WBO super-middleweight world champion Robert Stieglitz makes the first defense of his title against late substitute Ruben Eduardo Acosta this Saturday night at the Bordelandhalle in Magdeburg, Germany.
Stieglitz was due to fight dangerous puncher Edison Miranda, but the Colombian pulled out earlier this week with a combination of flu and a nasal infection. Argentinian Acosta, the reigning South American super-middleweight champion was only confirmed as Miranda´s replacement on Thursday.
Stieglitz (36-2, 22 ko´s), a Russian born German, has looked impressive in his five straight victories since being stopped in eight rounds by Mexican Librado Andrade in a March 2008 slug-fest. Stieglitz outpointed highly regarded Pole Lukas Wilaschek for the WBC International title in December 2008. That result elevated the German to the WBC no5 world ranking. Two easy wins later, and Stieglitz challenged highly regarded, undefeated Hungarian Karoly Balzsay for the WBO world super-middleweight crown in Budapest. Stieglitz put on the performance of his career, dominating the defending champion in front of his home fans, and winning the WBO belt when Balzsay´s corner pulled him out of the contest after ten one sided rounds.
Stieglitz is a highly proficient boxer who likes to come forward. He seems to love nothing more than to get into a war with his opponent. He is similar in style to Britain’s Ryan Rhodes. Like Rhodes, he is more than capable of boxing on the outside and piling up points, but he just cant resist getting stuck in.
He is a great fighter to watch; he throws a lot of punches with a high level of accuracy. Unfortunately for him, although 22 of his 36 wins have come inside the distance, he is no knockout artist. He stops opponents with the sheer volume and accuracy of his punches, rather than any one-punch power.
His two defeats – the TKO loss to Andrade and his shock third round TKO to former victim Alejandro Berrio were both down to Stieglitz electing to brawl rather than box.
The Andrade fight was an IBF title eliminator in California. Stieglitz, clearly wanting to impress the American audience, went toe to toe with the tough Mexican from the opening bell. It made for a tremendous spectacle, but Stieglitz was always going to come unstuck by using tactics that played right into Andrade´s hands. Andrade is no Floyd Mayweather, but he is big and tough and excels in trench warfare. When the referee pulled Stieglitz out of the fight midway through the eighth round, his decision was based more on the accumulation of shots Stieglitz had taken during the fight rather than any one blow.
The loss to Berrio was a different matter altogether. Stieglitz had stopped the dangerous Colombian in the 11th round in 2005. The rematch in 2007 was for the vacant IBF super-middleweight title. Stieglitz tore into Berrio from the opening bell, and fought as if convinced he could end the bout much earlier this time. Berrio, like his countrymen Breidis Prescott and Edison Miranda, is a murderous puncher. Halfway through the third round, Berrio sent Stieglitz literally bouncing off the canvas with a picture-perfect right to the side of the head. Stieglitz got straight up, and seemed to be okay. Seconds later, the Colombian repeated the trick. This time when Stieglitz got to his feet it was clear he was far from okay. A quick volley of blows by Berrio and it was all over. The Colombian went on to lose the IBF crown in his first defense to the current champion Lucien Bute.
Can Ruben Eduardo Acosta (23-3-5, 7 ko´s) cause an upset and take Stieglitz´ crown on Saturday? The omens aren’t good. The Argentinian has stopped only seven opponents in his pro career. He himself has been stopped just once, and that was against hard-as-nails Aussie Anthony Mundine in 2006; a brutal shot to the liver finishing off Acosta in the fourth. The Argentinian has a common opponent with Stieglitz in Karoly Balszay. The Hungarian scored a near shutout twelve round decision over Acosta in 2007.
The biggest name on Acosta´s record is former two-time WBA light-middleweight champion Julio Cesar Vasquez. Acosta knocked out the badly faded 42 year old Argentinian in one round in 2008. Acosta is obviously a decent boxer, but his lack of any real power makes him a tailor made opponent for the German.
Look for the Magdeburg based Stieglitz to put on a show for his hometown fans. Acosta is durable and can box, but he is at least a league below the industrious German, who should win by late stoppage or a landslide decision.
Big fight odds; Stieglitz 1/12, Acosta 6/1 bet365