Boxing Preview: Paul Smith Battles Arthur Abraham Tonight (Feb. 21)

Paul-Smith-British-supermiddleweight-champio_3143505Paul Smith is getting a second chance at Arthur Abraham and the WBO World Super Middleweight title when they fight tonight (February 21, 2015). The fight takes place at the O2 World Arena in Berlin, and at the books, Abraham, who won the first meeting between the two, is coming in a big (-650) favorite over Smith, who is coming back at (+475). The over/under for this scheduled twelve round bout is 9 1/2, with the over at (-400) and the under at (+325). Abraham turned 35 years old yesterday, and he does appear to have slowed down a bit, but for the last 10 years he has been near the top of the rankings at Middleweight and Super Middleweight, with world title reigns in both weight classes. He seems to have lost some of his power, as all of his 2014 fights went the distance, and he has been actively campaigning for a big fight. He took the first fight with Smith to stay busy, and he was a big favorite going in. Smith, a solid fighter at the regional level who was getting his first chance at a world title after a long career, and he made a credible showing in the fight of his life. Smith was emotional after the first fight, feeling that the wide judges scoring for Abraham was unfair (117-111, 119-109, 117-111) and he immediately started mounting a case for a rematch. Smith is probably right that the fight should have been closer, as Abraham at times looked mechanical coming forward and the German proved easy for Smith to hit. Perhaps the draw Smith thinks he deserves would have been fair, but it is unusual to get a rematch so quickly because of whining about a draw. Abraham has been fighting for 10 years at a much higher level that Smith, and Smith is going to have to find a new ceiling and come in the best he has ever been to have a chance. Even then, it may not be enough for Smith, as he appeared to have found a level he cannot reach at the local scene, getting stopped by Brits James DeGale and George Groves. Should he win the title, it would put those two men in line for a shot against Smith, and that would be a best case scenario for British promoters. Also on the card is British Super Heavyweight David Price, who is heavily favored (-3750) in his match over Brazilian Irineu Costa, who is returning at (+1500). Costa is a sturdy, hard-hitting fighter who had a perfect record in his native Brazil, but has gone (0-2) in providing ring time for up and coming fighters Christian Hammer and Joseph Parker. Price, who won an Olympic Bronze medal in 2008 and stands 6’8 is further along on his development curve than Parker or Hammer, and he would like to show it here. Price went (3-0) in 2014, but his career suffered a major setback when he dropped two fights to Tony Thompson, getting stopped twice in a match-up that was designed as a stepping stone for Price. Price has been lost in the pack of British heavyweights, with the bombastic Tyson Fury, the gold medalist Anthony Joshua and veterans Dereck Chisora all getting more press and attention than Price. Price needs to do his job and win here, as this is not the fight to erase the memories of the Thompson losses, but he will be calling out all of England’s heavyweights with a win. The fights will air in Germany on SAT1.

Written by Miguel

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