Super Middleweight: 2011, Dec 12-18

Gangly 6’4″ Super Middleweight Aaron Pryor, Jr., my #12 contender, came into the backyard of unranked but heavily-favored knockout artist Adonis Stevenson, and it was like watching a giraffe fight a wrecking ball.  It took Stevenson a couple rounds to get going, but once he did, it was all Pryor could do to hang on.  Pryor went down in the first round on a bad call by frequently awful ref Marlon B. Wright after Stevenson stepped on his foot and shoved him down.  Wright made up for the obviously blown call in the 5th, when Stevenson hit Pryor so hard that the #12 contender nearly flew sideways over the top rope, but caught himself around said rope by his armpit, but Wright did not rule this a knockdown as the round expired a few seconds later.  Points were obviously irrelevant, though, since Stevenson had already scored two unquestionable knockdowns in the 3rd and by this time was pummeling Pryor from pillar to post.  Pryor took a prodigious beating throughout the latter 3/4 of the fight, and I’m not really okay with how long his corner allowed him to continue, since he had obviously gone into full survival mode and yet, stick-figure that he is, was nowhere near strong or quick enough in backpedaling to slow or frustrate Stevenson’s onslaught in any way.  Pryor- busted up and broken- managed to hang on until the 9th, when Stevenson dropped him to his hands and knees.  Wright finished about half the count before noticing that Pryor had no intention of getting back up and calling a halt to the drubbing.

 

Stevenson crashes the rankings in style, settling in at #10.  If we’re looking merely at wins, he has a slight edge over Peter Quillin for the #9 spot, but his embarrassing KO loss to journeyman Darnell Boone in 2010 is too much to overcome compared to Quillin’s spotless resume.  Inactivity and unsuccessful outings when he does get active at a high level have conspired with Stevenson to rob Sakio Bika of his top 10 rankings after he had returned for 14 weeks.  Overall, Bika has been a top-10 fighter for all but a handful of weeks in the last 5 years.

 

