The Real Sturm Finally Showed…What Next for the Middleweight Division?

Felix Sturm04.10.08 - By Jason Peck - Felix Sturm has the skills and dedication it takes to make a dent in the middleweight division. But up until last weekend, a KO loss to Javier Castillejo left his ability in question, and his resume lacked a significant victory (other than Oscar, but that’s a different story.)

No more. Sturm’s victory over the dangerous Sebastian Sylvester undoubtedly stands as the WBA champ’s biggest victory, and finally makes him a player in the middleweight mix. An all-German unification match against IBF champ Arthur Abraham is now all the more likely. And if anyone is left holding 50 percent of boxing’s major belts, odds are that he’ll fight Kelly Pavlik, the man with the other half.

Other bouts such as Mijares-Darchinyan and Chavez-Vanda got all the attention last weekend. This weekend, Calzaghe-Jones will get too much. But despite the lack of attention, Sturm-Sylvester was an intriguing fight that potentially makes the middleweight division a lot more interesting.

In his fights against Randy Griffin and Javier Castillejo, Sturm seemingly forgot the skills that made him such a force in the first place. Against Sylvester, Sturm’s powerful jab, slick defensive skills and ring generalship finally reasserted themselves. The other middleweight champs are among the best in boxing, but the Sturm that showed on Saturday has the potential to make trouble for either of them.

If he could out-jab Sylvester, he ought to be able to repeat the same trick on Abraham. King Arthur’s defense has improved quite a bit in the last few years, but still not to the point where it could negate a good jab.

And as for Pavlik? If the last few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that defensive fighters can still give Pavlik some trouble. He’ll undoubtedly give a much better performance if he moves back to his ideal weight, but Sturm can still pose a real threat if he gets his jab pumping.

Of course, I could also see where Sturm could easily lose either fight. In his previous bouts, he’s shown a tendency get frightened by an opponent’s power. If either Abraham or Pavlik catch him with a good shot early on, it could change the whole dynamic of the fight – Sturm might devote more time to running than exchanging.

Either way, things have been set in motion to have the middleweight division unified like it hasn’t been since Bernard Hopkins defeated Oscar De La Hoya. And with Pavlik finally committed to fighting at 160, things could get interesting.

Article posted on 04.11.2008

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