Trainers, fighters, fans, take note. Showing up is half the battle, and Sam Solimon, the Aussie middleweight, re-proved the old adage on Friday night in Germany, as he bettered ex WBA 160 pound champ Felix Sturm, on Sturm's home turf, by scores of 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113.
The bout continued a theme for the 34-year-old Sturm: decline. The Bosnian-born hitter started off fine, and he sent the 39-year-old Solimon the mat in round two. But the victor, who has proved himself to be a most stubborn soul, persevering even though he has 11 losses, was the busier man in the second half. He proved to the judges he wanted it more, and during stretches when Sturm was on radio silence, in watcher mode, Solimon threw. The more mobile man, Solimon had the busier feet in addition to the busier fists.
For his trouble, it is likely he gets a crack at IBF champ Daniel Geale, who beat Anthony Mundine earlier in the week. Geale is supposed to face the winner of tonight's eliminator by May...but this is boxing, with rules made to be broken, twisted or ignored to fit the most powerful player, so who the heck knows how it will play out.
Really, that stuff should be irrelevant for at least a couple days, to let Solimon luxuriate in his win. While he exults, Michael Buffer will be excused if he sulks. The velvet-throated emcee announced Sturm (37-4-2) as the winner, incorrectly, and red-facedly corrected himself, and told the crowd that Solimon (42-11) won.
Another lesson, beyond simply staying with it, keeping on even after you've eaten defeat soup too many nights to bear, almost, is that the busier guy wins about 80% or more of the time. Seriously, even if you're no wizard in the corner, trainers should start and finish by telling their charges to throw more than the other guy, as Solimon did. If it goes to the cards, the busier guy usually gets the nod.
We shall see where it goes for Sturm; he lost to Geale in his last scrap, and had a draw with Martin Murray before beating Sebastian Zbik before the Geale outing.
Solimon won his fourth straight UD12, and sorry to beat the ailing horse, but the man turned pro in 1997. Props to him for the victory is my main takeaway.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?