by Robert Ramos
With numerous boxers’ in the division to choose from, who can rightfully be called king of the super middleweights? In boxing, one punch can make a difference in any boxer’s career. Look at former champion Jermain Taylor, whose career is over due to his two consecutive twelve round, devastating knockout losses to Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch in 2009. That said, unfortunately, careers could basically change overnight from “Hero to Zero” status.
Let’s take a look at the stable of ranked fighters in this super middleweight class.
First up, Andre “Son of God” Ward, whom I believe is about to win the entire Showtime hosted Super Six super middleweight tournament. I can’t say enough good things about the baby of the super middleweight division who, at only 27 years of age, won 24 (KO 13) + lost 0 (KO 0), has successfully become a world champion in his prime and has dominated his opponents while doing so. Andre successfully defended his belt three times after dominating Mikkel Kessler for the WBA super middleweight title belt. “Son of God” then went on to beat Allen Green, the tough Sakio Bika and lastly, “dethroned” and probably retired King Arthur Abraham.
Second on the list is 33-year old, Carl “The Cobra” Froch, won 27 (KO 20) + lost 1 (KO 0) is an extremely well packaged English boxer, whose only career loss came by way of a controversial decision to Mikkel Kessler in April of 2010as part of the Super Six tournament in Kessler’s home country of Denmark. Froch claims the judges robbed him. Aside from the Kessler loss, the Cobra has wins over durable opponents including, Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell and Jean Pascal. However, none of those wins were by knockout. Nonetheless, Froch has proven himself to be a threat and worthy to be ranked at the top of the super middleweight division.
Third is the 31 year old super slick Romanian boxer Lucian Bute, won 28 (KO 23) + lost 0 (KO 0), who now boxes out of Montreal Canada. After being knocked down and barely hanging on in the 12th round against hardheaded Librado Andrade back in October 2008, Bute was awarded one of boxing’s most controversial wins ever, by being given the longest 10 count ever in the history of the sport. Lucian Bute was able to survive the 12th and final round, the win was a gift of biased Canadian referee Marlon Wright. Had Wright correctly counted a standard 10 count, Lucian Bute would have lost by knockout, instead, Librado Andrade lost by unanimous decision and Bute snuck away with the IBF super middleweight belt. Lucian was being labeled as a weak and overly protected sham of a boxer after that performance. Since then, Bute has stepped up his game by easily knocking out Andrade in the 4th round in their November 2009 rematch. He also knocked out the hit, or miss Edison “Pantera” Miranda and has looked fairly quick in his last few fights. He seems to be getting better with every fight, but has still to face a formidable opponent that can really test his chin.
Fourth is Andre Dirrell. On his way to an astonishing victory via a supreme boxing lesson against Arthur Abraham in their March 2010, Super Six battle in Detroit Michigan. Dirrell threw perfect jabs and put on a tremendous display of ringmanship and footwork, with wicked combinations throughout the entire fight. However, in the 11th round Dirrell lost his balance and Abraham, out of frustration, took advantage and hit Dirrell in the back of the head while he was down, slipping along the ropes. The punch seemed to glance off the head of Dirrell, but Dirrell laid on the canvas complaining about his head and claimed he was unable to continue. I believe that Dirrell could have continued the fight, but Abraham ended up with a DQ loss. Dirrell won by an unpopular fashion and some questioned his heart, even though he had won most every round in the fight. Then Dirrell backed away from a Super Six bout vs. Andre Ward and disappeared completely out of sight. Hopefully Dirrell gets back on track and puts on a great performance as he did initially before the 11th round Abraham fiasco.
Fifth on the list is Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik, won 37 (KO 32) + lost 2 (KO 0). Before his October 2008 unanimous decision loss to Bernard Hopkins, Pavlik was swinging loaded bombs and crushing most of his opponents by knockout. Then in April of 2010, Pavlik was annihilated against the game Sergio Martinez via unanimous decision loss. This loss took the “Ghost” off his high horse and he went spiraling downward with personal issues and ended up admitting himself to a rehab center for alcoholism treatment. Finally, about a year after the Martinez beating, he returned on May of 2011 to win a majority decision against the tough Texan, Alfonso Lopez. At only 29 years of age, we still have not seen the last of the knockout artist Kelly Pavlik and hopefully the Ghost is fully recovered, back to his old self and through with his disappearing act.
Last, but not least is the tough as nails journeyman, Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson, won 51 (KO 35) + lost 14 (KO 1) + drawn 2, who at 42 years old has fought an outstanding level of opposition. The soft spoken “gentleman,” as he is also known, has had two very close unanimous decision losses to the former light heavyweight belt holder, “Bad” Chad Dawson. Many believe both fights against Dawson could have gone either way and that politics may have had some play in the judges decisions. Adding to Johnson’s defeats was another tough decision loss against Tavoris Cloud, however Johnson does have TKO wins over both Allan Green and Yusaf Mack. Can the veteran Johnson pull a Hopkins act out of his hat? With a Glen Johnson semi-final win against Carl Froch this Saturday June 4, 2011 this puts Johnson on a path down to Showtime’s Super Six final bout against Andre Ward where the winner takes all.
Yes, boxing in the super middleweight division is right where it should be and the division is wide open for the one man who really wants to be the king.