Taylor on the attack against Froch Tom Casino)
By Michael Norby at ringside: Undefeated WBC super middleweight world champion Carl Froch silenced his doubters in a big way on Saturday night by knocking out former undisputed 160lb king Jermain Taylor in the final round of an exciting fight at The MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA.
The evening didn’t start so well for the Nottingham fighter, however, as Taylor 28-3-1 (17) out-boxed him from the opening bell and scored a knockdown in the third after pasting the champion with a big right hand.
Froch 25-0 (19) hung in there, slowly clawing his way back into the fight, and he began to wear down his opponent late in the contest before stopping him in spectacular fashion with a furious onslaught in the final round. The 31-year-old’s winning performance now places him firmly and deservedly at the forefront of his division as he looks to secure further meaningful, big money fights against
It was a measured opening by both fighters as they stood in the center of the ring and eyed each other for thirty seconds without throwing a punch in anger. Taylor, though, suddenly unleashed a stunning right hand and repeated that success seconds later – snapping the Englishman’s head back and forcing him to the ropes. Froch looked uncomfortable with his opponent’s speed and he struggled to get anything going as Taylor scored frequently with his left jab and right hand and punctuated the round with a big left hook at the bell.
Taylor was sharp tonight and he began the second brightly – scoring with both hands as Froch looked to time the former middleweight champion. The Englishman countered well with a left hook at the midway point as Taylor attacked and he stunned his man for the first time in the final minute with a three punch attack. That settled the champion and he gave as good as he got late in the round as both fighters opened up at close range to cap off a closer three minutes of action.
Taylor was less aggressive in the third and Froch enjoyed success with his jab and right hand through the first half of the frame. At the midway point, however, Taylor stopped Froch in his tracks with a fierce right hand counter shot and stunned the Englishman with a further headshot before flattening him seconds later with a monstrous right hand that sent Froch to the deck for the first time in his professional career.
Taylor patiently searched for another big opening in the fourth but, with his relative inactivity, he allowed Froch to recover and only sporadically found the Englishman with clean shots. Still, even though Froch was able to settle in this round and markedly stepped up his activity level in the fifth, it was apparent that, in only his second super middleweight fight, Taylor was both faster and perhaps stronger than the champion may have anticipated.
The middle rounds saw Froch finally claw his way back into the fight as both fighters took turns at exchanging snapping combinations and single shots upstairs before trading jabs at distance. Froch, with his left hand hanging low, just didn’t look comfortable with his opponent’s movement and, in the final seconds of the eighth round, Taylor battered his man with a stunning sequence of punches that stunned Froch and he was surely thankful to hear the bell.
Froch answered well to begin the ninth round and he clattered forward with a series of head shots and forced Taylor back with a subsequent body attack and right hand to the head. This was better from the champion and, although he was still finding it hard to corral his opponent, at least he was giving the American something to think about as the fight entered the latter rounds. Taylor countered well on the rare occasions that he found himself cornered but Froch was beginning to stun the American with his power – a worrying sign for the 30-year-old.
Froch upped his tempo in the tenth and eleventh, perhaps aware that he was behind on the scorecards, and he authored his best work of the contest in these rounds. He fired off combinations and hard right hands behind his jab as Taylor began to show signs of weather damage late in the fight. Both guys reached down and let it all hang out at the end of the penultimate round as they battered one another with a slew of punches in the center of the ring, setting up an intriguing ending to the fight.
Taylor looked extremely tired to begin the final round and Froch sensed it. The champion bounded forward and, as both fighters let loose at each other, Froch unleashed a mighty right hand that buckled his opponent and set the scene for a nail-biting final minute. Froch battered the challenger around the ring and finally dropped him with forty seconds remaining. Taylor did marvelously well to get up late in the count but the writing was on the wall and, after Froch beat an exposed Taylor against the ropes, referee Michael Ortega jumped in to save the Arkansan with only 15 seconds remaining.
It’s worth noting that judges Nobuaki Uratani and Omar Mintun had Taylor winning by scores of 116-112 whilst judge Jack Woodburn favored Froch by the same score.
Three words...rematch definitely required.
Time of stoppage: 2:46 RD12