Archive for September, 2012

Cruiserweight: 2012, Oct 1-7

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2012 by danboxing
#17 Alexander Alekseev was supposed to fight Macedonian novice Agron Dzila this week, but that fight was abruptly canceled.  Nothing of note happened in the absence of that fight.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (3-139-139)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #9 Guillermo Jones
Lebedev will fight very inactive alphabet titleholder and former welterweight Guillermo Jones in Moscow this October.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (3-119-119)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez officially got the win over Ross, and I’m not quite willing to call it a robbery, but it’s pretty close to one.  I think you’d be pushing the limits of reason to give the fight to Hernandez, and I think that even if you managed to do so in terms of rounds won, you’d have to admit that Ross got the better of the fight overall.  Even Hernandez promoter Sauerland admits that Hernandez didn’t deserve a win, and believes a rematch is warranted.
3) Troy Ross (3-3-35)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ross deserved to beat Hernandez.  That’s all I’ve got to say (except the more detailed statement I made above).
4) Steve Cunningham (3-433-433)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- UD10 Jason Gavern (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: Unknown
So far so good for Cunningham at Heavyweight.  He’ll retain his ranking here until the anniversary of his February 4 cruiserweight fight, or until he schedules a heavyweight fight for a date after that.
5) Marco Huck (3-304-304)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #10 Firat Arslan
Huck will fight Arslan next in early November.
6) Ola Afolabi (3-186-186)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
7) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (3-380-380)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- UD12 #13 Francisco Palacios
Next Fight: Unknown
Redemption for El Diablo, as he confirmed his superiority over Palacios after a year of living with a gift decision.
8) Lateef Kayode (3-18-98)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. ‘Roided up #3 Antonio Tarver
Next Fight: Unknown
Kayode is upset that he has been passed over for a shot at Tarver’s stripped alphabet title, as an Aussie-Kiwi rivalry match between Danny Green and Shane Cameron will fill that vacancy for whatever that’s worth.  It’s unclear if rumored negotiations with Grigory Drozd are still pending or not.
9) Guillermo Jones (3-105-105)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #1 Denis Lebedev
Jones will travel to Moscow to put his alphabet title on the line against the much younger Lebedev.
10) Firat Arslan (3-21-64)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev (Robbery)
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #5 Marco Huck
Long-since slated for a November rematch with Alekseev, Arslan was the subject of a surprise announcement that he would instead fight Marco Huck.
11) Danny Green (3-148)
Last Fight: 7/25/2012- TKO5 Danny Santiago (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/21/2012- vs. Shane Cameron (UNR)
Will take on Kiwi fringe contender Shane Cameron in late November.
12) B.J. Flores (3-119)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/6/2012- vs. Ahmed Samir (UNR)
Flores will take on undefeated/untested Egyptian prospect Ahmed Samir in Springfield, MO on October 6.
13) Giacobbe Fragomeni (2-203)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni appears to be showing his age after nearly losing to an even older man in Branco.
14) Silvio Branco (2-29)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
45 year old veteran Silvio Branco got what may have been his final hurrah with a close-fought draw with top 10-ranked Giacobbe Fragomeni.
15) Mateusz Masternak (2-27)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO8 David Quinonero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak put on a Masterful performance against a game but apparently limited Quinonero, but that was only the 2nd-best event of his week, as his son was born that same Wednesday.
16) Francisco Palacios (2-79)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- L(UD12) vs. #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Very little of note left on his resume after his should-be win over Wlodarczyk was neutralized by a close but clear loss to same, and with his win over Louis Azille over 5 years old now.
17) Alexander Alekseev (3-90)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw*(MD12) vs. #19 Firat Arslan (robbery- should have been L)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Enad Licina (3-119)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Dmitro Kucher (3-14)
Last Fight: 8/19/2012- TKO5 Geoffrey Battelo (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Kucher will be fighting in Kiev on October 27 for some alphabet regional color-coded belt, but no announced opponent yet.
20) Danie Venter (2-2)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- TKO4 Zack Mwekassa (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Thabiso Mchunu (UNR)
Venter has established himself as clearly the best South African cruiserweight, and will fight for what amounts to that country’s undisputed championship in the Super 8 Tournament finals in November.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: #12 B.J. Flores gets a likely showcase fight against undefeated but completely untested Egyptian prospect Ahmed Samir on Saturday.  The fight will take place in Flores’ hometown of Springfield, Missouri, and thus Samir will have to console himself with the venue itself- The Shrine Mosque.

