Sunday, June 5, 2011

Notes from Froch-Johnson

  • The crowd at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom was split 50-50 for the fighters during the introductions.  As Glen Johnson got off to a good start, sentiment seemed to shift to older fighter.  Although both fighters had their moments, the crowd accepted the decision; it was obvious, even to Johnson supporters at the fight, that Carl Froch won enough rounds to secure the victory.

  • Froch didn't engage during the first two rounds.  Whether he wanted to see what game plan Johnson would bring to the fight or taste Johnson's power, Froch was content to let Johnson set the pace.  Curiously, Froch stayed in the pocket for these rounds and refused to use his advantages of speed and lateral movement.

  • Glen Johnson only throws two punches well; a left jab and a straight right hand.  There were numerous opportunities where Froch would slip to Johnson's left during exchanges because he knew that nothing was coming from the left side.  If Johnson had a real left hook, perhaps this could have been a more competitive fight.  Froch escaped from many of these exchanges with his gloves down.  Maybe he was tempting fate, or maybe he knew that if he avoided the right hand, there was nothing else that Glen could throw that would cause damage.

  • Froch's game plan in the fight was to counter.  He let Johnson come to him, and initiate action with his jab.  Froch countered beautifully with his left hook, straight right hand and right uppercut.  The difference in hand speed was substantial.  Froch unleashed three or four-punch combinations before Johnson could throw, much less land anything in return.  Froch's left hook was crisp and hit the mark consistently.

  • Froch had a few rounds, specifically, the 5th, 9th, 11th and 12th, where he dominated with his movement and ring generalship.  He would make Johnson follow him around the ring.  Froch would then set his feet.  Johnson would throw his jab, which Froch countered with brief flurries and then he quickly moved out of range, until he established a new spot to take a stand.  Froch pot-shotted Johnson brilliantly in these rounds. 

  • Technically, Froch had one major mistake.  He often circled to his left, which put him within range of Johnson's one true weapon, his right hand.  Had he moved to the right more often, Froch would have been hit less with that shot.  Froch probably moved to his left to keep his right hand counter in play; it's a great punch.  However, by moving to Johnson's right side, Froch needlessly placed himself in danger.

  • The right hand in the 8th round that Johnson landed while Froch was along the ropes was the best punch of the fight.  For an instant, it looked like Froch was hurt, but he took the punch well, and was even able to throw some combinations by the end of the round.

  • Johnson fought the wrong fight.  With such a limited arsenal, Johnson's best way to win the fight was to throw haymakers and bombs.  Johnson didn't rely on one of his best assets: his chin.  Johnson should have swung for the fences at every opportunity.  If he missed, yes, Froch would have tagged him with flurries and combinations.  But what other choice did Johnson have?  It was clear that Johnson could take Froch's power.  He was able to catch Froch a couple of times but he needed to land those power rights more frequently. 

  • Johnson often stops throwing punches when receiving incoming fire.  He would start exchanges and then when Froch responded, Johnson would keep his high guard up and wouldn't throw back.  He does not transition well from defense to offense. 

  • For such a limited fighter, Johnson was able to fashion a remarkable career.  He was a light heavyweight champion and won Fighter of the Year after defeating Clinton Woods, Roy Jones, Jr. and Antonio Tarver in 2004.  He became a fan and media favorite with his dedication to the sport and his friendly, unassuming demeanor.  There is no shame if Johnson decides to call it a day.  He made some money and scored a number of impressive victories.  He provided boxing fans with a lot of memorable moments.  Although Froch did not embarrass Johnson in the ring, it's unlikely that Johnson can defeat world-class fighters at this stage of his career. 
  • Nobuaki Uratani should be banned after scoring the fight a draw.  I scored it 116-112 and I felt that I gave Johnson the benefit of the doubt in round 7.  I don't know how you found six rounds to give to Johnson. 

  • I keep thinking about the forthcoming final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.  Andre Ward-Carl Froch could be a fascinating matchup.  Both fighters have demonstrated that they can fight in different styles and have an array of weapons.  There is one thing I am pretty sure of about the fight: I think it's going to be a 12-round decision, in that Ward has only average power and Froch's knockout power has trailed off as he has faced better opposition.  The fight could be a brawl or a tactical chess match; either way, I'm intrigued.  My gut tells me that Ward will be favored, but Froch's style will give Ward a lot to think about in preparation for the fight and inside the ring.  I wouldn't discount the possibility of a Froch upset.   

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