by David P. Greisman


Being a boxing writer is a life of self-sacrifice. I’ve given up the Saturday night social life for the weekly practice of watching grown men pummel the heck out of each other.


I’m not complaining.


The last time Carl Froch and Jermain Taylor fought, they did so in my neck of the woods, with me at ringside to see Froch scoring a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Taylor. The next time they fought, they did so an ocean away from me, Taylor facing Arthur Abraham in Germany, Froch defending against Andre Dirrell in England.


For the first two bouts in Showtime’s “Super Six” tournament, with a nod to syndicated columnist Norman Chad, I took notes in real time:


8:06 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday: Is that Steve Albert doing blow-by-blow in Germany, or Buddy Holly?


8:12: Jermain Taylor walks to the ring to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” One more loss and he’ll leave the arena to the tune of “Beat It.”


8:15: Arthur Abraham’s entrance begins. The Scorpions, an arena-rock band from Germany that was big in the 1980s, plays live from ringside. I guess this beats Abraham’s old entrance music, which was (no joke) “The Smurf Song,” by Father Abraham.


8:18: Abraham descends from a contraption that had been hanging from the rafters, wearing what appears to have once been a llama.


8:19: Showtime lists Taylor as 5-foot-11. HBO always listed Taylor as 6-foot-1. This is no surprise. HBO pumped Taylor’s figurative stature as more than it really should have been. Why not his literal stature, too?


8:22: Referee Guadalupe Garcia, giving his final pre-fight instructions, tells Abraham and Taylor: “This is the line where the low blows are legal.” Say what?


This was no one-time slip-up. Garcia gave the same instructions for Oleg Maskaev-Samuel Peter and the second bout between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez.


8:24: Taylor is having a difficult time getting through Abraham’s high guard. A cross is deflected by Abraham’s gloves. HBO blow-by-blow announcer Jim Lampley, watching the fight at home, instinctively yells out “Big right hand for Taylor!”


8:26: Showtime has ramped up its production values just in time for this tournament. Its on-screen graphics look smooth, and the clock is appealing to the eye but not distracting from the fight.


8:28: A right uppercut from Taylor bounces off of Abraham’s cup midway through the second round. Abraham backs away but doesn’t show pain until referee Garcia issues a warning.


I took “Classics in German Cinema” in college. Abraham is no Marlene Dietrich. Taylor soon gets another warning for low blows. I thought the top of the trunks was the line where low blows became legal…


8:36: A right hand from Taylor lands a little bit low on the belt. Garcia steps in to say something after Abraham complains. Who does Abraham think he is – Tom Brady?


8:39: Four rounds in, and neither fighter is landing much. Taylor has taken three rounds on my card based on his activity. Abraham is coming forward behind his high guard, even though his offensive output is limited, but he’s keeping Taylor honest with his defense, stiff jabs and the occasional hard flurry.


If Abraham’s strategy is to tire Taylor out, this seems the way to do it. It’s not exciting, but the crowd is into what action there is, which adds quite a lot to a broadcast.


8:43: We throw to Jim Gray, who is in Nottingham, England, interviewing Carl Froch. Gray challenges Froch on his assertion that Andre Dirrell should’ve arrived in Europe more than six days before the fight.


Dirrell-Froch will be live, taking place at about 3 a.m. local time. Froch says it’s not about the time, but about recovering from a 10-hour flight. Who still has jet lag six days into their vacation?


8:45: Taylor has a point taken away for low blows. Two shots appeared to bounce off Abraham’s elbows. How is it a low blow if the shot is blocked downward? The round ends, and Abraham gets it 10-8 on my scorecard, giving him a 57-56 lead.


Meanwhile in Poland, Andrew Golota, who is fighting Tomasz Adamek on Oct. 24, hopes Garcia isn’t booked for a flight east.


8:57: One minute into the ninth, a right hand from Abraham has Taylor doing the Brooklyn Shuffle. Or was it the Harlem Shake? Perhaps it was the Little Rock Lindy Hop. That might have been the first truly solid straight right hand Abraham’s landed the entire night. Every other power punch from both fighters that has hit its target has started out wide.


Taylor has his legs back a minute later and makes it out of the round. Abraham tries to touch gloves after the bell, but Taylor ignores the gesture and goes back to his corner.


9:01: Steve Albert suggests Taylor needs to “Abandon Plan A and go to Plan B.” The problem is that Taylor’s never been the kind of boxer who could discern the situation and adjust mid-fight.


9:03: On my scorecard, Abraham has taken six rounds in a row. Through 10, I have him up 97-92. Abraham started off conserving energy but gave away a few rounds. Now he has taken control. When Taylor throws, most of the shots are blocked. When Abraham throws, punches land.


