Abraham Decisions Stevanovic
By Erik Schmidt: Undefeated light middleweight project Alexander Abraham (24-0-1, 16 KOs) defeated Serbian Nikola Stevanovic (16-1-1, 6 KOs) by a lopsided 12-round decision on Saturday night to retain his little known EBU-EE (European External European Union) light middleweight title at the Erdgas Arena, in Riesa, Sachsen, Germany. The final judges’ scores were 118-111, 118-110 and 118-110.
Abraham, 27, the younger brother of IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, dominated most of the fight, knocking the 21-year-old Stevanovic down in the 11th round with a left hook to the head. Abraham, however, was unable to end matters because he missed countless punches in the remaining minute of the round.
Abraham as he typically does, showed flashes of skill mixed in with a lot of bad practices, such as turning his back on his opponent and walking away, throwing rabbit punches, hitting on the break, throwing sucker punches and clinching too often. Though he looks and fights much like his brother, he has little of Arthur’s power and discipline. As such, he made a fight that should have been very easy for him on Saturday night and made it into a much tougher fight.
Stevanovic, the current IBF Youth Light middleweight champion, outworked Abraham in the 1st round, during which time he landed a lot of abs and combinations. When the two clinched, Abraham took the opportunity to land to land some shots that came close to hitting Stevanovic in the back of the head. This would be repeated by Abraham throughout the fight in clinches, except in the later rounds Abraham began landing rabbit shots inside of punches to the side of the head.
The second and third rounds were very close, with Abraham missing a lot of punches, clinching often and moving far too much for his own good. He was treating Stevanovic as if he was a knockout threat instead of a young kid with zero experience outside of Serbia.
At the same time, Abraham often appeared to fight with anger instead of keeping a level head. It was as if he Stevanovic wasn’t supposed to be able to hit him. With as much as Abraham moved around the ring, I could see how it would be a surprise to him that he was getting hit a lot.
The problem for Abraham was that his limited height, only 5’8″ – small for a light middleweight – and his lack of hand speed, made him an easy target for the taller 5’11” Stevanovic, who looked like a giant next to Abraham. Still, Abraham did just enough to win both of the rounds by landing a number of right hands. It wasn’t impressive, though. Abraham was looking somewhat cocky by the end of the 3rd round, as if he was dominating Stevanovic instead of barely beating him.
Abraham continued clinching often, moving and landing jabs and right hands in rounds five and six. He would stop occasionally to land a right hand and then get moving again before Stevanovic could land anything. In the 5th, Abraham began trying to trick Stevanovic by looking into the audience and then suddenly attacking him with right hands.
Abraham seemed to enjoy himself when he would land a shot with this trick, but it made him look sneaky, and more than a little cocky. Stevanovic was doing little aside from following Abraham around and trying to corner him. In the 6th round, Abraham made a big mistake by stopping on the ropes and covering up.
Stevanovic then battered him, landing over 20 punches to the head as Abraham tried to cover up. Most of the punches got through his guard, snapping his head one way and then the other and reddening his face. If the fight had taken place elsewhere besides Germany, there would have been a good chance the fight would have been stopped at this point because Abraham got hit with a huge amount of shots without throwing anything back for at least 30 seconds.
After getting off the ropes, Abraham tried to fire back and even the score, but he had taken way too many shots in that time and didn’t have it all together yet. Stevanovic continued tagging him with big shots for the remaining minute of the round.
In rounds seven through nine, Abraham regained control of the bout, landing well with his right hand and hooks to the body. He moved often and didn’t allow Stevanovic to set up his offense. Like in the previous rounds, Abraham showed a bad habit of turning his back and walking away from Stevanovic, as if daring him to attack him.
One would hope that Abraham learns to stop this practice when he someday fights a good opponent, because they will probably charge forward and tag him when he’s defenseless. Abraham also continued looking into the audience and then suddenly attacking Stevanovic with punches.
It looked made Abraham look classless and didn’t get any applause from the fans with these cheap moves. In the 8th, Abraham was warned for throwing rabbit punches while in a clinch. He dominated the round, though, and had an easy time controlling it with right hands. In the 9th, Abraham was controlling the round for the first two minutes but then let off in the final minute after getting hit with a big right hand from Stevanovic. With Abraham now on the retreat, Stevanovic landed a flurry of head shots as the round closed.
Abraham landed well to the body with hooks in the 10th round, and kept Stevanovic from landing anything by moving constantly in a big circle. Abraham continued turning his back on Stevanovic and walking away from him. It’s surprising that Stevanovic didn’t take a few quick steps and clocking him in the back of the head because the opportunity was there for him, and it sure would have cured Abraham from doing this practice. Sooner or later, someone will.
In the 11th round, Stevanovic pinned Abraham to the ropes and landed a left to the body. However, Abraham immediately fired back a left hook that caught Stevanovic off guard, knocking him to the canvas. Stevanovic got to his feet at the count of eight, staggering backwards as the referee continued counting. Once the action continued, Abraham tried to finish him off but missed badly for the remainder of the round, missing one punch after another and looking more than a little uncoordinated.
I’ve seen fighters get a little anxious and miss some punches after hurting someone, but never for a full two minutes. It was as if Abraham was fighting with his eyes closed, because he missed Stevanovic badly for a long stretch of time with countless punches. Finally, Abraham began to lighten up on his shots and began to land a little but by taking the power off his shots, it had no effect on Stevanovic, who took the shots without any problems and began answering backing with his own punches in the last 30 seconds of the round.
In the 12th round, Abraham stayed on the move, hitting Stevanovic with right hands and jabs and easily winning the round. In the final seconds of the round, Abraham staggered Stevanovic with a big right hand but was unable to add to it with the final bell sounding.