Archive for July, 2010

Super Middleweight: 2010, July 12-18

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight on July 14, 2010 by danboxing

As expected, no change in the ratings this week.

Here are The Ring’s top 10 for comparison purposes:
1) Lucian Bute
2) Andre Ward
3) Mikkel Kessler
4) Carl Froch
5) Sakio Bika
6) Andre Direll
7) Arthur Abraham
8 ) Robert Stieglitz
9) Librado Andrade
10) Brian Magee

Dan’s Top 20

Champ: None

1) Lucian Bute (33-223-223)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- TKO3 Edison Miranda
Next Fight: 10/15/2010- vs. #15 Jesse Brinkley
It’s almost a tossup between him and Andre Ward. In terms of top 10 contenders, Bute has beaten Librado Andrade twice, at which points Andrade was rated #4 and #5, as well as former contender Alejandro Berrio (not sure where he was rated, but my guess is around 5 somewhere). Ward, on the other hand, has beaten then-#1 Mikkel Kessler and then-#8 Allan Green. The shaky nature of the first Andrade win adds to the controversy. It seems inevitable that the winner of the Super 6 will eventually overtake him in the rankings- perhaps even the winner of Ward vs. Dirrell- but for now I’ll stick with Bute, who has also beaten seven fighters that were fairly classified as fringe contenders at the time he beat them- including currently-rated contenders Edison Miranda and Sakio Bika. Ward, in his much shorter career, has also beaten Miranda, but only has one other significant win: gatekeeper Henry Buchanan in early 2009.
2) Andre Ward (33-61-61)
Last Fight: 6/19/2010- UD12 Allan Green
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #5 Andre Dirrell
Ward is currently the odds-on favorite to win the Super Six, and is the first and only participant to clinch a spot in the elimination round thus far. One thing is certain: if Bute remains undefeated at 168, a fight between him and the Super Six winner will crown a champion and will be a huge event.
3) Mikkel Kessler (12-293-293)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- UD12 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. Allan Green (UNR)
Saved his career as an elite fighter with a spirited effort against #3 ranked Carl Froch in an April fight that has been the best fight of the year so far. I had the fight 115-113 for Froch, but there were certainly enough close rounds to justify a Kessler win. Kessler was the consensus #1 in the division until losing convincingly to Ward last year and is unquestionably #3 now.
4) Carl Froch (11-214-214)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- L (UD12) vs. Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #7 Arthur Abraham
Probably the most naturally entertaining fighter in the division, Froch is an unorthodox brawler whose last 3 fights have been as close as all get-out. He stopped Jermain Taylor in the waning seconds of their fight, got what many considered a gift decision over Andre Dirrell in his home city of Nottingham (I had the fight a draw), and then last a toss-up fight to Mikkel Kessler in Denmark (I scored it 115-113 Froch). Any remaining doubters that claim he’s not elite are clearly wrong, as Froch has proven to be an almost perfect match for three top ten fighters, including two in the top five. We’ll see in his next fight if Froch can handle the defense and power of Armenian-German knockout artist Arthur Abraham. That fight is still in the works, as the fighters are understandably fighting over the location-all six Super Six fights have been won by the home fighter.
5) Andre Dirrell (2-16-16)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- DQ11 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Date Unknown- #2 Andre Ward
Win, lose, or draw (I say draw), Andre Dirrell fought like a punk in his controversial split-decision loss to Carl Froch. He ran incessantly and grabbed more often than he punched. But whether or not you think he was really as knocked out as he acted when Arthur Abraham blatantly clocked him after a slip, Dirrell was thoroughly outboxing and frustrating the slugger. Despite Andre Ward’s utter dominance in his first two fights, the upcoming showdown between the two friends named Andre has got to be considered a pick ‘em fight. If, in fact, Dirrell has ever legitimately lost, it hasn’t been by more than a point.
6) Robert Stieglitz (2-47-47)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- UD12 Eduard Gutknecht
Next Fight: Unknown
Stieglitz was stopped by Librado Andrade in early 2008, but he is rated ahead of him because Stieglitz has simply done more winning since then. The key win was an 11th-round stoppage of Karoly Balzsay, who was ranked #7 at the time. He ranks ahead of Abraham simply because he’s got a win over a slightly higher-rated contender than does Abraham, and has a larger body of work in this division.
7) Arthur Abraham (16-39-39)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- L (DQ11) vs. Andre Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #4 Carl Froch
Setting aside his lengthy and impressive Middleweight resume, Abraham’s claim to his current position is based on his knockout of #8 contender Jermain Taylor 2009 and his stoppage of quality fringe contender Edison Miranda in the summer of ’08. Many think he was starting to catch up to a tiring Dirrell before fouling himself to a loss, but what is clear is that he lost.
8 ) Librado Andrade (4-165-165)
Last Fight: 5/28/2010- RTD8 Eric Lucas
Next Fight: Unknown
Andrade is in one of the most unenviable positions of any top-ten contender in the sport. He’s frozen out of the Super Six, so he can’t get a fight with any of those guys for close to another year at a minimum. He can’t reasonably get a fight with Bute because he’s lost to him twice- once by early knockout. Jermain Taylor is virtually retired. Sakio Bika has another fight scheduled. Therefore, the only fight he could possibly make within the top ten would be a rematch with Robert Stieglitz, whom he stopped in 2008. His last fight was technically at light heavyweight, but I have no reason yet to believe that he’s abandoning 168.
9) Jermain Taylor (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 10/17/2009- L (KO12) vs. Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
Taylor is retired for all practical purposes, but hasn’t made any official announcement to that effect, and as such I feel obligated to treat him as an active fighter until he no longer is. He remains rated for this reason, coupled with his late-’08 stoppage of then-#5 contender Jeff Lacy. He may not even be contractually free to sign for a fight before the 1 year anniversary of his last one, so expect Taylor to drop from the rankings in mid-October. You might argue that his two back-to-back stoppage losses should push him from the top 10, but not even #8 Andrade has a win over a top 10 contender in his career. It’s hard for me to ignore that credential, even when it was a while ago, and even when it’s all he’s really got at this weight (and even when it’s only Jeff Lacy).
10) Sakio Bika (2-171-171)
Last Fight: 7/30/09- KO1 Nestor Casanova (at Light Heavyweight)
Next Fight: 7/31/10- vs. #17 Jean Paul Mendy
There’s a very good argument to be made that he shouldn’t be rated at all. His last fight was at light heavyweight, and his last super middleweight fight was way back in November 2008. Technically, that qualifies him for deletion from the rankings. On the other hand, the fight last July was only halfway to the LHW limit, and since he has a fight signed with a top 20 contender and a resume capable of supporting a top ten ranking despite his inactivity, it seems a little pointless to not rank him for 3 weeks, only to return him to the rankings in some capacity regardless of how his next fight turns out. What is clear, though, is that his Ring ranking, #5, is far too high considering he’s never beaten a fighter ranked in the top ten (either at the time or currently) and is one of the most inactive fighters in the entire division, even if you count his pointless fight a year ago. Beating Mendy may give him enough of a body of work to supplant Taylor at #9, but I’d really like to see him fight someone in the top ten for a change.
11) Eduard Gutknecht (2-2)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- L(UD12) vs. Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: 7/17/2010- vs. Tarek Kaidouri (UNR)
Gutknecht finally has an opponent for his fight on Saturday- Tarek Kaidouri, a .500 journeyman who has no chance.
12) Dimitri Sartison (2-2)
Last Fight: 11/21/2009- TKO6 Stjepan Bozic
Next Fight: 7/31/2010- vs. Khoren Gevor (UNR)
Sartison has a couple pretty decent wins against accomplished gatekeeper Pablo Nievas (in February 2008) and more impressively against fringe contender Stjepan Bozic back in November. So far, he’s only lost at the very highest level, when he was stopped in the 12th round by #1 Mikkel Kessler in the summer of ’08. He’s got a fairly interesting match-up coming up at the end of the month against rated middleweight contender Khoren Gevor. A win may or may not get him into the top ten, as #10 Sakio Bika is fighting the same night.
13) Karoly Balzsay (2-2)
Last Fight: 12/4/2009- L(SD12) vs. Eduard Gutknecht
Next Fight: Unknown
In 2009, Balzsay appeared to be on fire- crashing the top ten by toppling #9 rated Denis Inkin in January in only his second major fight. But time has not been kind to the Hungarian contender. In his last two fights, which consecutively followed that victory, he lost to Robert Stieglitz (by 11th round TKO) and Eduard Gutknecht (by close decision). At 30, he’s young enough to bounce back, though.
14) Edison Miranda (2-2)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- L (TKO3) vs. Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Miranda clearly isn’t an elite fighter. He comes up well short when he fights at the elite level, having been stopped by Bute, Abraham, and Pavlik (at Middleweight), and dropping a decision to Ward and Abraham (at Middleweight). But he did beat Allan Green, who at the time appeared to be a serious contender, along with fringe contender Willie Gibbs, whom he knocked out in the first round. These victories were long ago, though (the Green victory was in March 2007 and the Gibbs fight in 2006). Still, he hasn’t done anything to prove that he’s slipped below the level he achieved with those victories, since he’s only lost to fighters that are a cut above those that he’s beaten, and so I assume that he’s still a solid fringe contender and worthy of exactly this ranking.
15) Jesse Brinkley (2-2)
Last Fight: 1/29/2010- UD12 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 10/15/2010- vs. #1 Lucian Bute
Brinkley’s signature victory thus far is a dominant decision over very tough gatekeeper Curtis Stevens back in January. He beat a few lesser gatekeeper-prospect types prior to that, and also had a not-so-great loss to another prospect, Joe Spina and another gatekeeper in Robin Reid (at LHW) earlier on. He’ll have to show that he’s a much better fighter than the version that lost to those guys if he hopes to have any chance against #1 contender Lucian Bute in October.
16) Thomas Oosthuizen (2-2)
Last Fight: 4/27/2010- KO8 Saul Roman
Next Fight: 11/6/2010- vs. #18 Isaac Chilemba
Oosthuizen, a South African southpaw who debuted just 2 years ago this week, made some serious noise by knocking out tough veteran Saul Roman in April. He also holds a win over a minor gatekeeper Tshepang Mohale. His next fight is an even bigger test against #18 Isaac Chilemba. The winner of that fight is sure to move up a notch or two.
17) Jean Paul Mendy (2-2)
Last Fight: 3/20/2010- KO9 Josival Teixeira
Next Fight: 7/31/2010- vs. #10 Sakio Bika
Mendy is a tough case. He hasn’t done anything worth mentioning since 2007, but in that fight he earned a draw with a very solid fringe contender, Anthony Hanshaw. Obviously his decision to pick on absolute non-entities ever since has hurt his standing somewhat, especially since he’s not getting any younger at 36, but since he’s stayed at least somewhat active and hasn’t lost or looked bad since, it’s hard to assume that he’s become garbage since then. He would have been somewhat higher in the rankings a few years ago, but he’s still ranked today. He’ll have a moment of truth against another fighter who’s been inexcusably inactive against top competition in Sakio Bika later this month.
18) Isaac Chilemba (2-2)
Last Fight: 6/19/2010- UD12 Michael Bolling
Next Fight: 11/6/2010- vs. #16 Thomas Oosthuizen
Chilemba is very close to Oosthuizen in terms of his accomplishments, but he has a loss (which he later avenged) to a relative non-entity in Wilbeforce Shihepo and has fought at light heavy. A November meeting should obviously set one clearly above the other.
19) Daniel Geale (2-2)
Last Fight: 6/2/2010- TKO11 Kariz Kariuki
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale is ranked at Middleweight, where he’s spent most of his career. It’s unclear whether he plans to continue campaigning at middleweight or make his recent move to Super Middle permanent. Regardless, his win over established Super Middleweight gatekeeper Kariz Kariuki is enough to earn him a #19 ranking in the new division. He will retain his ranking at middleweight so long as he continues to fight at that weight regularly and successfully, though.
20) Peter Quillin (2-2)
Last Fight: 2/6/2010- UD10 Fernando Zuniga
Next Fight: Unknown
The Zuniga victory from February earns him the last spot in the rankings when added to his decision over lesser gatekeeper Antwun Echols back in the spring of ’08.

