Undefeated former IBF world middleweight champion Arthur Abraham
sent a huge message to his fellow Showtime Super Six contestants on Saturday night after he scored a thunderous knockout victory in the final seconds of the 12th round over American Jermain Taylor
at the O2 Berlin in Berlin, Germany.
Abraham 31-0 (25) considered by many to be a favorite to win the exciting tournament began in typically slow fashion but looked the stronger of the two and controlled the fight after several rounds. He pecked away at his opponent throughout the evening, hurting him in the eighth and again in the final round before knocking him cold with only seconds left in the contest.
The German picks up three points for the knockout in the tournament’s scoring system and sends a menacing statement to his fellow competitors in the process. For Taylor 28-4 (17) tonight’s heartbreaking result represents his second final round stoppage loss on the trot. To find a way back from here will be difficult, he sits at the bottom of the table in the tournament but more importantly, his inability to finish fights has to be taken into consideration when the 31-year-old deliberates over the future of his boxing career.
The opening round was a tactical affair with Abraham typically fighting carefully behind his peak-a-boo defense, allowing Taylor to land with his jab. The European landed with a hard right hand midway through the round that bothered Taylor, but the American reverted to his jab and connected with a number of tasty shots to the body and a right hand upstairs late in the round.
Abraham was a little more willing in the second and began with a three punch combination and moved forward menacingly early on. Taylor landed a painfully low right hook a minute into the round and, after the restart, he connected with a series of more legal punches upstairs behind his jab. Abraham, not be outdone, pinged a sequence of hard punches off the back of Taylor’s head, perhaps in retaliation to the previous low blow, to end the round.
Taylor looked the better of the two fighters thus far and maintained working distance with his jab in the third and fourth, allowing Abraham only sporadic moments of success. The Armenian-born German did land some clean, wide punches in both those rounds, but Taylor’s output seemed to trump Abraham’s occasional offense. With his movement and volume, however, the American was expending a lot of energy and, given his habit of running on empty late in fights, this was an interesting footnote.
Abraham finally began to shine in the fifth round by zipping forward with heavy, accurate combination punching – his best round of the fight by a country mile. He furthered that success a round later by backing up Taylor with effective aggression – pawing away Taylor’s jab before shooting his own and surging forward with thunderous body punching. Taylor was deducted a point in the final minute of the round for low blows and ate a big straight right hand in the final seconds, masked perfectly by Abraham’s jab, as the fight began to turn.