Light Heavyweight: 2012, Apr 23-29

Three fights to discuss from this past weekend:


Friday: French gatekeeper Nadjib Mohammedi outpointed Algerian journeyman Mohamed Belkachem in France.


Saturday: Juergen Braehmer returned to action in Schwerin, and weighed in under 175, which means he gets considered for a ranking based on his past success after inactivity saw him removed a while ago.  He didn’t exactly bring the house down in his fight with Namibian journeyman Vikapita Meroro, but he did just enough to edge out most of the rounds, knocked his guy down once, and earned a 99-90 score on my card.  The judges had it similar, though apparently they are allowed to give even rounds liberally in Germany.  Braehmer’s timing appeared poor for the most part, and he looked crude and vulnerable to me.  Meroro simply didn’t push the tempo enough to snatch many rounds.


Meanwhile, in Poland, prospect Dawid Kostecki won a shutout on two cards and a 5-1 verdict on the third in his 6-round walk in the park with Georgian journeyman Sandro Siproshvili.


Braehmer’s return to activity in the division requires me to re-rate him.  He has certainly lost some luster since being removed as a top 10 fighter for inactivity, but he still hasn’t fallen quite as far down the ladder as Adrian Diaconu.  Diaconu (at least for now) has technically maintained his status as an active fighter, but an inactive Braehmer has 3 notable wins since Diaconu’s last one in 2008 and thus checks in immediately ahead of Diaconu at #13, forcing Dianconu and everyone rated below him down a spot, including Edison Miranda, who exits the rankings after 18 weeks in.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Bernard Hopkins (49-307-307)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- NC vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: 4/28/2012- vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Hopkins and Dawson will square off- hopefully to a conclusion this time- on regular HBO in late April.
1) Jean Pascal (49-149-149)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #1 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
Pascal and Cloud are close to a deal, and are just waiting on a date from Showtime.
2) Chad Dawson (71-308-308)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- NC* vs. Champ Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: 4/28/2012- vs. Champ Bernard Hopkins
See Hopkins’ notes, above.
3) Gabriel Campillo (10-96-96)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
The IBF unsurprisingly rejected Campillo’s appeal and request for an immediate rematch.  Hopefully Campillo won’t need it since everyone saw him win.
4) Tavoris Cloud (10-139-139)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12* vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
It appeared certain that Cloud would fight Murat next, but there’s now a deal on the table for him to fight Jean Pascal.
5) Nathan Cleverly (28-116-116)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- UD12 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/28/2012- vs. Robin Krasniqi (UNR)
After originally quite admirably rejecting Cleverly’s proposed title fight with Krasniqi, the WBO folded and gave Cleverly 120 days after the fight to face Dmitri Sukhotski.
6) Karo Murat (30-30-51)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- Draw (SD12) vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
His planned fight with Cloud is very much in doubt, as Cloud and Pascal appear close to a deal.
7) Tony Bellew (28-28-28)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- L*(MD12) vs. #4 Nathan Cleverly
Next Fight: 4/27/2012- vs. #20 Danny McIntosh
The Bellew-McIntosh fight is now scheduled for 4/27.
8) Beibut Shumenov (12-92-96)
Last Fight: 7/29/2011- TKO9 Danny Santiago (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Shumenov’s attempts to get a fight with Cleverly have apparently failed.  Shumenov wants to unify the alphabet titles, but he appears to be the odd man out in a lot of those fights.  This might be an ideal time for a rematch with Campillo if he can’t get a unification at this point.
9) Yusaf Mack (12-60-96)
Last Fight: 6/25/2011- L(TKO8) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud
Next Fight: 4/27/2012- vs. Omar Sheika (UNR)
Mack will apparently be fighting journeyman Omar Sheika on April 27 in Atlantic City.
10) Dmitri Sukhotski (12-12-78)
