By Tyson Bruce
Magdeburg, Germany- They say every aging great fighter has one great fight left in him. While no one would term Arthur Abraham a “great” fighter, he’s certainly been a damn good one and proved the critics wrong by avenging a stoppage loss to WBA champion Robert Stieglitz—pulling ahead 2-1 in the trilogy.
Stieglitz, 46-4, 26 Kos, was the heavy favorite going into the bout because he had easily steamrolled Abraham, 39-4, 28 Kos, in four rounds last year and public perception was that Abraham’s best years were long behind him. Abraham, 34, knew that he needed a more aggressive and varied approach if he was to keep the younger and stronger man off of him. He did just that by surprisingly boxing well off the back foot and counter punching effectively with overhand rights and looping left hooks.
Stieglitz was obviously very pumped up by his hometown crowd and probably underestimated Abraham. Stieglitz began the fight by attempting to bum rush Abraham in order to replicate his victory last year. While he certainly outworked Abraham in the first half of the fight, he often smothered his own work and left himself open to Abraham’s counters.
Abraham looked much more motivated for this fight than he has in perhaps the last few years. He used a short jolting jab that disrupted Stieglitz’s offense and punished his foes insolence with powerful counter punches.
The action of the bout was give and take and how it was judged depended on whether you preferred the pure aggression of Stieglitz or the more refined work from Abraham. After falling slightly behind after seven rounds, Stieglitz was given a major break when the referee deducted a point from Abraham for hitting behind the head. The advantage was quickly squandered, however, when he to was deducted a point for pulling the head down.
Clearly sensing that his title was slipping away from him Stieglitz came out guns blazing in the final round and backed Abraham up to the ropes. It turned out to be a dramatic error in judgment as Abraham waited him out and sprung on him with a vicious left hook and follow up flurry that put Stieglitz down hard. Stieglitz got up and managed to finish the round, but the damage had already been done.
The general feeling in the audience was that despite being a close fight Abraham had done enough to recapture the title. The judges, fortunately, got it right this time as their scores read: 113-112 Stieglitz, 115-110 and 114-111 Abraham. It was a very solid action fight with many changes in momentum. Is a fourth fight in the cards? Time will tell.