It looks like Arthur Abraham won't be retiring any time soon. The 34-year-old regained the WBO super middleweight title following a split-decision victory over Robert Stieglitz on Saturday in Magdeburg, Germany:
Boxing News had the judges' scorecards:
Abraham beats Stieglitz via split decision 113-112 (RS); 115-110 (AA) and 114-111 (AA) #boxing— Boxing News (@BoxingNewsED) March 1, 2014
There was a part of you that wondered if Stieglitz was going to steal this one somehow in the eyes of the judges. They pretty much got it right, though. For the longest time, there was nothing to separate the two fighters. Stieglitz would win a round, then Abraham would win a round. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Abraham scored a critical knockdown in the 12th round, which essentially won him the fight. Stieglitz was arguably lucky he recovered in time to finish the fight. The referee looked like he was close to stopping it with only seconds remaining.
I had Abraham winning by about a point. Scorecards were deserving. Exhausted, hurt Stieglitz was lucky to make final bell.— Brian Campbell (@BCampbellESPN) March 1, 2014
By the end, few could argue that he wasn't the deserved winner, except Stieglitz.
After the fight, he made it clear that he felt the victory was his.
"I can't explain this decision," said Stieglitz, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "I led for the whole time. I see myself as the winner in any case. I lost the last round but not the whole fight."
Although Stieglitz was the favorite coming in, Abraham's win by itself isn't all that surprising. The difference between these two in their first two fights wasn't all that big, and who knows how the second bout would've unfolded had Abraham's eye not swelled up.
Do you want to see Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz fight a fourth time at some point in the future?
What was surprising was the way in which King Arthur rolled back the clock. Retirement was a very real threat had he lost based on his age and most recent performances. Instead, Abraham took the fight to Stieglitz at the right moments and prolonged his career in the process.
While he doesn't have a ton of time left on top, Abraham at least earned himself a couple of more big-money fights down the road.
This is probably the last time you've seen these two guys step in the ring against one another. Although Stieglitz wasn't happy with the decision, it was a decisive enough win for Abraham that he's got nothing to prove to the 32-year-old German, nor did he leave many unresolved questions that a fourth bout would answer.
Abraham has a title defense to worry about, and the most likely candidate would appear to be Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., as long as he beats Bryan Vera. Although that wouldn't be the most highly anticipated of matchups, there aren't too many other contenders more worthy than Chavez.