Cruiserweight: 2012, Mar 26- Apr 1

Oh goodness.  What a weekend.  The fight I’m about to mention was overshadowed greatly (at least stateside) by the controversy surrounding Molina-Kirkland, but it may be perhaps even more difficult in this case to determine the proper treatment of the situation.  Enzo Maccarinelli (a former contender in this division removed for inactivity and nominally moving down to light heavyweight) fought rugged but green Shane McPhilbin on Friday night in England for the British cruiserweight title.  Maccarinelli, who clearly needs to retire to save his brain at this point, was knocked silly by a fairly ordinary shot in the first round.  He rose from it and then fell again before returning to his feet a second time to barely beat the count.  Frankly, it was very questionable whether he was ready to continue at 10.  I didn’t get a good view of the look on his face, but the broadcasters were very adamant that he didn’t know where he was.  McPhilbin waded in after the bout was allowed to continue, and was the only one in the ring, it seems, to hear the bell ring FORTY SEVEN SECONDS EARLY- basically the second Maccarinelli otherwise would have been placed back in harm’s way.  Let me be clear: it would have taken an historic show of guts, fortitude, and survival instincts for Maccarinelli to remotely last 47 more seconds at that point.  In my estimation, there was about a 90% chance the eventual result with proper officiating was a KO or TKO1 for McPhilbin.  Maccarinelli took a while to recover and was bullied around for the entire second round before being dropped again by a mediocre wide right hand in the 3rd.  At that point, he seemed to get his wits about him.  By the middle rounds, it was clear that McPhilbin had given everything he had to give.  From that point on he looked every bit the crude, poorly conditioned pub-brawler that he almost certainly is, and he lost a decision by a fairly solid margin after winning perhaps 1 of the final 9 rounds.


So what to do about this whole situation?  Well, Maccarinelli is unquestionably an active cruiserweight again.  First, let’s look at the most charitable view of the situation or Enzo.  Let’s just ignore the controversy and difficulties and say he won the fight with an average decision.  To be brutally honest, even a clean win over McPhilbin does nothing or Enzo’s resume except to classify him as active.  The 8-2 McPhilbin, despite being the British cruiserweight champion, had done nothing to get him considered as anything above a low-level journeyman.  So granting Enzo the win, he basically has an argument to be ranked around where he was when he exits for inactivity, minus whatever effect his layoff and low level of opposition might be deemed to have.  His last ranking was between Enad Licina and Firat Arslan back in September, which puts him somewhere around 17 or 18 in the current rankings, before any negative considerations are factored in.  Now, to factor those things.  It’s been 2 years since Enzo’s last significant win.  Before that?  4 1/2 years.  Throw in the fact that he basically fought two separate fights against a total non-entity in McPhilbin on Friday and walked away with a 1-1 record, and there’s really no justification for rating him.   It’s really too bad for McPhilbin, though.  If the fight had ended- as it likely should have- in the first round, McPhilbin would have almost certainly earned a ranking.  It would have been a flukey ranking, as proved totally unworthy of one over the latter half of the fight, but it would have been his moment.  In truth, he appears to be a 6-round clubfighter.  Maybe someday he’ll progress past that, but not yet.


