The always-charged atmosphere of the Hard Rock Live arena at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood gave boxing fans a much-anticipated rematch last week as two major players in the 166-pound super middleweight division squared off in front of a near-capacity crowd.
Showtime World Championship Boxing featured Edison “Pantera” Miranda and “King” Arthur Abraham in double header action in the main bout.
Both fighters were looking for a little redemption as Abraham (27-0, 22 KOs), the current International Boxing Federation middleweight champion, looked to exercise any lingering doubts about his victory almost two years ago over Miranda (30-3, 26 KOs), the colorful and explosive challenger.
Abraham’s middleweight title at 160 pounds was not at stake in the fight.
In their grueling, controversial September 23, 2006 first bout, Abraham suffered through a broken jaw in two places. There were multiple head butts and low blows between both fighters along the way. Miranda had five points taken from him in the match, and Abraham would go on to win in a highly disputed unanimous decision.
But their June 21 rematch was a stark contrast. The early rounds mostly had Miranda ahead on the scorecards. He was more active, although many of his shots failed to connect cleanly. The flood gates opened quickly in Abraham’s favor in the fourth, however, when he showed why he has knocked out 80 percent of his opponents by blasting Miranda three separate times in the round with powerful left hooks, all sending Miranda to the mat.
Miranda received eight-counts on the first two knockdowns, but he was unable to recover on the third, and the referee called an end to the bout at the 1:13 mark of round four. This was the first appearance and victory for Abraham, a native of Armenia, in the United States.
“I feel very comfortable in the U.S.A. I feel at home in the ring,” Abraham said. “I really did not expect it to be that easy. I did come to win though, not to lose.”
Abraham said his fight strategy worked.
“It was my strategy to cover up,’’ he said. “People say he (Miranda) hits hard but to me he does not.’’
Seminole Warriors Boxing is the fight promoter for Miranda.
“Obviously, I am disappointed but I do want to congratulate Abraham for his win,” Seminole Warriors Executive Director Leon Margules said.
Renowned boxing analyst, writer and sportscaster Al Bernstein was ringside for the fight as a commentator and said he was not surprised at the end result for the champion.
“I thought it was a pick ‘em fight coming in,” Bernstein said. “I did not think he (Abraham) would get him (Miranda) that early. Edison Miranda is a gun slinger and either you are going to get him or he will get you.’’
Not all went poorly for the Seminole Warriors camp. Middleweight Raul Marquez (42-3, 29 KOs), another Seminole Warriors fighter, became the number-one contender for the IBF middleweight crown with a unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Giovanni Lorenzo (26-1, 18 KOs).
Both squared off in a title eliminator bout in the co-main match.
“I beat an undefeated guy (Lorenzo) and now I am ready for a title shot,” Marquez said.
Marquez will face Abraham some time later this year.
AP Photo/ South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Joe Cavaretta. Edison Miranda, left, of Colombia, trades blows with Arthur Abraham, of Germany, in the third round of their IBF middleweight boxing match at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood on June 21.