Cruiserweight: 2012, Mar 5-11

On the Klitschko-Mormeck undercard in Dusseldorf, Russian gatekeeper Valery Brudov was the victim of a comprehensive beating at the hands of #7 Ola Afolabi of England.  The fight was halted after completion of a 5th round that saw Brudov suffering his second knockdown of the fight.  This fight was for the “interim WBO title,” or in practical terms, the right to face either Marco Huck (should he return to cruiser), or perhaps Denis Lebedev.  No changes to the rankings, as Afolabi has basically just been treading water with borderline opponents while waiting around for a fight with Huck.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (5-89-89)
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 (5-109-109)
Last Fight: 11/4/2011- UD12 James Toney (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There appears to be a deal in the works for Lebedev to fight French gatekeeper Rachid El Hadak in Moscow on April 4.  If true, this would be a strangely weak and low-profile opponent for a contender of Lebedev’s stature.
3) Antonio Tarver (5-33-33)
Last Fight: 7/20/2011- RTD9 #7 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
After it appeared Tarver would likely fight Wlodarczyk, there is now serious buzz that he might accept a challenge from Lateef Kayode in late May, instead.
4) Marco Huck (5-274-274)
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 (5-403-403)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
See Lebedev’s notes, above.
6) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (14-350-350)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
The Tarver fight now appears unlikely, and I’ve found no news on what plan B is for Wlodarczyk.
7) Ola Afolabi (14-156-156)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- RTD5 Valery Brudov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Having won an interim title with the win over Brudov, Afolabi is now set to fight for the full WBO belt against Huck should the latter drop back to 200.
8) Guillermo Jones (14-75-75)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jones is still in talks with his mandatory Kayode at last check, but the latest buzz has the Nigerian fighting Tarver, instead.
9) Danny Green (33-118-118)
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 (33-173-173)
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 (21-89)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores has been accused by Afolabi of ducking, but Flores claims he was given only 3 weeks notice for an offered fight.
12) Francisco Palacios (21-49)
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 (5-60)
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 (5-68)
Last Fight: 9/9/2011- UD10 Felix Cora, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
WBA titlist Guillermo Jones has been ordered to fight Kayode, but Kayode is currently deep into talks with Antonio Tarver, as well.
15) Enad Licina (4-89)
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 (4-5)
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 (4-34)
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 (4-4)
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 (5-25)
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 (5-21)
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: Nothing of note going on at cruiser this week.

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