If I send you my fax number, Messrs Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham, would you mind sending me a copy of your birth certificate? Because I find it hard to believe that Abraham is three years younger than Froch. It didnt look like it on Saturday night in Helsinki, Finland.
Froch was the more energized, agile pugilist, while Abraham looked like he was wearing an invisible back brace, and an extra decade of wear and tear. Stiff and ponderous, he mostly held his hands high while Froch pecked his way to a unanimous decision.
Froch, who enjoyed scores of 119-109, 120-108, 120-108, will face Glen Johnson, while Andre Ward gets Abraham in the Super Six semis.
Abraham (age 30; ex middleweight champion; 31-1; from Germany) weighed 167 1/4, while Froch (26-1 entering; age 33; from Nottingham, England; ex super middleweight champion) was 166 13/4 on Friday. Both came in off losses, Abraham to Andre Dirrell, Froch to Mikkel Kessler. The vacant WBC super middle crown was on the line during this stage three Super Six fight.
In the first, Froch set the tempo with a jab. Abe plodded after him, guard high, and lunged in every so often. Frochs movement looked like it would be key for him.
In the second, Abe got more aggressive early. But Froch, so confident, and relaxed, wasnt to be put off from his plan. He jabbed, moved, and started putting combos together.
In the third, Froch kept up his body work often enough to keep Abe honest. He dictated both pace, and distance, masterfully. Though it must be said, Abe looked fairly stiff in the first half of the round. But Abe did land a few power shots, before Froch stepped it up late, to steal the round.
Froch had a better fourth. He didnt fear Abes counters, and pumped the jab, moved, mostly to his left, and scored points.
Abe knew he needed to press more, to change the tone of the scrap, if he wanted to turn the tide in round five. But every time he moved forward, Froch was throwing.
In the sixth, the stiff Abraham didnt look to be trying much to change his fortunes. His eyes were swelling, from a steady stream of jabs. Froch grinned towards the end of the round, secure in his showing to this point.
In round seven, Abe looked to land a heavy one, but mostly, he looked, and absorbed. A right to the body punctuated the end of the round.
In the eighth, Froch gave Abe more of the same. His work rate wasnt overwhelming, by any means, but he didnt need it to be, because Abraham wasnt acting with any urgency. He tried a forearm shiver with a minute left and the ref Frank Garza gave him the what for.
In the ninth, Abe kept the same pace, which is to say, he lacked urgency. Twice, Froch landed power shots which sent Abe back a step or two, on weaker legs. In the tenth, Abe pressed more, but not enough, not like he needed to. Froch stayed busy enough, and smart. He didnt try to ramp it up, go for the stellar finish, and leave himself open to a silly mistake. Abe complained that Froch went low with 1:20 left. Would he whine after about Frochs tactics, rather than bestow him with proper due? In the 12th, Abe landed a right cross, a stiff one, but it wasnt a home run shot. He whined a bit when Froch got him behind the head with ten seconds to go.