The crown jewel isn’t leaving King Arthur’s waist.
Arthur Abraham overcame a very competitive challenge from England’s Paul Smith to hack out a unanimous decision victory and retain his WBO super middleweight title last Saturday at the Sparkassen Arena in Kiel, Germany.
The judges scored the bout 117-11, 117-11 and 119-109 but the scoring wasn’t necessarily indicative of how the fight actually went. While it was obvious that Abraham landed the more telling blows, Smith absorbed the champion’s biggest bombs and returned fire with his own combinations. And while Abraham looked like he was ready to counter his challenger all night long, Smith appeared to be the more consistent boxer in the fight. Thus, when the verdict was read, there were some violent reactions on the scoring.
After the bout, Smith told reporters that “he felt robbed.”
He had a point. Smith gave Abraham hell, starting out very confident and targeting Abraham’s face with laser jabs and solid body shots. Smith clearly out boxed Abraham in the first half of the bout, but t seemed that when Abraham landed, he had more authority in his punches. Sensing a close fight, Abraham picked up the notch in the championship rounds and clearly dominated his challenger in the final six minutes of the fight. But even then, it looked as if Smith had racked up enough rounds to keep the fight at least close. But the judges gave the nod to Abraham’s more meaningful punches rather than Smith’s scoring.
Smith called the decision “disgusting” and added that it’s what he hates in boxing. But it is now what it is, and Smith has to live with it.
Stronger at middleweight
It was the 34-year old Abraham’s second defense of the title he won from Robert Stieglitz last January. He successfully defended it against Nikola Sjekloca last March, as well. Although the Armenian-born German is ranked as the #2 super middleweight in the world, he has “struggled” in this weight class.
Abraham was an undefeated middleweight champion when he went up in weight to participate in the Super Six World Boxing classic super middleweight tournament. There, he lost twice to Andre Dirrell and Carl Froch. Two fights after his losing effort at the tournament, he fought and lost to Andre Ward in his attempt at the WBA super middleweight belt.
King Arthur is 41-4 with 28 KOs but only three of those KOs have come in the super middleweight division and he hasn’t scored a knockout since 2012. He was looking to establish his second reign as WBO super middleweight king but his win only made his flaws more evident as Smith exposed them for twelve competitive rounds last Saturday despite what the judges say.
A rematch? Smith certainly deserves another title shot after the performance.