Swallowed up in all this is the fact that there were actually a couple other notable fights last week.  Prospect Ilunga Makubu of the Congo stopped Nigerian journeyman Michael Gbenga in the 5th round of a scheduled 8 on Saturday.  Later that night, gatekeeper Willie Herring took on undefeated Columbian Santander Silgado on the non-televised Judah-Paris undercard in Brooklyn.  Silgado came out with a average decision, but I am not going examine this one too closely for rankings purposes because even though Boxrec had Herring rated in the top 50, it’s hard to see this as anything but a computer error, since the fight that got him that ranking was a win over Ravea Springs, a 40-year-old former gatekeeper coming off a 3 1/2 year layoff.  So for all the sound and fury, no changes to the rankings this week.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (8-92-92)
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 (8-112-112)
Last Fight: 11/4/2011- UD12 James Toney (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/4/2012- vs. Shawn Cox (UNR)
After reportedly being close to signing a fight with French gatekeeper Rachid El Hadak, Lebedev has instead opted for a bout with Shawn Cox.  This seems like a very low-reward fight for Lebedev, and if Cox happens to be for real after demolishing former contender Wayne Braithwaite, it might carry some risk, too.  I don’t understand the matchmaking from Lebedev’s team.
3) Antonio Tarver (8-36-36)
Last Fight: 7/20/2011- RTD9 #7 Danny Green
Next Fight: 5/26/2012- vs. #14 Lateef Kayode
Tarver criticized Kayode on ShoBox, and Kayode took exception.  So now we have a grudge match.  I don’t think the Nigerian is ready for this, but perhaps Tarver will finally show his age.
4) Marco Huck (8-277-277)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- L*(MD12) vs. HW #2 Alexander Povetkin (at HW)
Next Fight: 5/5/2012- vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Huck will fight Afolabi May 5 in Erfurt, Germany, fresh off his near victory over Povetkin at heavyweight.
5) Steve Cunningham (8-406-406)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
6) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (17-353-353)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
7) Ola Afolabi (17-159-159)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- RTD5 Valery Brudov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Huck’s notes, above.
8) Guillermo Jones (17-78-78)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With all of his possible mandatories tied up with other fights, Jones has made renewed noises about moving up to face a Klitschko.  In the meantime, he continues to train in Miami for a fight that has yet to materialize. 
9) Danny Green (36-121-121)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- L(TKO11) vs. #8 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Shane Cameron is hoping to fight Green if he beats Monte Barrett in May.  No major news from Green’s end.
10) B.J. Flores (2-2-92)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores has said he might fight the Fragomeni-Branco winner.  Not sure how that will be affected by the fact that there is no winner.
11) Francisco Palacios (2-52)
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 has since chased fights with Roy Jones and Antonio Tarver, neither of which seem to be currently on the table.
12) Alexander Alexeev (2-63)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #15 Enad Licina
Next Fight: 5/11/2012- vs. #18 Firat Arslan
Alexeev will fight Firat Arslan in an interesting crossroads-type fight on May 11 in Germany.
13) Lateef Kayode (2-71)
Last Fight: 9/9/2011- UD10 Felix Cora, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/26/2012- vs. #3 Antonio Tarver
Kayode has snubbed a mandatory shot at Guillermo Jones’ alphabet belt for a shot at an even better fighter, the aging but still very capable Antonio Tarver.
14) Giacobbe Fragomeni (2-176)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni appears to be showing his age after nearly losing to an even older man in Brnaco.
15) Silvio Branco (2-2)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
45 year old veteran Silvio Branco got what may have been his final hurrah with a close-fought draw with top 10-ranked Giacobbe Fragomeni.
16) Enad Licina (2-92)
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.
17) Troy Ross (2-8)
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.
18) Firat Arslan (2-37)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO2 Orlando Farias (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/11/2012- vs. #12 Alexander Alexeev
See Alexeev’s notes, above.
19) Grigory Drozd (2-7)
Last Fight: 2/8/2012- RTD9 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/4/2012- vs. William Joppy (UNR)
Drozd is following up a nice win over Richard Hall with what will probably a slightly less nice win over badly faded former middleweight contender William Joppy in Russia.
20) Matt Godfrey (2-28)
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.


THE WEEK AHEAD: Friday in Tampa, local gatekeeper Nick Iannuzzi battles poor prospect Dan Biddle of Delaware.  Iannuzzi is best known for giving Lateef Kayode all he could handle last year.  Biddle will likely soon be best known or losing to Iannuzzi.


Saturday night in the port city of Kiel, Germany, recently-ranked undefeated Polish prospect Mateusz Masternak takes on fringe contender and Mexican champion Felipe Romero, who in his last fight decisioned Julio Cesar Gonzalez in September, who tragically passed away in a motorcycle accident by a drunk driver earlier this month.  This is the toughest test of Masternak’s career, and the winner will almost certainly earn a ranking.

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