Arthur Abraham - There will be two kings in Chicago on October 7th! ESB EXCLUSIVE!
02.10.06 - By Izyaslav ďSlavaĒ Koza: It has been more than one week since the breathtaking, spectacular, wonderful and apparently controversial bout between IBF champ Arthur Abraham and hard punching, and determined challenger Edison Miranda. In what I can best describe as a Gatti like performance Arthur Abraham, busted and bloodied, fought on with a broken jaw to take a unanimous decision over a very tough and difficult opponent in Miranda.
Article posted on 02.10.2006
What amazes me most, however, is not the fact that fans are praising Abraham for his guts and Miranda for his determination but for the perceived controversy in that bout. I remember watching Gatti-Ward 1 and seeing, low blows, and fouls, and Cappuccino not stopping the fight in the 9th , and Ward winning a controversial decision, with not one fan caring one iota about any of that. Now that people have watched it on DVD, and replayed all the fouls and close calls over and over, they can belittle the Abraham on the effort he put in?
I was one of the few Americans to watch the fight live (and rewatch it the next day), and without the benefit of pause and rewind. Neumann made some questionable calls, true, and some that on second look were not correct. However, as I have said, he also made some questionable no calls in regards to both fighters, such as Abrahamís holding, as well as Mirandaís early low blows, his rabbit punching and the shot after the bell.
Keeping that in mind, itís difficult to attack a guy needing to make split second decisions in the heat of battle. It is easier to create another robbery conspiracy and in that sense diminish both guysí efforts, in my opinion. If it were easy then there would be many more different referees in championship bouts. Neumann is a ref who always had problems with calling holding (most notably in Ruiz-Golota), and ironically while we criticize him for not enforcing this, we also go off on Nady for being too tough about it. The problem in boxing is that there is no definition of what exactly, among other things, excessive holding is, or borderline shots are, which is why we see such discrepancies. However, this is a discussion for another article, because my point is all of these controversies do two things.
For one, as I have suggested they take away from the achievement of both fighters, especially Abraham. Even Edison Miranda showed respect for the champ in his recent press release and I think maybe we should all start doing the same. As one of my colleagues on another site said, whatever opinion you have of the fight, NONE of that has anything to do with Abraham. He neither filled out those cards, nor made any calls or no calls that you guys didnít like. All he did was fight on with a broken jaw and blood pouring out of his mouth for our mutual entertainment. Like with Gatti, with Ward with Benn and McLellan that deserves respect and maybe we should just put down our VCR remotes or shut down Windows Media player and think about that instead.
Secondly, the fight, one that had not been shown in America has done something else which is quite significant, and that is gotten fans to talk about boxing with a passion again. While I feel that Abraham and Miranda deserve respect, above and beyond any other topic, secondly whenever some event forces us as fans to start discussing boxing with a passion, it means that event has been successful. All the little nuisances, the drama and the action have done more for boxing then almost any other fight or fighters in boxing this year. While I donít feel this bout is the fight of the year, it is definitely the most significant bout to come our way in the last few.
With that out of the way, enjoy the following interview with the still as yet undefeated, current IBF champion Arthur Abraham. Though it is impossible to pass along the general tone of Arthurís voice through the net, I would be hard pressed for anyone to tell me they thought this guy had just fought the battle of his life. His voice was confident, and good natured as usual which for those of us worried about his condition should be a giant relief.
ESB: Hey Arthur! Congratulations on the win. Did you just speak to the doctor?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, yeah, he just looked at my jaw and said everything is ok. He took off the thing (brace of some sort I guess-author note) and that is it. I was just at his office.
ESB: Are you still in the hospital? When did they sign you out?
Arthur Abraham: No, I am out already. Iím already at home, but I just went there so the doctor would check me out. They signed me out yesterday. (Note: Arthur might have misunderstood my question)
ESB: What did he say about your injury? When will it heal? When can you train?
Arthur Abraham: He said about 6 months until I can get back in the ring.
ESB: What did you do at the hospital?
