The Ice Man Cometh

By Gordon Marino on June 17, 2016
The Ice Man Cometh
Abel is coming off an impressive stoppage of John Wesley Nofire. (Andy Samuelson/PBC)

“Joshua does everything right. He might be a little predictable at this stage but he is athletic, fast, and hits hard…”

Known as the “Ice Man,” Minnesota southpaw Joey Abel (32-9, 30 knockouts) is coming off an impressive 3rd round stoppage of previously undefeated John Wesley Nofire. Yesterday I talked with the Gopher State’s premier heavyweight, about some of the elite big boys that he has exchanged leather with.

The 6’4” former college football player has been in camp with IBF heavyweight champ and Olympic gold medalist, Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 knockouts). Abell said, “Joshua does everything right. He might be a little predictable at this stage but he is athletic, fast, and hits hard.”

Abel, who is looking forward to being back in the ring soon, also discussed his work with Cuban born Luis Ortiz (25-0, 22 knockouts). Abel observed, “Oritz is very friendly outside the ring but when you get in with him he is all business. He sets up punches beautifully. A number of times, I was sure he was getting ready to unload with his straight left but then he would come underneath with a left uppercut. He is extremely economical. He doesn’t waste any energy. There were times when I was thinking, if this were a bout, I might be ahead on points, and then blam, he would land a very hard left. I have been in there with Arreola, Pulev, and Fury and Ortiz is probably hardest punchers I have ever faced.”

In February of 2014, Abell toed the line with then challenger Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 knockouts) in London. The Ice Man put some hurt on Fury. However after an egregious low blow by Fury — which the ref barely acknowledged, Fury stopped Abell in the fourth frame.  Abell said, “I took the fight on a few days notice. So that was hard. Fury can get in your head. He acts very friendly one minute then the next he turns into another person and is dissing you and saying he is going to knock you out. He is extremely awkward. Along with his size, one of Fury’s blessings is that he is very relaxed in the ring. His punches are not that powerful, but because he is so awkward, moves so much, and has those long arms, he can hit you from anywhere. Everyone knows that a punch you can’t see is a punch you can’t prepare for, is a punch that can take you out. And that is Fury, it is hard to see his shots coming.”

The 35-year-old Abell is staying in condition and waiting for his next assignment. One thing is for sure, as long as he is given time to train, no heavyweight should take the heavy-handed Abell lightly.

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. His The Quotable Kierkegaard was recently published by Princeton University Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.

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  1. peter 12:19pm, 06/18/2016

    I enjoyed reading this article on Abell.  He performed admirably with Tyson, but he is at a dangerous point in a dangerous career where he needs to be watched for serious permanent damage. He is a smart fellow and I trust his handlers are attentive.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:39pm, 06/17/2016

    Emerson Chasing Bear just called….he says he wants a rematch…. this time at Black Bear Casino.

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