THE WEEK AHEAD: Gutknecht’s gimme is the only notable action in the division this week.  It will be televised live on German station ZDF, and will be available on YouTube the following morning.

Light Heavyweight: 2010, July 12-18

Posted in Light Heavyweight, Rankings on July 14, 2010 by danboxing
Another quiet week in the division, and again only a little news.  Enjoy!
For comparison, here are the current Ring Magazine Ratings:
1) Chad Dawson
2) Glen Johnson
3) Jean Pascal
4) Bernard Hopkins
5) Tavoris Cloud
6) Vyacheslav Uzelkov
7) Adrian Diaconu
8 ) Karo Murat
9) Nathan Cleverly
10) Chris Henry
Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Chad Dawson (36-215-215)
Last Fight: 11/07/2009- UD12 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: 8/14/2010- #2 Jean Pascal
Not much in the way of debate on this one.  Bad Chad has beaten top 4 contenders in his last 4 fights, and soundly beat future cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek in early ’07, among other impressive victories.  If it weren’t for Bernard Hopkins signing a fight with Enrique Ornelas at the last minute, his last fight with Glen Johnson would have crowned him as the Champ.  As it is, his upcoming fight with Jean Pascal may do just that, though Tavoris Cloud may have a thing or two to say about that.
2) Jean Pascal (3-56-56)
Last Fight: 12/11/2009- UD12 Adrian Diaconu
Next Fight: 8/14/2010- #1 Chad Dawson
There is such a large dropoff after Dawson right now, but Pascal has a chance to prove everybody’s rankings wrong.  Since losing to current #4 Super Middleweight Carl Froch in late ’08, Pascal has made his mark on the new division.  His two key wins were both against Adrian Diaconu, but he gets ample credit for both wins since Diaconu, while not an obvious threat the second time, was still a worthy top 10 challenger prior to each fight.  He also threw in borderline fringe contender Silvio Branco in between, by way of stoppage.
3) Bernard Hopkins (3-214-214)
Last Fight: 4/3/2010- UD12 Roy Jones, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Count me among those that think the Executioner is close to shot.  Nevertheless, he’s done nothing to lose his lofty ranking, despite some inactivity and very careful matchmaking.  Unfortunately, I have to give him some credit for beating Roy Jones, since Jones, while a safe mark, was still at least a borderline top 10 fighter even after he was destroyed by Danny Green.  Now that he’s safely out of the top 2, however, I’m not so anxious to get Hopkins retired since the division can now move on without him fighting important fights.
4) Glen Johnson (3-369-369)
Last Fight: 2/5/2010- TKO6 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: 8/7/2010- #5 Tavoris Cloud
The former World Champion is defying age.  He clearly isn’t quite good enough to beat Chad Dawson, though he gave him at least a decent fight on two occasions.  He may just be a match for anyone else, though- having stopped possibly overrated but undeniably tough #7 contender Yusaf Mack back in February in emphatic fashion.  He has a huge fight coming up in St. Louis on August 7 against #5 Tavoris Cloud.
5) Tavoris Cloud (9-46-46)
Last Fight: 8/28/2009- UD12 Clinton Woods
Next Fight: 8/7/2010- #4 Glen Johnson
Cloud is a quick-handed, accurate, and aggressive boxer-puncher with loads of potential.  Due to bad timing, though, he is actually in a position to ruin a 1-2 matchup for the Light Heavyweight championship if he can beat Glen Johnson, since his resume would certainly surpass Jean Pascal’s in that scenario- just one week before the latter fights consensus #1 Chad Dawson.  If being undisputed matters to him, Dawson had better hope the Road Warrior doesn’t get old against the dangerous young Cloud.
6) Gabriel Campillo (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 5/15/2010- KO1 Luzimar Gonzaga
Next Fight: Unknown
Campillo is understandably underrated all over the place because he was straight-up robbed after dominating Beibut Shumenov for 11 of 12 rounds.  It was the worst decision I’ve ever seen, hands down (and that’s saying a lot).  He did have some rocky times, losing to fellow prospects Vlyacheslav Uzelkov and Karo Murat at Super Middleweight, but since moving up in weight he’s beaten then-#9-ranked Hugo Garay and, in all fairness, beat tough and rugged Shumenov twice.
7) Juergen Braehmer (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- TKO5 Mariano Plotinsky
Next Fight: 7/17/2010- Alejandro Lakatos (UNR)
Braehmer has one of the more lengthy resumes out there, but he has yet to beat a top-10 fighter.  His best win was a late stoppage of fast-rising young contender Aleksy Kuziemski 11 months ago, and he also has an impressive recent win over fringe contender Mariano Plotinski and a couple other decent wins, as well.  His only career setback was a reasonably close decision loss to Hugo Garay, who was ranked #10 at the time.  He has a solid body of work, but needs to add a signature win to break into the elite level.  His next fight-Alejandro Lakatos- is not going to get it done.
8 ) Chris Henry (3-9-9)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- TKO1 Hugo Garay
Next Fight: Unknown
Henry’s first two attempts at toppling top-level opponents ended in close decision losses against Adrian Diaconu and Yusaf Mack, but he’s rebounded with a sixth-round stoppage of fringe contender Sean George (at Cruiser) and a 1st-round annihilation of a possibly-faded but still at least very good fringe contender Hugo Garay in March.
9) Nathan Cleverly (9-23-23)
Last Fight: 2/13/2010- TKO5 Antonio Brancalion
Next Fight: 9/18/2010- #15 Karo Murat
This British sensation has so far been feasting on mid-level competition, but has done so emphatically- stopping 4 of the 5 notable opponents he’s faced.  His best win was against fellow undefeated prospect and now #19 contender Danny McIntosh a year ago.  He’s going to try to top that this fall, when he takes on #15 contender Karo Murat in front of a friendly crowd.
10) Roy Jones, Jr. (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 4/3/2010- L(UD12) vs. Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
I must admit that I was shocked when I realized I was including him in the top 10.  He’s surely shot, and if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll retire.  That being said, even ugly losses in three of his last 4 major fights (against Calzaghe, Danny Green, and Bernard Hopkins) can’t completely erase what he’s done.  He’s still got one significant victory in the past year- an utter humiliation of even more washed up- but still legitimately-rankable contender Jeff Lacy.  That’s more than can be said for Adrian Diaconu, as I’ll discuss below, or for the rest of the field.
11) Adrian Diaconu (3-166)
Last Fight: 12/11/2009- L(UD12) vs. Jean Pascal
Next Fight: Unknown
Made it to the Ring rankings on the strength of wins over contender Rico Hoye in 2007 and prospect (now contender) Chris Henry in April of 2008.  I’m not sure what he’s done to remain such a fixture in the rankings since then, however.  He was ranked #8 both times that he dropped decisive decisions to Jean Pascal, and is currently and inexplicably ranked #7 by the Ring, without having won a significant fight in well over 2 years. He may very well still be a top 10 fighter in theory- certainly I’d pick him to beat Jones head-to-head- but these rankings are supposed to be about accomplishment, not theory.
12) Thierry Karl (3-3)
Last Fight: 3/6/2010- UD10 Karim Bennama
Next Fight: Unknown
This French former middleweight seems to have grown into his new division well.  He twice lost (including once by knockout) to non-entity Francois Bastient at 160, but has two pretty good wins since moving up to LHW- first-round destructions of an undefeated fringe contender named Nadjib Mohammadi in September and gatekeeper Djamel Selini in December.
13) Yusaf Mack (3-3)
Last Fight: 2/5/2010- L(TKO6) vs. Glen Johnson
Next Fight: Unknown
Mack was definitely over his head in his stoppage loss to veteran contender Glen Johnson, but proved that he could at the very least hold his own against the second-tier of contenders by squeaking out a close split decision over current #8 Chris Henry back in early ’09.
14) Beibut Shumenov (3-3)
Last Fight: 1/29/2010- SD12 Gabriel Campillo*
Next Fight: 7/23/2010- #18 Vyacheslav Uzelkov
Normally I give at least nominal deference to the official results of fights, but Shumenov’s gift decision over Campillo from January is worthy of nothing but contempt, as the rugged Kazakh, while plenty game, was absolutely slapped around for the vast majority of that fight.  He actually gets more credit in my book for his loss in their legitimately close first meeting.  Even chalking those fights up as losses against superior competition, however, Shumenov can point to three significant wins in his very short career- the best being a dominant decision win over fringe contender Montell Griffin.  He’s got a very interesting fight coming up against Vyacheslav Uzelkov, a young prospect who has previously beaten Campillo.
15) Karo Murat (3-31)
Last Fight: 5/1/2010- UD12 Tommy Karpency
Next Fight: 9/18/2010- #9 Nathan Cleverly
Murat has only beaten a couple gatekeepers at Light Heavy, but he certainly deserves some credit for his success at Super Middleweight, especially his win over current top-10 contender Gabriel Campillo.  That being said, LHW is a whole new ballgame, and Murat has yet to challenge himself to the same extent as has Campillo.  That is about to change, however, when he takes on Nathan Cleverly in September.
16) Hugo Garay (3-3)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- L(TKO1) vs. Chris Henry
Next Fight: 8/10/2010- vs. Marcelo Da Silva (UNR)
Garay’s cruiserweight fight against Sergio Beaz apparently fell through at the last minute, but he is now scheduled for an August 10 fight with 19-2 Brazilian Marcelo Da Silva.  Da Silva, while he appears to have a decent record, has made what appears to be a remarkable effort to avoid fighting absolutely anyone with a pulse.  He has only twice fought a fighter that has ever won a fight.  Guess what two fights constitute the “2” in his 19-2.  Included is a stoppage loss to a 3-8 fighter.  And I thought Beaz was an easy mark…
17) Aleksy Kuziemski (3-3)
Last Fight: 5/22/2010- UD10 Igor Mikhalkin
Next Fight: Unknown
What do we know about Kuziemski?  Well, he’s not as good as Juergen Braehmer, who stopped him 11 months ago.  But he’s better than the prospects and gatekeepers he’s been beating.  It will be interesting to see if he fights someone whose skill level falls between those two extremes.
18) Vyacheslav Uzelkov (3-34)
Last Fight: 10/21/2009- TKO5 Tomas Adamek (not that one)
Next Fight: 7/23/2010- #14 Beibut Shumenov
Uzelkov beat prospect (now top 10 contender) Gabriel Campillo almost 3 years ago, and hasn’t done much of anything since.  His measure will be taken very soon when he fights Beibut Shumenov.  In the meantime, he’s egregiously overrated by the Ring given his complete lack of meaningful activity.
19) Danny McIntosh (3-3)
Last Fight: 2/19/2010- KO2 Tony Oakey
Next Fight: Unknown
Nothing too spectacular for him yet.  He beat gatekeeper Tony Oakey this past winter, and has lost by stoppage to Cleverly.  Not much of a resume, but you’ve got to search to find a qualified fighter at #19.
20) Jeff Lacy (3-3)
Last Fight: 8/15/2009- L(RTD10) vs. Roy Jones, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Lacy got absolutely schooled by an over-the-hill Roy Jones last year, so it’s painful to rate him.   On the other hand, he has two decent wins at Light Heavy.  The most recent was against Otis Griffin who, although he wasn’t really that well-regarded at the time, has done enough to this point that he would be rated #20 despite the loss if anyone dropped off.  The other was a little borderline.  He beat contender Peter Manfredo, Jr. in what was only technically a light heavyweight bout.  Both guys weighed in at 169, 1 pound over the Super Middleweight limit, and neither was considered a light heavyweight overall.  For that reason, I hesitate to give him credit for it, but I feel I must for the sake of consistency.

