Light Heavyweight: 2011, Dec 19-25

There were two fairly important fights on the Ward-Froch undercard.  #16 Yordanis Despaigne was shockingly upset in what was expected to be a fairly routine 6-rounder against Cornelius White- a fairly discredited prospect when you consider he was stopped in just one round by fellow prospect Don George back in February a weight class to the south.  But such was not the case, as White controlled the fight and won comfortably on all 3 cards.


On the same card in Atlantic City, Columbian fringe contender Edison Miranda- who recently lost to Despaigne- won a big TKO victory over fellow fringe contender Kariz Kariuki in the 5th round.  In Kiev, Ukrainian prospect Oleksandr Cherviak could manage only a draw against very mediocre journeyman George Tevdorashvili of Georgia.  That fight, as it turns out, was contested well over the light heavyweight limit. 


Backtracking a bit to Friday, Chicago-based Polish prospect and former steroid abuser Andrzej Fonfara knocked out average journeyman Phil Williams in round 3 of their Chicago fight.


A major shake-up in the rankings this week.  Cornelius White debuts at #14 after his big win, which also drops Despaigne (#16 last week) from the rankings yet again.  This also knocks Zsolt Erdei back to #15.  Assuming Despaign’s #16 spot is Edison Miranda.  He did lose to Despaigne in his previous fight, but on fight night at least, Kariuki was seen as a better fighter than the guy that Despaigne lost to.  Danny McIntosh falls from #15 to #17 due to White and Miranda debuting above him.  Everybody rated #17 and below last week drops one spot, including hard-luck Marcus Johnson, who once again exits the rankings after six glorious weeks back in.


For comparison, here are the current Ring Magazine Ratings:
Champ: Bernard Hopkins
1) Jean Pascal
2) Tavoris Cloud
3) Chad Dawson
4) Nathan Cleverly
5) Adrian Diaconu
6) Zsolt Erdei
7) Beibut Shumenov
8) Karo Murat
9) Gabriel Campillo
10) Ismayl Sillakh


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Bernard Hopkins (31-289-289)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- NC* vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC has ordered a Dawson rematch.  There is much speculation floating around that the matchup is extremely unmarketable due to the poor PPV numbers of the first fight.  Also, Dawson has unequivocally stated his desire for a Paschal rematch next.  But on the other hand, Hopkins is under contract for another fight with HBO, and it’s hard to come up with anyone realistic that would make a more natural opponent for Hopkins.
1) Jean Pascal (31-131-131)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #1 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC has ordered an eliminator vs. Sillakh after originally offering Paschal an outright shot at the winner of the ill-fated Hopkins-Dawson fight.
2) Chad Dawson (53-290-290)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- NC* vs. Champ Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
See Hopkins’ notes, above.
3) Tavoris Cloud (53-121-121)
Last Fight: 6/25/2011- TKO8 #8 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: Unknown
Erdei’s injured hand has nixed the entire New Year’s Eve card.  Somewhat inexplicably, Showtime rejected Gabriel Campillo- who is likely better than Erdei- as a replacement opponent.
4) Gabriel Campillo (10-78-78)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- Draw (SD12) vs. #14 Karo Murat
Next Fight: Unknown
See Cloud’s notes, above.
5) Nathan Cleverly (10-98-98)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- W*(MD12) vs. Tony Bellew (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/25/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Cleverly will fight an unknown opponent on February 25 in Cardiff, Wales.
6) Karo Murat (12-12-33)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- Draw (SD12) vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
I never thought this would happen, but I now rate the long-overrated Murat even higher than does Ring Magazine.
7) Tony Bellew (10-10-10)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- L*(MD12) vs. #4 Nathan Cleverly
Next Fight: Unknown
Deserved better than a majority decision loss against Cleverly.  I thought he won the fight or deserved, at worst, a draw.
8) Eduard Gutknecht (10-33-33)
Last Fight: 7/16/2011- UD12 Lorenzo Di Giacomo (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/4/2011- vs. Vyacheslav Uzelkov (UNR)
Gutknecht will fight fringe contender/prospect Uzelkov on February 4.
9) Beibut Shumenov (10-74-78)
Last Fight: 7/29/2011- TKO9 Danny Santiago (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Cleverly’s notes, above.
10) Yusaf Mack (10-42-78)
Last Fight: 6/25/2011- L(TKO8) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud
Next Fight: Unknown
Mack looks a little too small to compete with the top guys at this weight, but still has a good enough resume to avoid dropping too far.
11) Dmitri Sukhotski (10-60)
Last Fight: 10/8/2011- TKO2 Nadjib Mohammedi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Cleverly’s notes, above.
12) Adrian Diaconu (10-241)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
A quality fighter, Diaconu is nevertheless slipping in the rankings simply because he never wins against anyone above the journeyman level.  He ought to try and find some kind of mid-range fringe contender just to get a decent win, because fighting journeymen or top contenders isn’t working out for him.
13) Ismayl Sillakh (10-49)
Last Fight: 11/4/2011- TKO4 Ali Ismailov (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC has slated Sillakh for an eliminator against Paschal.
14) Cornelius White (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/17/2011- UD6 #16 Yordanis Despaigne
Next Fight: Unknown
White, who was blown out in one round by prospect Don George at super middleweight early in 2011, may be a fluke.  But at least for one night, he looked a lot better against former top amateur Yordanis Despaigne than did established fringe contender Edison Miranda.
15) Zsolt Erdei (1-57)
Last Fight: 6/4/2011- KO6 Byron Mitchell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Erdei’s injured hand has nixed the entire New Year’s Eve card, including his fight with Cloud. 
16) Edison Miranda (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/17/2011- TKO5 Kariz Kariuki (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Miranda was tentatively set for a rematch with Yordanis Despaigne before Despaigne was upset recently.  No word yet on whether that rematch will still go forward.
17) Danny McIntosh (1-78)
Last Fight: 5/7/2011- L(TKO8) vs. Eduard Gutknecht (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Significantly diminished by his loss to Gutknecht, but still has a better win in Thierry Karl than the two guys rated immediately below him: Karo Murat and…well…Thierry Karl.
18) Jesus Gonzales (1-24)
Last Fight: 7/8/2011- UD12 Francisco Sierra (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
His present and future are probably both at 168, but he beat a good enough light heavyweight to earn this ranking, nevertheless.
19) Thierry Karl (1-78)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- KO1 Mile Nikolic (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Karl is a threat to be removed in late January if he doesn’t schedule a light heavyweight fight soon.
20) Dyah Davis (1-39)
Last Fight: 10/21/2011- UD6 Darnell Boone (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/6/2012- vs. Alfonso Lopez (UNR)
Davis will lead off the new season of Friday Night Fights on January 6, when he takes on Alfonso Lopez, the prospect who probably deserved a win over Kelly Pavlik in 2011.


The Week Ahead: Merry Christmas!

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