On Monday, A Wealth of Entertainment announced that they were adding a second championship bout to their November 21st card, turning it into a split-site double header. In Manchester, England, WBA lightweight champion Darleys Perez defends against Britain’s Anthony Crolla. In Hanover, Germany, WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham will face two-time middleweight challenger Martin Murray.
Abraham vs. Murray will be very much overshadowed, especially in North America, by Saturday night’s big-time middleweight showdown between Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez. But Abraham vs. Murray should be a very good fight, and it is extremely relevant, as the super middleweight division is in flux and without a true king, given Andre Ward’s inactivity in recent years, and his likely move up to light heavyweight.
An Armenian native and German citizen, Abraham is a two-division world champion and has held titles at 160 or 168 pounds for most of the past decade. He is an extremely rugged, come-forward fighter, and tremendously game. His 2006 unanimous decision over Edison Miranda is one of the gutsiest performances of this century. Abraham had his jaw broken in two places in Round 4, which caused his face to swell grotesquely. I would not fault any fighter who threw in the towel with such an injury. That Abraham fought and won demonstrates the kind of stuff he’s made of.
Abraham made a good showing in the famed Super Six, Super Middleweight tournament of 2009 and 2010, coming from behind to knock out Jermain Taylor in devastating fashion in Round 12. But he was ultimately knocked out of the tournament by Carl Froch in 2010.
Since the tournament, Abraham has won three out of four fights with Robert Stieglitz, with the WBO super middleweight belt on the line each time. At 35, he’s had 47 total fights, compiling a record of 43-4 with 29 KOs.
Martin Murray should make an interesting opponent for him. Murray was always an extremely durable, lean-and-mean middleweight and I think 168 pounds will be a comfortable weight for him. His only two losses came in championship fights, to Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin. I actually think he should have won the Martinez fight, in April 2013. He put Martinez on the canvas twice, and in my opinion, both should have counted as knockdowns. However, the judge ruled the second a slip.
Against Gennady Golovkin in 2014, Martin Murray ended up just one more victim in GGG’s long string of KOs. However, even in this case, he showed tremendous heart and durability. While the referee’s stoppage in Round 11 was entirely appropriate, it was very much the case of a ref saving a brave fighter from himself.