The Week Ahead: Brähmer-Lakatos is the only potentially consequential match on tap for this week.  Lakatos doesn’t figure to be much of a challenge, though, and not a sufficient stepping stone to move the German any higher in the rankings.  The fight will be part of a good card from Schwerin, Germany that includes Alexeev-Lebedev and female star Susi Kentikian.  It will be televised on the German station ZDF Saturday afternoon (US time), and will be posted to UBPboxing’s YouTube page the following morning.

Cruiserweight: 2010, July 12-18

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings on July 14, 2010 by danboxing
Nothing major happened in the ring this week, but there is some very interesting top-10 news.  Light Heavyweight contender Hugo Garay was supposed to fight in his native Argentina against a journeyman at cruiserweight, but that fight apparently fell through on short notice.
For Comparison, here are the Current Ring Magazine Cruiserweight Rankings:
Champ: None
1) Steve Cunningham
2) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
3) Marco Huck
4) Troy Ross
5) Zsolt Erdei
6) Danny Green
7) Dennis Lebedev
8 ) Giacobbe Fragomeni
9) Ola Afolabi
10) Matt Godfrey

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Steve Cunningham (114*-317-317)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- TKO5 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Shaky victory over Troy Ross notwithstanding, nobody has accomplished as much in the division as USS Cunningham.  We’ll see how he fares in the rumored Super Six, but for now he’s the man to beat.
* Not actually sure how long he’s been rated #1, but it has been at least this number of weeks.
2) Marco Huck (3-188-188)
Last Fight: 5/1/2010- RTD9 Brian Minto
Next Fight: 8/21/2010- vs. #17 Matt Godfrey
Huck is fighting significant fights 4 times a year, and he’s set to fight inactive fringe (but Ring-rated) contender Matt Godfrey in late August.  If only we could get his fights on US TV, we might realize how good he really is.
3) Ola Afolabi (3-70-70)
Last Fight: 12/5/2009- L(UD12) vs. Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
His resume is definitely one of the more debatable ones I had to examine.  His hallmark win was against Enzo Maccarinelli who, while he was ranked #6 at the time, hasn’t been heard from a ton since.  That said, even after losing 3 of 4, Maccarinelli seems to still be more or less a player in the division even now.  A very close loss to Marco Huck in Germany actually helps him in my book, too.
4) Krzsztof Wlodarczyk (3-264-264)
Last Fight: 5/15/2010- TKO8 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Since graduating to the level of contender in 2006, the Pole with the confounding name has fought significant fights against only tough opponents, a total of 4 times.  A close win against Steve Cunningham was followed by a close loss to same, and after a draw to Giacobbe Fragomeni, he was finally able to win a clear-cut fight by stopping the Italian in their rematch.  Anyone who can fight on even terms with Cunningham for 24 rounds is going to be rated top-5, and a pretty good argument could be made for ranking him 3 or even 2.
5) Zsolt Erdei (6-34-34)
Last Fight: 11/21/09- MD12 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
He probably will return to Light Heavyweight soon and fight nobodies again for the rest of his career.  He’s such dead weight in any top 10 list that I hate to rate him, but somehow he fights just enough contenders to remain a top 5 contender, while still leaving us with the unshakeable impression that he’s never fought anyone in his entire life.  Fragomeni is a significant conquest, especially above his natural weight, but I can’t help but think the Italian was already fading by that time.
6) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- UD8 Zack Page
Next Fight: Unknown
The IBF has ordered a title eliminator match between Hernandez and #10 B.J. Flores.  What a great matchup that will be- the two best young upcoming contenders in the division. Assuming the fight comes off, the winner will certainly end up in the top five.
7) Denis Lebedev (9-23-23)
Last Fight: 2/22/2010- KO4 Ignacio Esparza
Next Fight: 7/17/2010- vs. #19 Alexander Alexeev
This is the week- Lebedev will have a chance to prove he’s the goods when he faces #19 Alexander Alexeev in Schwerin, Germany on Saturday.
8 ) Danny Green (3-32-32)
Last Fight: 4/14/2010- KO3 Manny Siaca
Next Fight: 7/21/2010- vs. Paul Briggs (UNR)
Green is scheduled to fight Paul Briggs next weekend.  Briggs was still a solid light heavyweight contender when he last fought in February 2007, but his last win against solid competition was six years ago, and to give you an idea of how well-regarded he is as an opponent for Green, this fight was moved from New South Wales to Perth because the former got squeamish about sanctioning what they saw as a gross mismatch.
9) Giacobbe Fragomeni (3-87-87)
Last Fight: 5/15/2010- L(TKO8) vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni definitely appears to be on the downslope of his career after his stoppage loss to Wlodarczyk, but he does still own a victory inside of 2 years over then-10th ranked Rudolf Kraj, and a draw in his first fight with Wlodarczyk.  It’s hard to say that his performance since entering the division’s elite has been really impressive, but he still has yet to lose to anyone not currently ranked among the top 5 cruisers or heavyweights.
10) B.J. Flores (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 8/15/2009- TKO4 Epifanio Mendoza
Next Fight: Unknown
Finally appears to have the kind of fight on the horizon that could place him among the elite, as he appears set to fight #6 Yoan Pablo Hernandez in late summer or early fall.
11) Enad Licina (3-3)
Last Fight: 10/17/2009 L(UD12) vs. Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: 8/21/2010- TBA
Has a date reserved on August 21, but we don’t seem to know yet who his dance partner will be.
12) Enzo Maccarinelli (3-3)
Last Fight: 4/27/2010- TKO1 Alexander Kotlobay
Next Fight: 9/18/2010 vs. Alexander Frenkel (UNR)
Maccarinelli now has an opponent for the EBU Cruiserweight Title fight on September 18: fringe contender Alexander Frenkel.  This will be on the same card as the Sexton-Chisora Heavyweight matchup.
13) Wayne Braithwaite (3-3)
Last Fight: 3/6/2010- TKO1 Adam Harris
Next Fight: Unknown
Back in 2005, Braithwaite was on the losing end of a #1-#2 matchup that crowned Ring champion Jean Marc Mormeck.  He’s only had one notable victory since then- against up-and-coming current #6 contender Yoan Pablo Hernandez- a little over 2 years ago.  That’s a long time, but that’s still a better victory than anyone below can claim, and at least he’s staying active, albeit against less than significant competition.
14) Steve Herelius (2-2)
Last Fight: 7/3/10- TKO12 Firat Arslan
Next Fight: Unknown
Herelius looked well-conditioned and vastly outworked dangerous pressure-fighter and former contender Arslan.  Arslan landed the cleaner punches, but Herelius’s workrate combined with a lack of air-conditioning were too much for Arslan, who had been injured and inactive for 2 years and had to be carried out of the ring on a stretcher after collapsing in his corner, which he barely made it to following a dominant 11th round for Herelius.  The fight was quite closely fought to that point.  Herelius had previously beaten gatekeeper Jean Marc Monrose twice in 2009.
15) Victor Ramirez (2-3)
Last Fight: 8/29/2009- L (UD12) vs. Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
His momentum was derailed recently by a decision loss to Marco Huck, but owns a big win over contender Alexander Alexeev 17 months ago sandwiched between two run-of-the mill wins over gatekeepers.  Needs to get more active, though ,as he hasn’t fought in 10 months and has nothing scheduled.
16) Troy Ross (2-72)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- L (TKO5) vs. Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Yes, he looked really good in a controversial TKO loss to Cunningham, but even discounting the fact that this was still a loss completely, it’s hard to rank a guy in the top 5 based on four rounds in one fight that he, at the very least, didn’t win.  Meanwhile, he’s got 4 or 5 significant wins, but none of them against anyone who could reasonably be called even a fringe contender, and he did lose to a relative non-entity, albeit over 5 years ago.  I’d say he’s gotta get into the win column against a legitimate top 30 contender before he can get any higher than he is, and that’s why it’s a travesty that he’s rated #4 by The Ring.