Taylor just can’t figure out how to burst through Abraham’s guard. He jabs into Abraham’s gloves instead of pushing the occasional jab to his stomach. He does loop hooks into Abraham’s body, however. Meanwhile, Abraham is also ducking under Taylor’s right hand. Compounding things, Taylor has never been an inside fighter. Instead, he has relied on his reflexes and athleticism to throw fast counters and leads.


9:10: Taylor is down! And hard! And done!




Taylor had his gloves high, his arms forming the top two-thirds of a triangle in front of him. Abraham threw a left hook wide and then followed with a right hand that landed, literally, right on the nose. Taylor fell back hard, his head hitting the canvas.


The punch landed with 14 seconds left in the fight. That’s the same amount of time that was left when Taylor lost to Froch. Taylor was ahead against Froch. Though he was behind against Abraham, that doesn’t make the knockout any less dramatic. The referee waves it off with six seconds on the clock. Taylor wasn’t getting up.


9:14: Abraham ends things with an exclamation point. Taylor’s career is now a question mark.


9:33: The second half of the show is in England, with Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver calling Froch-Dirrell. Dirrell makes his way to the ring, fighting for a world title without ever having defeated a contender. Yet many are predicting a Dirrell victory, saying he’s too fast for the brawling Froch.


9:39: We’re nearly 100 minutes into the broadcast and the second fight hasn’t even begun. This is something that happens often with “Showtime Championship Boxing” –  cards go on longer than they should. Thank goodness the broadcast started so early. If this were “ShoBox: The New Generation,” with its 11 p.m. start time, I’d be asleep already.


If Dirrell fights Froch like he did Curtis Stevens in 2007, I could be asleep soon. It’s past 2:30 a.m. in Nottingham, and the fans there are awake and loud. Perhaps I need a beer.


9:44: Two minutes into the first round and Froch already has his left hand low. Is he asking for it?


9:48: Froch jumps in with a crazy looking left hook, misses badly and gets countered. Soon, he swings and misses with an ugly right hook. Dirrell isn’t doing much exploiting: “Two very patient fighters,” says Gus Johnson. Froch is fighting at a distance, the wrong fight for a pressure fighter, especially against an opponent as mobile as Dirrell.


9:53: Froch’s girlfriend is camera-friendly. I don’t mind. With all of Froch’s missed punches and Dirrell’s shuffling and jogging away from Froch, my little lady’s already asleep. I take detailed notes on what happens in each round, and then put shorter notes on my scorecard. My notes so far through three: “Not much,” “Ditto” and “Yawn.”


9:57: Round four ends with Dirrell spending most of the three minutes more evasive than offensive. It’s a good thing CompuBox doesn’t work Showtime cards – the missed punch button would be broken by now.


9:59: Dirrell grabs ahold of Froch, who responds by tossing Dirrell to the canvas. Soon afterward, Froch hits Dirrell on the break. Willie Pep is rolling over in his grave.


10:03: Andre Dirrell, the second coming of Zzzzzahir Raheem. Between Dirrell and Froch, I’ve had my fill of wild misses, clinches, fouls, off-balance slips to the canvas.


10:05: Jim Ross of WWE fame would call this bout “Bowling-shoe ugly.” Dirrell would call this bout “Track-shoes beautiful.”


10:10:  My short notes for rounds five, six and seven: “Meh,” “Ugly” and “Nasty.” Screw the 10-point-must system. The sixth round was 0-0 on my scorecard. The crowd cheers every wild Froch swing, rising to their feet after the seventh round. Beer is a good thing. Showtime’s highlights before the eighth begins are actually lowlights: illegal blows.


10:16: Dirrell lands a counter. This is what he could’ve been doing the entire night. He has the speed to beat Froch to the punch, and when he sets his feet, he has power. There was no need to make this an ugly fight. Froch isn’t exactly looking the part of a professional fighter himself.


10:18: Gus Johnson, describing the ninth round: “I actually think that was a good round for Andre Dirrell.” Al Bernstein is so surprised that his voice goes high-pitched: “Really?” Responds Johnson: “Yes, I do. He caught him numerous times.”


10:20: A point from Dirrell for holding. After everything else that each has done, why penalize that now?


10:22: A left hand from Dirrell has Froch backing away. But there are only 10 seconds left in the 10th. Froch is oh-so-hittable, but Dirrell never has his feet beneath him, and so his accuracy has suffered.


