Mission Accomplished

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 22, 2008

NEW YORK — Former world middleweight title challenger Edison Miranda has waited a long time for the day he’d fight IBF middleweight champion, Arthur Abraham once again.

That day is rapidly approaching.

On Saturday, June 21, Miranda (30-2, 26 KOs) will attempt to avenge one of his losses as his promoter Leon Margules has lured Abraham (26-0, 21 KOs) into a highly anticipated rematch.

Abraham-Miranda II will commence from the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, FL. Showtime Championship Boxing will televise the event at 9 PM/ET.

Originally, Miranda, a 27 year-old from Columbia, had accepted the challenge of former unbeaten WBC/WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler. But Kessler, fresh off his loss to world super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe in November, mysteriously backed out of the fight.

“We made a deal then Kessler pulled out of the deal,” Margules said exclusively from his promotional brand Warriors Boxing in Florida. “The day after Kessler pulled out, I get a call from Abraham’s camp to step in. I negotiated a better deal for Miranda to fight Abraham, rather than Kessler.”

There was no definite word as to why exactly Kessler pulled out of a fight with Miranda after accepting the challenge. But perhaps Kessler’s camp weren’t too satisfied with the financial terms of the agreement and the strong possibility of Kessler having to fight Miranda at the Hard Rock Café.

Kessler can add his name to the likes of Jermain Taylor and Jean Pascal amongst the big names to have turned Miranda down for a fight within the past year.

A champion steps up to Miranda’s challenge

Abraham accepted Margules invitation to fight here in the United States. Abraham, 28, Armenia, has fought 25 of his 26 professional fights in Germany and once in Switzerland. Not only did Abraham agree to come to America to fight for the first time, but he also agreed to fight in the hometown of Miranda’s promoter for the rematch.

“It’s more than me,” Margules added. “Why aren’t fighters more like Miranda? [Miranda] doesn’t want to fight a meaningless guy that means nothing.”

Miranda’s willingness to fight the best can be matched by Margules’ ability to put together the best possible scenario for fighters to be willing to face Miranda.

Although Abraham is a world champion, his IBF 160-pound title will not be on the line. Abraham-Miranda II, instead, will be a catch-weight bout of 166 pounds. Abraham really has nothing to lose and everything to gain in becoming a star in America by beating Miranda.

“He’s got insurance,” Margules continued. “Abraham keeps his title – win, lose, or draw. It’s not as risky as for an all the marbles world title fight. It’s a calculated risk.”

Both Abraham and Miranda have achieved levels of success. Abraham is as hot as a cup of coffee in Germany. Miranda continues to excite the boxing world. However, even Margules realizes that there is unfinished business between both fighters that makes for a compelling rematch.

“He’s defended his title seven times,” Margules said. “Not a lot of guys in our business do that. Abraham got knocked pretty well and wants revenge. Edison wants revenge because he thinks he got robbed. Both have pleasing styles for the fans.”

Abraham-Miranda I revisited

The date was September 23, 2006. Abraham, making the third defense of his IBF middleweight championship, fought mandatory challenger Edison Miranda in Germany.

The fight was a very entertaining fight that proved to be Abraham’s most difficult as a professional. Abraham had a tough time getting his punches off first, which is a compliment to Miranda’s punching power. The champion quickly realized that he simply could not punch with Miranda blow-for-blow. The challenger, using his 82-inch reach, applied a lot of pressure. Miranda teed off with fast, strong combinations and was all over Abraham.

It wasn’t until the fourth round when Abraham really got into his rhythm. Abraham stunned Miranda coming in with a solid right to his jaw. Abraham, also rocked Miranda backward into a neutral corner with a left upside the head.

Miranda breaks Abraham’s jaw, docked five (5) points

Abraham countered Miranda’s aggressiveness with power combinations of his own. However, in the fifth round, Miranda was docked two points by referee Randy Newman because of an intentional head butt behind Abraham’s left ear.

In addition to the foul, Abraham also suffered a broke jaw. Abraham fought Miranda with a disfigured jaw socket and his mouth wide open. Miranda was also docked an additional two points for landing repeated low-blows in the seventh round. Realizing that he already had the round won, Abraham avoided Miranda’s punches by moving around the ring.

In the eleventh, Miranda was docked a fifth and final point for hitting Abraham below his waist line once again.

Miranda continued to pummel Abraham with some vicious powered shots. Miranda stalked Abraham, looking to attack him against the ropes. The big target was Abraham’s vulnerable jaw. Abraham did a wonderful job of ducking and weaving Miranda’s overhand shots. Abraham was successful and allowing Miranda to follow him around before countering with clean shots, but the challenger was the busier fighter.

Abraham blocked many punches, as he kept his head firmly between his gloves and chest; making it difficult for Miranda to catch him flush. But some would argue that

Abraham fought too defensive a fight for most people to agree that he beat Miranda decisively – even with the point deductions.

Miranda’s move to super middleweight

Following the loss to Abraham, Miranda called out Taylor, then WBC/WBO middleweight champion. En route toward a possible showdown with Taylor, Miranda fought unbeaten middleweight prospect Kelly Pavlik in a middleweight title eliminator in May 2007.

Miranda, who petitioned for a title shot against Taylor, was stopped in the seventh round after absorbing a wicked beating from Pavlik, who would go on to KO Taylor for the middleweight championships last September.

“The problem was before the Pavlik fight,” Margules stated with confidence. “He wasn’t the same fighter. Miranda couldn’t lose anymore weight. Miranda couldn’t make the (160 lbs.) weight and almost pulled out of the fight from the day before.”

“Miranda never rehydrated.” Margules added. “He went in and traded with the guy. The punches he hit Pavlik with wasn’t the same punches he’d hit other fighters with.”

Since Miranda had difficulties making the 160-lb. weight-limit, Margules decided to remarket the ferocious-hitting contender as a super middleweight (168-lb.). Margules believes that Miranda hasn’t redeemed himself since the Pavlik fight, but feels that fighter has proven that he’s still one of the most elite fighters in the super middleweight class.

Miranda has since won his last two fights, including the potential 2008 “Knockout of the Year.”

On January 11, at the Hard Rock Café, Miranda hit former “Contender” reality television star David Banks with a right hand to his head so hard, Banks was left hanging between the ropes. It was as though a shotgun rifle went off at the in the arena.

“When Edison Miranda is fighting, he’s going to take your head off or risk getting his head taken off,” Margules added. “He’s just exciting. He has a very exciting style. People want to see two guys bang.”