17) Pawel Kolodziej (2-3)
Last Fight: 6/12/2010- KO12 Parfait Amougou
Next Fight: Unknown
Undefeated fringe contender with win over fringe contender Rob Calloway 6 months ago.
18) Matt Godfrey (2-79)
Last Fight: 9/12/2009- SD10 Michael Simms
Next Fight: 8/21/2010 vs. #2 Marco Huck
Severely overrated given his lack of activity (his last significant fight was almost 2 years ago- against Emmanuel Nwodo), Godfrey does have a significant opportunity to get his career going again when he takes on world-beater Marco Huck in August.
19) Alexander Alexeev (2-3)
Last Fight: 12/19/2009- KO2 Daniel Ammann
Next Fight: 7/17/2010 vs. #7 Denis Lebedev
A middling contender, Alexeev’s best win came over fringe contender Rob Calloway in ’08.  He lost to Victor Ramirez and beat a pair of lesser, gatekeeper-level opponents , including in his most recent fight in November.  Has a big fight upcoming against #7 Denis Lebedev in mid-July.
20) Julio Cesar Matthews (2-3)
Last Fight: 6/13/2010- UD6 Garrett Wilson
Next Fight: Unknown
A guy in his late 30s that’s still fighting 6-rounders doesn’t sound like a top 20 contender by any means, but one recent 6-rounder was actually against a fairly significant opponent, and the division starts looking very, very thin by this point.

THE WEEK AHEAD: There’s a fair amount of activity in the division this week.  The big fight in the division this week is from Schwerin, Germany between fringe contender Alexander Alexeev (#19) and rising prospect/contender Denis Lebedev (#7).  Obviously expect some movement in the next rankings.  Before that, on Wednesday, solid undefeated Israeli prospect Ran Nakash steps up somewhat in class against a good journeyman and/or mediocre gatekeeper in Victor Barragan in Philly.  Finally, former lineal light heavyweight champion Julio Cesar Gonzalez, coming off three consecutive losses at 175, is moving up to cruiser to face the decent but inexperienced  Felipe Romero for the Mexican title.

Heavyweight: 2010, July 12-18

Posted in Heavyweight, Rankings on July 13, 2010 by danboxing
No movement in the rankings again this week.  Nagy Aguilera, who probably was top-20 worthy before being destroyed by Sam Peter, fought this week in New York state, dispatching journeyman Roderick Willis in 1 round.  As expected, Willis did not represent a significant-enough level of opposition to earn Aguilera a ranking.
For Comparison, here are the Current Ring Magazine Heavyweight Rankings:
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko
1) Vitali Klitschko
2) David Haye
3) Alexander Povetkin
4) Tomasz Adamek
5) Ruslan Chagaev
6) Eddie Chambers
7) Denis Boytsov
8 ) Nikolai Valuev
9) Alexander Dimitrenko
10) Chris Arreola

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (55-268-268)
Last Fight: 3/20/2010- KO12 Eddie Chambers
Next Fight: 9/11/2010 vs. #3 Alexander Povetkin
Apparently Showtime was considering televising Klitschko-Povetkin on delay, but the fight was recently moved from 9/18 to 9/11, which nixes that network’s plan to televise it along with Lopez-Marquez.  Maybe there’s still hope for ESPN to come through for us, but a PPV (possibly an online PPV) appears to be the most likely scenario at this point, unfortunately.
1) Vitali Klitschko (92-92-92)
Last Fight: 5/29/2010- KO10 Albert Sosnowski
Next Fight: Unknown
Apparently Shannon Briggs- who, to break one news story and then state the obvious, is neither retired nor any damn good- is now a more likely opponent than Valuev.  Stay tuned.
2) David Haye (15-69-69)
Last Fight: 4/3/2010- TKO9 John Ruiz
Next Fight: Unknown
Harrison-Haye unfortunately still looks like a good bet.
3) Alexander Povetkin (15-142-142)
Last Fight: 3/13/2010- TKO5 Javier Mora
Next Fight: 9/18/2010- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
The moment he’s been waiting…and waiting…and waiting…and waiting for is finally upon him.  Chances are dim for an actual victory over Wlad, but it’s always good to see highly rated contenders and champs fighting one another, and it’s good to see Povetkin becoming relevant again.
4) Eddie Chambers (7-68-68)
Last Fight: 3/20/2010- L(KO12) vs. Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Nothing seems imminent, but there are whispers that he might move down to cruiserweight.  He’d be a beast there.
5) Ruslan Chagaev (8-191-191)
Last Fight: 5/22/2010- UD12 Kali Meehan
Next Fight: Unknown
6) Samuel Peter (7-7-7)
Last Fight: 3/12/2010- TKO2 Nagy Aguilera
Next Fight: Unknown
7) Nikolai Valuev (7-239-239)
Last Fight: 11/7/2009- L(MD12)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vitali says his $1.5 million offer to make a fight with the giant is only going to get lower.  I don’t know what Valuev is waiting for.  This is his last, best (albeit slim) hope to reach the pinnacle of the division, and even if he loses, he’ll have a lot of cash money with which to wipe away the tears.
8 ) Tony Thompson (7-7-7)
Last Fight: 4/16/2010- TKO4 Owen Beck
Next Fight: Unknown
A late-breaking rotator cuff tear derailed his stay-busy fight against Friday Ahunanya on the Ward-Green undercard.  Here’s hoping he comes back looking for a better challenge and a late-career push for another title shot.
9) Juan Carlos Gomez (7-7-7)
Last Fight: 6/4/2010- UD8 Oezcan Cetinkaya
Next Fight: Unknown
Gomez’s scheduled 6/26 fight against no-hoper Rafael Zumbano disappeared without a trace.  No idea why it didn’t come off, but we’ll see what’s next.
10) Tomasz Adamek (7-12-12)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- MD12 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: 8/21/2010- vs. Michael Grant (UNR)
Of all the fights Adamek could have taken, Michael Grant is not the sexiest matchup.
11) Chris Arreola (7-69)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- L(MD12) vs. Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: 8/13/2010- vs. Manuel Quezada
Just scheduled a stay-busy/rebound fight against Manuel Quezada, a former gatekeeper who probably isn’t even that anymore after a loss to Jason Gavern.  It’s good that he’s staying busy- expect him to fight another contender next.
12) Denis Boytsov (7-56)
Last Fight: 1/9/2010- KO2 Kevin Montiy
Next Fight: Unknown
13) Alexander Dimitrenko (7-87)
Last Fight: 7/4/2010- L(MD12) vs. Eddie Chambers
Next Fight: 7/30/2010 vs. Denis Bakhtov (UNR)
His fight against Denis Bakhtov has now been officially announced for July 30 in Russia.
14) Ray Austin (7-7)
Last Fight: 10/31/2009- TKO4 DaVarryl Williamson
Next Fight: Unknown
15) Robert Helenius (7-7)
Last Fight: 3/26/2010- UD8 Gbenga Oloukun
Next Fight: 8/21/2010 vs. Gregory Tony (UNR)
Recently scheduled a mid-August fight for the European Union title against fellow 12-0 prospect Gregory Tony of France.  Despite the identical record, Helenius has seen the better opposition.  Still, this should be an interesting fight to determine if either or both men are for real.
16) Francesco Pianeta (7-7)
Last Fight: 12/5/2009- UD8 Evgeny Orlov
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Odlanier Solis (7-7)
Last Fight: 3/20/2010- RTD3 Carl Davis Drumond
Next Fight: Unknown
With almost no concrete pro accomplishments, he’s already calling out the Klitschkos.  A little ambitious, aren’t we?
18) Jean Marc Mormeck (7-7)
Last Fight: 5/6/2010- UD10 Fres Oquendo
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Timur Ibragimov (3-3)
Last Fight: 6/15/2010- UD12 Oliver McCall (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/24/2010- vs. Gurcharan Singh (UNR)
Admirably staying busy, Ibragimov will now fight Indian heavyweight (yes, they do exist) Gurcharan Singh in late-August from Hollywood, Florida.  The undefeated Singh, originally from Punjab and based in New Jersey, was on the cusp of becoming a notable prospect after moving to 17-0 in June 2004 before taking 3 1/2 years off for some reason.  Singh is hardly on the radar today, but you never can tell what an undefeated fighter has up his sleeve.  Singh was also a 2000 Olympian at light heavyweight.
20) Sam Sexton (4-7)
Last Fight: 11/6/2009- RTD6 Martin Rogan
Next Fight: 9/18/2010- vs. Derek Chisora (UNR)
Sexton is now scheduled to try and avenge his lone career loss against Derek Chisora for the British Boxing Board of Control’s British Heavyweight Title on the same night as Wlad takes on Povetkin.  With a win, Sexton should be able to secure himself a much stronger foothold in the top 20, while a Chisora victory would certainly earn him a spot in the rankings.

