Light Heavyweight: 2012, May 21-27

The most notable fight of this weekend was between two recent super middleweights: Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green.  This fight was scheduled as part of the Super Six a couple of years ago, but Kessler had to withdraw with an eye injury.  The only thing withdrawn this time was Green’s consciousness.  Green actually came out looking very good in the first .  He appeared noticeably bigger, stronger, and even crisper with his punches.  He even knocked Kessler down.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t come close to putting the Dane away, and Kessler came back strong in the second.  It appeared that Green’s body language changed a great deal when it became clear that Kessler wasn’t going away, and the Viking Warrior took over the fight completely.  Early in the 4th round, Kessler caught Green throwing a lazy punch and countered him with a crushing left hook.  Green was out before he ever hit the canvas, and the ref waved it off immediately.

 

The same night in Marseille, France, gatekeeper Nadjib Mohammedi won by TKO in 4 when journeyman Mehdi Amar could not continue with an injury.

 

The previous night, Australian undefeated prospect Blake Caparello won a 10-round decision over less advanced Kiwi undefeated prospect Robert Berridge in Flemington, Australia.  Unfortunately I can’t locate a video of what was said to be a very close fight.  News reports I’ve read are mixed.  One (the most detailed) was fairly adamant that Berridge seemed to have won a close fight.  Others were more equivocal or didn’t take a strong position one way or the other.  Frankly I don’t trust random reporters any more than I trust random judges, so it’s hard to form any kind of opinion.  I have little choice but to take it at face value as what appears to be a pretty hard-fought win for Caparello.

 

It’s a little tricky to decide what to do with Kessler.  Green hadn’t really established himself as a credible light heavyweight, but he does have a significant overall resume.  In addition, neither guy came in to the fight more than halfway to the light heavyweight limit.  I figure I have to put him ahead of Erdei, who hasn’t beaten anybody as good as Green (strange to say) in 5 years- or at least not at 175.  I’m going to put him ahead of Cornelius White too.  My feeling is that Despaigne- who was beat by White- is a slightly better mark than is Green, but then again a 4th round knockout is better than a 6-round decision.  If that yields a tie between the two, it’s broken by a combination of common sense and Kessler’s much more impressive overall career.  Diaconu hasn’t done anything in 4 years, but back in the day he beat a contender or two, and he at least hasn’t lost to anyone at Green’s level.  So Kessler parks himself at #16.  Eduard Gutknecht is forced out after a shade over a year in the rankings.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Chad Dawson (4-312-312)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- W (MD12) Champ Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: 9/8/2012- vs. SMW Champ Andre Ward (at SMW)
Wow- it really is happening!  Dawson will reportedly drop down to 168 to challenge Andre Ward for the World Championship at Super Middle.  For my money, it will also be an opportunity for Ward to capture Dawson’s light heavyweight title.  He’s fighting the 175 champion under the 175 limit.  I’m not sure this scenario has ever played out in the history of boxing…and it’s pretty exciting- even if the fight itself may not  be.
1) Bernard Hopkins (4-311-311)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- L(MD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
I’m not sure what he thinks he can or still wants to prove, but 47-year-old Hopkins has shrugged off retirement talk and there is talk of potential fights with Lucian Bute and Nathan Cleverly.
2) Jean Pascal (4-153-153)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #1 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: 8/11/2012- vs. #4 Tavoris Cloud
Showtime has kindly provided the date of August 11 for the Pascal-Cloud tilt.  That’s more than 14-months since Pascal’s last fight…just sayin’.
3) Gabriel Campillo (14-100-100)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
With Cloud apparently sidestepping not only Campillo, but also a mandatory with Karo Murat in favor of an even better match with Pascal, I wonder if Campillo might get the rematch with Murat, instead.
4) Tavoris Cloud (14-143-143)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12* vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo (Robbery)
Next Fight: 8/11/2012- vs. #2 Jean Pascal
It appeared certain that Cloud would fight Murat next, but now he’s fighting Pascal instead.
5) Nathan Cleverly (32-120-120)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- UD12 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Originally scheduled to fight the underwhelming Robin Krasniqi, a virus scuttled that fight for him.  Not that anyone’s complaining.  Barring a rescheduling, which would be problematic from the WBO’s perspective, Cleverly may be looking toward his mandatory with Sukhotski next, though there’s some talk of a Hopkins fight, as well.
6) Karo Murat (34-34-55)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- Draw (SD12) vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
Not sure where Murat goes from here after his mandatory shot at Cloud was at least delayed for Cloud to seek greener pastures.  My vote: Campillo-Murat II.
7) Tony Bellew (32-32-32)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- TKO5 #20 Danny McIntosh
Next Fight: Unknown
After demolishing McIntosh for the British title, Bellew has renewed his calls for a rematch with Cleverly.  He also named Cloud and Shumenov as guys he’s ready for.
8) Beibut Shumenov (16-96-100)
Last Fight: 7/29/2011- TKO9 Danny Santiago (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/2/2012- vs. Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
How this guy gets to keep even an alphabet title while fighting exactly William Joppy, Danny Santiago, and Enrique Ornelas over what will become more than a 2-year span is well beyond me.  And that’s setting aside the fact that he got totally worked in the fight that “won” him the title in the first place.  I know for a fact that Adrian Diaconu wanted to fight him, so it’s not like he’s being ducked by every name fighter out there.
9) Yusaf Mack (16-64-100)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- UD12 Omar Sheika (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mack called out Cloud and Dawson after beating Sheika.  Sure, he’s a top 10 fighter, but that still feels like a stretch for him.
10) Dmitri Sukhotski (16-16-82)
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.  Now that Cleverly got sick and cancelled on Krasniqi, surely this fight will have to happen now…
11) Isaac Chilemba (16-16)
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 (8-16)
Last Fight: 5/12/2012- UD8 Ravshanbek Jabbarov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Deserved much better than a unanimous decision loss against Gutknecht, and is rewarded for it in my rankings.
13) Jürgen Brähmer (5-5)
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) Denis Grachev (4-4)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- TKO8 #15 Ismayl Sillakh
Next Fight: Unknown
Yes, it was a flukey win, and it’s clear from his performance on its face that, at least at this point, he’s not this good.  But honestly the result in black and white could have supported a rating as high as around #10.  Common sense can only demote a guy so far (in conjunction with relative inexperience) when his actual resume calls out for a decent ranking.
15) Adrian Diaconu (4-263)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Last chance for Diaconu to schedule a fight.  He gets 6 days more than usual because the leap year threw off the cycle a bit.
16) Mikkel Kessler (1-1)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- TKO4 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s not clear where Kessler will compete from now on, but the fact that he came in under 170 for his light heavyweight fight with Allan Green might be an indication.
17) Cornelius White (1-23)
Last Fight: 5/12/2012- KO2 Anthony Bowman (UNR)
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.
18) Zsolt Erdei (1-79)
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.
19) Tony Averlant (1-8)
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).
20) Ismayl Sillakh (1-71)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- L(TKO8) vs. Denis Grachev (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I didn’t see that coming at all.  I trust Sillakh will bounce back from the upset loss to Grachev.  But wow.

 

The Week Ahead: No action to report this week.

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