Sunday, June 15, 2008

King Arthur Tries to Tame the Panther

In the world of professional pugilism, kings are self appointed. It makes sense since anyone can make the claim but not everyone can keep it. It is the intent rather than the lineage which produces royal blood.

In a rematch that shows both fighters truly respect and disregard each other's power at the same time, Arthur Abraham (the Armenian king, this time) and Edison Miranda (the self-proclaimed panther by way of Colombia) will lock horns again to see who keeps the crown.

It was almost two years ago that Abraham's courage was forever solidified and the magic of Miranda's powerful fists personified. In the fourth round, Miranda, whose fists have brought about 26 KO's in 32 fights, broke the King's jaw. Abraham, who was oozing and spitting blood out his mouth, never relented and chose to continue onward against a devastating puncher. Muhammad Ali, who did the same thing three decades earlier against Ken Norton said he never would have come out for the next round had he known his jaw was broken. Ali simply though he got hit hard to the jaw.

In the fifth round, after a headbutt by Miranda hurt the already broken jaw of Abraham even more, the referee gave him five minutes to recuperate and was advised by the doctor to stop the fight due to the broken and swollen jaw. But Abraham, already clear of the danger he faced pressed forward.

Miranda, to his credit, never stopped coming forward. he was in his opponent's backyard. He had been deducted five points, some which seem misplaced. And on top of that, he was facing a man whose record suggests brings as much kayo power as he does.

After the fight, it was Miranda who had the momentum. He had lost a controversial decision. He was the poster boy of the ultimate rags to riches story. And he was in contention for the undisputed middleweight title after decisively beating strong upstart, Allan Green. Hell, even Bernard Hopkins had named him his successor after his narrow losses to then champion Jermain Taylor.

But a pale, tall, slender fighter with a less than intimidating name of Kelly Pavlik, came in and ripped the script apart. Now, all that was left was for Miranda to fade into the background and let his conqueror settle things in the ring. But this is professional pugilism where dollars always makes more than (common) sense. And a build up which will provide financial interest in both fighter's is of the utmost importance.

So, what are we left with? A surging middleweight king who may want to battle to earn the ultimate middleweight crown, not merely a trinket. Problem is that Pavlik is eyeing Calzaghe, another man Abraham is targeting.

But if Abraham has proven one thing, it's his determination. He must first get by Miranda. He has racked off 4 straight KO's since squaring off against Miranda. Miranda, on the other hand, has 2 KO's against non-descript opposition since the Pavlik defeat. They will both meet at a catch weight of 166 lbs. Miranda has a slight edge here having already fought at "super" middleweight.

The guess here is that Miranda will be anxious to test Abraham's jaw. Abraham will not give in to a war of attrition though he will not be afraid. The big edge here is for Abraham. He saw Miranda dropped to his knees against Pavlik. Miranda was unable to stop a fighter with a broken jaw. Look for Abraham to score a late-round stoppage, if he doesn't get caught early.

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