Advertisement
Advertisement

Title Win Provides Cashout Bargaining Chip For Abraham

By Jake Donovan

Arthur Abraham managed to win a belt in a second division after barely edging super middleweight titlist Robert Stieglitz on Saturday evening in Berlin.

Heading into the fight, there wasn’t a lot of doubt but still some concern over whether Abraham had enough left to turn the feat. The lingering question in the aftermath is just what he plans to do now that he’s back in the title fray.

Past history suggests not very much is in store, other than upgrading his chances for a lucrative cashout opportunity down the road.

Once upon a time, Abraham was among the very best middleweights in the world. For several years, he was placed directly behind then-lineal middleweight king Kelly Pavlik, while some argued that he was even better than the American knockout artist.

Unfortunately, a head-on collision never materialized, largely due to a lack of a genuine effort as both sides seemed comfortable racking up wins and leaving their respective rankings up for debate.

Abraham always expressed a willingness to face the then-unbeaten champ. Included in a near-four year reign was his stateside debut, knocking out Edison Miranda in their June ’08 rematch in Florida, albeit in a non-title fight. The reign ended in late 2009 when the Armenian transplant enrolled in the highly anticipated Super Six World Boxing classic the following year.

His inclusion in the round robin tournament was supposed to underline his determination in proving to be among the world’s best fighters. Abraham was 29 years old at the time and in the heart of his prime as a six-year ring veteran, winning a belt after just two years as a pro and making 10 defenses.

Abraham was heavily favored to advance to the finals, along with fellow Euro star and promotional stablemate Mikkel Kessler. He opened the tournament with a bang, scoring a 12th round knockout of Jermain Taylor to begin the early buzz.

That was as close as either Abraham or Kessler came to living up to their press clippings.

Kessler suffered a lopsided loss to Andre Ward in Nov. ’09 before redeeming himself with a thrilling points win over Carl Froch four months later. A detached retina suffered during his loss to Ward worsened in the Froch fight, forcing the Dane to drop out of the Super Six tournament.

His return more than a year later came with plenty of intrigue. Where Kessler ranked among the world’s best super middleweights was open to debate, even without finishing out the tournament. The win over Froch meant that there was still enough mixing and matching to be done among the rest of his divisional peers.

The same cannot be said of Abraham, ironically due in large part to his decision to go the distance in the tournament even in reaching a point where his career was in peril.

The first loss of his career came in Stage Two of the Super Six, suffering a 10th round disqualification in March ’10 at the hands of Andre Dirrell, who would also subsequently drop out of the tournament. The three points Abraham earned in Stage One was enough to remain in the lead until Ward posted a second tournament win three months later.

Abraham came on late in the fight, but was losing badly and also suffered the lone knockdown of his career during the fight. He nearly came back to knock out Dirrell, but was far too overzealous (and perhaps a bit frustrated), landing a home run punch while the American slipped and was on a knee on the canvas long enough for Abraham to think before he threw and landed.

The incident was the beginning of the end of Abraham’s consideration as one of the very best in the sport. An equally lopsided loss came eight months later when Froch gave him a boxing lesson to punch his way to second place in the Super Six tournament.

Abraham remained stuck on the three points he earned in Stage One, falling all the way from the top to the fourth seed. The fall from grace landed him a showdown with Andre Ward, with only a tuneup win interrupting what would have been three straight landslide losses against Top 10 opposition.

Ward went on to beat Froch in the Super Six finals, but there was enough intrigue left over. Froch gave a terrific account of himself and his overall bravery throughout the tournament – in victory and defeat – proved his worth as a legitimate Top 5 super middleweight.

That stance was confirmed with his emphatic knockout of then-unbeaten titlist Lucian Bute earlier this year, further proof that a loss on its own does not ruin a career. Froch survived two losses in the span of four fights to still punch his way back towards the top of the division.

Abraham traveled a different path in search of post-tournament redemption. The 32-year old is now in the midst of a three-fight win streak, the latest netting him a super middleweight belt in a thriller against Stieglitz.

While the win itself made him a champion in the eyes of those who recognize all alphabet belts, the performance and level of “championship” opposition left a lot to be desired. The bout was thrilling enough to where you want to see Abraham again.

The problem is that Abraham – if he were truly all the way back – had no business allowing the fight to become that thrilling, or that questionable down the stretch in a fight that easily could have went the other way.

Stieglitz was undoubtedly the weakest titlist among the super middleweight lot heading into the field. The other claimants – Ward and Froch – already beat Abraham bad enough to where a rematch is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind.

Given the grim outlook of what lies ahead with a win, there existed the theory that Abraham merely sought redemption with a title win in and of itself. The short term goal was all that mattered, with little to no regard for the future.

Immediately after the win, Sauerland Event announced the possibility of a long awaited showdown between Abraham and Kessler, the bout that was once thought to be for the Super Six championship. In the statement, it was declared that the bout was there if Kessler is up for the opportunity. The rest would be relatively easy to handle, since Sauerland promotes both fighters.

The question now is just how far Kessler is looking to take the rest of his career. The two-time super middleweight titlist looked like anything but his former self in climbing off the canvas to knockout Allan Green earlier this year. The win was just his second since returning from hiatus following injuries suffered in the Super Six, which leaves him at just one fight per year since 2010.

Overall, Kessler and Abraham have won three straight. There’s more substance to Kessler’s run if only because of the win over Froch, even if spray-painted over a 28-month stretch.

By comparison, Abraham has been relatively active, having fought three times this year alone after an eight-month rest-and-reload session following last year’s loss to Ward. However, none of the wins rate very high in the grand scheme of things. The fight with Stieglitz was exciting enough to where a rematch has been demanded.

