The German comfort zone
By Gav Duthie: So King Arthur Abraham won’t end up with an undefeated record like Sven Ottke but he certainly is finishing his career like him. Abraham is in what I like to call ‘The German Comfort Zone’. It’s a place like no other where:
1. You don’t have to take difficult fights
2. You have to get knocked out to lose
3. You still make plenty of money
German native Sven Ottke retired 34-0 (6). There is no question he was a decent boxer but he had very little power and hence won 28 fights by decision. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that about half a dozen of those results were controversial. In the last few years of his career there was a big call to unify the titles against Joe Calzaghe but he played it safe with defences against other Brits like David Starie and Robin Reid as well as average American contenders Charles Brewer and Byron Mitchell. It could be argued that Calzaghe was just as much to blame for the fight not happening and the Welshman was a similarly protected fighter for much of his career. In the end however Calzaghe sought out his career defining fights against Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler and Bernard Hopkins where as Ottke retired with many question marks. It seems as if Arthur Abraham took all his risks in The Super 6 and is simply winding down his career aged 34 with some winnable pay days.
After King Arthur dominated and stopped Jermaine Taylor he was 31-0 (25). He was feared and revered as a top puncher and solid boxer much like Gennady Golovkin is today. Abraham, real name Avetik Abrahamyan, is of Armenian descent but has fought pretty much exclusively out of Germany like many Balkan fighters do. After his Taylor victory things started to go wrong losing three out of the next four to Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch and Andre Ward. I think after he was stung so badly in the Super 6 he has decided to take it easy with regards to the remainder of his career.
WBO Current Scene
Champion: Arthur Abraham 41-4 (28)
1. Robert Stiegletz 47-4 (27)
2. Gilberto Ramirez 29-0 (23)
3. Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr 48-1 (32)
4. James DeGale 19-1 (13)
5. Paul Smith 35-4(20)
6. Andre Dirrell 22-1 (15)
7. Balazs Kelemen 21-0 (13)
8. Tyron Zeuge 15-0 (9)
9. Derek Edwards 27-3-1 (14)
10. J’Leon Love 18-1 (10)
In recent years Abraham’s only dalliance with top level is his trilogy with Robert Stiegletz 47-4 (27) and even then he is probably in the lower ebbs of the Top 10. Being that Stiegletz is a German native the demand there for these fights is huge despite little interest overseas. Stiegletz is scheduled to fight fellow German and 4 time Middleweight champion Felix Sturm 39-4-2 (18). Again this is a fight with more interest in Germany than anywhere else and Abraham has already stated his intention to fight the winner.
Paul Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn has already petitioned to the WBO to make him mandatory challenger. There’s a lot of noise around this just now but I don’t think it will be successful. Abraham’s fight against Nikola Sjekloca was also close but there was no outcry there. The biggest fights on the list would undoubtedly be the unfinished business he has with Andre Dirrell or Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr. Paul Smith stablemate James DeGale might fancy a crack as would brother Calum Smith. The problem is that none of these fighters would risk getting robbed in Germany. Abraham knows he can make money in Germany regardless of his opponent so we are more likely to see him fight Natives Stiegletz, Sturm or prospect Tyron Zeuge.
It’s a real shame cos Abraham really isn’t testing himself as a World champion anymore. The WBO are too comfortable getting decent sanctioning fees for handpicked opponents so they are unlikely to force him to fight Gilberto Ramirez or Chavez Jnr. As a result I’m afraid were going to see another Sven Ottke situation where Abraham is going to continue to defend his title against second rate opponents getting gift decisions and retire when it suits him.
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