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Miranda reaches crossroads, Abraham reaches new heights

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.
 Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
 Arthur Abraham 9 9 10 TKO                 28
 Edison Miranda 10 10 9                   29
 Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
 Andre Berto 10 10 10 10 9 10 TKO           59
 Miki Rodriguez 9 9 9 9 10 9             55
 Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
 Giovanni Lorenzo 9 10 10 9 9 9 10 9 9 9 (-1) 9 9 110
 Raul Marquez 10 9 9 10 10 10 9 10 10 10 10 10 117




Let's ignore all the post-fight shenanigans that are being talked about, and focus on the actual fight.

Edison Miranda has always talked a good game, and he was talking one of his best ever leading up to his rematch against Arthur Abraham last night. A couple of years ago, Miranda broke Abraham's jaw in two places but lost a controversial decision in Germany, having been docked five points for fouls.

I gave Miranda a good shot at scoring a minor upset over Abraham last night. He had the power, he seemed to have improved enough technically to make that power even more effective, and this would be King Arthur's first trip stateside. He was essentially fighting on Miranda's home turf in Hollywood, Fla., the same as Miranda did the first time against Abraham.

No dice. Arthur Abraham laid back for two rounds, turned up the heat in the third, and then demolished Miranda in the fourth with three knockdowns before the referee called the fight off out of necessity. Miranda was a walking punching bag at that point. A muscular punching bag, sure, but a punching bag regardless.

We have learned now for certain that whether it's 160 or 168 or last night's 166-pound catchweight, Edison Miranda is a one-trick pony who doesn't have a great chin and will never become more than the fighter he is, which is a guy that simply can't beat top-shelf opposition.

His three career losses have come to Abraham and Kelly Pavlik, the last two of which saw Miranda get manhandled by both guys. Miranda's wins have come against guys like an old Howard Eastman and Allan Green, the latter of whom is another fringe-y sort of fighter that has the tools to maybe score an upset, but most likely won't.

It's time, finally, for Edison Miranda to shut up before fights. He won't, and he'll be entertaining. He's a new, bigger Ricardo Mayorga. He's got power, he's got charisma, and there'll always be a home for him on TV because of his style. He's damn fun to watch, because it's pretty certain that someone's getting knocked out. HBO is interested in matching Miranda with Jermain Taylor if a Taylor-Lacy fight can't be made (credit: Dan Rafael). I'd watch it, no doubt. It'll be entertaining.

Miranda's problems are obvious. He has beyond subpar defensive abilities, and he seems to think he has a granite chin when the facts just don't support the theory. When he faces guys that punch back, he has crumbled. With no broken jaw the first time around, Abraham probably does what he did last night. And frankly speaking, Abraham-Miranda I was probably a career-best performance by Miranda.

Edison Miranda will move on. He wasn't done after Pavlik destroyed him, he won't be done now. Losing to the clear two best middleweights on the planet is not a death sentence. He'll be around for years, and he might pick up an alphabet strap along the way. Alejandro Berrio did.

As for Abraham -- wow. What a performance. He scouted Miranda for two rounds, essentially, then lived up to HIS talk, which was that Miranda was not a hard guy to beat. Once he saw his opening in the fourth, down Miranda went. And again. And again. He creamed Edison Miranda. It was a no-doubt, star-making performance.

Welcome to America, King Arthur. We await your return.

And who should Abraham fight next? Well, that'll have to wait.

The Showtime undercard did the boxing world a favor, with Raul Marquez outboxing, frustrating, and beating undefeated, untested, ridiculously ranked Giovanni Lorenzo over 12 rounds, winning a ridiculously razor-thin decision, 114-113 across the boards.

Lorenzo was also docked a point in round 10 for an intentional headbutt, so that means without that foul, it was a draw. I don't know how anyone could've seen this fight as a draw.

Marquez was the aggressor despite being older and supposedly not possessing the same power. Lorenzo's best work was done counter-punching, but even when he scored there, he was generally being scored upon by Marquez. Most of the big exchanges -- and there were some furious, nasty brawls within the fight -- went Marquez's way. The most notable of the bad blood stuff came when Marquez and Lorenzo violently scrapped well after the bell sounded to end of that 10th round where the headbutt occured.

