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Felix Sturm Steals the Show
By Elisa Harrison (June 6, 2004) 
Photo © Chris Farina
Collision Course may have been the catchy title given to the June 5th boxing show by some overpaid publicist, and in many ways the name held true to life. The collision was intended to imply that if Bernard Hopkins could get past Robert Allen and Oscar de la Hoya could get past Felix Sturm the two would collide later on this year. The publicist who christened the card had no way of knowing that the real collision would take place between Adnan Catic a.k.a. Felix Sturm and Oscar de la Hoya, and if you ask me Oscar de la Hoya got the worst of the impact.

It's getting to the point that judges' decisions don't matter much to serious boxing fans anymore. Oscar de la Hoya's gift decision over Felix Sturm is another perfect example of said premise. Oscar de la Hoya knew he hadn't won he fight; everything about his body language indicated it, much like Shane Mosley's did when he was gifted a decision over Oscar de la Hoya some months ago.

I venture to say that even Oscar de la Hoya fans will remember Felix Sturm, who in typical underdog fashion gave it his all, traveling outside of his domain to take on the biggest draw in the sport of boxing, demonstrating surprisingly solid boxing skills in the process.

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Sturm has one of the most effective and beautifully executed jabs I've ever seen. It busted Oscar's nose from the opener and with the jab alone Sturm moved Oscar around the ring at will.

De la Hoya did beautiful work to the body throughout the fight, the problem was that Sturm also has very good defensive skills and very long arms to boot. When Sturm would square up his defense, Oscar's blows to the body would get picked up by Sturm's elbows and arms, his gloves and forearms would do the same when Oscar tried to go straight to the body or head. A lesson in futility...

Felix Sturm is a natural middleweight, in height and size; Oscar de la Hoya is not, and that was very evident last night. Oscar never moved or even stun Sturm; however, every time Sturm took a shot at Oscar he would have his way with him. Sturm's also has a very decent arsenal. To compliment his powerful jab he showed beautifully executed short hooks (either hand) which seldom missed Oscar's head, effective uppercuts, nice footwork and great conditioning. Felix Sturm came to fight, and fight he did, letting Oscar de la Hoya know that he really doesn't belong in this division.

Sturm's demeanor was impressive as well; the now former WBO champion came out to the arena looking relaxed and enjoying the applause of the few fans who were there to support him. Before the final round, Sturm took a page from the other Felix's book, hitting his chest with gloved fist as he looked around the arena, eliciting a sound round of applause from appreciative boxing fans. That gesture coupled with his behavior throughout the promotional tour, the weigh in and the twelve grueling rounds against the Golden Boy certainly seems to indicate that Felix Sturm is a classy guy.

Oscar de la Hoya did everything he could do last night, I am not taking anything away from his performance. Oscar's body blows would have probably put away most junior middleweights out there and he certainly was in typically good physical condition, but he is not a middleweight, and I hope Oscar and his advisers will re-think their game plan. Keep in mind that Felix Sturm does have one major flaw, lack of power, (he only has 9 knockouts to his name), yet and still he managed to manhandle Oscar at will.

I do beg to differ with Oscar when in the Merchant post-fight interview he referred to Sturm as an ordinary fighter. I also beg to differ with the official scoring, but no surprises there considering the $cenario already in place for $eptember 2004. It was almost a given that if Oscar finished the fight on his feet, he would get the decision regardless. Could open scoring be a way to derail the string of bogus decisions being rendered out there?

In the end, boxing fans must have appreciated Felix Sturm and Oscar de la Hoya's performance, two proud champions who fought a great fight. I hope to see more of Felix Sturm; he is a courageous technician, very entertaining to the watch. Oscar de la Hoya is the greatest draw in boxing, and once again he showed us why. Oscar really gives of himself, the way true champions of old were known to do, which is more than some of his peers are willing or able to do.
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