Arthur Abraham: I watched movies, TV, some DVDís. My friends were there. I read congratulations and such, answered phone calls. Constantly had guests visiting.
ESB: What did your parents say about the fight once they heard?
Arthur Abraham: Well, they were very worried, of course. My dad was in the arena, next to the ring and he was sweating the whole way. My mom was at home and after the 3rd round, she could not watch anymore. It was hard for them but they are very proud of me.
ESB: Yesterday, for the first time, Miranda commented on the fight. He said he heard you can return to the ring only after 9-12 months. Your doctor doesnít agree, I guess?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, this is not true.
ESB: He also said you are a real warrior and he respects you for the fact that you fought on with such an injury for 12 rounds. He also hopes you get well soon. You think he is sincere here or saying it so itís easier to get a rematch?
Arthur Abraham: You know, I really donít care why he said it. If he said it sincerely, then I say, ďthank you,Ē but if he said it for some other reasons, then I donít care. I am always ready to fight with him and for me, that is not a problem. In fact, that doesnít only go for him but for anybody else at this weight. If he said that for real, then I say, ďbig thanksĒ to him.
ESB: He also asked if you remember, that as a sign of his respect, after the fight he raised your hand, and I guess recognized you as the champ?
Arthur Abraham: Of course, I remember. I remember everything about that fight. After all, itís not my head he broke (laughing). My head works 100%. If my head wouldnít work, I would not continue the fight, I would not finish and I would not win. I just donít remember the operation.
ESB: (laughing) Well, you were under anesthesia.
Arthur Abraham: Oh yeah, thatís why (laughing).
ESB: Do you respect him for the fact that he tried to win by any means necessary?
Arthur Abraham: I donít respect that. He is not a good sport, you know? Not clean. He wanted to win by any means but he couldnít accomplish it. He hit me with his head, below the belt, and after the round. You know, that is boxing, though. Its not chess (laughing).
ESB: (laughing) Understood. After you went 12 rounds with him, do you still think he is not that talented a fighter?
Arthur Abraham: If he was a talented boxer, he would have beaten a guy with a busted jaw. If he was smart and strong, he would win against an opponent with such an injury. He is a normal fighter, not worse then others but not that special, either.
ESB: Well, do you still think he hits hard, though? He did break your jaw.
Arthur Abraham: No, not really that hard. There are guys who hit harder, I think.
ESB: You think that you hit harder?
Arthur Abraham: Of course, I had him in a few of those rounds.
ESB: Many fans have told me that they think the referee, or the doctor, should have stopped the fight in the fifth, because the risk to your health was too great. If they would have stopped the fight, would you have accepted it?
Arthur Abraham: (interrupting) Yeah, many have said that, but I am not the kind of person that will get down on his knees and give up. If I get in the ring, I get in to win and losing, and getting on my knees is something I wonít do. If they would have stopped it, then I would not say anything, but if they left the decision in my hands, then I didnít want to. Somebody wanted to stop it, but I said, ďonly if I get the win. If I end up losing by TKO, then I donít want it stopped.Ē
ESB: You mean if they would have DQíd him?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, yeah, he hit me low three times. Butted me in the head.
ESB: I think he also rabbit punched you once?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, in fact, more than once.
ESB: After the fight, Alex seemed very angry with your cornermen and trainer. Was that because he thought the fight should have been stopped?
Arthur Abraham: No, no, I think it was because they didnít give me water. In reality, he was mad at Miranda because he fought so dirty.
ESB: Itís just there is a photo, where he is yelling at your trainer?
Arthur Abraham: I think he was yelling at somebody else. To be honest, I wasnít paying much attention to what was going on, so I am not sure if he yelled at my trainer.
ESB: If Alex would have been in the same situation as you in the fifth round, would you have tried to stop the fight?
Arthur Abraham: Of course not, why would I? We are athletes and we fight to win. If he could continue, why should we stop it? If he would have said himself, ďStop it, I canít go on,Ē that is different, but if he can continue, it doesnít make sense to stop it. My head worked, you saw so yourself. I didnít get hit with any hard shots after that and if my brother would have been in the same situation, I would not want him to give up his title that way. We worked for and earned that title with blood and if it comes to it, then we have to defend it with blood.
