Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Can Arthur Abraham follow the "Pacquiao Plan" to win over America?
PALM SPRINGS, CA - I'm giving Manny and Joshua a brake today from my poison pen and instead I'm talking about former International Boxing Federation Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham.
King Arthur, 29 and born in Armenia but a resident of Berlin, Germany, landed at Los Angeles International Airport to a throng of media and fans at the international terminal Monday afternoon.
After 30 minutes of casual one-on-one interviews and picture taking, Abraham and his team (totaling six) wearily climbed in my 15-seat rental van for the 130 mile ride to our destination at a luxury resort in glitzy Mission Hills on Dinah Shore Drive.
Another six to eight will join the team as the March 6 fight inches closer.
Among those with Abraham were his trainer, WBO Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck, a physical trainer and a publicist.
Abraham, 30-0 (25 KO's) is of interest to me because he's ready to take on America and its alluring fame and fortune after running the table in Europe.
He has company in his pursuit.
Abraham is the former champ only because after 10 successful title defenses at 160, he was invited to join the Super Six Super Middleweight Championship with a limit of 168 and a shot at a much broader audience than normally sees his work.
Of course Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines has done it successfully most recently and best and is still taking curtains calls at a minimum $10 million plus per fight.
It's better to compare Abraham's growth in America to that of World Boxing Association junior welterweight (140) champion Amir Khan of England.
Khan just bolted from his first and only promoter, Hall of Famer Frank Warren, and crossed The Pond into America and signed with controversial Golden Boy Promotions. They have already set a date for Khan to fight three-division champion and Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez on May 15 in Las Vegas with Khan's title at stake.
Abraham seems like a nice enough fellow and he speaks a little English.
The tournament should provide plenty of attention for Abraham in America.
Abraham knocked out Jermain Taylor in the 12Th round of his first tournament match, and had dominated the fight from the middle rounds on up to the knockout.
On March 6 from the Agua Caliente Casino, Abraham faces Andre Dirrell of Flint, Michigan. Dirrell is 26 and 18-1 (13 KO's). Dirrell is a left-hander while Abraham is orthodox.
On the surface Khan is certainly flashier than Abraham. But his chin is very suspect. Abraham seems more mature and willing to improve under his longtime trainer Ulli Wegner.
Abraham will turn 30 February 20 but age doesn't appear to be an issue here.
Abraham and his promoter, powerful German promoter Sauerland Event, are very media savvy. They usually flood the Internet sites with Abraham info and video of sparring sessions and anything else remotely newsworthy.
So between German Abraham and Brit Khan let's see which becomes a household name in America first.
Author: Matt Stolow