Super Middleweight: 2012, Apr 2-8

In the week’s biggest fight, #6 Arthur Abraham banged out a solid and workmanlike decision over Polish fringe contender Piotr Wilczewski.  On the same card, mediocre German prospect Henry Weber barely walked away with a win over Italian journeyman Lorenzo Di Giacomo.  Weber looked chubby and probably should be fighting at 154 instead of 168.  He also needs a lot of work, especially on his defense.


Finally, Kelly Pavlik fought a complete novice a couple pounds over the 168 pound limit for his first fight in almost 11 months.  He didn’t have much difficulty the way he had with the theoretically better Alfonso Lopez, stopping Aaron Jaco early in the 2nd round.


Abraham picked up a fairly significant victory, but it really just more or less cancels out #5 Oosthuizen’s win over Serge Yannick from earlier in the month.  No changes to the rankings.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (16-150-150)
Last Fight: 12/17/2011- UD12 #2 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
A little bit of a disappointing batch of initial rhetoric coming out of the Ward camp.  While Bute says he is willing to travel to Oakland to fight Ward, Ward himself seems more interested in Kessler.  Normally I wouldn’t knock a Champ-#3 contender matchup, but we’ve already got that one figured out.  He’s also said he’s willing to fight J.C. Chavez in Mexico.
1) Lucian Bute (16-312-312)
Last Fight: 11/5/2012- UD12 #13 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: 5/26/2012- vs. #2 Carl Froch
Despite Showtime rejecting the fight, Bute will face Froch in Nottingham on May 26.  Epix will likely televise in the US.
2) Carl Froch (16-303-303)
Last Fight: 12/17/2011- L(UD12) vs. #1 Andre Ward
Next Fight: 5/26/2012- vs. #1 Lucian Bute
See Bute’s notes, above.
3) Mikkel Kessler (16-382-382)
Last Fight: 6/4/2011- TKO6 Mehdi Bouadla (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/19/2012- vs. Allan Green (UNR) (at LHW)
I’m still not clear on why Kessler and Stieglitz is off, but Kessler is now set to fight Allan Green at 175 for some reason.  The fight will be in Copenhagen.
4) Robert Stieglitz (16-136-136)
Last Fight: 1/14/2012- UD12 Henry Weber (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/5/2012- vs. #20 George Groves
Both Stieglitz and Kessler have now moved on from their ill-fated scheduled fight, and Stieglitz now has a date with George Groves May 5 in Erfurt, Germany.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (16-44-92)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- TKO6 Serge Yannick (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/27/2012- vs. Marcus Johnson (UNR)
Prospective opponent Maxim Vlasov was injured in a car accident, and so Oosthuizen will be fighting fringe contender/prospect Marcus Johnson, instead.  April 27, on ShoBox.
6) Arthur Abraham (16-128-128)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- UD12 Piotr Wilczewski (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abraham has proven that he’s still above the fringe contender level despite his struggles late in the Super Six.  It might be time for him to start fighting top-10 types again, even if they are carefully chosen.
7) Adonis Stevenson (7-17-17)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 #18 Jesus Gonzales
Next Fight: 4/20/2012- vs. Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Stevenson continues his string of fringe contenders as opponents when he battles Uraguayan prospect Noe Gonzalez on Friday Night Fights in mid-May.
8) Dimitri Sartison (7-88-92)
Last Fight: 11/12/2011- W(MD8) vs. Arturs Kulikauskis (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 4/21/2012- vs. Karoly Balzsay (UNR)
Sartison is taking a step back up to the fringe contender level in April.  If his knee isn’t close to 100% (which it didn’t appear to be against journeyman Kulikauskis), Balzsay is the right level of opponent to capitalize.
9) Peter Quillin (7-49-49)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Craig McEwan (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 5/26/2012- vs. Winky Wright (UNR) (at MW?)
After it originally appeared a no-go, Quillin’s proposed fight with inactive former champ Winky Wright is now on for the Tarver-Kayode undercard on Showtime.
10) Sakio Bika (16-16-261)
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.
11) Andy Lee (16-56)
Last Fight: 3/10/2012- TKO2 Saul Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee has apparently made the finals for a potential shot at Julio Cesar Chavez at 160.  It’s down to him and Vanes Martirosyan, it would appear.
12) Anthony Dirrell (16-18)
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.
13) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (16-21)
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.
14) Glen Johnson (16-74)
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.
15) Bryan Vera (16-61)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- L(UD10) vs. #15 Andy Lee
Next Fight: 4/21/2012- vs. Taronze Washington (UNR)
Vera will fight no-name journeyman Taronze Washignton on April 21.
16) Librado Andrade (16-32)
Last Fight: 8/27/2011- TKO3 Matt O’Brien (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/21/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Andrade has scheduled what he’s described as a stay-busy fight for April 21, with the opponent yet to be announced.
17) Aaron Pryor, Jr. (16-48)
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.
18) Jesus Gonzales (16-39)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
19) James DeGale (16-25)
Last Fight: 10/15/2011- W(MD12) vs. Piotr Wilczewski (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/21/2012- vs. Cristian Sanavia (UNR)
DeGale will defend his European crown against Spanish journeyman and former contender Cristian Sanavia on April 21 in Denmark, of all places.
20) George Groves (16-16)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO2 Paul Smith (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/5/2012- vs. #4 Robert Stieglitz
Groves withdrew at very nearly the last minute from his scheduled rematch with Kenny Anderson.  It may not be a coincidence that the WBO had ordered a fight with Stieglitz 5 days before…


The Week Ahead: French gatekeeper Christopher Rebrasse will fight journeyman Hassene Azouz Neffati for the French title on Thursday in the town of Enghien.

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