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24 SEPTEMBER 2018

 

Worst Decision of the Year: Abraham w pts 12 Miranda


Miranda: victory in losing
Miranda: victory in losing

By Michael Norby: If there is one award that SecondsOut would rather not present it would be this one - the Worst Decision of the Year award - where we challenged you, our readers, to wade through the smelly stuff and decide on the worst of the worst in the year of boxing. Unfortunately, this year we had a plethora of particularly deplorable decisions which we asked you to deliberate over.

After the votes were tallied, one fight stood out above all others in the race to receive the infamous crown...

On Saturday night, September 23rd in Wetzlar, Germany, unbeaten Colombian phenom Edison Miranda climbed through the ropes in an attempt to relieve Arthur Abraham of his IBF middleweight championship.

In preparing for the fight, Miranda's camp had braced themselves for the unfortunate possibility that the German, fighting in front of what would be a frenzied partisan audience, could enjoy the comforts of home cooking should the fight go the distance.

Even so, 'Team Miranda' believed that their man's frightening power and relentless pressure would overwhelm Abraham and, as there was a legitimate world title involved, the risk would be worth taking.

"I figured that I would lose a close fight if it was a close fight," said Leon Margules, executive director of Miranda's promotional company Warriors Boxing. "I thought that if I won decisively then I would win the fight. As it turned out, I did win decisively and didn't get the decision."

Margules, who has been involved with boxing since the early nineties, went so far as to say that the events of the evening were the most shambolic that he had ever witnessed. "It was the worst thing I've ever seen in my career in the boxing business," he said bluntly. "In fact, it's probably the worst thing I've ever seen as a fan too. I've been in the business for about 15 years, but before that I was a fan and I've never seen anything like it. It was surreal."

The trouble started after four feisty rounds as the unbeaten German suffered a horrific facial injury, when Miranda connected with a huge uppercut that broke the 26 year old champion's jaw. What followed were eight painfully hard to watch rounds of relatively one sided action, that saw Miranda get the better a seriously injured Abraham around the ring for the majority of the fight.

In the fifth round, Miranda was rightfully penalized two points for a clearly intentional headbutt as he tried to wriggle free of the wounded Abraham, who was sensibly holding on in an attempt to protect his jaw from the Colombian's right hand.

The champion, who at this stage looked like he had a couple of tennis balls tucked into his left cheek, was spewing alarming volumes of blood from his open mouth. Surely one would think that so early in the fight, Abraham's corner, the referee or the ringside doctor would stop the bout and allow the young champion to fight another day.

"I knew in the fifth round, when they kept the fight going that I was in trouble," said Margules of the decision to allow Abraham to continue. "Then in the 7th round when the referee took those two points off, back to back for low blows, I knew exactly what was going on. But I still had hopes that we might stop him."

The precursor to the low blow deductions that Margules refers to, came in the fourth round when referee Randy Neumann warned Miranda for what appeared to be legitimate body shots. Again, in the sixth round as Miranda blasted Abraham to the body, Neumann warned the Colombian to keep his punches up.

In the seventh round Miranda, determined not to allow the referee to sway him from his gameplan continued to attack the body, slugging Abraham with beltline body shots. Neumann called time, deducting one point from the challenger and then seconds later, bizarrely deducted another point for what again appeared to be lawful body punches by Miranda.

The beating continued, with Miranda hunting the champion continuously from ring post to ring post, cracking his jaw with sickening blows that made Abraham, at various points in the fight, turn his back to Miranda in what must have been excruciating pain. The German, brave to the last, gamely tried to fight back in the ninth round, letting go with one final assault as the bell sounded.

The punishment that Abraham was subjected reached the point that, in the 10th round, Miranda's trainer Jose Bonilla actually felt compelled to stop the fight to save the champion.

"My trainer Bonilla was thinking about throwing in the towel in the 10th round," said Margules. "He didn't want Edison to inflict anymore punishment on the kid because he thought his life was in danger. I don't believe he [Abraham] will ever be the same."