10:24: Dirrell, trapped in the corner, ducks under a flurry of wild punches from Froch. The referee for the Joe Calzaghe-Peter Manfredo bout would’ve stopped the fight right there.


10:26: Dirrell pot shots Froch at times in the 11th. Where has this been all night?


10:27: One round to go. Dirrell’s trainer tells his fighter to go for the knock out, that he won’t get a decision in Froch’s hometown. In that case, that should’ve been the strategy from the get-go.


10:33: Dirrell’s trainer proves prophetic – Froch takes the split decision, two scorecards reading 115-112 for Froch, the third reading 114-113 for Dirrell.


10:35: Dirrell’s family at ringside calls it “highway robbery.” My scorecard agrees with them, but what was I scoring? The few solid punches per round that Dirrell appeared to land, compared to the ineffective but unceasing aggression of Froch?


The controversy is reminiscent of Bernard Hopkins’ two losses to Jermain Taylor. While Hopkins appeared to have done more than Taylor, he was done in by his lack of activity, his insistence on doing the minimum he believed he needed to do to win. Dirrell showed that Froch couldn’t hit him. But the judges were clearly turned off by Dirrell’s style, which made movement first, offense second.


I don’t agree with penalizing a fighter for his style; I score for whomever I believe did the most damage in a round. Still, Dirrell was so awkward that the only way he really stood out was like a sore thumb.


10:44: One last note – Antonio Tarver calls Froch “Crotch,” correcting himself a few seconds later. Tarver’s still so much better than Lennox Lewis.


The 10 Count

1.  A quick rundown on where the Super Six super-middleweight tournament stands right now:


Abraham got two points for his win and an extra point for the knockout. He has three points. Froch got two points for his decision victory. Taylor and Dirrell have zero points. The other two contestants, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward, will face each other Nov. 21.


All six fighters will have a total of three round-robin fights. Stage two of the round-robin part of the tournament will include Dirrell-Abraham, Kessler-Froch and Taylor-Ward. Stage three will include Dirrell-Ward, Froch-Abraham and Kessler-Taylor. The top four fighters move on to the semifinals, which will be single-elimination.


If any fighter drops out, his replacement will pick up that person’s point total.


Taylor suffered a severe concussion and showed signs after the fight of short-term memory loss, Taylor’s promoter, Lou DiBella, told scribe Dan Rafael. He will remain in Germany for observation for at least a few days. DiBella said it is too soon to decide whether Taylor will drop out of the tournament. But if Taylor does, it is widely thought that another 168-pounder in DiBella’s stable, Allan Green, will be first in line to take his place.

2.  I don’t know Francisco “Gato” Figueroa; I’ve met him but once, and briefly, at that, when he was in attendance at a New Hampshire card. I can’t judge his character, though I know he’s been quite adept at using social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook to grow his fan base.


I don’t know Gato Figueroa, but I get the feeling – not informed, just a hunch – that the recent string of articles about him being booted from Miguel Cotto’s training camp are coming from Figueroa again using the Internet for publicity. There were three articles/briefs on this Web site alone last week. Figueroa, a 20-3 junior welterweight, also did an interview with at least one other Web site, and the sparring story soon went viral.


Figueroa claimed he was giving Cotto good, tough work, mimicking Pacquiao’s style all the while, and that he was quickly sent home without explanation. But the stories that ran are only one voice. They are basically press releases that boost Figueroa’s image even though he is coming off his April knockout loss to Randall Bailey, and the articles advertise that he will give superstar fighters good sparring.


There’s no reason for Cotto’s camp to respond. To say Figueroa is telling the truth would not do anything for Cotto, and to say Figueroa is lying would only make people wonder if the Cotto camp is protecting its fighter’s image.


Cotto’s camp also has its focus on a matter of far more importance: the Pacquiao fight.

3.  My ballot for the 2010 International Boxing Hall of Fame class will include votes for 108-pound titlist Jung-Koo Chang, 108-pound titlist Yoko Gushiken, 112-pound champion Pone Kingpetch, 112-pound titlist and 115-pound champion Santos Laciar, middleweight and light heavyweight contender Lloyd Marshall, 108-pound titlist Myung-Woo Yuh, and 108- and 112-pound beltholder Hilario Zapata.


As a few of my historian peers have pointed out, this will be the last year for a while that certain fighters – those who mainly fought overseas, in lower weight divisions or several decades ago – will have a good chance for induction. Next year, more big-name, recent fighters will be on the ballot: Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez and Kostya Tszyu.


Voters can pick as many as 10 names. The top three vote getters will be inducted into Canastota in June 2010.


