Arthur Abraham Boxing Strong Still: Plenty Left In The Tank
Arthur Abraham nicknamed "King Arthur" first came to my attention probably back in around 2006 when he was IBF middleweight champ and in the beginning stages of a long, impressive stretch of middleweight title defenses in his native country of Germany.
I remember thinking to myself at the time while watching a TV segment on him "Man this guy is an animal". He seemed like a powerhouse at middleweight, ripping through contenders with overwhelming strength and clubbing power.
I recall his stellar, teak toughness, been unequivocally tested early on during his reign as champion in a fight with the always game Edison Miranda. Shockingly Abraham suffered a graphic broken jaw during the contest in around the fifth round which stunned the onlooking audience in attendance, and indeed those watching around the world. Abraham was less deterred however. He miraculously fought on for the whole fight to see out an incredibly brave twelve round point decision win to defend his belt. They don't make um like that anymore, not much anyway.
This dominant middleweight campaign in Germany saw him rack up eleven straight defenses of his IBF crown between 2006 and 2009 and he quickly developed a feared name around the world as a reputed puncher with both fists.
Personally, I would have loved to have seen how Bernard Hopkins would have dealt with this version of Abraham around the 2006 mark, pitting power vs ring craft. Alas, we'll never know.
One Bernard Hopkins conqueror in Jermain Taylor did fall victim to Abraham in his super middleweight debut in the famous "Super 6" tournament in dubious circumstances, where Abraham appeared to hit Taylor in the back of the head when technically down, causing Taylor to take a lengthy break from boxing afterwards for medical reasons.
This point in Abraham's career perhaps represents a turning point in terms of him finding his level on the world stage. It always acts as a barometer for me when judging how fighter's move up in weight.
Quite simply, what Abraham had done at middleweight with his bullying power and strength was not going to work at 168 lbs. He fell victim to world class operators like Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch and Andre Ward. Not only was his once famed power not effective against these guys, neither were his skills. He gave away considerable reach to the likes of these fighters who out-boxed him and it showed to me that sometimes size in boxing does make a big difference, unless a fighter has incredible skills or physical gifts to overcome been the smaller man.
The thing I really like about Arthur Abraham though is his steel. A lot of fighters would have been dis-heartened by this realization of his limitations at super middleweight, but in recent years he has really battled hard to stay relevant with the big boys at super middleweight and indeed become a champion again.
Despite one TKO loss to Robert Stieglitz he has rattled of six decision wins in recent times, most recently last weekend against Englishman Paul Smith.
Abraham has shown that he's prepared to travel in his career to date to take on challengers and has stuck at it after many ups and downs. This is the hallmark of a real champion I feel and of course its is no surprise the Abraham is reigning WBO super middleweight champion once again.
Next up apparently is a rematch with Stieglitz. Don't count out this 35 year old German warrior in the rematch - there's certainly plenty of fight left in the old dog yet.