THE WEEK AHEAD: Former contender David Tua faces off against Monte Barrett in Atlantic City on a frankly lackluster Pay-per-view Saturday night.  Barrett has been the quintessential gatekeeper for quite some time now, but he hasn’t bothered to close the gate in 3 fights over the course of over 2 years now, and so Tua, if he wins, is not likely to benefit from the fight in terms of a rating.

Super Middleweights: 2010, July 5-11

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight on July 9, 2010 by danboxing

Here are my inaugural Super Middleweight Rankings. What a deep division this is! I could have made a top 35 about as easily as I created the top 20 in any of the previous divisions.

Here are The Ring’s top 10 for comparison purposes:
1) Lucian Bute
2) Andre Ward
3) Mikkel Kessler
4) Carl Froch
5) Sakio Bika
6) Andre Direll
7) Arthur Abraham
8 ) Robert Stieglitz
9) Librado Andrade
10) Brian Magee

Dan’s Top 20

Champ: None

1) Lucian Bute (32-222-222)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- TKO3 Edison Miranda
Next Fight: 10/15/2010- vs. #15 Jesse Brinkley
It’s almost a tossup between him and Andre Ward. In terms of top 10 contenders, Bute has beaten Librado Andrade twice, at which points Andrade was rated #4 and #5, as well as former contender Alejandro Berrio (not sure where he was rated, but my guess is around 5 somewhere). Ward, on the other hand, has beaten then-#1 Mikkel Kessler and then-#8 Allan Green. The shaky nature of the first Andrade win adds to the controversy. It seems inevitable that the winner of the Super 6 will eventually overtake him in the rankings- perhaps even the winner of Ward vs. Dirrell- but for now I’ll stick with Bute, who has also beaten seven fighters that were fairly classified as fringe contenders at the time he beat them- including currently-rated contenders Edison Miranda and Sakio Bika. Ward, in his much shorter career, has also beaten Miranda, but only has one other significant win: gatekeeper Henry Buchanan in early 2009.
2) Andre Ward (32-60-60)
Last Fight: 6/19/2010- UD12 Allan Green
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #5 Andre Dirrell
Ward is currently the odds-on favorite to win the Super Six, and is the first and only participant to clinch a spot in the elimination round thus far. One thing is certain: if Bute remains undefeated at 168, a fight between him and the Super Six winner will crown a champion and will be a huge event.
3) Mikkel Kessler (11-292-292)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- UD12 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. Allan Green (UNR)
Saved his career as an elite fighter with a spirited effort against #3 ranked Carl Froch in an April fight that has been the best fight of the year so far. I had the fight 115-113 for Froch, but there were certainly enough close rounds to justify a Kessler win. Kessler was the consensus #1 in the division until losing convincingly to Ward last year and is unquestionably #3 now.
4) Carl Froch (11-213-213)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- L (UD12) vs. Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #7 Arthur Abraham
Probably the most naturally entertaining fighter in the division, Froch is an unorthodox brawler whose last 3 fights have been as close as all get-out. He stopped Jermain Taylor in the waning seconds of their fight, got what many considered a gift decision over Andre Dirrell in his home city of Nottingham (I had the fight a draw), and then last a toss-up fight to Mikkel Kessler in Denmark (I scored it 115-113 Froch). Any remaining doubters that claim he’s not elite are clearly wrong, as Froch has proven to be an almost perfect match for three top ten fighters, including two in the top five. We’ll see in his next fight if Froch can handle the defense and power of Armenian-German knockout artist Arthur Abraham. That fight is still in the works, as the fighters are understandably fighting over the location-all six Super Six fights have been won by the home fighter.
5) Andre Dirrell (1-15-15)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- DQ11 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Date Unknown- #2 Andre Ward
Win, lose, or draw (I say draw), Andre Dirrell fought like a punk in his controversial split-decision loss to Carl Froch. He ran incessantly and grabbed more often than he punched. But whether or not you think he was really as knocked out as he acted when Arthur Abraham blatantly clocked him after a slip, Dirrell was thoroughly outboxing and frustrating the slugger. Despite Andre Ward’s utter dominance in his first two fights, the upcoming showdown between the two friends named Andre has got to be considered a pick ’em fight. If, in fact, Dirrell has ever legitimately lost, it hasn’t been by more than a point.
6) Robert Stieglitz (1-46-46)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- UD12 Eduard Gutknecht
Next Fight: Unknown
Stieglitz was stopped by Librado Andrade in early 2008, but he is rated ahead of him because Stieglitz has simply done more winning since then. The key win was an 11th-round stoppage of Karoly Balzsay, who was ranked #7 at the time. He ranks ahead of Abraham simply because he’s got a win over a slightly higher-rated contender than does Abraham, and has a larger body of work in this division.
7) Arthur Abraham (15-38-38)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- L (DQ11) vs. Andre Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #4 Carl Froch
Setting aside his lengthy and impressive Middleweight resume, Abraham’s claim to his current position is based on his knockout of #8 contender Jermain Taylor 2009 and his stoppage of quality fringe contender Edison Miranda in the summer of ’08. Many think he was starting to catch up to a tiring Dirrell before fouling himself to a loss, but what is clear is that he lost.
8 ) Librado Andrade (3-164-164)
Last Fight: 5/28/2010- RTD8 Eric Lucas
Next Fight: Unknown
Andrade is in one of the most unenviable positions of any top-ten contender in the sport. He’s frozen out of the Super Six, so he can’t get a fight with any of those guys for close to another year at a minimum. He can’t reasonably get a fight with Bute because he’s lost to him twice- once by early knockout. Jermain Taylor is virtually retired. Sakio Bika has another fight scheduled. Therefore, the only fight he could possibly make within the top ten would be a rematch with Robert Stieglitz, whom he stopped in 2008. His last fight was technically at light heavyweight, but I have no reason yet to believe that he’s abandoning 168.
9) Jermain Taylor (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 10/17/2009- L (KO12) vs. Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
Taylor is retired for all practical purposes, but hasn’t made any official announcement to that effect, and as such I feel obligated to treat him as an active fighter until he no longer is. He remains rated for this reason, coupled with his late-’08 stoppage of then-#5 contender Jeff Lacy. He may not even be contractually free to sign for a fight before the 1 year anniversary of his last one, so expect Taylor to drop from the rankings in mid-October. You might argue that his two back-to-back stoppage losses should push him from the top 10, but not even #8 Andrade has a win over a top 10 contender in his career. It’s hard for me to ignore that credential, even when it was a while ago, and even when it’s all he’s really got at this weight (and even when it’s only Jeff Lacy).
