Abraham finishes Taylor with KO in 12th

BERLIN -- Arthur Abraham knocked out Jermain Taylor with six seconds left Saturday, dramatically wrapping up a solid performance in the opening bout of the Super Six super middleweight tournament.

Abraham (31-0, 25 KOs), the former middleweight standout moving up to 168 pounds for the first time, was likely to win on points at O2 World Arena. But the unbeaten German-based Armenian champion caught Taylor with a right to the American's chin, dropping him senseless to the canvas.

"I need a couple of rounds to analyze my opponent," Abraham said. "And then I let him punch himself tired and then I strike back."

Taylor (28-4-1), the once-feared former middleweight champion from Arkansas, endured his fourth defeat in the last five fights, following two losses to Kelly Pavlik and a 12th-round stoppage last April by Carl Froch, who edged Andre Dirrell in the Super Six's second bout later Saturday night in Nottingham, England.

"He just surprised me with the right. I didn't see it," Taylor said. "But he hits hard, and he came to fight."

Taylor won the early rounds at the sold-out arena, but Abraham began taking control from the fifth. In the ninth, Abraham connected with a right hand to Taylor's head, leaving the former undisputed 160-pound champion on unsteady feet.

Among those in the 14,000-strong crowd was WBA champion Mikkel Kessler, also part of the tournament. Kessler will fight Andre Ward in Oakland, Calif., on Nov. 21 to complete the Super Six's first round.

"I was impressed with Abraham," said Kessler, who isn't scheduled to fight Abraham in the tournament's round-robin stage. "He let Taylor come at him for a couple of rounds and then just went after him, and he sure can hit hard."

The fight was the first of 12 bouts over the next 18 months to determine the champion in one of boxing's strongest divisions.

Abraham's next bout is against the speedy Dirrell (18-1), who was impressive in a split-decision defeat in Froch's hometown. Taylor will take on Ward next year.