Robert Stieglitz defends his WBO World super-middleweight title for a seventh time on Saturday against home city hard case Arthur Abraham at the O2 World Arena, Berlin. WBO #3 rated British and Commonwealth super-middleweight czar George Groves, who was pitched to face Stieglitz in May but had to bale out due to nose damage, presents an analysis of the fight.
George says: “This is a really interesting fight. Abraham is the bookies favourite and he has an advantage in top grade experience plus he’ll be fighting in his home city. Even though he’s come up from middleweight (and Stieglitz was a former IBF Youth champion at light-heavyweight) I’d expect that Abraham will also have the edge in strength and power.
“He’s a very hard man who’s won fights when his own jaw has been broken and he’s knocked several out with one punch. I don’t think he’s fazed by anything or anyone. He’s one of those types you want to keep relatively tame, if you can. You don’t really want to ignite the beast by hitting him too hard or upsetting him! If things aren’t going his way, he has this capacity to just flick a switch within him and spring into life. You can never get complacent against him.
“But while he was certainly a formidable force down at 160(lbs), he’s been a little bit ‘hit and miss’ up at supermiddle. He started the Super Six (tournament) really positively by wiping out Jermain Taylor but he got very frustrated against Andre Dirrell – who wouldn’t? – and was comprehensively outboxed by Carl Froch. Carls a great fighter but he doesn’t tend to outbox too many.
“I’ve studied Stieglitz quite a bit because obviously I was due to fight him last May. He’s a great athlete and a really good ambassador for our sport. He’s a very good operator, a typical German type; a well schooled all rounder with an exceptionally high work rate but no really special qualities.
“His biggest attribute would have to be the volume of punches that he can throw, round after round. He doesn’t throw three punch combinations, he throws ten punch combinations and if two or three get through, he’ll be happy that he won that exchange. It’s a tactic he repeats and repeats. No one will ever outwork him.
“Robert isn’t the heaviest puncher; particularly in comparison to Abraham, but he’s more versatile. He can change angles and mix it up better; keeps the opponent guessing. You’d always have to be switched on if you were facing him.
“Though he’s been WBO champion for quite a while now, the really big fights haven’t come his way so far so I’d imagine his motivation shall be high and he’ll be really up for this.
“It’s an intriguing blend of styles. Because Stieglitz throws so many, he’s susceptible to leaving more gaps and that’s not especially good when you’re fighting someone who can dig as hard as Arthur Abraham.
“A lot might depend on how much Abraham is still prepared to put himself through after all the wars, at this relatively late stage of his career. It’s been a little while since he looked really impressive. Fighting in his home city should provide all the inspiration he needs.
“Abraham possesses an extremely tight guard and tucks up well which can be extremely demoralizing for some opponents but I don’t think it’ll dissuade Stieglitz who’s pretty persistent. Abraham needs to explode off that tight defence and set a high tempo to prevent Stieglitz running away with the fight. Arthur can’t afford to be lazy which is a criticism that’s been levelled against him several times in the past.
“It’s a really hard one to predict and the fight could go a number of ways. But I believe that Stieglitz has the tools to pull off an upset here, even in Berlin. No one stops Arthur Abraham but Stieglitz might be able to stop him from getting started, overwhelm him with his barrages. For me, it’s Stieglitz on points.”
Groves can expect to do battle with Saturday’s victor in the near future.