Realizing that he would probably need a stoppage in order to win, Miranda attacked with full force in the penultimate round. Abraham clinched and was able to maneuver his way out of trouble early in the round until Miranda caught him with a big right hand to the body - again clearly on the beltline. The German motioned to the referee that it was a low blow and Neumann obliged - calling time, deducting another point from Miranda and awarding the champion five minutes (of which he enjoyed two) to collect himself.

"It looked like in the 11th round Edison was going to stop him," said Margules. "Then the referee took that point off for a low blow, which was right on the midsection. That gave him a few minutes and I guess that saved him. He was about done by then."

Successfully avoiding anything devastating from Miranda in the 12th round, Abraham heard the final bell and as he made his way to the corner and slumped over the ropes in pain and exhaustion, one wondered if hearing that final bell was the most welcome aspect of Abraham's career to date.

Having been penalized a total of five points throughout the contest, Miranda sullenly awaited the announcement of the judges scoring. Judge Raffaele Argiolas scored the bout 114-109, Dave Parris saw the action 116-109 whilst Larry Hazzard had Abraham ahead 115-109. Incredibly, Parris and Hazzard had the German winning the bout regardless of point deductions.

In defeat, Miranda gamely raised Abraham's hand in the air in a show of respect for the German's courage throughout the fight. Margules puts it in perspective. For Miranda and his team, the bad decision wasn't the most important thing. Rather, it was the deplorable nature of what they had been forced to do - inflict a continuous beating on a seriously injured man.

"It was a bad decision, but more important than that that kid will never be the same," said a disgusted Margules. "You fight another day, you don't ruin a kid in one night."

Miranda, armed with a steadfast belief in himself and his abilities chalked the loss down to a bad day at the office. "Edison was fine," said Margules. "He's a real spiritual kid and he said to me, 'I know I won, its cool'. He believes in himself but at the same time he knows he made some mistakes."

He added, "Edison even admitted to the headbutt [in the fifth round]. He said that it was in order to get free from the holding that the referee was letting Abraham get away with. It wasn't an intentional headbutt to hurt the guy."

Shortly after the fight, rather than let the memory of that night in Germany fester, Margules deployed his staff in a campaign to get his protégé back on track in a high profile HBO televised bout. They were successful, and on the last HBO boxing broadcast of the year on Saturday December 16th, Miranda literally took his chance with both hands - stopping Willie Gibbs with a vicious barrage of punches following a stinger of a right hand in the first round of their headlining bout on Boxing After Dark.

Margules explained, "I think the controversy and the marketing job that my staff did afterwards helped Edison a lot. We got in front of the people at HBO and they saw it the way the SecondsOut readers did and they gave him an opportunity in which he took advantage. At this point he's probably one of the hottest kids in boxing. My phone hasn't stopped ringing."

Although Miranda's favored target for 2007 is a showdown with middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, he has unfinished business with Abraham. Miranda remains the mandatory challenger for the German's IBF title belt and would relish the chance to sweeten the sour taste that the September debacle has undoubtedly left in his mouth. The fight could take place next year, if Abraham has recovered from his extensive injuries. However, as Miranda pointed out in his post fight interview following the Gibbs blowout, there will be one major difference.

"This time," he vowed. "It will be in America."

SecondsOut Reader Awards Worst Decision of the Year winner: Arthur Abraham W12 Edison Miranda: September 23, Wetzlar Germany.

2nd Place - Vernon Forrest W10 Ike Quartey: August 5, New York, USA.
3rd Place - Jeff Lacy W10 Vitali Tsypko: December 2, Florida, USA.
4th Place - Juan Urango W12 Ben Rabah: June 20, Florida, USA.
5th Place - Simone Maludrottu W12 Damaen Kelly: April 21, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Past Winners
2005 - Bobby Pacquaio W12 Carlos Hernandez
2004 - Oscar De La Hoya W12 Felix Sturm
2003 - Shane Mosley W12 Oscar De La Hoya
2002 - Johnny Tapia W12 Manuel Medina
2001 - Paulie Ayala W12 Hugo Dianzo
2000 - Erik Morales W12 Marco Antonio Barrera



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