10) Sakio Bika (1-170-170)
Last Fight: 7/30/09- KO1 Nestor Casanova (at Light Heavyweight)
Next Fight: 7/31/10- vs. #17 Jean Paul Mendy
There’s a very good argument to be made that he shouldn’t be rated at all. His last fight was at light heavyweight, and his last super middleweight fight was way back in November 2008. Technically, that qualifies him for deletion from the rankings. On the other hand, the fight last July was only halfway to the LHW limit, and since he has a fight signed with a top 20 contender and a resume capable of supporting a top ten ranking despite his inactivity, it seems a little pointless to not rank him for 3 weeks, only to return him to the rankings in some capacity regardless of how his next fight turns out. What is clear, though, is that his Ring ranking, #5, is far too high considering he’s never beaten a fighter ranked in the top ten (either at the time or currently) and is one of the most inactive fighters in the entire division, even if you count his pointless fight a year ago. Beating Mendy may give him enough of a body of work to supplant Taylor at #9, but I’d really like to see him fight someone in the top ten for a change.
11) Eduard Gutknecht (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- L(UD12) vs. Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: 7/17/2010- vs. TBA
Gutknecht defeated a top 10 contender less than a year ago (#10 Karoly Balzsay), which normally would make him a shoe-in for a top 10 spot. The reason he tops out at eleven right now is that this was his only significant victory and was very close, coupled with his subsequent loss to Stieglitz. Still, having succeeded in his first shot at a top-level fighter without having fought so much as a gatekeeper previously, his skill may yet make him a fixture in the top 10 despite the Stieglitz setback. He is scheduled to fight an unknown opponent next weekend as part of a very deep fight card from Schwerin, Germany which will be on Universum’s YouTube page the following morning.
12) Dimitri Sartison (1-1)
Last Fight: 11/21/2009- TKO6 Stjepan Bozic
Next Fight: 7/31/2010- vs. Khoren Gevor (UNR)
Sartison has a couple pretty decent wins against accomplished gatekeeper Pablo Nievas (in February 2008) and more impressively against fringe contender Stjepan Bozic back in November. So far, he’s only lost at the very highest level, when he was stopped in the 12th round by #1 Mikkel Kessler in the summer of ’08. He’s got a fairly interesting match-up coming up at the end of the month against rated middleweight contender Khoren Gevor. A win may or may not get him into the top ten, as #10 Sakio Bika is fighting the same night.
13) Karoly Balzsay (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/4/2009- L(SD12) vs. Eduard Gutknecht
Next Fight: Unknown
In 2009, Balzsay appeared to be on fire- crashing the top ten by toppling #9 rated Denis Inkin in January in only his second major fight. But time has not been kind to the Hungarian contender. In his last two fights, which consecutively followed that victory, he lost to Robert Stieglitz (by 11th round TKO) and Eduard Gutknecht (by close decision). At 30, he’s young enough to bounce back, though.
14) Edison Miranda (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- L (TKO3) vs. Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Miranda clearly isn’t an elite fighter. He comes up well short when he fights at the elite level, having been stopped by Bute, Abraham, and Pavlik (at Middleweight), and dropping a decision to Ward and Abraham (at Middleweight). But he did beat Allan Green, who at the time appeared to be a serious contender, along with fringe contender Willie Gibbs, whom he knocked out in the first round. These victories were long ago, though (the Green victory was in March 2007 and the Gibbs fight in 2006). Still, he hasn’t done anything to prove that he’s slipped below the level he achieved with those victories, since he’s only lost to fighters that are a cut above those that he’s beaten, and so I assume that he’s still a solid fringe contender and worthy of exactly this ranking.
15) Jesse Brinkley (1-1)
Last Fight: 1/29/2010- UD12 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 10/15/2010- vs. #1 Lucian Bute
Brinkley’s signature victory thus far is a dominant decision over very tough gatekeeper Curtis Stevens back in January. He beat a few lesser gatekeeper-prospect types prior to that, and also had a not-so-great loss to another prospect, Joe Spina and another gatekeeper in Robin Reid (at LHW) earlier on. He’ll have to show that he’s a much better fighter than the version that lost to those guys if he hopes to have any chance against #1 contender Lucian Bute in October.
16) Thomas Oosthuizen (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/27/2010- KO8 Saul Roman
Next Fight: 11/6/2010- vs. #18 Isaac Chilemba
Oosthuizen, a South African southpaw who debuted just 2 years ago this week, made some serious noise by knocking out tough veteran Saul Roman in April. He also holds a win over a minor gatekeeper Tshepang Mohale. His next fight is an even bigger test against #18 Isaac Chilemba. The winner of that fight is sure to move up a notch or two.
17) Jean Paul Mendy (1-1)
Last Fight: 3/20/2010- KO9 Josival Teixeira
Next Fight: 7/31/2010- vs. #10 Sakio Bika
Mendy is a tough case. He hasn’t done anything worth mentioning since 2007, but in that fight he earned a draw with a very solid fringe contender, Anthony Hanshaw. Obviously his decision to pick on absolute non-entities ever since has hurt his standing somewhat, especially since he’s not getting any younger at 36, but since he’s stayed at least somewhat active and hasn’t lost or looked bad since, it’s hard to assume that he’s become garbage since then. He would have been somewhat higher in the rankings a few years ago, but he’s still ranked today. He’ll have a moment of truth against another fighter who’s been inexcusably inactive against top competition in Sakio Bika later this month.
18) Isaac Chilemba (1-1)
Last Fight: 6/19/2010- UD12 Michael Bolling
Next Fight: 11/6/2010- vs. #16 Thomas Oosthuizen
Chilemba is very close to Oosthuizen in terms of his accomplishments, but he has a loss (which he later avenged) to a relative non-entity in Wilbeforce Shihepo and has fought at light heavy. A November meeting should obviously set one clearly above the other.
19) Daniel Geale (1-1)
Last Fight: 6/2/2010- TKO11 Kariz Kariuki
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale is ranked at Middleweight, where he’s spent most of his career. It’s unclear whether he plans to continue campaigning at middleweight or make his recent move to Super Middle permanent. Regardless, his win over established Super Middleweight gatekeeper Kariz Kariuki is enough to earn him a #19 ranking in the new division. He will retain his ranking at middleweight so long as he continues to fight at that weight regularly and successfully, though.
20) Peter Quillin (1-1)
Last Fight: 2/6/2010- UD10 Fernando Zuniga
Next Fight: Unknown
The Zuniga victory from February earns him the last spot in the rankings when added to his decision over lesser gatekeeper Antwun Echols back in the spring of ’08.

