Cruiserweight: 2012, Jan 23-29

I gotta admit that I’ve become a little cynical about this sport.  I saw the result for the fight between gatekeeper Juho Haapoja (pronounced Yoo-Ho Hah-poy-ya) of Finland and untested prospect Ian Tims of Ireland- which took place in Finland- and when I saw that it was a close decision, my immediate reaction is that there must have been a robbery involved.  So I went way out of my way to get a copy of the Finnish broadcast, watched all 4 fights on the card, and was surprised to learn that the judges were remarkably unbiased and that they got it exactly right.  How refreshing!  To be fair, a sad-sack Latvian with a losing record earned a draw with a garbage undefeated Finn named Jarno Rosberg on the undercard, but got screwed.  As a result, I think my general cynicism about judging will remain intact for another week.


In other action, Israeli prospect Ran Nakash bounced back from his first career loss last spring to Marco Huck by shutting out decent journeyman Derek Bryant in New York.


Neither of these wins carries enough weight to affect the rankings.

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (27-103-103)
Last Fight: 11/4/2011- UD12 James Toney (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Guillermo Jones appears to be Lebedev’s mostly likely next opponent, but there is no deal yet.
2) Antonio Tarver (17-27-27)
Last Fight: 7/20/2011- RTD9 #7 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
There is talk of a showdown with Wlodarczyk in March on Showtime.
3) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (17-83-83)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- W(SD6) vs. #2 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: 2/4/2012- vs. #4 Steve Cunningham
Hernandez will give Steve Cunningham a much-deserved rematch after their cut-shortened and highly controversial October fight.
4) Steve Cunningham (17-397-397)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- L(SD6) vs. #6 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: 2/4/2012- vs. #3 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
See Hernandez’ comments above.
5) Marco Huck (17-268-268)
Last Fight: 10/22/2011- KO5 Rogelio Rossi (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/25/2011- vs. HW #2 Alexander Povetkin (at HW)
Povetkin vs. Huck is now set a division to the north.
6) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (8-344-344)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlodarczyk has a alphabet obligation to give a rematch to Francisco Palacios who probably deserved the win against Wlodarczyk, and is being challenged by Tarver, as well.  But the Polish contender appears less interested in these fights than in a disgusting execution of the oft-executed Roy Jones.  And he, like Lebedev before him, should be ashamed of himself.  There are also talks of a Tarver fight in March.
7) Ola Afolabi (8-150-150)
Last Fight: 9/10/2011- UD8 Lukasz Rusiewicz (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi might get a shot at Huck’s alphabet title despite Huck’s moving up to Heavyweight, as there may be a fight with Denis Lebedev offered for the vacant title.
8) Guillermo Jones (8-69-69)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Reportedly there is a fight in discussion between Jones and Lebedev for March or April.  The WBA also just ordered a fight between Jones and Lateef Kayode.
9) Danny Green (27-112-112)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- L(TKO11) vs. #8 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Green is undecided on a possible retirement after 2 consecutive stoppage losses.
10) Giacobbe Fragomeni (27-167-167)
Last Fight: 7/8/2011- UD6 Remigijus Ziausys (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) B.J. Flores (15-83)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- UD10 Paul Jennette (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/28/2012- vs. Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Flores chose to fight the one opponent from his list of stated candidates that was so weak that I didn’t bother to mention him- Hugo Pineda.
12) Francisco Palacios (15-43)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- UD8 Joell Godfrey (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC has mandated a rematch with Wlodarczyk, who has made noises about ducking that fight and losing his belt in favor of a joke fight with Roy Jones.
13) Lateef Kayode (15-62)
Last Fight: 9/9/2011- UD10 Felix Cora, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
WBA titlist Guillermo Jones has been ordered to fight Kayode.
14) Steve Herelius (13-82)
Last Fight: 2/12/2011- L(KO7) vs. #6 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
15) Enad Licina (13-83)
Last Fight: 10/22/2011- UD8 Hari Miles (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/4/2011- vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Licina-Alexeev now has a date: February 4.
16) Firat Arslan (13-28)
Last Fight: 7/15/2011- TKO5 Lubos Suda (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/28/2011- vs. Orlando Farias (UNR)
Arslan will be featured on Universum’s big January 28 card, against journeyman Orlando Farias.
17) Alexander Alexeev (13-54)
Last Fight: 11/18/2011- TKO8 Daniel Bruwer (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/4/2012- vs. #15 Enad Licina
See Licina’s notes, above.
18) Matt Godfrey (13-19)
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.
19) Eric Fields (13-15)
Last Fight: 9/2/2011- TKO2 Rubin Williams (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/28/2011- vs. Derrick Brown (UNR)
Fields is the latest in a fairly long line of iffy candidates to enter in the rankings.  He’s a one-loss prospect with a win over marginal gatekeeper Danny Batchelder back in June.  What separates him from the 2 or 3 guys he beat out for this spot is the fact that his loss- in 2008 against current #6 Ola Afolabi- is a lot more forgivable than the losses of his competitors.
20) Mateusz Masternak (13-13)
Last Fight: 9/10/2011- TKO3 Carl Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/4/2012- vs. Michael Simms (UNR)
Masternak will fight journeyman Michael Simms on the Hernandez-Cunningham undercard on February 4.


THE WEEK AHEAD:  The division really kicks into high gear this week, with four significant bouts on Saturday.  The best match of the four is in Rotherbaum, Germany, when undefeated Russian prospect Rakhim Chakhkiev fights gatekeeper and countryman Alexander Kotlobay.  In a shallow division, this fight could very easily earn the winner a ranking next week.  41-year old #16 contender Firat Arslan takes on Argentine journeyman Orlando Farias on the same card.


In the US, #11 B.J. Flores is in very light in a showcase fight in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri when he likely pummels 40-year-old mid-90s-era junior welterweight contender Hugo Pineda. 


Finally, #19 Eric Fields gets what should be an easy night with low-level journeyman Derrick Brown in Verona, New York.

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