Cruiserweight: 2012, May 7-13

Marco Huck is a roller-coaster ride in boxer form.  Not that long ago, he was an extremely active and fairly dominant contender whose only rival in the division appeared to be Steve Cunningham, close decision over Ola Afolabi notwithstanding.  But then he fought Denis Lebedev and got bullied around the ring, only to win a completely bogus decision.  That made him nothing more than a borderline top 5 cruiserweight.  But then he moved up to heavyweight and put forth what almost definitely should have been a winning effort against that division’s clear #2 fighter.  So when he announced he was returning to cruiser to clarify the result of the Afolabi fight, we all kind of assumed quietly that this new version of Huck- the freshly unstoppable heavyweight conqueror- would walk through Afolabi the way he couldn’t quite do the first time around.  Not so.  Huck appeared to have a very real conditioning issue, as he took as much as 5/6 of several rounds off and just absorbed Afolabi’s attack- predominantly to the body.  It would be easy to blame this on his brief move to heavyweight, but I’m not buying that.  Huck as a heavyweight was under 210.  He probably weighs as much on a cruiserweight fight night as he did when he fought Povetkin.  So it’s not like he had to kill himself shedding excessive bulk.  But with help from Afolabi’s body work, he tired as noticeably as Povetkin had in their meeting.

 

That being said, the fight was wild and closely contested.  Huck did great work in spurts and Afolabi tired every bit as much in the late rounds, and could legitimately have gone either way.  I had it 115-113 Afolabi, but the majority draw verdict- including the 115-113 Huck card- were entirely legitimate.

 

Steve Cunningham, who does own a win over Huck, moves back ahead of him to #4 as Huck falls to #5 with the draw.  Afolabi moves up to #6 with the best result of his career to this point, swapping places with Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.

 

Just to update last week’s post, the result of the April 29 Brazilian and South American title bout between undefeated prospect William Fernando Souza Bezerra and Fernando de Oliveira finally showed up on Boxrec.  The prospect stopped his journeyman opponent (the best opponent of his career so far) by knockout late in round 1.  Souza Bezerra has had 29 fights, and has never seen a scorecard (28 knockouts, 1 DQ).  I look forward to seeing him on the intercontinental level in the near future.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (14-98-98)
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 (14-118-118)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The deal isn’t done yet, but contingent upon a final agreement, Lebedev and Mormeck have chosen a date and location for their prospective fight: June 29 in Paris.
3) Antonio Tarver (14-42-42)
Last Fight: 7/20/2011- RTD9 #7 Danny Green
Next Fight: 5/26/2012- vs. #13 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) Steve Cunningham (1-412-412)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
5) Marco Huck (1-283-283)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
After the draw with Afolabi, it appears that Huck may be a better heavyweight than a cruiserweight.
6) Ola Afolabi (1-165-165)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi had his second painfully close fight with Huck, and still can’t quite get over the hump for a win.
7) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (1-359-359)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: Unknown
8) Guillermo Jones (23-84-84)
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 (42-127-127)
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 (8-8-98)
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 (8-58)
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 (8-69)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #15 Enad Licina
Next Fight: 5/11/2012- vs. #19 Firat Arslan
Alexeev will fight Firat Arslan in an interesting crossroads-type fight on May 11 in Germany.
13) Lateef Kayode (8-77)
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 (8-182)
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 (8-8)
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) Mateusz Masternak (6-6)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- TKO10 Felipe Romero (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/19/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Masternak is back in action May 19 in Denmark on the Kessler-Allan Green undercard, opponent yet to be announced.
17) Enad Licina (6-98)
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.
18) Troy Ross (6-14)
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.
19) Firat Arslan (6-43)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO2 Orlando Farias (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/11/2012- vs. #12 Alexander Alexeev
See Alexeev’s notes, above.
20) Grigory Drozd (6-13)
Last Fight: 2/8/2012- RTD9 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/2/2012- vs. Cesar Crenz (UNR)
After a scheduled matchup with washed-up William Joppy thankfully fell through, Drozd is now scheduled for an interesting matchup with fringe contender Cesar Crenz of Argentina in early June.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  Universum places a few of its top cruiserweights in action Friday in Goeppingen, Germany.  #12 Alexander Alexeev meets #19 Firat Arslan in a good crossroads fight, while impressive undefeated prospect Rakhim Chakhkiev is back to work just 20 days after he made quick work of former super middleweight fringe contender Jaidon Codrington.  Chakhkiev is in against decent journeyman Zack Page.

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