Both Friday and Saturday provided for some massive fight nights--and a sizable amount of surprises and upsets, as well. One such result coming from Froch-Taylor...
[C] (Vacant IBF Light Middleweight Championship) Cory Spinks SD Deandre Latimore [Showtime]
[C] (Interim WBC Flyweight Championship) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam UD Julio Cesar Miranda
Gabriel Rosado SD(10) Kassim Ouma (Light Middleweight)
--Ouma continues his bad slide, having only won once in four bouts since 2006, starting with his loss to Jermain Taylor back then.
Billy Lyell SD(10) John Duddy (Middleweight)
--I never got the whole deal about John Duddy, but whatever it was, its almost up in smoke after a reportedly lacksidasical performance against an unknown with a spotty record.
DaVarryl Williamson TKO5 Carl Davis (Heavyweight)
[C] WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch TKO12 Jermain Taylor [Showtime]
--Jermain Taylor was so sure that he would beat some guy he never heard of nor bothered studying tape on, that he promised to KO him early. Early in the fight, that was almost the case, but he would soon know the name of "Carl Froch" all too well (maybe). Not many had Froch going in, but having heard good things about him from previous fights, I had the fight being a close one that could go either way. After a tentative first round, Taylor kicked up the activity against the technically-solid, but awkward, WBC champion. Round three saw Froch get tagged and placed on the canvas for the first time in his career (to be expected against someone like Taylor), but as shaken and prone as he was, Taylor inexplicably didn't finish the job. With the champion's habit of keeping one hand down to his side, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to further capitalize on the moment, but he neglected to seize upon it--perhaps a fatal mistake for what was to come. Froch recovered, but Taylor was the more active and accurate puncher for the rest of the competitive early rounds.
"Bad Intention's" questionable stamina began to show in the second half despite lessening his usual all-out pressure style. Froch, with astute guidance from his trainer, began to make incremental changes to their tactics in getting around Taylor's much-improved defense. As a result, he started to take control of the close bout by steadily landing blows to Taylor's head (notably, by moving more to the side to hook him) and getting him against the ropes. To his credit, Taylor kept the appearance of staying active by coming back hard in the closing minute, which undoubtedly helped him steal a round or two. The final rounds remained tight, but it was beginning to become clear that the momentum shifted to Froch's favor as Taylor was less active and was getting hit with greater frequency.
Taylor looked somewhat shaky in the tenth and eleventh and a more confident Froch calmly continued his assault into the twelfth. The gameplan bore fruit as a right hook took its toll on Taylor, sending him reeling from the accumulation of shots. Froch stalked him and carefully landed additional shots at will until he dropped him within the final minute of the fight, leaving him slumped in the corner with a look on his face, and in a familiar position, that read like deja vu. Though he beat the count, Froch did what he didn't do to him earlier and unrelented in his offense, pounding an unresponsive and nearly defenseless Taylor as the referee stopped the match with only 14 seconds left.
Had Froch not been able to score the TKO, he would have lost by at least a round, in spite of a probable 10-7 final round, on two of the judges' scorecards, with the other having him win by a slim margin. That seemed ridiculous, as the fight was far closer than indicated, and seemed more likely to end in a draw or Froch hanging on by a point, but that shouldn't be too much of a surprise given how Taylor fights usually go, in no small part due to his more active and aggressive fighting style. Froch made all of the right adjustments and fought like a true champion despite being in the trenches, getting knocked down, and against a dangerous fighter like Taylor. On the other side, Taylor made a huge mistake in not finishing him off in the third when he was vulnerable and available for a KO. His stamina betraying him in spite of his efforts didn't help either, and certainly that trip down in the corner conjured up that awful ending to his first bout with Kelly Pavlik and took the wind out of his sails as much as the knockdown did (the finishing salvo was similar to that fight, as well).
While Taylor suffers a major setback (a date with Edison Miranda would be very interesting...), Froch has assuredly made a name--and target--of himself, with plenty of good caliber opponents out there. However, the Englishman doesn't appear to be too fond of one Joe Calzaghe, calling out the recently retired Welsh native to a match. Not too sure about that one, as he'll need a better, more present defense, improved, more effective punching, and a willingness to plow through and persevere if he wants to whether the storm of volume punching Calzaghe that dishes out.
[C] WBA Middleweight Champion Felix Sturm TKO7 Koji Sato
--Now, will someone please give him another big-time fight?
[C] WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Juan Manuel Lopez TKO9(RTD) Gerry Penalosa [HBO]
--I have no clue what Penalosa is made out of (besides a ton of guts and heart), but he managed to take an incredible beating and still find a way to trade back enough to stave off the inevitable to the ninth round. Lopez outgunned the veteran in record fashion, throwing over 1000 punches and landing at an impressive percentage, but Penalosa kept things "phone booth" and stuck around with him. Though he managed to land a few good shots, he could only stand in front and absorb the myriad of shots by the faster, stronger Lopez for the vast majority of it by waiting for an opening and counter.
Holding out for the champion to tire was replaced by "when was the fight going to get called off" past the fifth as Penalosa, tenacity and will aside, had close to no chance of winning, with his punches losing zip and the toll beginning to overtake his body. Freddie Roach, his and admirer Manny Pacquiao's trainer, gave him one more chance prior to the ninth round, and following one of his more "comparably better" rounds for Penalosa, Roach tearfully threw in the towel for the longtime pugilist and perhaps his boxing career. Though he entered the Puerto Rican arena to a shower of boos, he left with quite the opposite reaction. The native Lopez, successful and impressive in defending his belt, has a number of strong opponents waiting for him in the wing, including Jhonny Gonzalez (KO'd by Penalosa), Celestino Caballero, a possible rematch with Daniel Ponce de Leon (who Lopez laid out in the first round for his current hardware), or a fight against recent titlist Bernard Dunne.
[C] WBO Super Middleweight Champion Karoly Balzsay KO11 Maselino Masoe
--Once upon a time, Masoe was considered one of the best and most dangerous fighters around...
[C] (Interim WBO Light Welterweight Championship) Lamont Peterson TKO7 Willy Blain [HBO]
Paulie Malignaggi UD(8) Christopher Fernandez (Light Welterweight)
Allan Green TKO2 Carlos De Leon Jr. (Super Middleweight) [Showtime]
--One of those "blink and you'll miss it" knockouts, with the son of the cruiserweight champion of the same name on the bad end of it.
Dominick Guinn TKO1 Johnnie White (Heavyweight)
Not Previously Mentioned
:Fri.04.24.09: Deontay Wilder KO1 Joseph Rabotte (Heavyweight) [ESPN2]
:Fri.04.24.09: Daniel Jacobs KO2 Jose Varela (Super Middleweight)
:Fri.04.24.09: Tim Witherspoon Jr. UD(4) Jason Carr (Lightweight)
:Fri.04.24.09: Henry Lundy KO5 Jason Cintron (Light Welterweight)
:Sat.04.25.09: Daniel Ponce De Leon UD Marlon Aguilar (Super Bantamweight)
:Sat.04.25.09: Julius Kennedy MD(6) Aaron Pryor Jr. (Middleweight)