Super Middleweight: 2011, Mar 14-20

Fringe contenders Andy Lee and Craig McEwan locked up on the Martinez-Dzinziruk undercard, and McEwan- a Freddie Roach fighter- looked like a sure thing to upset the Manny Steward-trained Andy Lee after dominating and nearly stopping the Irishman during the first six rounds.  It was not to be, however, as McEwan began badly fading at that point and simply couldn’t hold on against a late onslaught by the better-conditioned Lee, who knocked him out in the tenth and final round.  During the course of the fight, Lee proved two main points: first, that he’s not the championship-level prospect he was once believed to be before he was dispatched by Bryan Vera, and second, that he’s probably a top-twenty guy at least for the moment.


In a fight scheduled less than a week ahead of time, #20 James DeGale stopped sub-.500 journeyman Alpay Kobal in 5 in Glasgow.   Meanwhile, gateekeeper William Joppy (who weighed in at 173) proved that a decent big man beats a decent little man by decisioning fellow gatekeeper Cory Cummings (who weighed 168).


Despite the easy win, DeGale loses his spot in the rankings for the time being to Lee, who obviously beat a much much better opponent and accordingly debuts at #19.  Ezequiel Maderna is forced down  to #20 in the transaction.


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


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Andre Ward (16-95-95)
Last Fight: 11/27/2010- UD12 #10 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: 5/14/2011- vs. #7 Arthur Abraham
It appears that Ward’s fight with Abraham will take place a week before the Froch-Johnson fight.
2) Carl Froch (16-248-248)
Last Fight: 11/27/2010- UD12 #7 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: 5/21/2011- vs. #15 Glen Johnson
Froch and Johnson have each confirmed a May 21 date for their semifinal match.  Originally, it appeared the fight would be on the same card as David Haye’s next fight, but that fight is set for England while it turns out the Super Six semifinals must contractually happen in America.
3) Lucian Bute (16-257-257)
Last Fight: 10/15/2010- KO9 #15 Jesse Brinkley
Next Fight: 3/19/2011- vs. Brian Magee (UNR)
Bute recently lost his #1 and then #2 spot because his level of competition has been far inferior to Andre Ward and Carl Froch’s, largely for obvious reasons.  Unfortunately, Brian Magee is an even lesser opponent, meaning that the Super Six final will probably cause me to crown a champion.
4) Mikkel Kessler (16-327-327)
Last Fight: 4/24/2010- UD12 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler is now looking for a fight with Lucian Bute- a decent bet considering both are now out of the Super Six and have a deal with Showtime.
5) Andre Dirrell (37-50-50)
Last Fight: 3/27/2010- DQ11 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
I don’t particularly believe Dirrell’s claims of neurological problems following the Abraham DQ, and so I have an interesting decision to make on his place in the ratings assuming he doesn’t get a fight signed by the end of March.
6) Robert Stieglitz (37-81-81)
Last Fight: 11/20/2010- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/9/2011- vs. #9 Dimitri Sartison
Stieglitz appeared to be ducking Mikkel Kessler, but signed a pretty good fight anyway with the underrated Dimitri Sartison in Magdeburg.
7) Arthur Abraham (51-73-73)
Last Fight: 2/12/2011- TKO2 Stjepan Bozic (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/14/2011- vs. #1 Andre Ward
The easy win over Bozic probably didn’t serve as an adequate tune-up for Abe, since Bozic’s injured hand prevented him from getting any rounds in.
8) Librado Andrade (39-199-199)
Last Fight: 5/28/2010- RTD8 Eric Lucas (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
It now appears Andrade is unlikely to fight Chad Dawson on the Hopkins-Pascal card, since Adrian Diaconu appears to be the choice for Dawson.  No word on the next move for Andrade.
9) Dimitri Sartison (22-33-37)
Last Fight: 7/31/2010- UD12 Khoren Gevor (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/9/2011- vs. #6 Robert Stieglitz
In a surprise announcement, Sartison will fight Stieglitz in Magdeburg in what should be a good matchup.
10) Sakio Bika (22-22-206)
Last Fight: 11/27/2010- L(UD12) vs. #2 Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Expect Bika to take a nice long vacation and then fight a weak opponent or two before stepping back up, if he ever does.
11) Eduard Gutknecht (22-37)
Last Fight: 2/12/2010- UD8 Oleksandr Cherviak (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gutknecht’s place in the 168 pound rankings is on its deathbed, as he’s clearly decided to fight exclusively at 175.
12) Karoly Balzsay (22-37)
Last Fight: 11/19/2010- KO4 Misa Nikolic (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Balzsay hasn’t made 168 since early December 2009, but since he missed it by only a pound for his very inconsequential non-title fight with Aziz Daari, he gets an extra six months to fight at 168.
13) Edison Miranda (22-37)
Last Fight: 4/17/2010- L (TKO3) vs. Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Jesse Brinkley (22-37)
Last Fight: 10/15/2010- L (KO9) vs. #1 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Brinkley is rightfully enjoying a nice vacation after a punishing loss to Lucian Bute in October.
15) Glen Johnson (19-19)
Last Fight: 11/6/2010- TKO8 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/21/2011- vs. #2 Carl Froch
Johnson, a former light heavyweight champion, has a real shot at being top dog at 168.  His path is clear: beat Carl Froch in May, Andre Ward later in the year, and then (possibly) clean up the division with Lucian Bute in early 2012.  The odds are long, though, as the Road Warrior is already 42 and must go through perhaps all three of the division’s best fighters.
16) Isaac Chilemba (3-37)
Last Fight: 2/25/2011- UD10 Maxim Vlasov (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/26/2011- vs. Vikapita Meroro (UNR) (at LHW)
Chilemba gets a little credit in the rankings for beating Maxim Vlasov at a low-light heavyweight contract weight simply because both he and Vlasov typically fight at 168.  This victory advances him past Thomas Oosthuizen, with whom he recently drew.  Chilemba is staying busy, fighting a very good journeyman for a regional LHW title in late March.
17) Thomas Oosthuizen (3-37)
Last Fight: 11/6/2010- D12 with #17 Isaac Chilemba
Next Fight: 3/26/2011- vs. Ruben Acosta (UNR)
Oosthuizen will take on gatekeeper Ruben Acosta in March- a decent matchup for him.
18) Bryan Vera (6-6)
Last Fight: 2/4/2011- SD10 Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera, despite a bit of a roller-coaster career including a couple recent losses, has done more in beating Sebastian Demers and Sergio Mora than have the guys rated below him, at least at this weight.
19) Andy Lee (1-1)
Last Fight: 3/12/2011- TKO10 Craig McEwan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Ezequiel Maderna (1-2)
Last Fight: 3/5/2011- UD10 Ruben Acosta (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
His win over Ruben Acosta gives him a slightly better resume than DeGale.

THE WEEK AHEAD: This is shaping up as a pretty busy weekend in the division.

Friday: French prospect Hugo Kasperski fights journeyman Milton Nunez in France.  Also, Dhafir Smith- a journeyman save for his recent victory over a badly faded Jeff Lacy- will meet prospect Jesus Gonzalez in Phoenix.

Saturday: On Saturday’s highest-profile card, #3 Lucian Bute continues his recent string of sub-par competition by facing fringe contender Brian Magee in Montreal.  On the same card, fringe contender Renan St. Juste- who was originally scheduled to fight Edison Miranda- now will fight Alejandro Berrio.  Meanwhile, in Argentina, undefeated prospect Pablo Farias fights journeyman Matias Franco.

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