Heavyweight: 2012, Oct 1-7

Posted in Heavyweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2012 by danboxing
#10 Kubrat Pulev dominated undefeated Russian giant Alexander Ustinov throughout much of their fight in Hamburg on Saturday.  Ustinov started having some moments in the 5th and actually won the 7th and 8th on my card with chopping right hands, but Pulev’s conditioning helped him reassert control thereafter, and a battered Ustinov essentially quit in the 11th, taking a knee after a glancing jab and staying there for the ten count.

 

The nominal main event on that same card was #4 Alexander Povetkin vs. has-been former Champion Hasim Rahman.  Rahman, who hadn’t fought in about 15 months and hadn’t fought a significant opponent since Wlad knocked him out in 2008, proved to be completely finished.  He actually had a decent first round, but got lit up in the 2nd with a fusilade of power shots from the normally so-so puncher that is Povetkin.  Panamanian referee Gustavo Padilla let the fight go for about 30 seconds after it was over, stopping it only after Rahman started turning away from the punches.

 

Pulev advances two places to #8.  He comes close to eclipsing Chambers, but Eddie’s two wins versus top 10 opposition make the decisive difference when compared to Pulev’s zero.  With Rahman certainly no better than a journeyman at this point, Povetkin stays put at #4.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (171-384-384)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- TKO6 #11 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Mariusz Wach (UNR)
Klitschko-Wach is now a done deal for November 10.  Wach- a Polish prospect- is in no way worthy of a shot at the legitimate title yet, but is considered by many to be a dangerous fighter anyway due to his size and power.
1) Vitali Klitschko (208-208-208)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO4 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With the early indications being that Vitali’s silly sparring match with Charr being his last fight, there is now plenty of buzz that he might fight Haye in March of next year.
2) David Haye (12-12-12)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- TKO5 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Haye has indicated that a fight with Vitali may be the only fight that would lure him away from re-retiring.  He may get his wish, as there is now talk of a March 2013 matchup.
3) Tomasz Adamek (12-128-128)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO5 Travis Walker (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/22/2012- vs. #11 Odlanier Solis
Provided Solis beats tune-up opponent Leif Larsen in October, Adamek-Solis appears to be on, and will be televised by NBC Sports.  If earlier reports hold true, it’s likely that the winner will fight Pulev for a possible Klitschko shot.
4) Alexander Povetkin (12-258-258)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO2 Hasim Rahman (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Time for Povetkin to fight someone real again.
5) Marco Huck (12-32-32)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. CW #7 Ola Afolabi (at CW)
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. CW #10 Firat Arslan (at CW)
Huck just signed for an alphabet defense against Arslan, kind of out of nowhere.
6) Tyson Fury (12-63-63)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- TKO5 Vinny Maddalone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Unable to secure a fight with Chagaev, Fury has apparently been turned down by David Haye, too.  An offer was apparently made for the two to meet in Belfast on December 1.
7) Eddie Chambers (16-16-16)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
Chambers’ MRI revealed a torn tendon, and he had surgery to repair that.  No definite timetable has been set, but I’d be very surprised if we saw him back in the ring before early 2013.
8) Kubrat Pulev (1-22-99)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- KO11 Alexander Ustinov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pulev may be in for a fight with the Adamek-Solis winner, or may go straight to a shot at Wlad in early 2013.
9) Dereck Chisora (1-44-107)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- L(TKO5) vs. David Haye (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The Haye loss will be a huge setback for the already underrated Chisora.  Many will forget that he did clearly beat Helenius.
10) Robert Helenius (1-79-123)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- W*(SD12) vs. #18 Dereck Chisora (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Helenius is now back to full training, looking to return to the ring as early as November after suffering a shoulder injury against Dereck Chisora that required surgery.
11) Odlanier Solis (12-123)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD12 Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/12/2012- vs. Leif Larsen (UNR)
Solis has a lot of work left to do in 2012, as he will fight fringe prospect Leif Larsen in October, then Adamek in December (assuming he wins).
12) Seth Mitchell (12-43)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- TKO3 Chazz Witherspoon (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/17/2012- vs. Johnathon Banks (UNR)
Not sure why, but Mitchell’s return has been moved back about 6 weeks to November 17.
13) Ruslan Chagaev (12-307)
Last Fight: 9/1/2012- TKO7 Werner Kreiskott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chagaev has a fight with Tyson Fury on the table at last check, but is currently looking for a new trainer after his split with Universum.
14) Alexander Dimitrenko (12-90)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- L(KO11) vs. #17 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite showing the heart of a quitter and the consistency of a random number generator against Pulev, Dimitrenko hangs on to a solid ranking because the other guys in his tier haven’t been winning meaningful fights lately.
15) Tony Thompson (12-123)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(TKO6) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
In case any of you thought the first fight was a fluke, now you know for sure: Thompson really isn’t as good as Wlad Klitschko.
16) Chris Arreola (12-185)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Don King just laid down big money on the Arreola-Stiverne purse bid.  Boxrec has Arreola back on 11/10 against a TBA opponent, but look for that to get bumped back, as the Stiverne fight is more likely for late November.
17) Denis Boytsov (12-172)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/12/2012- vs. Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Konstantin Airich recently tested positive for a banned substance in his last fight.  As of now, the 10/12 fight is still on, but stay tuned.
18) Jean-Marc Mormeck (12-123)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- L(TKO4) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Bermane Stiverne (12-67)
Last Fight: 4/14/2012- UD8 Willie Herring (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Arreola’s notes above.
20) Edmund Gerber (12-22)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO4* Michael Sprott (UNR) (terrible stoppage)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gerber was losing to Sprott when he scored a knockdown.  The ref then ended the fight because he’s in the tank for Gerber’s team.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: The heavyweights are no exception from a very slow week for the sport in general.