THE WEEK AHEAD: No fights on tap for this week that could conceivably affect the rankings. So enjoy the peace of mind of knowing these rankings are solid gold for one more week!

Light Heavyweight: 2010, July 5-11

Posted in Light Heavyweight, Rankings on July 5, 2010 by danboxing
It was a quiet week in the division this week.  No major fights, and only a little news.  See below.
For comparison, here are the current Ring Magazine Ratings:
1) Chad Dawson
2) Glen Johnson
3) Jean Pascal
4) Bernard Hopkins
5) Tavoris Cloud
6) Vyacheslav Uzelkov
7) Adrian Diaconu
8 ) Karo Murat
9) Nathan Cleverly
10) Chris Henry
Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Chad Dawson (35-214-214)
Last Fight: 11/07/2009- UD12 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: 8/14/2010- #2 Jean Pascal
Not much in the way of debate on this one.  Bad Chad has beaten top 4 contenders in his last 4 fights, and soundly beat future cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek in early ’07, among other impressive victories.  If it weren’t for Bernard Hopkins signing a fight with Enrique Ornelas at the last minute, his last fight with Glen Johnson would have crowned him as the Champ.  As it is, his upcoming fight with Jean Pascal may do just that, though Tavoris Cloud may have a thing or two to say about that.
2) Jean Pascal (2-55-55)
Last Fight: 12/11/2009- UD12 Adrian Diaconu
Next Fight: 8/14/2010- #1 Chad Dawson
There is such a large dropoff after Dawson right now, but Pascal has a chance to prove everybody’s rankings wrong.  Since losing to current #4 Super Middleweight Carl Froch in late ’08, Pascal has made his mark on the new division.  His two key wins were both against Adrian Diaconu, but he gets ample credit for both wins since Diaconu, while not an obvious threat the second time, was still a worthy top 10 challenger prior to each fight.  He also threw in borderline fringe contender Silvio Branco in between, by way of stoppage.
3) Bernard Hopkins (2-213-213)
Last Fight: 4/3/2010- UD12 Roy Jones, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Count me among those that think the Executioner is close to shot.  Nevertheless, he’s done nothing to lose his lofty ranking, despite some inactivity and very careful matchmaking.  Unfortunately, I have to give him some credit for beating Roy Jones, since Jones, while a safe mark, was still at least a borderline top 10 fighter even after he was destroyed by Danny Green.  Now that he’s safely out of the top 2, however, I’m not so anxious to get Hopkins retired since the division can now move on without him fighting important fights.
4) Glen Johnson (2-368-368)
Last Fight: 2/5/2010- TKO6 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: 8/7/2010- #5 Tavoris Cloud
The former World Champion is defying age.  He clearly isn’t quite good enough to beat Chad Dawson, though he gave him at least a decent fight on two occasions.  He may just be a match for anyone else, though- having stopped possibly overrated but undeniably tough #7 contender Yusaf Mack back in February in emphatic fashion.  He has a huge fight coming up in St. Louis on August 7 against #5 Tavoris Cloud.
5) Tavoris Cloud (8-45-45)
Last Fight: 8/28/2009- UD12 Clinton Woods
Next Fight: 8/7/2010- #4 Glen Johnson
Cloud is a quick-handed, accurate, and aggressive boxer-puncher with loads of potential.  Due to bad timing, though, he is actually in a position to ruin a 1-2 matchup for the Light Heavyweight championship if he can beat Glen Johnson, since his resume would certainly surpass Jean Pascal’s in that scenario, just one week before that latter fights consensus #1 Chad Dawson.  If being undisputed matters to him, Dawson had better hope the Road Warrior doesn’t get old against the dangerous young Cloud.
6) Gabriel Campillo (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 5/15/2010- KO1 Luzimar Gonzaga
Next Fight: Unknown
Campillo is understandably underrated all over the place because he was straight-up robbed after dominating Beibut Shumenov for 11 of 12 rounds.  It was the worst decision I’ve ever seen, hands down (and that’s saying a lot).  He did have some rocky times, losing to fellow prospects Vlyacheslav Uzelkov and Karo Murat at Super Middleweight, but since moving up in weight he’s beaten then-#9-ranked Hugo Garay and, in all fairness, beat tough and rugged Shumenov twice.
7) Juergen Braehmer (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- TKO5 Mariano Plotinsky
Next Fight: 7/17/2010- Alejandro Lakatos (UNR)
Braehmer has one of the more lengthy resumes out there, but he has yet to beat a top-10 fighter.  His best win was a late stoppage of fast-rising young contender Aleksy Kuziemski 11 months ago, and he also has an impressive recent win over fringe contender Mariano Plotinski and a couple other decent wins, as well.  His only career setback was a reasonably close decision loss to Hugo Garay, who was ranked #10 at the time.  He has a solid body of work, but needs to add a signature win to break into the elite level.  His next fight-Alejandro Lakatos- is not going to get it done.
8 ) Chris Henry (2-8-8)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- TKO1 Hugo Garay
Next Fight: Unknown
Henry’s first two attempts at toppling top-level opponents ended in close decision losses against Adrian Diaconu and Yusaf Mack, but he’s rebounded with a sixth-round stoppage of fringe contender Sean George (at Cruiser) and a 1st-round annihilation of a possibly-faded but still at least very good fringe contender Hugo Garay in March.
9) Nathan Cleverly (8-22-22)
Last Fight: 2/13/2010- TKO5 Antonio Brancalion
Next Fight: 9/18/2010- #15 Karo Murat
This British sensation has so far been feasting on mid-level competition, but has done so emphatically- stopping 4 of the 5 notable opponents he’s faced.  His best win was against fellow undefeated prospect and now #19 contender Danny McIntosh a year ago.  He’s going to try to top that this fall, when he takes on #15 contender Karo Murat in front of a friendly crowd.
10) Roy Jones, Jr. (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 4/3/2010- L(UD12) vs. Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
I must admit that I was shocked when I realized I was including him in the top 10.  He’s surely shot, and if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll retire.  That being said, even ugly losses in three of his last 4 major fights (against Calzaghe, Danny Green, and Bernard Hopkins) can’t completely erase what he’s done.  He’s still got one significant victory in the past year- an utter humiliation of even more washed up- but still legitimately-rankable contender Jeff Lacy.  That’s more than can be said for Adrian Diaconu, as I’ll discuss below, or for the rest of the field.
11) Adrian Diaconu (2-165)
Last Fight: 12/11/2009- L(UD12) vs. Jean Pascal
Next Fight: Unknown
Made it to the Ring rankings on the strength of wins over contender Rico Hoye in 2007 and prospect (now contender) Chris Henry in April of 2008.  I’m not sure what he’s done to remain such a fixture in the rankings since then, however.  He was ranked #8 both times that he dropped decisive decisions to Jean Pascal, and is currently and inexplicably ranked #7 by the Ring, without having won a significant fight in well over 2 years. He may very well still be a top 10 fighter in theory- certainly I’d pick him to beat Jones head-to-head- but these rankings are supposed to be about accomplishment, not theory.
12) Thierry Karl (2-2)
Last Fight: 3/6/2010- UD10 Karim Bennama
Next Fight: Unknown
This French former middleweight seems to have grown into his new division well.  He twice lost (including once by knockout) to non-entity Francois Bastient at 160, but has two pretty good wins since moving up to LHW- first-round destructions of an undefeated fringe contender named Nadjib Mohammadi in September and gatekeeper Djamel Selini in December.
13) Yusaf Mack (2-2)
Last Fight: 2/5/2010- L(TKO6) vs. Glen Johnson
Next Fight: Unknown
Mack was definitely over his head in his stoppage loss to veteran contender Glen Johnson, but proved that he could at the very least hold his own against the second-tier of contenders by squeaking out a close split decision over current #8 Chris Henry back in early ’09.
14) Beibut Shumenov (2-2)
Last Fight: 1/29/2010- SD12 Gabriel Campillo*
Next Fight: 7/23/2010- #18 Vyacheslav Uzelkov
Normally I give at least nominal deference to the official results of fights, but Shumenov’s gift decision over Campillo from January is worthy of nothing but contempt, as the rugged Kazakh, while plenty game, was absolutely slapped around for the vast majority of that fight.  He actually gets more credit in my book for his loss in their legitimately close first meeting.  Even chalking those fights up as losses against superior competition, however, Shumenov can point to three significant wins in his very short career- the best being a dominant decision win over fringe contender Montell Griffin.  He’s got a very interesting fight coming up against Vyacheslav Uzelkov, a young prospect who has previously beaten Campillo.
15) Karo Murat (2-30)
Last Fight: 5/1/2010- UD12 Tommy Karpency
Next Fight: 9/18/2010- #9 Nathan Cleverly
Murat has only beaten a couple gatekeepers at Light Heavy, but he certainly deserves some credit for his success at Super Middleweight, especially his win over current top-10 contender Gabriel Campillo.  That being said, LHW is a whole new ballgame, and Murat has yet to challenge himself to the same extent as has Campillo.  That is about to change, however, when he takes on Nathan Cleverly in September.
16) Hugo Garay (2-2)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- L(TKO1) vs. Chris Henry
Next Fight: 7/9/2010- vs. Sergio Beaz (UNR) (at Cruiserweight)
Garay is fighting a sub-.500 journeyman that he’s already easily beaten 3 times between 2003 and 2004.  His opponent, Sergio Beaz, is 3-13 since their last meeting, after bringing a winning record into each of their first 3 meetings.  This fight is taking place as cruiserweight, but Garay has frequently fought non-title fights at cruiser and even heavyweight throughout his career.  Without further evidence, this will not be treated as a move up in class, and I will keep him in the rankings at light heavy.
17) Aleksy Kuziemski (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/22/2010- UD10 Igor Mikhalkin
Next Fight: Unknown
What do we know about Kuziemski?  Well, he’s not as good as Juergen Braehmer, who stopped him 11 months ago.  But he’s better than the prospects and gatekeepers he’s been beating.  It will be interesting to see if he fights someone whose skill level falls between those two extremes.
18) Vyacheslav Uzelkov (2-33)
Last Fight: 10/21/2009- TKO5 Tomas Adamek (not that one)
Next Fight: 7/23/2010- #14 Beibut Shumenov
Uzelkov beat prospect (now top 10 contender) Gabriel Campillo almost 3 years ago, and hasn’t done much of anything since.  His measure will be taken very soon when he fights Beibut Shumenov.  In the meantime, he’s egregiously overrated by the Ring given his complete lack of meaningful activity.
19) Danny McIntosh (2-2)
Last Fight: 2/19/2010- KO2 Tony Oakey
Next Fight: Unknown
Nothing too spectacular for him yet.  He beat gatekeeper Tony Oakey this past winter, and has lost by stoppage to Cleverly.  Not much of a resume, but you’ve got to search to find a qualified fighter at #19.
20) Jeff Lacy (2-2)
Last Fight: 8/15/2009- L(RTD10) vs. Roy Jones, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Lacy got absolutely schooled by an over-the-hill Roy Jones last year, so it’s painful to rate him.   On the other hand, he has two decent wins at Light Heavy.  The most recent was against Otis Griffin who, although he wasn’t really that well-regarded at the time, has done enough to this point that he would be rated #20 despite the loss if anyone dropped off.  The other was a little borderline.  He beat contender Peter Manfredo, Jr. in what was only technically a light heavyweight bout.  Both guys weighed in at 169, 1 pound over the Super Middleweight limit, and neither was considered a light heavyweight overall.  For that reason, I hesitate to give him credit for it, but I feel I must for the sake of consistency.

THE WEEK AHEAD: #16 Garay makes a presumably temporary foray into the cruiserweight division to take on sub-.500 journeyman Sergio Beaz in both men’s native Argentina.  This is only a 6-round fight against an opponent that Garay has beaten by dominant unanimous decision three times already, and is clearly meant to get the aging contender back in the win column after a close loss to Gabriel Campillo and a quick exit via TKO against Chris Henry in his last two fights.  I have no doubt he will be successful, but this fight could hurt his standing if he loses regardless of the division in which it’s being contested, since that would only confirm that he’s shot given that his opponent is 3-13 since last facing Garay in 2004.  A win does nothing for him vis-a-vis the rankings.

