Photos by Sumio Yamada
ARTHUR ABRAHAM W12 ROBERT STIEGLITZ
Late in his career, Arthur Abraham is showing something of a fresh look. Formerly a heavy-handed stalker, Abraham revealed a new dimension — jabbing, following up with accurate right hands and displaying nifty footwork — in his win over Robert Stieglitz on Saturday.
This followed Abraham's "boxing" performance in the comfortable win over Piotr Wilczewski. Even though he failed to score a knockdown in either of his last two fights the German fans don't seem to mind — they just want to see the popular "King Arthur" leave the ring as a winner.
As in the fight with Wilczewski, Abraham started off briskly and controlled most of the fight against Stieglitz in taking a unanimous decision to become a world champion at two weights. He was a worthy winner — I agreed with the 116-112 score of two of the judges — but this fight emphasised that Abraham doesn’t have the power at 168 pounds that he did in the middleweight division.
Stieglitz absorbed a number of flush right hands and never went anywhere. Abraham’s solid right-hand hitting won him the fight, keeping Stieglitz from establishing any momentum. However, by the eighth round it was obvious that Stieglitz was going to be there for the long haul. When Stieglitz made a spirited rally in the ninth round, rocking back Abraham’s head with a right hand, it seemed to convince King Arthur that he wasn’t going to be able to stop his man in the big all-German title fight. Abraham was content to box his way home.
There was no doubt in my mind going into the last round that the WBO title was about to change hands. Abraham’s harder shots had trumped Stieglitz’s higher punch-volume. Abraham coasted through the final three minutes. Stieglitz had the body language of a loser at the end of 12 entertaining rounds.
Stieglitz was game and tough, and he fought well, but he couldn’t hurt Abraham, who dropped his hands, shrugged his shoulders and made the: “Is that all you’ve got?” gesture.
I thought that if Stieglitz had kept coming at Abraham and kept the punches flowing he would have given himself a better chance of winning, but Abraham’s right hand had him wary of taking too many chances.
The win keeps Abraham in the picture for big fights but I think we’ve seen the best of him. This was a good win for Abraham, but in beating Stieglitz he did only what had been expected. The oddsmakers had Abraham favoured at -300, and the odds were justified.