Cruiserweight: 2012, Jan 30- Feb 5

Undefeated Russian Rakhim Chakhkiev passed his first real test this week, dropping his countryman, gatekeeper Alexander Kotlobay, early in the fight on his way to a dominant decision in Rotherbaum, Germany.


On the same card, #16 Firat Arslan stopped Argentine journeyman Orlando Farias after two second-round knockdowns.


In Springfield, Missouri, #11 B.J. Flores stopped blown up mid-90s junior welterweight contender and current joke opponent Hugo Pineda in the 6th round.  Finally, in New York, #19 Eric Fields won comfortably on all cards in an 8-rounder against low-level journeyman Derrick Brown.


The only fight among these that had any apparent potential to affect the rankings was Chakhkiev-Kotlobay.  Chakhiev is now a certified prospect to watch internationally, but in this instance he does just barely fail to crack the rankings, as current #20 Mateusz Masternak has two wins of similar quality on his resume dating to March 2010 and 2011.  So yet again, no changes to the rankings, although Chakhkiev has placed himself in the driver’s seat should someone (perhaps Steve Herelius?) drop from the rankings in the near future.

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (28-104-104)
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 (18-28-28)
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 (18-84-84)
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 (18-398-398)
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 (18-269-269)
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 (9-345-345)
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 (9-151-151)
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 (9-70-70)
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 (28-113-113)
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 (28-168-168)
Last Fight: 7/8/2011- UD6 Remigijus Ziausys (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) B.J. Flores (16-84)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores wants Wlodarczyk next after easily brushing aside Pineda.
12) Francisco Palacios (16-44)
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 (16-63)
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 (14-83)
Last Fight: 2/12/2011- L(KO7) vs. #6 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
15) Enad Licina (14-84)
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 (14-29)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO2 Orlando Farias (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Arslan is 41 and not getting any younger.  Unless he’s already decided to call it a day, expect a better opponent in his next fight than Farias.
17) Alexander Alexeev (14-55)
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 (14-20)
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 (14-16)
Last Fight: 1/28/2011- UD8 Derrick Brown (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
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 (14-14)
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:  This week is an even more active and bigger week in the division than last.  The headline fight is a rematch of the very controversial cut-shortened battle between Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham from last year.  In the prior fight, Cunningham was in danger of being stopped early, but bounced back to apparently take control of the fight before the ref questionably decided to stop the fight based on a cut that did not appear to be affecting the Cuban’s vision.  It still appeared to most that Cunningham had won enough rounds to overcome his early struggles and win, but the judges gave their usual deference to the home fighter- in this case the Germany-based Hernandez.  Hopefully we get a more clear-cut and fair result this time.


The undercard in Frankfurt is also loaded with notable cruiserweights.  Actually, scratch that.  For some reason, the #3 vs. #4 matchup between Hernandez and Cunningham finds itself as the co-feature.  The night’s main event is inexplicably the Euro title fight between #15 Enad Licina and #17 Alexander Alexeev.  On the ACTUAL undercard, #20 Mateusz Masternak will fight journeyman Michael Simms, while Troy Ross, a formerly ranked contender who was removed for inactivity, finally returns to action against a totally hopeless opponent in Lukasz Rusiewicz.  The rankings WILL change next week, for the first time in a while.

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