Robert Stieglitz (43-3, 24 KO) lost his WBO title to "King" Arthur Abraham (36-3, 28 KO) in Aug. 2012 by a close, but unanimous decision, and now he wants his belt back.
Abraham has said he is seeking a more definitive result in the rematch.
He told Sky Sports:
We won the first fight and consequently took the world championship.
Now it's time for the rematch and we have a clear goal. We have to destroy him and we will do everything we can to reach our goal which showed during our preparations.
Both men enjoyed rather easy wins in the bouts sandwiched between the initial fight and Saturday's rematch.
Abraham stopped Mehdi Bouadla in the eighth round in December, and Stieglitz knocked out Michal Nieroda in the third round of their meeting in January.
The short outing has him ready to rematch Abraham in less than two months. What adjustments will Stieglitz make to change the outcome and retain his title?
How will Abraham alter his approach to finish Stieglitz and take the decision out of the judges' hands?
Here's how you can watch the fight as well as some deeper analysis, and my prediction.
When: Saturday, March 23, 4 p.m. ET
Where: GTEC Arena in Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
TV/Live Stream: EPIX HD
The Book on Abraham
Looking for a Major Impact
Abraham has become one of the forgotten men from the entertaining Super-Six Classic in the super middleweight division.
He lost a unanimous decision to eventual winner Andre Ward in the semifinal round. Since then Abraham has won all four of his fights, but he hasn't faced any of the top names at super middleweight, middleweight or light heavyweight.
Stieglitz was obviously the champion when they met the first time, but he was far from a household name.
It is unclear whether Abraham wants to align himself to face the Wards and Carl Frochs of the world again, or even some the better fighters at 175 pounds, but losing to Stieglitz would likely deter him from that path.
A second clean win over Stieglitz would likely close this chapter of his career.
In the Ring
King Arthur can be very intimidating in the ring. He's one of the pound-for-pound hardest punchers in the sport, and his power is something that must be respected.
At times, Abraham abandons sound judgement and chases the KO with little regard for his fundamentals. He throws wide, desperate punches and that leaves him open for skilled boxers and movers.
In the first fight with Stieglitz, Abraham was aggressive but under control to start, but he almost seemed to be a little frustrated that he didn't take Stieglitz out with a few hard shots early.
Take a look at highlights from the first fight.
His desire to "destroy" Stieglitz in the rematch would appear to support that concept. He'll be best suited to show patience and allow the KO to come naturally.
The Book on Stieglitz
Confident and Secure
Despite the loss to Abraham, Stieglitz is confident he can win the rematch. He told PhilBoxing.com.
I’m not the kind of person to look back and dwell on the past - I always have my sights on what lies ahead. Of course, I have mixed feelings when I reflect the happenings of that night.
Although I did lose on points and consequently my title, I do believe that it was a great fight in front of a huge crowd at the O2 World in Berlin. The fans were ecstatic - hence, the big interest in the rematch. The important thing to me is that I only loaned him my title and now I want it back.
Stieglitz has the opportunity to turn this match into a more lucrative third meeting with Abraham, or even a shot at some of the other aforementioned super middleweights in the world.
He certainly doesn't appear to be looking ahead, and that is a smart approach. He will need to fight a technically sound bout to come out on top in his second encounter with Abraham.
In the Ring
Stieglitz genuinely outworks opponents, and uses his movement to gain favorable punching angles. He didn't do enough of the latter against Abraham in the first fight.
He may have been enticed to try to put on a show in front of the German crowd, and that led to him standing and exchanging a little more than he should have.
This opened him up to take the types of telling blows that ultimately cost him the decision. Specifically, in the fourth round Stieglitz felt Abraham's power, and it appeared to take some of his steam away.
He did take the shots fairly well, but against a puncher like Abraham, this isn't a best practice. Movement and picking his spots to exchange are the keys to victory for Stieglitz in the rematch.
Stieglitz can make this a boring fight if he moves. Abraham has always struggled against mobile fighters, and Stieglitz has the ability to re-create this issue for him.
His stamina must be top-notch, which I've seen nothing that would suggest otherwise, and thus I predict he'll outpoint Abraham to even the score in their series.
More than likely, the two men will do this again later in the year in the rubber match.
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