Super Middleweight: 2012, Aug 27- Sep 2

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2012 by danboxing
The week’s main event was #4 Robert Stieglitz fighting probably the best opponent of his career in #6 Arthur Abraham, who looks to step back up with a victory at the top level for the first time since his stunning knockout of Jermain Taylor back in 2009.  Since then, Abraham had been thoroughly outboxed at the top level, while showing himself still a viable contender by beating fringe contenders like Piotr Wilczewski.  He did also manage to give Andre Ward his toughest fight of the tournament, for whatever that’s worth. 

 

Abraham and Stieglitz both fought in spurts.  This favored Abraham, who had by far the heavier hands.  The only real success Stieglitz had, surprisingly, is when he came inside and tried to slug with Abraham.  This was because Abraham kept his hands at home when Stieglitz forced the issue.  Even in the center of the ring, Abraham- who appeared to have the superior reach- held his own.  Stieglitz, considered a pure boxer, simply didn’t do enough to keep Abraham off balance.  The judges quite admirably scored the fight 116-112 (x2), 115-113, all for Abraham.

 

In other Saturday action, fringe contending and undefeated Argentine prospect Ezequiel Maderna shut out his significantly smaller and less accomplished countryman Oscar Veliz over the 10 round distance  in Argentina.

 

With the win, Abraham returns to something close to his old level of respect within the division.  True, he won’t be confused for being as good as Froch or Ward, but he’s very much in the conversation as a match for Kessler or Bute.  He displaces the fairly inactive Kessler at #2, forcing down everyone rated #2-5 last week a place each.  Stieglitz somehow avoids sliding more than the mandatory amount, as his record still stacks up well against now-#6 Thomas Oosthuizen.  Oosthuizen’s highest-ranked opponent remains an overrated #9 Aaron Pryor, Jr., and in the minds of many he deserved to lose his draw with then-#17 Isaac Chilemba.  Stieglitz has beaten Karoly Balzsay (#7) and Eduard Gutknecht (#10), and his loss to Abraham doesn’t erase that.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (37-171-171)
Last Fight: 12/17/2011- UD12 #2 Carl Froch
Next Fight: 9/8/2012- vs. LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Ward and Dawson are now set to make history in September.  As far as I know, this may be the first time in history a reigning champion has challenged for a championship at a lower weight.  Since Dawson and Ward will be fighting at or below both the Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight limits, both Championships will be on the line as far as I’m concerned.
1) Carl Froch (14-324-324)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- TKO5 #1 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: 11/28/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Froch has been turned down by Oosthuizen and now Poulard.  Yusaf Mack was apparently all but a done deal at one point, but that appears to have failed, as well.
2) Arthur Abraham (1-149-149)
Last Fight: 8/25/2012- UD12 #4 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: 12/15/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Abraham is a hot commodity in the division again.  He is already scheduled for a return on December 15, with Mikkel Kessler reportedly interested, and with the winner of Sturm-Geale also being a possibility.
3) Mikkel Kessler (1-403-403)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- KO5 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler is interested in fighting Arthur Abraham.
4) Lucian Bute (1-333-333)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- L(TKO5) vs. #2 Carl Froch