The visual toward the end of the fight was excellent, with blood streaming down Marquez's face from at least three cuts around his right eye, but here he was still the guy pressing the action. The old man who was supposed to be the legitimate win for Lorenzo was taking the kid to boxing class.

To summarize, a cagey veteran exposed a hype-job. I'm not trying to dump on Lorenzo. He didn't rank himself #4 in the IBF's system. He fought like a punk many times in the fight, though, and did give an overall poor account of himself. But that happens. I'm not writing him off as a jerk or anything.

So, now, Marquez is in line to face Arthur Abraham. He doesn't have a hope in hell, but Lorenzo probably would've been eaten alive by Abraham anyway.

But the fight to see at 160, unquestionably, is Pavlik-Abraham. If Jack Loew or anyone else thinks Kelly Pavlik is going to get Abraham out of there in "three, four, five rounds," they're nuts.

The fight is excellent on paper, with Fight of the Year-like potential. Two great punchers. Abraham is an excellent counter-puncher and pouncer. He's also superb defensively. Pavlik is underrated as a defensive fighter, and has the great knockout percentage. You can't beat that fight. And really, it's ahead of Pavlik-Calzaghe on my wishlist.

Let's answer why, huh? These guys are both in their prime. They're the two best middleweights, both unbeaten. Calzaghe is a light heavyweight, and I know it'd be awesome to see a fight at 168 between Pavlik and Calzaghe to decide three lineal championships, but that can wait as far as I'm concerned.

Abraham will face Marquez next, and it looks like Pavlik will take on Marco Antonio Rubio. Tune-up fights, both acceptable given what should be next. Both camps have talked about the fight, and I don't think there'd be any real problem making it happen. 

It's a must-see, a must-have, a must-make for the promoters. I'd put that fight top five on my most desired bouts right now.

Over on HBO, Andre Berto easily handled Miki Rodriguez, as everyone expected, eventually scoring a seventh round TKO against the overmatched ex-policeman. Berto, as usual, dominated.

Berto is also now the WBC welterweight titleholder, which puts him in the lion's den. Max Kellerman noted many times how short Berto is at welterweight, but I don't really get that, nor see it being a huge issue. He's an inch and a half taller than Cotto, a half-inch shorter than Mosley, taller than Judah, as tall as Clottey, an inch shorter than Quintana, etc. Paul Williams (6'1") and Antonio Margarito (5'11") are not the norm at 147. Berto will be fine.

Does he have things to work on if he's going to step up? Sure. What 24-year old doesn't, belt or no belt? And no, he should not rush into fighting the top-tier welterweights right now. It's way too far of a step up.

The fact is, Berto is probably going to have to put up with some criticism as a major titleholder, because he's not ready for those best of the best dudes. A fight with a guy like Luis Collazo would present Andre with a lot of new looks, things he'd have difficulty handling. It's not a knock on him at all, it's just that that's a fairly big step up from guys like Rodriguez, Michel Trabant, David Estrada and Cosme Rivera.

If he takes a couple more fights like that, which isn't hard to imagine at 22-0, he's going to receive some backlash. In the end, though, his career might be better for it. To be honest, it wouldn't shock me to see his next fight against someone like Delvin Rodriguez or maybe a Dmitriy Salita.

Overseas, Amir Khan and Mikkel Kessler both won as expected. I'm a big fan of Khan, and despite some of the things I've said (which were all deserved), I do like Kessler, and I really like him as a fighter. I've never once said that he can't go in the ring. The man can fight.

Khan has been talking about moving up a big step, but even as good as he already is, that's probably rushing things. Hopefully, Kessler will find a good dance partner. and get himself back on American TV, which will not be easy since he has angered both major networks in the last year. HBO was peeved (along with Calzaghe, Frank Warren, and others) that Mikkel was essentially a no-show in promotion last November, and Showtime can't be happy with them about the Miranda ordeal.

But I like watching him fight, because he's good. It'd be great to see him on live American TV again.

When all is said and done for this big Saturday in boxing, it was Edison Miranda, of all people, who had the most poignant parting words:

"I have no quarrels tonight. He was prepared and he felt very strong. I don't know what happened. I was 100 percent coming into this fight. I don't know. He was too strong today. He's a great champion."

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