ESB: Speaking of that we have a boxer here by the name of Emanuel Augustus. Did you hear of him?
Arthur Abraham: No, I donít know him.
ESB: Anyway, unlike many other fighters like, for instance, Miranda who said, ďI am proud that my trainer would protect me and stop the fight,Ē he says that if he is ready to die in the ring then nobody has a right to say different, including his corner. Do you agree with that?
Arthur Abraham: Well, dying in the ring is too much, I think, but you canít stay on your knees. Your health is the most important but you should also assess and look at the situation. How many football, or basketball players play on with injuries? If there is an injury, then it will heal up later. You canít give up. A break, an injury, those can be fixed, can be treated, but if you give up, then that injury can never be fixed. You can heal injuries but if you give up, you will always have that scar that will never completely heal.
ESB: Meaning a scar like on your soul that you can never quite cure?
Arthur Abraham: Exactly. You can see yourself, I spent 2, 3 days in the hospital, but the belt stayed with me. I am very happy and everything is great. If I would be lying in the hospital during that time without my title, then that would be a real tragedy. THAT would have been a real injury.
ESB: Oh, I see what you mean. You were going to be in the hospital anyway, so better that you spend that time with the belt? Then you wouldnít be lying there in a bad mood.
Arthur Abraham: (laughing) Yeah, of course. Itís a sport, injuries happen and I had to go to the hospital, anyway. If it would have been without my title, then it would even harder and sadder for me.
ESB: You know, I have thought about that. Itís like with every injury the victory becomes that much sweeter.
Arthur Abraham: Yup, and you see I am speaking normally with you and there are no problems. I am heading to America and I will be present at Valuevís fight.
ESB: Oh yeah, I read about that. I actually have some questions about that but a little later. Right now, though, do you think your promoter will want to organize a fight against some of the elite fighters at this weight or would it be wiser to have a tune up first against somebody of a lesser caliber?
Arthur Abraham: For me, it doesnít matter. Whatever he wants to organize, I say please go ahead, I am ready and happy to fight.
ESB: Well, I know you are always ready, but still, you will be out of the ring for 6 months and maybe it's better to have a tuneup?
Arthur Abraham: (Interrupts) Yeah, but it doesnít matter. Whoever we fight, I will win anyway.
ESB: So you donít want a tune up?
Arthur Abraham: Why? Itís always better to fight the best (laughing).
ESB: Well, it could be wiser, but then again, if you think you are ready. So you wouldnít mind a repeat against Miranda?
Arthur Abraham: Doesnít really matter if itís Miranda again. Taylor, Wright, I will fight anybody and I will win against anybody.
ESB: Who do you want first, though?
Arthur Abraham: I am saying, it doesnít matter and I donít care. I go in there to win. Let them think about the fact that I am their opponent because I never worry about it. Whatever they set up, let them set up.
ESB: Okay, well did you see the Quartey-Forrest fight?
Arthur Abraham: Nope, I didnít watch it.
ESB: Did you hear that Forrest won?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah? Wellh then, I wanna congratulate him with the win. Forrest is a talented fighter.
ESB: Did you hear that Taylor is supposed to fight Ouma? Did you see Ouma fight? Who do you think will win?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, when I was getting ready for Jantuah, I watched their fight. He is a good boxer but against Taylor, I donít think he stands a chance.
ESB: I know that you really want that Taylor fight. He or his people will probably see this interview. What do you want to tell them?
Arthur Abraham: Well, I donít have anything to say to Taylor. I have something to say to everybody at this weight, though, and that is that I am ready to fight you and win. If you want the fight, I am ready. Otherwise, Taylor, De La Hoya, Wright, if you guys want the fight, then get ready to lose. Other than that, I have nothing to say.
ESB: Do you think Taylor did the right thing by going over to be trained by Steward? Do you think it will help him become a better fighter?
