On the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley undercard Saturday night, Arthur Abraham defends his WBO super middleweight title against the undefeated Gilberto Ramirez. Abraham is one of the top European boxing stars of this century. His undefeated run at middleweight earned him the nickname “King Arthur.” His win over Edison Miranda in 2006 was a truly courageous performance. After getting his jaw broken in two places in Round 4, Abraham hung on to win a dirty, brawling battle.
After moving to 168 pounds Abraham remained a top fighter, but struggled against the best. He was trailing against Jermain Taylor when he scored a last second knockout. He lost to Andre Dirrell by DQ and lost one-sided decisions to Carl Froch and Andre Ward.
But overall, Abraham has remained a tough, bruising fighter. And as the WBO champion, he’s remained near the top of the super middleweight rankings. With Froch and Mikkel Kessler now retired and Ward fighting at 168 pounds, Abraham retains a credible claim to top status in the un-settled weight class.
Abraham has no easy fight in store for him this Saturday in Las Vegas. Ramirez is an imposing physical specimen. At 6’2.5″ tall and with a 75″ reach, he’s got the length of a heavyweight. So far he has defeated all 33 of his opponents and knocked out 24 of them. He is an aggressive, action fighter and excellent body puncher.
Abraham is coming off from a very close split decision over Martin Murray, last November. At 36, he’s long in the tooth for a fighter and has been through countless hard battles. He faces a fresh, physically powerful contender in Ramirez.
But if he wins, I expect to see him make a move for unification bouts. His promoters won the purse bid for this fight, yet still opted to make the fight in the United States. Clearly they want to raise his profile.
If Abraham beats the younger man I expect to see him push for unification bouts within the next year, either in England against IBF champion James DeGale, or back in Las Vegas against WBC champ Badou Jack.