Last Fight: 10/8/2011- TKO2 Nadjib Mohammedi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBO originally demanded that Cleverly fight Sukhotski rather than the mediocre Krasniqi, but then backed down and gave Cleverly an extra 4 months to take the fight.
11) Isaac Chilemba (12-12)
Last Fight: 2/3/2012- UD10 #16 Edison Miranda
Next Fight: Unknown
Chilemba, a former super middleweight, now has the highest ranking of his career at either weight after beating fringe contender Miranda.
12) Vyacheslav Uzelkov (4-12)
Last Fight: 3/4/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #8 Eduard Gutknecht
Next Fight: 5/12/2012- vs. Ravshanbek Jabbarov (UNR)
Deserved much better than a unanimous decision loss against Gutknecht, and is rewarded for it in my rankings.
13) Jürgen Brähmer (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- UD10 Vikapita Meroro (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Braehmer has showed up for his last two fights, which at least feels like a record for him. 
14) Adrian Diaconu (1-259)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
A quality fighter, Diaconu is nevertheless slipping in the rankings simply because he never wins against anyone above the journeyman level.  He ought to try and find some kind of mid-range fringe contender just to get a decent win, because fighting journeymen or top contenders isn’t working out for him.
15) Ismayl Sillakh (1-67)
Last Fight: 11/4/2011- TKO4 Ali Ismailov (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: 4/27/2012- vs. Denis Grachev (UNR)
With Pascal ducking him, Sillakh will settle for a fight with undefeated Russian prospect Denis Grachev on Friday Night Fights.
16) Cornelius White (4-19)
Last Fight: 12/17/2011- UD6 #16 Yordanis Despaigne
Next Fight: Unknown
White, who was blown out in one round by prospect Don George at super middleweight early in 2011, may be a fluke.  But at least for one night, he looked a lot better against former top amateur Yordanis Despaigne than did established fringe contender Edison Miranda.
17) Zsolt Erdei (1-75)
Last Fight: 6/4/2011- KO6 Byron Mitchell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Had a fight with Pascal lined up, but Showtime couldn’t come up with the money to make it happen.
18) Tony Averlant (1-4)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- L*(SD12) vs. #12 Eduard Gutknecht (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Averlant is probably closer to the journeyman he was on 3/30 than the solid fringe contender he became on 3/31, but a win is a win…even when it’s a loss (in Germany).
19) Eduard Gutknecht (1-51)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- W*(SD12) vs. Tony Averlant (UNR) (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lost a close but clear fight against Averlant, but got the decision.  That’s two at least questionable verdicts in a row for Gutknecht, both against extremely unranked fighters.
20) Danny McIntosh (1-96)
Last Fight: 5/7/2011- L(TKO8) vs. Eduard Gutknecht (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/27/2012- vs. #7 Tony Bellew
McIntosh will travel to Liverpool to fight Bellew for the British title.


The Week Ahead: The weekend we’ve all been waiting for is upon us.  No fewer than 6 ranked fighters are in action at light heavyweight this week.  The headliner is obviously the World Championship battle and rematch between Champion Bernard Hopkins and #2 Chad Dawson in Atlantic City. 


#7 Tony Bellew takes on #20 Danny McIntosh in an interesting domestic-level skirmish in Liverpool on Friday, as well.  This will give Bellew a chance to somewhat justify the high ranking I gave him, which far exceeds the consideration he gets elsewhere.  You may remember that I ranked Bellew in the top 10 based on his loss to Cleverly, in which I felt he earned at least a draw.  #9 Yusaf Mack battles veteran journeyman Omar Sheika as an Atlantic City warmup on Friday for Saturday’s Championship, and supremely talented fringe contending prospect Ismayl Sillakh (#15), with Jean Pascal apparently ducking him, will settle for Friday Night Fights main event against the equally undefeated much much less experienced and heralded Russian prospect Denis Grachev.


This division is really heating up at all levels.  None of these guys are in super easy, although Sheika has certainly seen better days.

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