The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Thoughts On Arthur Abraham

I will apparently not be sleeping anytime soon, so- writing.

Showtime’s contribution to boxing this weekend was a special edition of Shobox showcasing Arthur Abraham against an opponent I had personally never heard of in Mahir Oral; but as Sean’s always put it, just because you haven’t heard of them doesn’t mean they’re not good, and Oral turned out to be a very solid opponent albeit one without the power to do much real damage or the stamina to go 12 again a banger like Abraham. To his credit however he won several of the earlier rounds and I believe managed to hurt Abraham slightly on a few occasions, and generally put up a good fight before being deleted in the 10th. King Arthur looked a bit more sluggish and unsteady on his feet than I’ve seen him be in the recent past, and it’s pretty easy to believe his long struggle with making the middleweight limit is really starting to take its toll as he nears age 30.

In this fight as in any other by either man, Abraham’s performance will be evaluated in light of what it says about how he’ll do in a potential fight with Kelly Pavlik, and vice versa. Personally, I only saw small flashes here and there which did anything to change my long-held opinion that Abraham is all wrong for Pavlik and likely to win any contest between them. If they were to meet at 160, given how weight-drained Abraham looked at times in this fight I could now I suppose see as more likely a scenario in which Pavlik, using the power which a fighter like Oral can’t muster, throws a counter right hand over a jab early before Abraham gets warmed up, catches him and knocks him out. The odds aren’t great, but Pavlik is aggressive in straight lines and Abraham won’t circle and make Pavlik change directions much. If that scenario doesn’t play out however, it’s hard to see how Pavlik does enough damage to win the fight: Abraham’s high guard picks off a ridiculous percentage of punches coming his way, and if the fight takes place at 168 I have little doubt that Abraham will have the gas tank and durability to go many rounds. When Pavlik throws, he throws wide and reckless; Abraham throws much more technically sound straight shots with a much more defensively responsible focus, and he hits with thudding, damaging power. Either man could win a fight by KO, but I think the most likely result is a 12 round clear UD for Abraham who’ll give away a few early rounds as he often does to gauge his opposition, then simply begin to get off first and more accurately, wearing the American down. The defense is the difference, and only one man can attack without making himself a target.

Hopefully it’s a fight we’ll see soon, because it’s arguably in both men’s best interests to make the fight. Abraham could hang out in Germany, pounding both stiffs and unknown decent fighters like Oral alike for pretty good money; but he should be favored over Pavlik, and if he wins that it’s probably both a big payday up front and the chance for more to come on PPV. Pavlik shouldn’t be favored over Abraham, but he could win the fight, and it would probably be the biggest available payday for him. He’s got a fanbase, but not a big enough one to make fighting, say, Carl Froch more than a marginal proposition for a fighter who has aspirations to be a major-money player in the sport. If the fight is good and competitive- and it almost certainly will be- then there’ll be money in a rematch, especially (I hate to say it) if Pavlik loses controversially in Germany and the rematch can be finagled back over here to someplace like Atlantic City. It would be a risky fight for both men, but it’s a risk that’s worthwhile for both especially when you consider how few big-money cards they each have left to play at 160 or 168.

EDIT: Wow. You see a lot of weird names in boxing, but Oral apparently contrived to fight someone or something named Attila Kiss, a mighty man with a mighty 8-53-3 record at the age of 26. It’s like the European version of Reggie Strickland, with a name fit for use by any self-respecting metal band. A round of applause for this man.

DOUBLE EDIT: In related fun if you look through Reggie Strickland’s preposterous record, you’ll find he once boxed MMA fighter Chris Lytle, losing a 6 round decision. If you’re trying to do some sort of fighting sports version of the Kevin Bacon game, take note of this.

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June 29, 2009 - Posted by | Boxing

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