By Jake Donovan
It's not often that two top 10 fighters face each other four times, and never before where all four occasions come with a major belt at stake.
The latter marks the significance of the long-standing rivalry between Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz. For the fourth time in as many meetings, a super middleweight belt will once again be on the line when the familiar foes clash July 18 at Gerry Weber Hall in Halle, Germany.
"The battle for super middleweight supremacy continues,’’ said promoter Kalle Sauerland. "I’m hard-pressed to think of any other trilogy in modern boxing history that has provided such a high level of drama.
"For that reason, we go again. On July 18, for an unprecedented fourth time, Arthur and Robert will contest the WBO super middleweight title.’’
The first fight between the pair of top super middleweights saw Abraham (42-4, 28KOs) score a career-resurrecting decision win to dethrone Stieglitz. The win came following his rough go in the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic, which he entered as previously unbeaten middleweight titlist before suffering three career losses in a four-fight stretch.
His rebirth didn't last long; their rematch eight months later saw Stieglitz (47-4-1, 27KOs) post his lone win of the rivarly, forcing a 4th round stoppage to regain his title in March '13. The bout marked the only bout among their three previous meets to end inside the distance.
Abraham - who claimed a split decisoin win last March to begin his second tour as a super middleweight titlist - vows to get his own knockout win to provide a definitive end to this series.
"Robert is mandatory challenger, so of course he deserves his shot,’’ acknowledges Abraham, who has made three successful defenses during his second super middleweight title reign. "I’ve enjoyed our rivalry, but like all good things, this must come to an end.
"The Gerry Weber Stadium will provide the perfect venue for me to finish our feud. I had Robert down in the 12th round of our last encounter, but this time he will hit the canvas a lot sooner!"
Tickets for Abraham-Stieglitz IV are on sale now and available by calling the Gerry Weber Ticket Centre on +49 (0) 5201 81 80, or online via gerryweber-world.de and tickethall.de. All the action will be shown live and exclusive in Germany on SAT.1 and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox