Cruiserweight: 2011, Oct 3-9

In one of the better cruiserweight matchups in the last few years, #2 Steve Cunningham and #6 Yoan Pablo Hernandez squared off in Germany, but the fight itself was marred by controversy.  First, Hernandez dropped Cunningham in the first, leaving the American badly shaken.  Cunningham got to his feet to beat the count, but arguably wasn’t ready to continue when the ref waved the fight back on.  Cunningham went on to barely survive the round. Cunningham then bounced back to surprisingly carry round 2 and probably round 3, as well.  Hernandez clearly took the 4th, but then Cunningham easily claimed 5 and 6.  Unfortunately, an accidental headbutt caused a very deep cut on Hernandez’ brow, and Hernandez, perhaps feeling the fight slipping away, informed the ref that he couldn’t see, whereupon the fight was stopped and went to the cards.  2 of the 3 cards were just plain wrong.  Pawel Kardyni of Poland joined a long list of judges that have no business ever showing their face around the sport again with his 59-54 Hernandez scorecard.  Dave Parris was a little less disgusting, but still pretty indefensible at 58-55.  Only Howard John Foster at 57-56 Cunningham had a card based in reality.  I had that same score, and the fight was certainly between 57-56 either way.  Two judges were clearly out to rob Cunningham in his opponent’s adopted home country.  Unfortunately for Cunningham, when it comes to my ratings, I have to give deference to the official decision even though the two cards that went against him were manifestly incompetent.  Even though the scores were awful and indefensible, I can see a reasonable judge scoring the fight for Hernandez, and thus I will recognize Hernandez as the winner by the barest of margins.


It’s a tricky ratings scenario here.  I think Hernandez lost.  With that being the case, can I really move him up?  Well, since I have to give minimum deference to the decision, it’s either that or I have to move Steve Cunningham (who I believe won) drastically down.  I’m going to split the difference just a bit.  With no such cloud over his (admittedly limited) resume, Antonio Tarver slips into the #2 position.  Hernandez advances all the way to #3, mandatorily ahead of Cunningham, who hangs on at #4.  Huck is pushed down to #5, and Ola Afolabi settles in at #6.  And that is the long and short of it.  Let me say this: it’s crowded at the top.  Your opinion on a given robbery or near-robbery or the old familiar quantity vs. quality argument could easily make you vehemently disagree with me, and I would completely understand.  Pretty much every top 5 fighter is a candidate for #1 depending on how you look at things.


For Comparison, here are the Current Ring Magazine Cruiserweight Rankings:
Champ: None
1) Marco Huck
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez
3) Steve Cunningham
4) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
5) Denis Lebedev
6) Troy Ross
7) Antonio Tarver
8) Giacobbe Fragomeni
9) Ola Afolabi
10) Guillermo Jones

