By Gary Purfield
WBA titleholder Felix Sturm retained his belt with a seventh round TKO over Ronald Hearns, son of the legendary Tommy “the Hitman” Hearns. The son, Ronald Hearns has done little as a pro to earn the title shot other than his name but that makes him a standard challenger to Sturm who has made no effort to face a true challenge. Sturm has been content to fight in his home country of Germany against fighters on the C to at best B level including wins over Giovanni Lorenzo, Khoren Gevor, and Sebastian Sylvester. Not exactly a murderer’s row of challengers so Hearns probably fit the bill of bringing a good name and little danger of actually winning.
The fight itself which was streamed online courtesy of ESPN3 brought little action up until the end. For six rounds Sturm pushed Hearns back with his jab and peek-a-boo defensive shell. Hearns attempted to make a dent at times with flurries of combinations but never was able to get through Sturm’s tight defense. At his best Hearns was pushing forward sitting down on his punches, but still not getting through. Hearns did this for the most part in rounds three and five which were the only rounds that he might have won.
In rounds one, two, four, six, and seven Hearns circled and jabbed but with little power was unable to deter the favorite. Sturm would land his main weapon the stiff left jab he possesses with ease often snapping Hearns head back.
By the seventh round Hearns left eye was closing from the steady diet of eating jabs. To this point the fight had not provided a single explosive moment. Then basically out of nowhere Sturm backed Hearns into a corner landed a jab, right cross, and second clubbing overhand right. The first right stunned Hearns and the second one separated him from his senses. Hearns did not go down but was literally out on his feet and referee Raul Caiz Jr. rightly stepped in immediately before he suffered more unneeded punishment.
The TKO victory at two minutes and thirty seconds of the seventh round improves Sturm’s record to 35-2-1 (15 KO). Hearns drops to 26-2 (20 KO) with both losses coming by way of knockout.
Sturm, probably best known for his controversial decision loss to Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 has held the WBA belt since 2007 (this is his second stint with the WBA belt and had the WBO belt as well that he lost to De La Hoya) but really has yet to step up to championship level competition. It is hard to understand why he and Arthur Abraham never got together considering they both had middleweight alphabet titles for several years and both were based in Germany.
Sturm has a stiff jab and good defense. It certainly seems time to take on a true challenger and really test his skills. The best challenge for Sturm would be to venture to the States and test his mettle against true middleweight king Sergio Martinez but that seems highly unlikely. I also think a fight with Paul Williams would be an interesting fight for Sturm and a crossroads fight for the Punisher after his KO loss to Martinez. At the very least a showdown with Dmitry Pirog who won the WBO middleweight strap with his knockout of Danny Jacobs last year at least provides a real threat. Of course he may just keep getting nice pay days fighting challengers who have little if no chance to win.
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