Arthur Abraham: Well, I donít know about that, let him decide himself what is best for him. I donít think it will help him, though. I think he has reached the peak of his potential.
ESB: In the meanwhile, Wright is supposed to meet Quartey in December. I know you think highly of Wright, so my question is, do you think Quartey stands a chance?
Arthur Abraham: No, I didnít hear about that, but I think Quartey will lose. Wright is just better, in my opinion.
ESB: Okay, now, I know you are coming for Valuevís fight but did you know that the same day your friend Vakhtang ďVicĒ Darchinyan will be fighting in Vegas.
Arthur Abraham: (getting excited) Yeah, Yeah, of course, Buddy, I wish you luck, success and that your fight will not be as hard as mine. I hope you knock everybody out quickly and beautifully.
ESB: Did you talk to him after the fight?
Arthur Abraham: Not yet but we speak often.
ESB: Because one of his acquaintances sent me his comments for you after your win. They are in California now in training for his fight. Him, Vanes Martirosyan, Artyom Simonyan. I can read you what he said. Itís in Armenian but written with latin letters.
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, please do.
ESB: (Reading the comment) Can you tell us what he said?
Arthur Abraham: Aha! Yeah, I got it. He said, ďWe are very proud of you, our champion, our brother. You are like,ÖĒ well, it canít be translated into Russian, but like a ďgreat guy (ďmolodetzĒ).Ē
ESB: Cool! I will send all the comments that I receive to your team and you can read them yourself. I have some in Russian, Armenian, German and English. What do you want to say to all the people that commented?
Arthur Abraham: I want to thank everybody who cheered for me on that day, and after and before, and thought about me. I am saying that from the bottom of my heart. I fight for myself, my family and my fans.
ESB: Who do you think is more popular in Armenia now, you or Vakhtang?
Arthur Abraham: Oh, both of us are 50/50 (laughing). Whatís the difference? Him or me? Everybody loves us, Vakhtang and I. We are both champions of Erevan, so I donít think one of us is more popular then the other.
ESB: You know, I was also told that among others, Art Simonyan was very happy for you, too. Do you know him?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, of course, he is our friend, too. He is also a great boxer and I hope that he also becomes a world champ. So that we become like a holy trinity almost. So that Erevan, our capital, has three champs. We all fought for the Armenian national team and I want to wish Artyom success and a world title, too.
ESB: So, you will watch Vakhtangís fight on TV after the Valuev bout?
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, I even wanted to earlier but I donít think itís possible.
ESB: You know, the Valuev fight doesnít start until well after 10, so if there is a TV in the arena or something, the showtime card starts earlier. So maybe you can catch Vakhtangís fight live.
Arthur Abraham: Yeah, when I am in the United States, I will try to find out about that.
ESB: Arthur, last time you spoke with us, you said that fight fans will hear more about you. I think this has happened. After such a fight, what can you possibly impress us with next time?
Arthur Abraham: Next time? (laughing) I hope that it will be interesting and entertaining for everybody, and most importantly, that I win. I canít say what will happen in the future, but I can guarantee that the most interesting is still to come.
ESB: What will you do now?
Arthur Abraham: Well, I will go to America, then to Denmark, then Moscow to see my uncle. Then back home to Erevan. Now, I will relax, rest, gather my strength, and do some light training. Doctor said that I canít train hard for three months. So that and then I will fight and that is that.
ESB: Arthur, again, congratulations on the fight. We are very proud of you and your success. In terms of drama, your fight with Miranda can be compared to Gatti and Ward, or even Benn and McLellan. The only shame is we didnít get to see it on American TV. I hope that next time you will be fighting in our neck of the woods. Get well and heal up those wounds.
Arthur Abraham: Thank You. I hope I will be fighting there as well. So until then, bye.
I want to thank Heiko Mallwitz as always and the Sauerland team as well as everybody who sent in their comments to Arthur.
If you want to send them, in any language, English, Russian, Armenian, German go ahead and mail them to Novirasputin@hotmail.com and I will make sure to pass them on to Arthur through his team.
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