Felix Sturm retained his WBA middleweight title today in Mannheim, Germany, but he didn't get another win on his record, drawing Britain's Martin Murray in a back-and-forth, very close, and very entertaining fight.
The three ringside judges scored the bout 116-112 for Sturm, 115-113 for Murray, and 114-114. Sturm (36-2-2, 15 KO) and Murray (23-0-1, 10 KO) put on a fight similar in quality to that of Sturm's June bout with Matthew Macklin, which Sturm won via debated split decision.
Sturm likely banked some early rounds, but Murray did rally and keep himself in the fight all the way through. Both fighters felt the other man's power, and had their moments of certain control.
In the end, it wound up largely a battle of Murray's activity and Sturm landing what appeared often to be the cleaner, sharper blows. The scoring was, in my estimation, quite fair, though Sky Sports commentator Jim Watt protested pretty heavily, despite having scored the fight 115-113 for Murray, or one round away from a draw, in a fight where Watt said repeatedly that many rounds were too close to call.
I get the feeling, as Sky's Adam Smith said after the fight, that if Murray is offered a rematch, as Macklin was, he's going to take it, and not worry if it's back in Germany or not. He proved himself as a legitimate threat to Sturm today, and the 32-year-old German is not getting younger.
For Sturm's part, I'd be happy to see a Murray rematch, but I'd also love to see Felix come to the States and face someone like Andy Lee or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at this point. Sturm has slowed down, which means he's not quite the top-notch fighter he was for a while, but also means that he makes for more exciting fights. Either one of those bouts could be terrific, and I think you might even have to favor the physical Lee or Chavez, as their styles and size could give Sturm serious trouble.