Light Heavyweight: 2012, Jun 4-10

Russian prospect Sergei Kovalev saw action on Friday for the first time since opponent Roman Simakov suffered fatal brain injuries in their December bout, mercifully stopping power-punching journeyman Darnell Boone much earlier- by 5th round TKO- in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Friday.

 

On Saturday, #6 Karo Murat took care of late replacement Sandro Siproshvili in a 7th round TKO in Herning, Denmark.  Finally, #8 Beibut Shumenov had an easy night in another embarrassingly easy “title defense,” dominating a very passive Enrique Ornelas to a 12-round shutout in Vegas.

 

None of these fighters was in tough enough to affect their rankings.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Chad Dawson (6-314-314)
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 (6-313-313)
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 a potential fight with Nathan Cleverly.
2) Jean Pascal (6-155-155)
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 (16-102-102)
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 (16-145-145)
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 (34-122-122)
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 (36-36-57)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO7 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After his hopes for a Cloud fight were dashed, Murat will settle for a short-notice stay-busy fight with Cuban prospect Miguel Velozo.
7) Tony Bellew (34-34-34)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- TKO5 #20 Danny McIntosh
Next Fight: Unknown
Bellew has at least rhetorically severed ties with promoter Frank Warren and is reportedly in the running for a July 7 fight on Sky Sports.  Warren is threatening legal action over the split and the potential fight, however.
8) Beibut Shumenov (18-98-102)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After embarrassing both Enrique Ornelas and himself (merely for taking the fight), Shumenov has already been approached for fights with Hopkins, Cleverly, and Kessler.  That being the case, he won’t have much of an excuse left if he ends up fighting his 4th consecutive journeyman.
9) Yusaf Mack (18-66-102)
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 (18-18-84)
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 (18-18)
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 (10-18)
Last Fight: 5/12/2012- UD8 Ravshanbek Jabbarov (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/21/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Uzelkov is now scheduled for a fight in mid-July in Odessa, Ukraine.
13) Jürgen Brähmer (7-7)
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 (6-6)
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) Mikkel Kessler (2-3)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- TKO4 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
A Froch fight in the fall now looks extremely likely, at 168.
16) Cornelius White (2-25)
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.
17) Zsolt Erdei (2-81)
Last Fight: 6/4/2011- KO6 Byron Mitchell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Erdei will be subject to removal when I perform the June 11-17 update if he doesn’t schedule a fight before that.  He has run into some hard luck with injury and Showtime’s budget, but he’s had time to find something when neither were a factor.  And his level of competition over the years doesn’t call for much sympathy.
18) Tony Averlant (2-10)
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) Ismayl Sillakh (2-73)
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.
20) Eduard Gutknecht (2-2)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- W*(SD12) vs. Tony Averlant (UNR) (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: A really nice battle of prospects dominates the division this week from Montreal.  8-0 Cuban Eleider Alvarez takes on 23-1 South Dakotan Shawn Hawk.  Both guys are in the top 50, and the winner may very well crack at least the top 25.
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