By Jake Donovan
It’s a rivalry that’s proven lucrative for both fighters, but it’s clear that Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz are ready to move on with their respective careers. The familiar foes square off for a fourth time on July 18 at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany, with the unique circumstance of all four meetings having a major title at stake.
Given their mindset, the promotion is fittingly billed Final Showdown.
Abraham (42-4, 28KOs) resurrected his career in their first fight, scoring a well-earned unanimous decision to claim a super middleweight title in a considerable upset. The win was his first in a title fight since the final defense of his middleweight belt in May '09 before moving up in weight.
The initial leap to super middleweight was a smash hit, scoring a knockout of Jermain Taylor in the closing seconds of the 12th and final round of their Oct. '09 clash. The bout kicked off Showtime's Super Six super middleweight round robin-syle tournament, but was his last moment in the sun, dropping three of his four next starts.
It wasn't until his upset win over Stieglitz that the boxing world was given proof that he still had something left to offer the sport.
Stieglitz posted his only win of the series in their rematch seven months later, becoming a two-time beltholder after forcing Abraham to wilt following three full rounds of action in their March ’13 rematch.
Three defenses followed for Stieglitz before dropping a heartbreaking split decision in their rubber match last March. The win put Abraham ahead 2-1 in the three-fight set, having since successfully defended his title three times—including a pair of wins over Paul Smith in his two most recent outings—before being mandated to face Stieglitz a fourth time.
Given his success in fighting for a title in this series, Abraham heads into part four with the mindset of a challenger looking to unseat a defending champion.
“The fact that this fight is for the world title gives me all the motivation I need,” Abraham, 35, said through promoter Sauerland Event’s press office. “Every time I enter the ring, I give up my title, and only become champion again when the final bell sounds and my hand is raised. I must approach every fight with the same desire and will to win, and if I were to think any differently it would be time for me to hang up my gloves.
“But I’m not thinking about retirement. I’m world champion and will remain so for the next two to three years until I chose to leave the sport.”
Not only does Abraham want to put this series behind him, but also desires to move on to new business after July 18.
Chief among his goals are targeted showdowns with fellow super middleweight titlists James DeGale and Badou Jack, and of course a desired rematch with Andre Ward now that the unbeaten World super middleweight king is back in action.
“I have total belief in my skills and my training, and I know I can do everything as well if not better than Stieglitz. My promoter has billed this fight as the ‘Final Showdown’, and that is exactly what it will be. There will be no fifth fight. I will bring this rivalry to a successful conclusion and then look for a unification—that is my goal!”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox