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Stieglitz vs. Miranda on January 9th; Pavlik-Espino on December 12th

pavlik6452315By Sean McDaniel: World Boxing Organization super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz (36-2, 22 KO’s) will be making his first defense of his WBO crown on January 9th against the hard hitting slugger Edison Miranda (33-4, 29 KO’s) at the Bordelandhalle, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhat, Germany. Stieglitz, 28, recently captured the WBO title with an 11th round stoppage of the previous champion Karoly Balzsay on August 22, 2009, in a fight in which the action went back and forth for 10 rounds before Balzsay suddenly ran out of gas in the 11th round and was stopped.

Stieglitz is good fighter, but likely won’t be holding onto the WBO title for long due to limitations primarily with his defense, hand speed and power. Stieglitz was stopped in the 8th round by super middleweight contender Librado Andrade last year in March 2008. The fight was totally one-sided with Andrade overwhelming Stieglitz with punches.

I wouldn’t expect a rematch to be any different than the first fight between the two fighters, because Stieglitz doesn’t have the work rate or the defense to hold off a good fighter like Andrade for long. Stieglitz was previously stopped in the 3rd round by Colombian knockout artist Alejandro Berrio two years ago in March 2007. Stieglitz had stopped Berrio in the 11th round two years earlier in 2005.

This will be a very tough title defense for Stieglitz because Miranda hits every bit as hard as Berrio, if not harder and will be stalking Stieglitz from the first round on trying to take his head off with every shot. Miranda, 28, has been unlucky in big fights during his career, losing to the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Arthur Abraham (twice) and most recently to Super Six contestant Andre Ward. The good news is that Stieglitz isn’t nearly as good as any of those fighters, so Miranda has a much better chance to win than he did in those fights.

The bad thing is that Miranda has taken a lot of punishment in those losses and hasn’t looked nearly as good since moving up in weight from the middleweight division. Miranda is slower and throws less punches than he did as a middleweight. Miranda has also fought as a light heavyweight and found some success against marginal fighters.

Miranda will have to try and put a lot of pressure on Stieglitz if he hopes to win the fight, because he won’t be able to out-box the German fighter. Miranda has been chosen by Stieglitz’s management because they see him as a beatable opponent. Miranda is going to have to prove them wrong by going after Stieglitz immediately and not give him any breathing room.

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Kelly Pavlik vs. Miguel Angel Espino on December 12th

WBC/WBC middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (35-1, 31 KO’s) will return to action on December 12th against number #3 ranked WBC middleweight contender Miguel Angel Espino (20-2-1, 9 KO’s) at the Beeghly Center, in Youngstown, Ohio. For Pavlik, 27, this will be his first fight since defending his title against Marco Antonio Rubio in February 2009. Since that fight, Pavlik has been plagued with hand problems in his left hand resulting from a lingering staph infection that has been incredibly slow in healing.

The illness has prevented Pavlik from twice defending his title against Sergio Mora and Paul Williams. Espino despite being a top contender appears to be almost like a tune-up fight for Pavlik, because Espino doesn’t appear to compare with the likes of Mora and Williams in terms of talent. This should be another easy title defense for Pavlik. He’s defended his two titles only twice since winning them in 2007, beating Gary Lockett and Rubio.

Espino falls in line with those two as being a less than thrilling opponent for Pavlik. It’s hardly Pavlik’s fault, though. The middleweight division isn’t exactly overloaded with talent right now. Other than Paul Williams, Felix Sturm ( a good but far from a great fighter), Winky Wright, Gennady Golovkin, and Hassan N’Dam, there’s very little talent in the division to speak of. There’s a few prospects like Daniel Jacobs and Dmitry Pirog, but neither of them seem to be the types of fighters that will give Pavlik much problems.

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