Cruiserweight: 2010, July 5-11

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings on July 5, 2010 by danboxing
A pretty significant and interesting fight from Stuttgart, Germany has produced a shakeup in the top 20.  See below for details.
For Comparison, here are the Current Ring Magazine Cruiserweight Rankings:
Champ: None
1) Steve Cunningham
2) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
3) Marco Huck
4) Troy Ross
5) Zsolt Erdei
6) Danny Green
7) Dennis Lebedev
8 ) Giacobbe Fragomeni
9) Ola Afolabi
10) Matt Godfrey

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Steve Cunningham (113*-316-316)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- TKO5 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Shaky victory over Troy Ross notwithstanding, nobody has accomplished as much in the division as USS Cunningham.  We’ll see how he fares in the rumored Super Six, but for now he’s the man to beat.
2) Marco Huck (2-187-187)
Last Fight: 5/1/2010- RTD9 Brian Minto
Next Fight: 8/21/2010- vs. #17 Matt Godfrey
Huck is fighting significant fights 4 times a year, and he’s set to fight inactive fringe (but Ring-rated) contender Matt Godfrey in late August.  If only we could get his fights on US TV, we might realize how good he really is.
3) Ola Afolabi (2-69-69)
Last Fight: 12/5/2009- L(UD12) vs. Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
His resume is definitely one of the more debatable ones I had to examine.  His hallmark win was against Enzo Maccarinelli who, while he was ranked #6 at the time, hasn’t been heard from a ton since.  That said, even after losing 3 of 4, Maccarinelli seems to still be more or less a player in the division even now.  A very close loss to Marco Huck in Germany actually helps him in my book, too.
4) Krzsztof Wlodarczyk (2-263-263)
Last Fight: 5/15/2010- TKO8 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Since graduating to the level of contender in 2006, the Pole with the confounding name has fought significant fights against only tough opponents, a total of 4 times.  A close win against Steve Cunningham was followed by a close loss to same, and after a draw to Giacobbe Fragomeni, he was finally able to win a clear-cut fight by stopping the Italian in their rematch.  Anyone who can fight on even terms with Cunningham for 24 rounds is going to be rated top-5, and a pretty good argument could be made for ranking him 3 or even 2.
5) Zsolt Erdei (5-33-33)
Last Fight: 11/21/09- MD12 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
He probably will return to Light Heavyweight soon and fight nobodies again for the rest of his career.  He’s such dead weight in any top 10 list that I hate to rate him, but somehow he fights just enough contenders to remain a top 5 contender, while still leaving us with the unshakeable impression that he’s never fought anyone in his entire life.  Fragomeni is a significant conquest, especially above his natural weight, but I can’t help but think the Italian was already fading by that time.
6) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- UD8 Zack Page
Next Fight: Unknown
His biggest win was in October over underrated contender Enad Licina.  He’s dominated a steady diet of decent but non-threatening fighters since then, and appears to be staying active.  His lone career loss against the always tough Wayne Braithwaite is now more than 2 years in the past, and he appears to be on the rise.  Still only a step above a prospect, but that’s good enough in a fairly thin division.
7) Denis Lebedev (8-22-22)
Last Fight: 2/22/2010- KO4 Ignacio Esparza
Next Fight: 7/17/2010- vs. #18 Alexander Alexeev
Speaking of prospects.  He did beat a down-on-his-luck Maccarinelli about a year ago, and perhaps doesn’t get enough credit for it considering where Enzo was in his career at that time.  That’s the only win that really distinguishes him from the pack, although he appears to be destined for the top 5 in the very near future.
8 ) Danny Green (2-31-31)
Last Fight: 4/14/2010- KO3 Manny Siaca
Next Fight: 7/21/2010- vs. Paul Briggs (UNR)
Green’s ranking was a really tough call.  He’s just now, at 37, beginning to make an international name for himself after toiling in the shadow of light heavyweights like Jones, Hopkins, Tarver, etc.  His only cruiserweight win worth mentioning, in fact, was that shocking TKO win over Jones from December.  So where do you rank a blown-up light heavyweight whose only major victory at cruiserweight was over another blown-up (and washed-up) light heavyweight when both fighters were fighting 20 pounds under the division’s weight limit?  Well, the answer is apparently “8th.”
9) Giacobbe Fragomeni (2-86-86)
Last Fight: 5/15/2010- L(TKO8) vs. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni definitely appears to be on the downslope of his career after his stoppage loss to Wlodarczyk, but he does still own a victory inside of 2 years over then-10th ranked Rudolf Kraj, and a draw in his first fight with Wlodarczyk.  It’s hard to say that his performance since entering the division’s elite has been really impressive, but he still has yet to lose to anyone not currently ranked among the top 5 cruisers or heavyweights.
10) B.J. Flores (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 8/15/2009- TKO4 Epifanio Mendoza
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores’ management is a disgrace, and has squandered all of the career momentum his fighter had built following his win over legitimate contender Darnell Wilson in February 2008.  It took them a little over a year to match him with a halfway-credible opponent, and it’s been 15 months since Flores decisioned that glorified journeyman.  It would be a shame for a marketable American fighter to be forgotten and dropped from the rankings in what should be the prime of his career, but that’s exactly what is going to happen if he doesn’t get a fight scheduled before the August 21.  Let’s hope it’s someone good, too.
11) Enad Licina (2-2)
Last Fight: 10/17/2009 L(UD12) vs. Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Defeated then-fringe contender Rob Norton in late 2007 and stopped another one in Jose Herrera in early ‘09.  His only major fight since then was a reasonably close loss to Yoan Hernandez in October.  He’s got a few solid victories over gatekeeper types, as well.  Hasn’t done enough to solidify himself as a bona fide top 10 contender yet, but has done more than some that currently claim that title elsewhere.
12) Enzo Maccarinelli (2-2)
Last Fight: 4/27/2010- TKO1 Alexander Kotlobay
Next Fight: 9/18/2010 vs. TBA
Maccarinelli is scheduled for a date on September 18 against an undetermined opponent for the EBU Cruiserweight Title.  This will be on the same card as the Sexton-Chisora Heavyweight matchup.
13) Wayne Braithwaite (2-2)
Last Fight: 3/6/2010- TKO1 Adam Harris
Next Fight: Unknown
Back in 2005, Braithwaite was on the losing end of a #1-#2 matchup that crowned Ring champion Jean Marc Mormeck.  He’s only had one notable victory since then- against up-and-coming current #6 contender Yoan Pablo Hernandez- a little over 2 years ago.  That’s a long time, but that’s still a better victory than anyone below can claim, and at least he’s staying active, albeit against less than significant competition.
14) Steve Herelius (1-1)
Last Fight: 7/3/10- TKO12 Firat Arslan
Next Fight: Unknown
Herelius looked well-conditioned and vastly outworked dangerous pressure-fighter and former contender Arslan.  Arslan landed the cleaner punches, but Herelius’s workrate combined with a lack of air-conditioning were too much for Arslan, who had been injured and inactive for 2 years and had to be carried out of the ring on a stretcher after collapsing in his corner, which he barely made it to following a dominant 11th round for Herelius.  The fight was quite closely fought to that point.  Herelius had previously beaten gatekeeper Jean Marc Monrose twice in 2009.
15) Victor Ramirez (1-2)
Last Fight: 8/29/2009- L (UD12) vs. Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
His momentum was derailed recently by a decision loss to Marco Huck, but owns a big win over contender Alexander Alexeev 17 months ago sandwiched between two run-of-the mill wins over gatekeepers.  Needs to get more active, though ,as he hasn’t fought in 10 months and has nothing scheduled.
16) Troy Ross (1-71)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- L (TKO5) vs. Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Yes, he looked really good in a controversial TKO loss to Cunningham, but even discounting the fact that this was still a loss completely, it’s hard to rank a guy in the top 5 based on four rounds in one fight that he, at the very least, didn’t win.  Meanwhile, he’s got 4 or 5 significant wins, but none of them against anyone who could reasonably be called even a fringe contender, and he did lose to a relative non-entity, albeit over 5 years ago.  I’d say he’s gotta get into the win column against a legitimate top 30 contender before he can get any higher than he is, and that’s why it’s a travesty that he’s rated #4 by The Ring.
17) Pawel Kolodziej (1-2)
Last Fight: 6/12/2010- KO12 Parfait Amougou
Next Fight: Unknown
Undefeated fringe contender with win over fringe contender Rob Calloway 6 months ago.
18) Matt Godfrey (1-78)
Last Fight: 9/12/2009- SD10 Michael Simms
Next Fight: 8/21/2010 vs. #2 Marco Huck
Severely overrated given his lack of activity (his last significant fight was almost 2 years ago- against Emmanuel Nwodo), Godfrey does have a significant opportunity to get his career going again when he takes on world-beater Marco Huck in August.
19) Alexander Alexeev (1-2)
Last Fight: 12/19/2009- KO2 Daniel Ammann
Next Fight: 7/17/2010 vs. #7 Denis Lebedev
A middling contender, Alexeev’s best win came over fringe contender Rob Calloway in ’08.  He lost to Victor Ramirez and beat a pair of lesser, gatekeeper-level opponents , including in his most recent fight in November.  Has a big fight upcoming against #7 Denis Lebedev in mid-July.
20) Julio Cesar Matthews (1-2)
Last Fight: 6/13/2010- UD6 Garrett Wilson
Next Fight: Unknown
A guy in his late 30s that’s still fighting 6-rounders doesn’t sound like a top 20 contender by any means, but one recent 6-rounder was actually against a fairly significant opponent, and the division starts looking very, very thin by this point.
Mateusz Masternak (#20 last week), is forced out by Herelius’ debut).  Victor Ramirez (#14 last week) and everyone rated below him drop one spot each.
SPECIAL NOTE: I made a mistake in my inaugural rankings last week.  I use Boxrec.com’s rankings to sift through their top 50 contenders to find the 20 I find most deserving.  Unfortunately, Boxrec inexplicably had Ovill McKenzie rated at Light Heavyweight despite the fact that McKenzie has fought as a cruiserweight since his last fight under the 175 pound limit in February of 2007.  McKenzie’s victory over fringe contender John Keeton a little over a year ago to win the Prizefighter Cruiserweight tournament would have been enough to earn a #20 ranking last week had I been aware of him.  Unfortunately for him, his rightful position was displaced this week due to Herelius’ victory, and thus McKenzie and Masternak, who unjustly occupied his position last week, are forced out.

THE WEEK AHEAD: #15 Light Heavyweight Hugo Garay is scheduled for a cruiserweight fight against sub-.500 journeyman Sergio Beaz in his native Argentina.  Garay, who has sporadically competed as a small cruiserweight throughout his career, has won comfortable unanimous decisions against Beaz 3 times before- twice in 2004 and once in 2003.  Beaz, who had a winning record going into all of their previous meetings, is just 3-13 since their last one.  This fight will obviously not earn Garay a cruiserweight ranking under any circumstances.