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (11-87-87)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- TKO10 Roy Jones, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/4/2011- vs. James Toney (UNR)
Lebedev follows his ugly beat-down of washed-up legend Roy Jones, Jr. with a fight against…washed-up legend James Toney.
2) Antonio Tarver (1-11-11)
Last Fight: 7/20/2011- RTD9 #7 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
Danny Green was looking for a rematch, but after meeting deafening silence from the Tarver camp, has moved on.
3) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (1-67-67)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- W(SD6) vs. #2 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez’s mandatory for now appears to be Troy Ross.  It seems possible that popular demand could lead to a rematch with Cunningham, though, too.
4) Steve Cunningham (1-381-381)
Last Fight: 2/12/2011- UD12 #14 Enad Licina
Next Fight: 10/1/2011- vs. #6 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Cunningham will fight Yoan Pablo Hernandez on October 1 in Germany.
5) Marco Huck (1-252-252)
Last Fight: 7/16/2011- KO10 Hugo Garay (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/22/2011- vs. Rogelio Rossi (UNR)
It’s official.  Instead of trying to prove himself against the man who rightfully beat him, Huck has opted for a so-so defense against fringe contender Rogelio Rossi.
6) Ola Afolabi (1-134-134)
Last Fight: 9/10/2011- UD8 Lukasz Rusiewicz (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
7) Guillermo Jones (11-53-53)
Last Fight: 10/2/2010- TKO11 Valery Brudov (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/5/2011- vs. Michael Marrone (UNR)
If it’s still possible to do so, Jones is making a mockery of his alphabet title.  He hasn’t fought a mandatory defense in something like 3 years, injury-free, and is now set to fight a joke of a defense against Michael Marrone.
8) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (27-328-328)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- W(SD12*) vs. Francisco Palacios (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/30/2011- vs. #9 Danny Green
A really good matchup on tap between Wlodarczyk and Green- two contenders with a lot to prove.
9) Danny Green (11-96-96)
Last Fight: 7/20/2011- L(RTD9) vs. Antonio Tarver (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/30/2011- vs. #8 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
See Wlodarczyk’s comments, above.
10) Giacobbe Fragomeni (11-151-151)
Last Fight: 7/8/2011- UD6 Remigijus Ziausys (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Alexander Frenkel (11-55)
Last Fight: 9/18/2010- KO7 #12 Enzo Maccarinelli
Next Fight: Unknown
Frenkel has apparently suffered a new or aggravated injury, and has reportedly vacated his European title, cancelling his scheduled defense against Licina.  I’ll wait to hear more details before deciding to drop him for inactivity.
12) B.J. Flores (11-67)
Last Fight: 7/23/2011- RTD5 Nick Iannuzzi (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/15/2011- vs. Paul Jennette (UNR)
Flores is set to fight weak journeyman Paul Jennette in his hometown of Springfield, MO.  Theoretically this should build toward a showdown with Don King stablemate Guillermo Jones, but I don’t see the point of fighting this caliber of opponent now.
13) Francisco Palacios (11-27)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- L (SD12*) vs. #6 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
In my opinion he did just enough to win one of the worst fights I’ve ever seen against Wlodarczyk, so I’m in no hurry to see him again.  That being said, he performed well against a top 10 guy and deserved the win on that night, so I can’t exactly ignore that.
14) Lateef Kayode (11-46)
Last Fight: 9/9/2011- UD10 Felix Cora, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kayode has engaged in close fights with less-than-stellar opposition in 2 of his last 3 fights.
15) Troy Ross (11-136)
Last Fight: 10/30/2010- UD10 Carl Handy (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ross is reportedly the mandatory challenger for newly (and dubiously) crowned beltholder Yoan Pablo Hernandez.  Still no word on why his scheduled eliminator with Garrett Wilson fell through.
16) Steve Herelius (11-66)
Last Fight: 2/12/2011- L(KO7) vs. #6 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s always hard to come back from a knockout loss.  Herelius could become a go-to quality opponent for the guys locked out of the Super Six.
17) Enad Licina (11-67)
Last Fight: 5/7/2011- KO1 Michele De Meo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Alexander Frenkel dropped out of the scheduled European title fight with Licina, citing an unnamed injury. He’ll likely fight Alexeev for the vacant title next.
18) Firat Arslan (3-12)
Last Fight: 7/15/2011- TKO5 Lubos Suda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Arslan has finally got his comeback on the right track after the Herelius setback by destroying the decent Suda.
19) Alexander Alexeev (3-38)
Last Fight: 6/11/2011- TKO2 Damian Norris (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/18/2011- vs. Daniel Bruwer (UNR)
Appears to be in line for a shot at the vacant European title recently vacated by Frenkel.  He’ll apparently still keep his stay-busy playdate with Daniel Bruwer, though.
20) Matt Godfrey (3-3)
Last Fight: 6/10/2011- L(UD10) vs. #17 Lateef Kayode
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s a testament to the stagnation in the bottom half of the rankings that Godfrey- who last had a significant win over 3 years ago- continues to hang around the top 20.


THE WEEK AHEAD:  The first completely dead week at 200 that we’ve seen for a while.

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