Thanks to Lee Groves of, Jack Obermayer of Boxing Digest, and BoxingScene’s own Cliff Rold, the trio that put together excellent mini-biographies for all 45 names on the ballot. In addition, the past writings of Groves and Rold were persuasive when it came to a couple of the names I checked off.

4.  One pet peeve that I occasionally see from Hall of Fame voters for various sports: describing someone as not worthy of being inducted on the first ballot, but perhaps on later ballots.


It’s understandable not to vote for somebody if there are 10 worthier names on the ballot. But the plaques in Canastota don’t differ between first-ballot or later.


Either a fighter deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, or he doesn’t.

5.  Boxers Behaving Badly: Three pro fighters have been arrested in Canada and charged with being part of a multimillion-dollar telemarketing scam, according to the Calgary Herald.


Jegbefumere “Bone” Albert, 28, Julius “Bazuka” Odion, 30, and Albert Onolunose, 29, are three of nine people accused of taking part in a scam in which United States residents were contacted by telephone or mail, told they were lottery winners and told they had to pay legal or processing fees to get their prize.


Between 2005 and 2008, this particular group raked in more $3 million, police said.


“Police have laid 261 charges against nine suspects,” the newspaper reported. “Each faces multiple counts of fraud over $5,000, conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering and committing an indictable offence to benefit a criminal organization.”


All were in custody as of last Thursday except Onolunose, whom the newspaper described as “remain[ing] at large.”


Albert is a cruiserweight with a record of 7-0 (4 knockouts). His last appearance was in August, a six-round decision over some debuting dude named Trevor Stewardson. Albert’s brother, Onolunose, is 18-1 (7) and has gone between junior middleweight and super middleweight. He fought at 154 pounds in August, getting knocked out in two rounds by former “Contender” champion Grady Brewer.


Odion is a junior welterweight, 11-0-2 (3), with his last appearance in September, a six-round decision over some dude named Stephane Chartrand.

6.  Boxing Trainers Behaving Badly update: Former heavyweight fighter Racich and current boxing trainer Henry Racich has been found not guilty of assaulting another man outside of a Pennsylvania bar , according to suburban Philadelphia newspaper The Times Herald.


Racich, 39, was acquitted on charges of simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. He had been accused of striking the man in a September 2008 parking-lot altercation. The man suffered injuries to the back from his head from falling and had to be taken to the hospital.


Racich’s attorney argued that his client acted in self-defense.


Racich is listed on as having won his only two professional fights, each coming against foes that were making their pro debut. Those bouts were in 2003 and 2004, which contrasts with Racich’s testimony (according to the newspaper) of his last match coming about 10 years ago.


More recently, Racich had been the chief second to Harry Joe Yorgey, an unbeaten junior middleweight from suburban Pennsylvania. Yorgey is now trained by Jack Loew, who also trains middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.

7.  Monday, Oct. 12: Mike Tyson appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Friday, Oct. 16: Tyson appeared on “Oprah” again, this time alongside Evander Holyfield.


Neither episode proved to be must-see television.


Tyson infamously squandered somewhere between $300 million and $400 million; his plan to continue fighting to pay back his debts was stymied by the fact that he couldn’t win fights anymore.


Holyfield, who has earned more than $200 million over the course of his career, has twice had his home face foreclosure. As Holyfield’s manager told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “It’s day-to-day. He’s not broke. He just don’t have any cash.”


Given their financial conditions, I half expected Oprah to invite Tyson and Holyfield out, then stand up and yell out excitedly – “You get a car! And you get a car!”

8.  Why did Showtime, in its fantastic “Fight Camp 360” broadcast previewing the Super Six, make such a big deal of scribe Dan Rafael reporting the news of the tournament, basically saying that he broke the news?


His article ran July 4. BoxingScene’s own Rick Reeno had an article July 2. Steve Kim of had a note about it July 2 and then more details July 3.


This is not at all a shot at Rafael, who I believe is among the best boxing reporters around. Rather, it was just something that caught my attention as I watched the show.

9.  Three different writers had the news before said news was officially released. It’s just a guess, but I have a feeling that the “leak” was calculated, a good way to give Showtime some much-needed buzz, especially with the strength of HBO’s schedule for the remainder of the year.


It worked. The tournament was, is, and will continue to be an exciting story.

10.  And, finally, in Ukrainian politics last week – and where else would you turn to for Ukrainian politics but – a member of the Kiev City Council apparently hit Vitali Klitschko in the face.


That one landed power punch is as good or better than what Chris Arreola did in three of his 10 rounds with Klitschko…

David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. His weekly column, “Fighting Words,” appears every Monday on He may be reached for questions and comments at