Saturday featured a completely incomprehensible result at a catch weight between 160 and 168. #1 Middleweight Martin Murray was looking to stay busy at a contract weight of I guess 163.25 or 164, and was totally flat against veteran journeyman Sergey Khomitsky of Belarus. This was one of those appalling situations in which the sole judge was the ref. Judging requires too much concentration to entrust the sole responsibility to one guy whose primary job ought to be to enforce the rules and ensure fighter safety. Of course the fight probably was not expected to go the distance, let alone be close, but that’s still no excuse. Judge Robert Williams had it 77-75 for Murray. That’s not an unreasonable score, but I do believe it was slanted toward Murray, whether by local bias or an inability to adequately concentrate due to his double duty. I don’t fault him, but it was still a bad result. I had it 77-75 for Khomitsky, and thought any score between that score the other way and a round wider in favor of Khomitsky would have been reasonable.
So what do you do when a mid-level journeyman arguably deserves a win over the #1 middleweight contender, halfway to 168? That’s a tough one. My first thought is this: it can’t get either guy ranked. Why? Well, since Khomitsky didn’t get the win and I can’t say that he was definitely robbed of it, ranking him would require that I rank the official winner Murray, as well. What has Murray done to earn a ranking at 168? Nothing. He arguably beat a mid-level journeyman who has never really competed at the full 168 limit. So it certainly gives Khomitsky something to build upon at this weight if he follows up with anything meaningful in the future, but it logically can’t get him ranked here now.
On the off-tv undercard of Maidana-Broner, Jermain Taylor got a 7th-round TKO over washed-up former 154 contender JC Candelo, who proved completely incapable of testing anyone in a virtual walkover in his last fight a little over a year ago against Fernando Guerrero. This fight was at a 163 catchweight give or take, and had no importance at any weight, really.
Nothing that happened this week had any bearing on the rankings, which stay the same this week.
Dan’s Top 20 Champ: Andre Ward (105-239-239) Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown Ward says he would fight Golovkin or Hopkins, but seems to doubt that either of them wants to fight him. In the meantime, he has maybe another fight to deal with that could do more damage to his career than any he has yet met in the ring- a lawsuit against his promoter. He hopes to be back in March or April, though. 1) Carl Froch (82-392-392)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: Unknown After a grueling fight that showed Froch returning to his pre-Super 6 ways by pulling one out of the fire late, Froch has a very credible and vehement rematch challenge in his lap, courtesy of George Groves. Rumor has it that he intends to refuse, and has also resisted suggestions that he move up to 175 to fight Stevenson. His current focus seems to be on trying to make a Ward rematch. 2) Robert Stieglitz (39-225-225) Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR) Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #4 Arthur Abraham The Abraham-Stieglitz trilogy bout, originally announced for February 1, is now official for March 1, in Stieglitz’s home base of Magdeburg. 3) Mikkel Kessler (53-471-471) Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown After meeting with Kessler, his promoter says he won’t be fighting anytime soon, and Kessler hinted at possible retirement immediately after the Froch fight. It’s not looking good for Kessler fans, though the Viking Warrior recently said, rather vaguely, that he still wants a big fight. 4) Arthur Abraham (31-217-217)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #2 Robert Stieglitz See Stieglitz’s notes, above. 5) Brandon Gonzales (25-25-25) Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR) Next Fight: Unknown Gonzales was placed in the position of fighting Vlasov in an alphabet eliminator, but it’s unclear at present if that fight is still on the table or not. 6) Thomas Oosthuizen (12-133-181)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. LHW #18 Eleider Alvarez (at LHW) Oosthuizen-Alvarez looks like it’s staying on the Bute-Pascal card despite a few roadblocks. 7) Ezequiel Maderna (6-6-51) Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen Next Fight: Unknown I doubt he’ll get much love from the alphabets for his effort, but I think you could make a better case for him winning than losing against Oosthuizen, though I had it a draw personally. 8) George Groves (6-53-75) Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch Next Fight: Unknown While I think the result of a TKO loss was an inevitable one, I also don’t fault Groves for the ultimatum he recently issued to Froch: rematch or retire. Obviously he can’t make Froch do that, but I think he earned the rematch, and I think there’s a lot of money in it for both guys. He’s having to resort to personal attacks to try and get a reluctant Froch to agree, however. 9) James DeGale (5-28-114) Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Dyah Davis (UNR) Next Fight: Unknown DeGale is agitating for a title fight after beating Davis, and thinks Froch and Groves are ducking him. Billy Joe Saunders appears to be credibly calling him out from below, though, as well, and that fight seems to have more promotional momentum at present. 10) Christopher Rebrasse (5-5-28)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- UD6 George Kandelaki (UNR) Next Fight: Unknown Rebrasse was apparently involved in a December 6 fight that was so under the radar that I missed it until two weeks after it happened. 11) Sakio Bika (5-350) Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR) Next Fight: Unknown Dirrell wants a rematch, and that’s obviously a worthy endeavor given the legitimate draw the first time around. 12) Maxim Vlasov (6-58) Last Fight: 12/5/2013- KO4 Maxell Taylor (UNR) (at LHW) Next Fight: Unknown Vlasov appears set for an IBF eliminator, and Brandon Gonzales and Ndiaye appear to be the possibilities to oppose him. 13) Edwin Rodriguez (6-48) Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward Next Fight: Unknown According to his trainer Ronnie Shields, they might be looking to fight a top-15 level light heavyweight, and have absolutely no intention to ever try to make 168 again. 14) Andy Lee (12-31) Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR) Next Fight: Unknown Lee seems to be focused on a Macklin clash for the Spring. 15) Ryota Murata (12-17) Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO8 Dave Peterson (UNR) Next Fight: 2/22/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent Murata is slated for a February 22 card in Macau. 16) Caleb Truax (12-26) Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW) Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Ossie Duran (UNR) Ossie Duran has replaced Derek Ennis as Truax’s January 3 opponent- a modest upgrade, actually. 17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (12-42) Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR) Next Fight: Unknown 18) Badou Jack (2-22) Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 Rogelio Medina (UNR) Next Fight: Unknown Jack called out the winner of Bika vs. Dirrell after his win over Medina, but might want to restate, since the fight ended in a draw the following night. 19) Don Mouton (2-12) Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell Next Fight: 2/1/2013- vs. Gilberto Ramirez (UNR) Mouton-Ramirez has been rescheduled for February 1. 20) Anthony Dirrell (2-2) Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. #11 Sakio Bika Next Fight: Unknown His hard-fought draw with Sakio Bika gained Dirrell a measure of redemption for what pretty clearly should have been a loss against Don Mouton, and has him back in the hot prospect category. He’s called for a rematch (good idea) and a fight with Golovkin (bad idea).
The Week Ahead: Saturday Francis Cheka vs. Fedor Chudinov; Moscow, Russia; Sport 2 (Hungary) Cheka is an inconsistent Tanzanian gatekeeper. He’s handled all of the low-mid level competition he’s met since his 2008 loss to a young Matthew Macklin, with one random exception. He was stopped in 7 by mediocre prospect Uensal Arik early this year. As for Chudinov, he’s a 26 year-old undefeated prospect at 8-0, and he is proven at a level just below Cheka, having recently shut out very serviceable journeyman Jimmy Colas in November. He’s also the younger brother of undefeated middleweight fringe contender Dmitry Chudinov. This fight is on the Roy Jones undercard in Moscow.