Such a statement means that Stieglitz’s stock soars in defeat, having been viewed as a weak titlist heading in and for good reason. Oddly enough, the 31-year old was an active titlist at the start of the Super Six tournament, his reign beginning one month after the series was announced following a thrilling 12th round knockout over Karoly Balzsay in Aug. ’09.

That seven title defenses followed isn’t as impressive once the level of opposition is taken into consideration. Because of that, Stieglitz was viewed as a sitting target for even today’s version of Abraham, one who has yet to prove that his once explosive knockout power followed him up the scale.

Now that he’s won titles in two divisions, it’s entirely possible that Abraham no longer has to try to prove anything. His future options are limited, given the number of contenders above him who would either be heavily favored to win or whom have already proven to be superior.

The two feasible lingering options in terms of next facing and beating someone above him were Kessler and Bute. The latter won’t happen anytime soon, as Bute has a tune-up scheduled later this year before a rematch with Froch next March.

That leaves only Kessler, in terms of Abraham having any chance to improve on his position among the lower tier of top super middleweights. There also exists the possibility of a long awaited showdown with Pavlik, who is far enough long on the comeback trail and to the point where he wants nothing but big fights.

Whatever the path Abraham chooses, he no longer has to depend solely on name value to secure a future payday. The title belt in tow gives him the necessary bargaining chip to add to his retirement fund, if not ever again the win column.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

Tags: Arthur Abraham image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by ddangerous on 08-27-2012

If I am Abraham, I move back down to middleweight and fight a few lower tier top ten contenders (Mackilin, Murray, Quillin, etc...).

Comment by The Nephilim on 08-26-2012

[QUOTE=JakeNDaBox;12455066]Incorrect. I'm a career-long Abraham fan and have been covering since well before he even won a middleweight title. The fight was close and several in the media thought it could have went either way.[/QUOTE] Did you watch the fight…

Comment by Dazzaman on 08-26-2012

Arthur Abraham didn't help himself by longish periods of doing nothing in particular...but he did mess that boy's face up some. Stieglitz was busier but couldn't bruise a grape. Arthur 116-112 whilst cruising in a lower gear.

Comment by edgarg on 08-26-2012

Another "could have went" from an otherwise erudite writer. If you want to be in keeping with your readers, at least you might have written "cudda went"... Spoils my enjoyment of the article. from the man who castigated me a…

Comment by Weebler I on 08-26-2012

[QUOTE=JakeNDaBox;12455066]Incorrect. I'm a career-long Abraham fan and have been covering since well before he even won a middleweight title. The fight was close and several in the media thought it could have went either way.[/QUOTE] Good article, lot of information…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (13)
Top Headlines Frampton’s Promoter Eyes Russell, Selby Next - No Quigg, or Rigo Photos: Adonis Stevenson Blasts Williams Hard - MEGA Gallery Santa Cruz Expects Carl Frampton To Out-Weigh Him In Ring Mikey Garcia: If No Layoff, I Definitely Would Be a Big Star Berto Wouldn’t Be A Gimme For Danny Garcia, Says Showtime VP Adonis Stevenson-Thomas Williams: Post-Fight Report Card Frampton Must Defy Conventional Wisdom To Upset Santa Cruz Bracero on Malignaggi Bout: I'm Fighting For My Dreams, Future Jose Roman, Ruben Villa Batter Opponents at The Doubletree McGuigan: Frampton Has Been After Santa Cruz Since 2013 Canelo Smiles: I Ran From Golovkin? He's Fought NOBODY! Santa Cruz vs. Russell Much Better Fight; Both Want Selby Next Frank Warren: Frampton Left 122 With Rigondeaux Clash Marquez Has No Regrets Over Cotto Position, Retirement Near Adonis Stevenson With Vicious Knockout of Williams in Four Adonis Stevenson vs. Thomas Williams: LIVE BScene Scorecard Ruslan Provodnikov Meets With Promoter, Return is Anticipated Eleider Alvarez Beats Robbie Berridge, On Course For Stevenson Frampton’s Promoter: Santa Cruz is Carl’s Toughest Fight Yet Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia Potentially in Early 2017 Adonis Stevenson vs. Thomas Williams - CompuBox Review Photos/Weights: Luis Nery vs. David Sanchez in Tijuana Photos/Weights: Antonio Orozco vs. Lopez, Joseph Diaz vs. Proa Carl Frampton After the Scales: This Was Easy and I Feel Great SHO VP: Wilder vs. Joshua in Late 2017, Could Be Pay-Per-View Photos: Mikey Garcia vs. Rojas Malignaggi-Bracero Battle Ready Photos: Frampton, Santa Cruz Ready For War at Barclays Center Video: Frampton Fans in Force at Weighin For Leo Santa Cruz Antonio Gutierrez vs. Jorge Melendez, LA Fight Club on 9/2 Juan Carlos Camacho Jr. Goes Pro With Miguel Cotto Thomas Williams: TKO Loss To Gabriel Campillo Doesn’t Define Me Chisora Unlikely To Land Whyte, Trying To Get Helenius Rematch Weights From Brooklyn: Santa Cruz 125.4, Frampton 125 Frampton To Santa Cruz: I'll Be The Bigger Man on Fight Night Adrien Broner's Request For Early Release From Jail is Denied Tyson Fury To Take On UKAD Over Drug Test Results Adonis Stevenson-Thomas Williams: Pre-Fight Report Card Lara's Manager on The Possibility of Facing Gennady Golovkin Roach: Me and Pacquiao Remain in Boxing To Get Mayweather Verdejo's Manager Says Flanagan Clash Possible For November
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement