Remembering the Abraham-Miranda Bloodbath: A Profile in Courage

Armenian/German Avetik Abrahamyan, aka Arthur “King” Abraham, is nearing the end of a long career during which he was a three-time world champion in two weight classes. In his prime, he possessed a solid defense using a modified peek-a-boo technique and had extremely heavy hands supplemented by late power and great stamina. The “King” could roughhouse with the best and his illegal DQ KO of Andre Dirrell in 2010 was chilling and might well have altered Dirrell’s career. His last round concussive KO of Jermain Taylor in 2009 unquestionably altered Taylor’s career.

Arthur’s four fights with Robert Stieglitz were also a testament to his will and determination. He went 3-1 against the talented Russian/German who finished with a 50-5-2 mark.

The first of Abraham’s two fights with Edison “Pantera” Miranda was one of the goriest fights of all time. When they clashed at Rittal Arena in Weztlar, Germany on Sept. 23, 2006, both were undefeated. At stake was Abraham’s IBF world middleweight title.

Edison “Pantera” Miranda

Miranda, from Puerto Rico by way of Colombia, is now apparently retired. He had a good run, finishing 36-10 and, like Abraham, possessed KO power. While no stranger to top level opponents, he always faltered when he fought the elite, although he did beat Howard Eastman (40-3 coming in) and Allan Green (23-0 at the time). His one-punch KO of David Banks in 2008 that sent Banks out of the ring was a highlight reel-type. The knockout was The Ring magazine Knockout of the Year.

The Bloodbath (2006)

Abraham (21-0) was coming off a UD win over tough Ghanaian Kofi Jantuah. Miranda (26-0) had most recently stopped the aforementioned Eastman. The stage was set for a shootout but no one could possibly have anticipated what was to occur.

Abraham, a slow starter began this one quickly, and they both traded pinpoint blows until the fourth round when Miranda landed a blow that broke Arthur’s jaw in two places. The Colombian then launched what appeared to be an intentional and malevolent head butt for which referee (and former heavyweight contender) Randy Neumann issued a warning. It would be the first of multiple warnings.

Between rounds, the ringside physician, Walter Wagner, recommended stopping the fight as he saw the broken jaw coming from a legal punch, but Neumann disagreed, called a timeout, and (some say illegally) allowed Dr. Wagner to work on the jaw. Then, after a five-minute break during which he consulted with ringside officials, Neumann deducted two points from Mirada and allowed the fight to continue. Abraham, with no other options, fought on to retain his title—and fight he did, as he won the next four rounds despite a grotesque swollen jaw and blood splattering all over the ring and onto the ringsiders. Neumann’s shirt was no longer blue.

Abraham grimaced in pain with each punch he received. Clearly, he was earning a place in boxing’s mythical Profiles in Courage by demonstrating uncommon heart. This was Danny Williams vs. Mark Potter and then some. It was Paulie vs. Cotto. It was incredible.

In all, Miranda was deducted two points for intentional head butts in the fifth round, two more for low blows in the seventh and, to put icing on the cake, one more in the eleventh for a low blow, thus ensuring a UD win for the defending champion.

“Arthur went beyond the call with this performance”, said his coach Ulli Wegner….naturally I considered stopping the battle but Arthur never would have forgiven me if he had lost the title that way…”

“I carefully watched each blow he suffered”, said ring physician Wagner.  “It was infernal pains that Arthur had to endure there. How he got himself through that fight was inconceivable.”

Abraham won by scores of 116-109, 115-109, and 114-109. In a tremendous show of class and sportsmanship, Miranda congratulated King Arthur and raised his hand in victory.

Reportedly, Abraham lost almost a liter of blood. As he was leaving the ring on stretcher, bound for a hospital to get his jaw operated on and set, he gave everyone the thumbs up sign.

As one observer said, “Arthur went into the ring a world champion and a world champion is he still –however tonight in Wentzler he became a legend through a grueling battle that no one who saw it will ever forget.”

The Rematch

On June 21, 2008, the two met in a rematch at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The bout was contested at the catch weight of 166 pounds, so no title was at stake.

Many thought the rematch would go to Pantera, but this time the King blew him away, winning by TKO in the fourth round. A low blow by Miranda (no surprise there) drew a warning in the third and then Abraham exploded in the fourth, landing a left hook that decked Edison. He was immediately decked again by another clean left hook. Abraham ended the slaughter with still another left to the head that sent Miranda down again, bringing an automatic stoppage by way of the three-knockdown rule. This time there was no controversy.

Postscript

In an article published on Jan. 29, 2015, Elisinio Castillo reported that Edison “La Pantera” Miranda was a federal fugitive: “the boxer was indicted, along with 28 others, in connection to an international drug trafficking and money laundering organization….Miranda was one of four people who could not be located when service agents from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) made sweeping arrests with warrants in hand. There were arrests in Puerto Rico, Columbia, and Florida.” Ten days later, Castillo reported that Miranda voluntarily surrendered to federal authorities in Puerto Rico.

“Pantera” was seldom in a dull fight, but to many he was talent wasted, especially in the last few years of his career. As for Arthur Abraham, now 46-6, he last fought Chris Eubank Jr. in the World Boxing Super Series, losing a unanimous decision in what may prove to be his final fight.

Ted Sares, a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records in the Grand Master class. He has won the EPF Nationals championship four years in a row. He also participates in track and field events in the Senior Games.

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