Felix Sturm To Face Sebastian Zbik April 13th - But Would Murray Or Lee Have Been A Better Choice?

By James Slater: WBA middleweight champ Felix Sturm will fight at home in Germany once again on April 13th, when he will meet countryman and former interim WBC 160-pound titlist Sebastian Zbik (the fight is up now on Boxrec). The all-German showdown will no doubt prove a big hit in Deutschland, but some fans can’t help wondering if 33-year-old Sturm, 36-2-2(15) couldn’t have picked a better, possibly tougher challenger for his next bout.

This is not to suggest 29-year-old Zbik, 30-1(10) is a bad fighter; far from it - but Sturm could have (maybe should have) given Martin Murray, who he fought a controversial draw with last time out, a return shot. Also, Ireland’s exciting Andy Lee was in the frame as Sturm’s next ring rival: would the Emanuel Steward-trained contender have made a better choice?

In any case, Zbik it is. Best known for his close points loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Junior (a fight some felt Zbik actually deserved to win on the cards), Zbik will be facing his best opponent yet in April. Not a hard hitter and not altogether physically strong, Zbik is a good boxer with fine skills. But against the ultra-experienced Sturm and his excellent jab and tight defence, the challenger will, in my opinion, have a hard time making an impression on the champion.

Sturm is coming off two less than impressive displays (his split decision win over Matthew Macklin in his fight before the Murray draw raising a number of eyebrows), yet he should be able to put those struggles behind him as he walks right through Zbik. Sturm has stopped just three men since 2007; there is a good shot that number will increase to four on April 13th.

Zbik knows Sturm well and he has absolutely no fear of him. Despite this, and unless Sturm has “grown old overnight,” I can’t see how Zbik will get a win. The fight might go the distance and the action could be lively, with lots of punches thrown from both sides, but it will be a matter of time before the bigger, stronger and just plain better reigning and defending WBA boss takes over. I go for Felix to get his win in the middle or late rounds.

Sturm may be edging towards the end of a long and at times hard career, but he should still have enough left in the tank to be able to take care of the light-hitting Zbik. There will be no controversy this time.

Article posted on 03.02.2012

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