Lee Groves

10: Greatest super middleweight title fights

8. April 25, 2009 – Carl Froch KO 12 Jermain Taylor, Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut

Though Froch was the defending WBC titlist, he was largely unknown to most American fans. Conversely, Taylor had already achieved worldwide prominence by ending Bernard Hopkins’ historic 10-year middleweight title reign in 2005. But whatever goodwill he created was largely erased with a disputed rematch win over Hopkins, a draw against Winky Wright, two unimpressive victories over Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks and two defeats to Kelly Pavlik.

His lopsided decision win over badly faded 2000 Olympic teammate Jeff Lacy proved that Taylor still had some gas in the tank and that petrol propelled him to an early lead against Froch. Two booming rights in round three dropped Froch for the first time in his professional career and Taylor’s supreme accuracy and harder power shots carried him to an almost prohibitive 106-102 lead on two scorecards entering the final round (Froch led by the same score on the third card.)

Froch’s grit and Taylor’s notorious stamina problems explosively merged in the match’s final two minutes. A huge right with 1:53 remaining stiffened Taylor’s legs and ignited Froch’s rally. Taylor desperately tried to backpedal away from danger but he was virtually defenseless against Froch’s onslaught. Three smashing rights drove Taylor to the floor with 44 seconds to go, and though the Arkansan arose at nine his senses were irreparably scrambled.

Froch bulldozed Taylor across the ring to another set of ropes, where he pounded Taylor with a succession of windmilling shots. A head-snapping right froze Taylor, who dropped his arms to a dangerously low level, prompting referee Michael Ortega to intervene with just 14 seconds left in the fight. Froch’s inspirational surge not only saved his title, it created such a powerful imprint on the American market that he was a “must-include” when Showtime’s Super Six tournament was conceived.

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