Pryor drops to #18, where he settles a rung below a guy he narrowly and arguably beat in #17 Librado Andrade.  Whatever narrow margin Pryor could claim over Andrade doesn’t logically overcome 2 consecutive losses- including one against a non-established contender.  Pryor manages to remain ahead of new #19 Jesus Gonzales, since he has operated and had success at a higher level than the Arizona fringe contender.  James DeGale rounds out the top 20, as George Groves is forced out by Stevenson’s debut, as wrong as that feels.  And before you all jump down my throat, here’s my reasoning for DeGale over Groves: I think DeGale deserved a narrow win rather than the loss he suffered in their meeting, and DeGale’s close win over fringe contender Piotr Wilczewski was enough for me to foreclose whatever benefit of the doubt that Groves was entitled to based on his narrow and questionable margin over DeGale.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Andre Ward (55-134-134)
Last Fight: 5/14/2011- UD12 #6 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: 12/17/2011- vs. #2 Carl Froch
#1 vs. #2 for the vacant World Championship.  Two hungry, proven fighters.  2 continents.  Doesn’t get any better than this.
2) Carl Froch (55-287-287)
Last Fight: 6/4/2011- W(MD12) vs. #12 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: 12/17/2011- vs. #1 Andre Ward
See Ward’s comments above.
3) Lucian Bute (55-296-296)
Last Fight: 11/5/2012- UD12 #13 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: Unknown
Maybe we’ll see him against the Froch-Ward winner next?
4) Mikkel Kessler (55-366-366)
Last Fight: 6/4/2011- TKO6 Mehdi Bouadla (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/14/2012- vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz
The big fight between Kessler and Stieglitz finally has a date: April 14.
5) Robert Stieglitz (36-120-120)
Last Fight: 4/9/2011- W(DQ10) vs. Khoren Gevor (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/14/2012- vs. Henry Weber (UNR)
Stieglitz will fight a tune-up against middling prospect Henry Weber before the big one with Kessler.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (15-28-76)
Last Fight: 11/23/2011- TKO11 Francisco Sierra (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen had no problem with trial horse Francisco Sierra, and we hope to see him in with a world-class opponent soon.
7) Arthur Abraham (15-112-112)
Last Fight: 5/14/2011- L(UD12) vs. #1 Andre Ward
Next Fight: 1/14/2012- vs. Pablo Farias (UNR)
Abraham’s January opponent will be Argentine prospect Pablo “Pokemon” Farias.
8) Dimitri Sartison (15-72-76)
Last Fight: 11/12/2011- W(MD8) vs. Arturs Kulikauskis (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sartison had trouble keeping up with the movement of truly awful journeyman Arturs Kulikauskis in his comeback fight from knee surgery.  Hopefully it gets better with time, because otherwise the once-promising Sartison is fodder.
9) Peter Quillin (15-33-33)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Craig McEwan (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Quillin netted a nice win at Middleweight against Craig McEwan, though it doesn’t affect his ranking here.
10) Adonis Stevenson (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 12/10/2012- TKO9 #12 Aaron Pryor, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson is an exciting contender to be sure.  His ability to walk through and destroy his opposition is Tyson-like, at least to the naked eye.  His only drawbacks?  He obviously has a vulnerable chin considering his early knockout loss to journeyman Darnell Boone, and he’s getting up there in age (34) for such a fresh face on the scene.
11) Sakio Bika (1-245)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- RTD3 Alfredo Contreras (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Avoided removal by the skin of his teeth, but he’s going to start plummeting any month now if he doesn’t beat someone decent.
12) Andy Lee (1-40)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- UD10 #14 Bryan Vera
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee was seeking a fight with J.C. Chavez, Jr. that was declined by the Mexican star, and so Lee has now focused his attention on Sergio Martinez.  In the meantime, he may fight on St. Patrick’s Day against countryman Martin Murray.
13) Anthony Dirrell (2-2)
Last Fight: 12/2/2011- TKO4 Renan St. Juste (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Finally stepped up to the fringe contender level against St. Juste.  Verdict: not too shabby.
14) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (2-5)
Last Fight: 11/11/2011- TKO12 Andrea Di Luisa (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dominated and stopped a bona fide fringe contender in Di Luisa, and earned a nice ranking in the process.
15) Glen Johnson (2-58)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- L(UD12) vs. #3 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
The Bute fight was the only one of Johnson’s recent career that wasn’t really close.  Bute is certainly a top fighter, but it could be that the Road Warrior is starting to wind down a bit.
16) Bryan Vera (2-45)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- L(UD10) vs. #15 Andy Lee
Next Fight: Unknown
Totally outclassed by Lee in the rematch of a fight he won last time around.
17) Librado Andrade (2-16)
Last Fight: 8/27/2011- TKO3 Matt O’Brien (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/17/2011- vs. Don George (UNR)
Andrade has not been deterred from fighting top prospects after the Pryor loss, and is now scheduled to fight knockout artist Don George in December.
18) Aaron Pryor, Jr. (1-32)
Last Fight: 12/10/2011- L(TKO9) vs. Adonis Stevenson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Well, it’s clear that he can’t play with at least one of the big boys.  Every division needs fringe contenders, though, and that looks like Pryor’s lane for the time being.
19) Jesus Gonzales (1-23)
Last Fight: 7/8/2011- UD12 Francisco Sierra (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With a fairly comfortable win over a generally solid and much bigger opponent, Gonzales finds his way easily within the top 20.
20) James DeGale (1-9)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- W(MD12) vs. Piotr Wilczewski (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/27/2012- vs. Jose Maria Guerrero (UNR)
With Groves’ injury-driven withdrawal from a scheduled doubleheader, DeGale’s return against Spaniard Jose Maria Guerrero has now also been delayed- until January 27.

 

The Week Ahead: The division is host to two notable fights on Saturday.  The biggest one by far is #1 Andre Ward vs. #2 Carl Froch, for no less than the vacant World Championship, in addition to the Showtime Super Six Tournament Championship.  That’s in Atlantic City.

 

South of the border, popular Mexican brawler Librado Andrade takes on Chicago prospect Don George in what could be an interesting crossroads fight, if Andrade has anything left to give.

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