“The King” has a crown once again
Arthur Abraham might not be as good as Andre Ward, Carl Froch, or maybe even Andre Dirrell.
But that doesn’t mean he’s not still one of the best super middleweights in the world.
On Saturday, Abraham cemented that claim in defeating fellow transplanted German Robert Stieglitz by unanimous decision in a hard-fought, physical battle. Scores were 116-112 (twice) and 115-113.
It was effectively Abraham’s final opportunity to remain in “elite” status in the division, as even his promoters at Sauerland Event were dubbing it “The Last Chance.” After lethargic efforts against Ward, Froch and Dirrell in the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic, Abraham needed not just a win, but an exciting effort to keep his drawing power and name value intact.
Stieglitz proved to be the perfect target for the mission. The Russian-born former WBO titlist forced the fight and maintained a steady workrate throughout the contest. It was a strategy that allowed the upper echelon of the division to dominate Abraham in the past, but Stieglitz is not quite as crafty or elusive as those fighters. Instead, he mostly stood directly in front of his foe, where Abraham could push a heavy jab, uncork big right hands, and sweeping hooks to the body.
Still, those shortcomings made for an entertaining affair, and one that induced a classic judging debate of quantity versus quality.
By the 10th round, Abraham perhaps slammed the gavel on that debate, as he had opened up a cut on Stieglitz’s right eye, and produced a steady stream of blood from the champion’s nose as well.
Sensing that he had made his point and built a lead on the scorecards, Abraham mostly cruised and celebrated his way through the final round.
Despite the close nature of the fight, Stieglitz, who was sent to the hospital immediately after the event, did not protest the decision whatsoever. While a rematch would be both exciting and profitable for Sauerland and SES Boxing (Stieglitz’s backers), Abraham has already expressed interest in facing the winner of this coming weekend’s middleweight battle between Felix Sturm and Daniel Geale.
With the win, Abraham Abraham improves to 35-3 (27 knockouts), and wins a world title in a second weight division, while Stieglitz falls to 42-3 (23 KOs).
Caballero has it easy, Perez finds it tough on ShoBox
Caballero hurt Roman in the fourth round with a solid four-punch combination, but aside from that, it was a one-sided affair without many standout moments.
That Caballero (16-0, 8 KOs) couldn’t get Roman (15-2-3, 6 KOs) out of there illustrates the fact that he’s not going to be a big puncher as a professional, a point that the Showtime broadcast team made on the air a few times. However, the positive to take away if you’re a Cabellero optimist is that he stayed out of trouble, unlike his ShoBox debut against Jose Luis Araiza earlier this year.
“I loved my performance,’’ Caballero said of his performance this weekend. “This was exactly the kind of fight I expected. I knew Roman had trained hard and would be tough. He gave me a challenge. I’ve never been hit like that, but I think I proved I have what it takes.”
Some combination of the skills he showed this time around, and the propensity for getting nailed with counters he displayed against Araiza will make him a welcome fixture on ShoBox for the next little while.
The lightweight hopeful, who was upset by Omar Figueroa on Showtime airwaves just last year, almost suffered the same fate as Maldonado floored him in the closing seconds of what was already a close fight.
Naturally, due to the close nature of the fight capped with a dramatic conclusion, Maldonado felt that he won handily.
“I felt I’d done enough to win even without the knockdown,” said Maldonado, 20, Albuquerque, NM. “I know I hurt Perez throughout and he never hurt me once. His punches had nothing behind them. This decision was total bull. The only rounds I felt I lost were the ones I gave away when I was playing possum trying to get him to come in and exchange.’’
Of course, Perez felt the fight wasn’t even close at all.
“Except for the last minute I thought I’d totally outboxed him and won every round even though I hurt my left hand in the third or fourth round and my right hand a little after that,’’ said Perez, who also outpointed Maldonado in the amateurs. “The knockdown was more of a flash knockdown than anything else. I was always aware of what was happening.’’
The 22-year old Perez isn’t the evasive slickster Golden Boy Promotions had hoped he could be, and it would seem that he is one spectacular ending away from having his “prospect” label removed, if it isn’t already.
After two shaky outings on Showtime, fans seem to get the picture when it comes to “The Artist.”
Follow Corey Erdman on Twitter @corey_erdman