Liverpool boxer Paul Smith put on a strong performance against defending WBO super-middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, last September, setting the tempo at the start of the fight against Abraham, a notoriously slow starter.
At about the midway point of the fight, Abraham got into his groove and applied the pressure as the power of the Armenian-born German began to have its effect on Smith. Smith was in trouble on the ropes.
The judges awarded Abraham with two scores of 117-111 and 119-109 to retain his WBO super-middleweight title.
A robbery? Paul Smith certainly thought so, which is why the rematch set for Saturday 21 February has everyone curious.
It is going to be a tall task with the fight taking place at the O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany, the city that Arthur Abraham calls home.
Smith, who is not known for his power, may have to go for the KO on Saturday to ensure that no judges are involved in this one.
Abraham has recovered nicely since getting stopped by Robert Stieglitz, in March 2013, winning five consecutive bouts; including a split decision victory against Stieglitz in a rematch this past March. Both fighters have been stopped before. Anything is possible in boxing. With that being said, let’s see how this one turns out.
Round 1: Abraham lands a brutal straight right hand to start off the fight. Abraham connects with a short uppercut on the inside that lands right on the jaw of Smith. Smith lands squarely with a counter uppercut on the inside. Smith is going back to his outside skills and lands with the jab. Smith lands with a two-punch combination. Abraham lands with another strong uppercut. Smith lands with a short hook to the head. Abraham lands with a pinpoint hook to the chin but is countered with a great jab by Smith. Abraham ends the first round punishing Smith with head and body shots.
Round 1: Abraham 10-9
Round 2: Smith sneaks in an uppercut on the inside. Abraham lands with a monstrous cross. Smith connects with the lead right, and Abraham comes back with a body blow. Smith lands a solid combination in what was a slow round.
Round 2: Smith 19-19
Round 3: Smith doubles up on the jab and lands a right. Abraham lands with a solid hook and Smith was hurt by that shot. Smith steps back and lands with the uppercut and gets away momentarily. Smith takes another hook to end the third.
Round 3: Abraham 29-28
Round 4: Abraham misses with the jab, but the crosses to get in through the tight guard of Smith. Smith traps Abraham against the ropes and goes after the body, landing a solid cross as Abraham backed off the ropes. Smith uses the outside to pepper Abraham with jabs. Abraham cuts off the ring and lands a two-punch combination to the body.
Round 4: Smith 38-38
Round 5: Smith traps Abraham against the ropes and buries his punches into Abraham’s ribs. Abraham side-steps Smith and the Liverpool boxer walks right into a hook but comes back with a hard cross to the head of Abraham. The action is sensational. Abraham comes back with a damaging hook to the body, a shot that hurt Smith. Smith comes back with a hook of his own! Abraham scores with a pair of jabs. That was the best round of the fight thus far; a brawl.
Round 5: Abraham 48-47
Round 6: Smith looks angry as Round 6 begins. Abraham tees off on Smith, landing a nasty hook. Smith’s jab sets up the hook and Abraham nearly hit the canvas! Abraham’s facial impression says, “Oh, really? Take this!” Abraham’s hook nearly sent Smith to the canvas, too! Smith recovers to double up on the hook, but the punches are not phasing King Arthur. Another hook from Abraham sends Smith flying into the ropes. Smith’s left eye is swelling bad, and this may be a turning point in what has been a close fight.
Round 6: Abraham 58-56
Round 7: A hook from Abraham stuns Smith, but he is still on his feet. Smith is smiling, but he’s taking some heavy leather, including a cross from King Arthur. Smith is trying to work from the outside. He grazed Abraham with an uppercut, but if he wants to win this fight, he needs to land more than just grazing shots. Abraham lands with a crisp uppercut, and it seems that the fight is in hands.
Round 7: Abraham 68-65
Round 8: Abraham and Smith are trading some hard leather at the center of the ring, and the crowd is on their feet. Abraham lands a solid hook to the body and Smith backs up. The left eye of Smith continues to puff up, and Abraham is playing some selected targeting practice. King Arthur fires over Smith’s jab and scores once more. Smith’s right eye is now beginning to swell, too. Abraham continues to tag Smith with the uppercut, and they are back at the center of the ring exchanging.
Round 8: Abraham 78-74
Round 9: A vicious cross catches Smith napping, and he has to hold on. Hold on brother! Spaghetti O legs are in full effect here in Germany. Smith is staggering across the ring like a man who just fell off an evil horse. Smith is taking some serious punishment on the ropes like he did late in their first fight.
Round 9: Abraham 88-83
Round 10: Smith lands with an uppercut close. Where has that been?? Smith is putting the pressure on Abraham! Smith fires a combination, but Abraham blocked those shots. Abraham lands a solid right to the body. Smith forces his way inside and grabs Abraham, landing two solid uppercuts on the inside. Abraham lands a solid uppercut and a cross as Smith was off balance. Great effort by Smith, but Abraham still landed the better shots.
Round 10: Abraham 98-92
Round 11: Smith’s body language tells it all. This fight is all but lost for the Liverpool fighter. Abraham lands a three-punch combination to the body and Smith seems unwilling to respond. Smith lands a jab, but that’s all he has in the penultimate round.
Round 11: Abraham 108-101
Round 12: Abraham is going for the knockout, landing a solid uppercut as a stunned Smith continues to take shots. Smith’s vision is obscured badly as both eyes are swollen. Smith throws a flurry, but Abraham gets away from both shots. Smith lands with a good combination to the body, but Abraham steps back and lands a big right hand. Smith isn’t backing down, though, he just landed another two-punch combination, but it’s all for not. Abraham lands one more solid cross, and the fight is over.
Winner: Arthur Abraham by Unanimous Decision 118-110