Super Middleweight: 2012, Apr 30- May 6

#5 Thomas Oosthuizen won a close fight over American prospect/fringe contender Marcus Johnson on Friday, though in fairness the South African did close well down the stretch.  His ranking is not affected one way or the other.


In Donetsk, Ukraine, local fringe contender Stanislas Kashtanov stopped Uruguayan journeyman Jorge Rodriguez in the 7th of scheduled 8.  No change in the rankings from this fight, either.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (20-154-154)
Last Fight: 12/17/2011- UD12 #2 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Light Heavyweight Champ Chad Dawson called Ward out immediately after his victory over Hopkins.  Dawson said he’d even dip down to 168 to make the fight- very interesting possibility there.  In fact, I can’t think of a time in history where a reigning champion at one weight has fought for the championship of a lower weight class.
1) Lucian Bute (20-316-316)
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 (20-307-307)
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 (20-386-386)
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 (20-140-140)
Last Fight: 1/14/2012- UD12 Henry Weber (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stieglitz has now been canceled on twice in a row, as the Kessler fight was deep-sixed for still-unclear reasons, and now George Groves has withdrawn with an injury.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (20-48-96)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- UD10 Marcus Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
In the wake of Oosthuizen’s victory over Johnson, Adonis Stevenson has expressed interest in fighting him.
6) Arthur Abraham (20-132-132)
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 (11-21-21)
Last Fight: 4/20/2012- TKO2 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson has worn out every fringe contender he can find, and is now looking to fight Ward or Bute, though he might have an opportunity for a shot at some random vacant title against Anthony Dirrell.
8) Peter Quillin (2-53-53)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Craig McEwan (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 6/2/2012- 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.
9) Sakio Bika (2-20-265)
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.
10) Andy Lee (2-2-60)
Last Fight: 3/10/2012- TKO2 Saul Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/16/2012- vs. MW #? Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (at MW)
Lee gets the fight he’s been waiting for, against the best opponent of his career in Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.  The fight will be in El Paso in mid-June.
11) Karoly Balzsay (2-2)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- TKO12 #8 Dimitri Sartison
Next Fight: Unknown
Took advantage of a diminished version of Sartison, which leaves him knocking on the door of the top 10 despite being outfought by unproven prospect Kashtanov.
12) Anthony Dirrell (20-22)
Last Fight: 12/2/2011- TKO4 Renan St. Juste (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC has ridiculously made Andre Ward “champion in recess” and ordered an awful vacant title fight between Dirrell and Nikola Sjekloca, who may not even be a top 25 fighter.
13) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (20-25)
Last Fight: 11/11/2011- TKO12 Andrea Di Luisa (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/26/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Ndiaye will be back in action in late May.  No opponent yet.
14) Glen Johnson (20-78)
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) Dimitri Sartison (2-96)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- L(TKO12) vs. Karoly Balzsay (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
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.
16) Bryan Vera (2-65)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- UD8 Taronze Washington (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera will fight no-name journeyman Taronze Washignton on April 21.
17) Aaron Pryor, Jr. (20-52)
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 (20-43)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
19) James DeGale (20-29)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- TKO4 Cristian Sanavia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Easy pickings for a European defense against the faded Sanavia.
20) George Groves (20-20)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO2 Paul Smith (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Groves is starting to earn himself a reputation as an unreliable opponent.  He withdrew from a scheduled fight back in December with injury.  Then he scheduled a fight for March that he withdrew from in order to fight for Robert Stieglitz’s belt.  But now he has withdrawn with that bout with a new injury.


The Week Ahead: #4 Robert Stieglitz takes on Australian gatekeeper Nader Hamdan- a late replacement for George Groves-in Erfurt, Germany on Saturday.

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