by James Slater: Felix Sturm, Germany’s reigning WBA middleweight champion, makes the third defence during his second term as the WBA world champion this Saturday in his home country. Challenging him will be the undefeated 26 year old from Australia, Jamie “Mr. Business” Pittman. The action takes place in Dusseldorf, and the bout will mark the first time Pittman has boxed outside of his own country..
Sturm, still known mostly among many fight fans for his desperately close points loss to “The Golden Boy” himself, Oscar De La Hoya, had another close call in his last fight. Defending his belt against Louisville’s Randy Griffin last October, the 29 year old Sturm retained his title with a hard fought draw. Now, southpaw Pittman will be hoping to go one better than Griffin and get a win. It’s a big task for the 16-0(7) Pittman, however. Having turned pro as recently as November 2004, and not having fought anyone approaching Sturm’s pedigree, the odds will be set against the 26 year old.
This is not to say Pittman is nothing but a more than capable fighter. After representing his country at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Pittman has gone on to win a number of small pro titles, including the WBF super-middleweight title. It’s just that boxing a seasoned world champion like Sturm, in his own country at that, will be like nothing the tall southpaw has experienced before. Still, at 6’1″ and boxing from his lefty stance, the Australian will have a fair height advantage over the German. And Sturm is far from unbeatable, as Spain’s tough Javier Castillejo proved when TKO’ing him in ten rounds back in July of 2006. This loss marked Sturm’s only comprehensive loss, however (many fans felt Felix did more than enough to have been given the verdict against De La Hoya in their WBO title fight in June of 2004).
But Sturm bounced back and avenged his sole stoppage defeat, beating Castillejo on points to reclaim his WBA championship last April. The German is a good fighter, too. While in comparison, though nothing will stop Pittman from giving it his all this Saturday, the Australian has simply not met any fighters of note. Indeed, of his 16 wins, only 7 of his opponents had winning records. This lack of formidable competition will likely tell the story in Dusseldorf.
Felix Sturm looks like making a successful fourth retention of his WBA title. The hungry Pittman may well last the distance, though.