as he stopped throwing the punch with frequency. It allowed Froch some degree of success and got him back into the fight – but barely. Froch won 10th and 11th rounds on my card as well as it seemed Taylor may have been resting a bit.

Taylor got off to a strong start. In the 3rd round he decked Froch for a count of eight.

The 11th was a great round as both men unloaded their heavy artillery and each landed bomb after bomb. Both fighters appeared hurt on separate occasions and it set up a final round that very well may go down in the history books.

A Froch right hand in the 12th did the damage, and Taylor went down hard in a neutral corner. It appeared as though he wasn't going to beat the count as he laid splayed out on the floor. But Taylor did manage to wearily climb to his feet and referee Michael Ortega let the fight continue.

However, the damage had been done, and a spent Taylor was defenseless as he reeled around the ring while Froch landed bomb after bomb looking to finish him. The referee stayed close and he gave the wounded Taylor every chance to continue.

But with less than 30 seconds left in the fight, Froch pinned Taylor against the ropes and unloaded his arsenal, snapping Taylor's head back in sickening fashion which ultimately forced the referee to step in and save him from further abuse.

And with that, in a fight that appeared all but lost entering the final round, Carl Froch kept his undefeated record intact and he now moves on to bigger and better things.

“This was my first defense in America – and my first of big fights in America," Froch said afterwards. "Robert McCracken [Froch's trainer] told me I needed to have a big round. You saw it – everybody saw it.”

Indeed we did.

Taylor arose from this knockdown, but the end was near and he was rescued by the referee only moments later.

Other results:

In the co-main event, “Sweetness” Allan Green, 168, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 27-1, 19 KO's went head-to-head with Carlos “Baby Sugar” DeLeon, Jr., Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, 21-2-2, 14 KO's in a scheduled ten-rounder. It was an evenly matched fight on paper with two solid pros looking to move up in the rankings.

After a relatively uneventful first, the second round saw Green explode with a spectacular right hand, left hook combination that dropped De Leon like a sack of potatoes. De Leon never saw the left that dropped him.

Green would go on to unleash a vicious assault that would see a teetering De Leon go down three more times. On the third knockdown the doctor was up on the apron but he and the referee allowed De Leon to take more punishment and the fourth time he was driven to the floor the referee waived it off. Green looked very impressive with the win and he is a true player at 168 pounds. Time was 1:54 of round two.

Allan Green made a definitive statement by dropping Carlos De Leon, Jr. four times in the second round.

Former IBF Jr. welterweight titlist Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, 141, Brooklyn, New York, 25-2, 5 KO's returned from his defeat at the hands of Ricky Hatton against Chris “Kid Kayo” Fernandez, 142, Salt Lake City, Utah, 16-6-1, 9 KO's. Malignaggi was his usual self, used his legs and relied on a heavy stream of quick left jabs to soften-up the limited Fernandez who walked forward in an attempt to land something, anything on the elusive former belt-holder.

Malignaggi, with Fernandez' help, managed to lull the crowd to sleep and by the fourth-round boos were heard. At the end of the sixth, the Malignaggi ship was very nearly swamped as he was nailed clean with a right-left combination that had him holding on for dear life. After the full eight, the judges had it unanimous for Paulie with three identical scores of 79-73. However, Malignaggi's overall performance was disappointing and in the crowded and talented 140-pound division it will be extremely challenging for him to regain a belt.

In an all New York state four-rounder, slick Sadam Ali, 142, Brooklyn, 2-0, 2 KO's went in with Bryan Abraham, 140, Schenectady, 1-0-1, 1 KO. Abraham is a switch-hitter who came out orthodox but routinely switched to southpaw. Ali, who many know as the eight-year old kid from Gleason's is now all grown up and showed poise and composure as well as pin-point accuracy with his right hand. Ali had too much firepower for Abraham, who became gun-shy and began to clown in the third before being decked with a big right hand. Abraham arose quickly and offered nothing in return. Ali was having fun in there and was simply too quick and too fast. Ali nailed him with a sweeping left hook in the last 30 seconds of the fourth and somehow, some way, Abraham managed to survive to hear the final bell. Scorecards were a formality at 40-35, all for “The World Kid” Ali, who is likely going to be one of the next big things.

Former IBF 140-pound title holder Paulie Malignaggi (left) kept busy with a lackluster decision win over Chris Fernandez.

In a heavyweight affair scheduled for ten, a resurgent and all-business Dominic Guinn, 229, Hot Springs, Arkansas, 30-6, 20 KO's blasted out an over matched Johnnie White, 227, St. Martinsville, Louisiana, 21-0, 18 KO's. White, who goes by the nickname “Lethal” was put down twice within the first minute of the first round and he was eventually saved by referee Eddie Claudio after absorbing a wave of shots along the ropes. White was staggering on unsteady legs and tried to plead his case and even though Claudio gave him a couple of very long counts it wasn't going to matter. White had a nice looking record on paper, but that is now gone. The time was 2:01 of the first and as White was led from the ring he could be seen muttering that he should have been allowed to continue. “The Southern Disaster” seems to be back, at least for one night.

Seminole Warriors' southpaw protege Danny O'Connor, 140, Framingham, Mass., 5-0, 2 KO's met up in a four-rounder with Travis Hartman, 140, Osborne, Missouri, 9-11-1, 7 KO's. O'Connor, attired in the colors of Ireland is a hard charging prospect who likes to throw big shots. Hartman was game, but his face was reddened immediately by O'Connor's peppering shots and he was simply in way over his head from the get-go. O'Connor decked Hartman and bloodied his nose with a left hand that came all the way from Massachusetts at the end of the second round but the game Hartman survived the third as well as a very spirited fourth in which he went down from a long left hand. O'Connor was impressive and the scores reflected just that with all three judges seeing it 40-34.

In the six-round opener, Jonathan Nelson, 163, Little Rock, Arkansas, 8-0, 4 KO's squared off against Eddie Caminero, 162, Lawrence, Mass., 5-0, 5 KO's. Caminero, from up the road here in New England, gave as good as he got but was outclassed by the fresher Nelson who was able to hold him off with his left jab. After the full route of a fight that had decent action, Nelson came away with the unanimous decision by scores of 59-55 and two scores of 58-56.

April 2009

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