Cruiserweight: 2012, Feb 27- Mar 4

Former light heavyweight fringe contender Thierry Karl fought for- get this- the WBF International Cruiserweight title (note it’s not even the WBF world title) on Friday in his native France against Georgian journeyman Sandro Siproshvili, and escaped with a decision that awarded him between 7 and 10 rounds of a 10-rounder, depending on which judge you ask.

 

Former top contender Wayne Braithwaite of Guyana fought as a small  heavyweight against unproven fringe prospect Shawn Cox of Barbados, in Braithwaite’s home country, and was shockingly sparked out in the first round, having failed to rise from his 3rd knockdown at the hands of the younger Cox.  It’s hard to view Cox as a world-beater considering he lost to Salvatore Erittu, a fellow undefeated prospect that has gone nowhere since that fight over two years ago, and so this has got to be seen as a sure sign that Braithwaite- the only man to ever beat Yoan Pablo Hernandez so far- is finished.  In lesser news, Philadelphia fringe contender Garrett Wilson stopped no-hoper Pedro Martinez early in round 3 of a scheduled 8 in the hometown of both fighters.

 

Finally, on Sunday, undefeated Ukrainian Dmitro Kucher walked away with a win in Kiev when his opponent- solid Czech journeyman Lubos Suda, retired with an injury following the 8th round of a 10-rounder.

 

It’s tempting to consider rating Cox based on his sensational performance against Braithwaite, but I don’t feel that I can do so at the moment.  Braithwaite is a good 2 years removed from his last prior fight, and almost 4 years removed from his last significant victory.  Given that fact and Cox’s less than stellar prior record of accomplishment, it is extremely unclear whether Braithwaite entered the ring as anything like a top 50 fighter, and even if so, I get out of having to rate the fight based on the fact that both guys came in roughly 10 full pounds over the cruiserweight limit.  This result definitely makes Cox a prospect to watch, but at this time I think it would be premature to give him any consideration for a ranking.  Therefore, no movement this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (4-88-88)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #4 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Erased any doubt as to the better fighter between him and Cunningham.  A fight with Lebedev now would be huge.
2) Denis Lebedev (4-108-108)
Last Fight: 11/4/2011- UD12 James Toney (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There has been speculation that Lebedev might fight Steve Cunningham next.
3) Antonio Tarver (4-32-32)
Last Fight: 7/20/2011- RTD9 #7 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
The latest word is that there is a 75% chance that Tarver will fight Wlodarczyk on Showtime, April 28.
4) Marco Huck (4-273-273)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- L*(MD12) vs. HW #2 Alexander Povetkin (at HW)
Next Fight: Unknown
After a shockingly strong showing against Povetkin that he probably deserved to win, Huck’s immediate future as a cruiserweight is uncertain.  Povetkin is ducking an immediate rematch, but Huck has previously stated a desire to fight one of the Klitschkos. 
5) Steve Cunningham (4-402-402)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
See Lebedev’s notes, above.
6) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (13-349-349)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
See Tarver’s notes, above.
7) Ola Afolabi (13-155-155)
Last Fight: 9/10/2011- UD8 Lukasz Rusiewicz (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/3/2012- vs. Valery Brudov (UNR)
Afolabi signed a late-breaking fight with a very good short-notice opponent in gatekeeper Valery Brudov.  This will probably serve as a warm up for his next fight against either Huck or Lebedev.
8) Guillermo Jones (13-74-74)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After discussions with Lebedev fell apart, it now appears that his mandatory obligation against Kayode is the most probable next fight for Jones.
9) Danny Green (32-117-117)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- L(TKO11) vs. #8 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Green says he would like a rematch with Anthony Mundine- something that’s unlikely at best now that Mundine is fighting about 4 divisions to the south of him.  I do not believe retirement has been ruled out for Green.
10) Giacobbe Fragomeni (32-172-172)
Last Fight: 7/8/2011- UD6 Remigijus Ziausys (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/17/2012- vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Fragomeni will fight fellow Italian Silvio Branco for some silly color-coordinated “world title” on St. Patrick’s day.  The combined age of the two combatants: 87.
11) B.J. Flores (20-88)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores has been accused by Afolabi of ducking.
12) Francisco Palacios (20-48)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- UD8 Joell Godfrey (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC has mandated a rematch with Wlodarczyk, but that seems almost forgotten as Wlodarczyk appears poised for a fight with Antonio Tarver.
13) Alexander Alexeev (4-59)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #15 Enad Licina
Next Fight: Unknown
If his record is any indication, he has probably reached just about the ranking he currently tops out at.
14) Lateef Kayode (4-67)
Last Fight: 9/9/2011- UD10 Felix Cora, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
WBA titlist Guillermo Jones has been ordered to fight Kayode.
15) Enad Licina (3-88)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Next Fight: Unknown
May be getting a little shopworn.  He’s not a pushover by any means, but you’d have to be crazy to imagine him as a top-10-type guy.
16) Troy Ross (3-4)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD8 Lukasz Rusiewicz (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Inactivity combined with poor competition are killing the career of top-level talent Ross, but at least he’s technically an active cruiserweight again, and thus eligible to remain in the rankings.
17) Firat Arslan (3-33)
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.
18) Grigory Drozd (3-3)
Last Fight: 2/8/2012- RTD9 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Drozd hasn’t been doing badly whatsoever when he steps into the ring.  The only problem?  He has averaged less than 1 fight per year since the start of 2009.
19) Matt Godfrey (4-24)
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.
20) Eric Fields (4-20)
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.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: Russian gatekeeper Valery Brudov takes on #7 Ola Afolabi of England on the Klitschko-Mormeck undercard in Dusseldorf on Saturday in the division’s only meaningful action.
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