At 33, “King” Arthur Abraham is clearly in the twilight of his career.
The two division champion was judged the unanimous winner last Saturday over unheralded Willibeforce “Black Mamba” Shihepo at a subdued Sport and Congress Center, Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
The partisan Abraham crowd had come out in droves to support their favorite fighter, but as the decision was announced they booed and whistled.
That act speaks for itself.
The scoring was 116-112, 116-113, and 117-111 all for Abraham.
Doghouseboxing.com had Shipedo winning 115-113.
Shihepo, 30, a winner in his last seven bouts, took the fight to Abraham from the opening bell. He worked his jab and fired right hands. Abraham applied his customary defense to block most of the punches. He stung Shihepo with a right hand in round two, but he was missing more than he was landing. Shihepo was the busier and more effective fighter throughout the first half of the bout.
In round five, a left hand floored Abraham, but the referee ruled it a slip.
The referee was correct. Abraham had slipped to the canvas – from a punch.
With his hometown fans getting restless, Abraham picked up the pace in round six. A couple of hooks hurt Shihepo, but the taller fighter boxed his way out of trouble. Abraham landed a big shot to the body in round seven, but again it was one punch, compared to half a dozen by Shihepo.
In rounds eight and nine, Abraham fought like a man who thought he was losing. His bombs had more authority. Shihepo kept cuffing him with combinations. Abraham’s punches were landing more consistently, but Shihepo was still getting off first.
Shihepo, a native of Nambia, looked spent in the next stanza. He jabbed as Abraham walked him down. Shipedo absorbed a right and countered with a combination. In rounds 11 and 12, Shipedo stayed busy. Abraham was still trying to line him up to land one of his sweeping hooks. Two rights and a jolting jab did connect. Shihepo outworked him in the first two minutes of the last round. Abraham found his chin with a couple of right hands.
“Certainly, I can’t be completely satisfied with my performance” said Abraham after the fight. “But, this victory came against a top-10 ranked fighter in Shihepo.”
"I do not think that I lost," Shihepo in a report by The Times of India.
Abraham wants another crack at Robert Stieglitz. Earlier this year, Stieglitz reclaimed the WBO by stopping Abraham in the fourth round.
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: email@example.com