Following his largely lackluster performance in the Super Six Tournament, Arthur Abraham was written off by many critics as just another protected fighter from Germany. When Abraham hammered Robert Steiglitz into submission and seized that boxer’s WBO Super Middleweight Title, those critics were silenced, but now they are back.
Abraham’s first title defense is against Mehdi Bouadala, and so the critics blast Abraham for seeking out a paper challenger. There is little merit to that charge when one considers that the division’s other big names — Ward, Froch, Bute, Kessler, Stevenson, Pavlik — were all busy or looking for a bigger opportunity at the time the fight date was made. All things considered, a dance date with a solid journeyman like Bouadala was the best fight that could be made at the time, and although a Abraham win is a foregone conclusion, Bouadala will at least make a fun night of it on December 15 in Nuremberg.
Mehdi Bouadala (26-4, 11 KOs)
30 years old
Former French super middleweight champion
Bouadala is a solid journeyman, but little more. He is reasonably durable, has plenty of heart, and no real weaknesses. The Frenchman just lacks that extra something special that takes a fighter up to the next level. Early in his career, this was demonstrated when he had a rising prospects fight with Gennady Golovkin, who defeated him easily. Boudala has also dropped a couple of close fights with fellow journeymen, and was given a resounding beat down by Mikkel Kessler last year.
Arthur Abraham (35-3, 27 KOs)
5’9″ tall, 72″ reach, 32 years old
Former middleweight champion, current WBO Super Middleweight Champion
Abraham’s abilities are now well established. He is a strong guy, if a bit small for a super middle, and wields bone-cracking power. He likes coming forward slowly behind a high, tight guard and probing his opponent for weaknesses. When he thinks he has an opening, he starts hammering at it. While Abraham has also shown some counter-punching ability, he is basically a puncher, and is vulnerable to slicksters.
Analysis and Preview
Boudala is meat on Abraham’s table, although it might not look like it in the opening rounds. The Armeno-German is a notoriously slow starter, and is very likely to give Boudala his own way for a round or two. After that, “King Arthur” will assert his royal authority. The Frenchman lacks the strength or power to stymie Abraham (as Carl Froch did), or the speed and slickness to neutralize him (as Ward and Dirrell did). Once Abraham feels comfortable, he lets his hands go, and inevitably knocks Boudala’s block off.
Prediction: Arthur Abraham KO5 Mehdi Bouadla