By Peter Wells
Ironically the scores were closer but the victory for Arthur Abraham was far more distinctive in his rematch with Paul Smith. Abraham retained his WBO Super Middleweight title for the 2nd time against Liverpudlian Smith, this time in more convincing fashion.
Smith started brightly, working the jab well, while Abraham switched to his customary high, tight guard.
Abraham felt comfortable under the pressure and began to plug away, stinging Smith in the 4th, and the 5th was worse for the challenger who was beginning to be dragged into a fight he was never going to be successful in.
Smith toughed it out though, constantly looking to find room, and outwork the sometimes one-paced Abraham.
Smith had been targeting the body all fight, noticing the high guard that Abraham had, and seemed to leave an impression in the 6th when a left to the liver area forced Abraham to take a deep breath.
Momentum was not destined to change, as Abraham laid into Smith in the 7th, stiffening the legs of Smith with a big right cross.
Abraham kept that pressure up, and Smith couldn’t find a response. Smith managed to end strong in the final 2 rounds, but it was not enough to change the course of the scorecards.
The judges scored the fight 116-112 and 117-111 (twice).
Whether this will be Smith’s last shot at the big time is yet to be seen, and as for Abraham at 35 his time as a world champion may be numbered in such a competitive division.
With the victory Abraham moves to 42-4(28 KO’s) while Smith dropped to 35-5(20 KO’s).
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