Former two-time world champion Arthur Abraham stepped into the ring in Germany to a chorus of "Boos" last Saturday to face defending titleholder Robert Stieglitz for the third time.
Many predicted Stieglitz, 32, would replicate the thrashing he gave Abraham last year. The facts backed up this way of thinking.
Stieglitz had defended his title twice, scoring impressive victories. He hardly resembled the fighter that Abraham had defeated in their first go around twenty months ago.
On the other hand, Abraham looked old and creaky in 2013. He seemed bored and lacked fire. As he wandered around the ring last weekend, waiting for Stieglitz to join him, his fate seemed apparent.
Not so fast.
The loss to Stieglitz had stung Abraham in more ways than one.
His pride had been damaged.
Abraham knew that the only way he could get some payback would be to re-dedicate himself to a long training camp. His mind was in the right place – all he had to do was get his body on the same page. The process was tedious, but necessary. He trained harder than he had in years.
On fight night, the thirty-four-year-old Abraham looked calm and self-assured as he stared at Stieglitz. Were there any doubts in his mind before the opening bell rang?
“I’m always confident going into a fight,” Abraham told Doghouseboxing.com via email a few days ago. ”If not, I would not step into the ring but rather hang up the gloves.
Did he also use revenge to motivate himself for his third fight with Stieglitz?
“No, I always knew and still know that if I am one-hundred percent ready and focused that I am very hard to beat.” Abraham said. “I wasn’t at my best during last year’s March fight. He (Stieglitz) pulled out some kind of a lucky punch that forced the doctor to have the fight stopped.
“This time my training camp was perfect and it showed inside the ring,” he added.
One of the biggest surprises of the fight was Abraham‘s use of the ring. He’s always been the kind of fighter who likes to sit in the pocket and counter punch. This strategy wasn’t effective against Stieglitz during their second fight. In training camp, he worked on angles and movement.
“That was always the plan,” said Abraham.” I talked it over and over again with my coach Ulli Wegner months before the fight. I knew that he banked on his stamina. I showed Stieglitz how to box a clever fight, and it was me this time having more reserves in the end.”
Abraham understands the significance of his triumph over Stieglitz. A loss would have likely sent him into retirement.
“It ranks as one of my most important victories,” said Abraham who was born in Yerevan, Armenia. “Your latest fight is always the most important one for a fighter – that’s how he is perceived by the fans and media.”
Is another fight with Stieglitz on the horizon?
“I’ll be back in the ring in May but not against Stieglitz,” Abraham said. “If it happens, and he is going to be my mandatory again one day, I will gladly hand him another loss – this time finally by knockout.”