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. LHW #15 Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Bute will exercise his rematch clause to fight Froch in March, but will be fighting an interim fight in November against otherwise mediocre but hard-hitting light heavyweight Denis Grachev.
5) Robert Stieglitz (1-157-157)
Last Fight: 8/25/2012- L(UD12) vs. #6 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
Stieglitz was somewhat busted up in the tough Abraham fight, and so I expect him to take a few months off at least.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (1-65-113)
Last Fight: 8/2/2012- UD12 Rowland Bryant (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen looked like the frontrunner to fight Froch in April, but didn’t like the offer he was given and turned down the shot.
7) Kelly Pavlik (8-8-8)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- UD10 #12 Will Rosinsky
Next Fight: Unknown
8) Adonis Stevenson (8-38-38)
Last Fight: 4/20/2012- TKO2 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It appears that the Stevenson-George fight is already in the process of being re-set for October 13.
9) Sakio Bika (5-37-282)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO10 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bika has been talking about a willingness to fight Froch, or even to move up and fight Danny Green as high as cruiserweight.
10) Karoly Balzsay (5-5-19)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- TKO12 #8 Dimitri Sartison
Next Fight: Unknown
Balzsay pulled out of a scheduled alphabet title defense with fringe contender Brian Magee with a back injury.
11) Andy Lee (8-77)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(TKO7) vs. MW#? Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
12) Anthony Dirrell (5-39)
Last Fight: 12/2/2011- TKO4 Renan St. Juste (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dirrell had been all set for a somewhat goofy vacant title opportunity against the underwhelming Nikola Sjekloca, but Dirrell crashed his motorcycle, breaking an arm and leg.  He’s expected to be out of action until approximately November at the earliest.
13) Will Rosinsky (5-11)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(UD10) vs. Kelly Pavlik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (5-42)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- RTD9 Jose Maria Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
15) Dimitri Sartison (5-113)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- L(TKO12) vs. Karoly Balzsay (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sartison has been medically cleared following his third knee surgery, and is looking to return in December.
16) Bryan Vera (5-82)
Last Fight: 8/11/2012- W(MD12) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera took care of his rematch with Mora, but now only has until October to schedule a fight at 168 before he’s removed here.
17) Jesus Gonzales (5-60)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
18) James DeGale (5-46)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- TKO4 Cristian Sanavia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) George Groves (5-7)
Last Fight: 7/28/2012- TKO6 Francisco Sierra (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Groves was supposed to headline a fight on September 14 in London, but seemed to have had other ideas almost from the start, as the show will now go on without him.
20) Edwin Rodriguez (5-5)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- UD10 Don George (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/29/2012- vs. Jason Escalera (UNR)
Rodriguez will headline a fairly ShoBoxy edition of HBO’s Boxing After Dark on September 29.

 

The Week Ahead: Two-loss Mexican fringe prospect Rogelio Medina battles mediocre 13-1 pretender Luis Serrano in Los Mochis on Saturday.  Medina’s losses were both against decent competition in Yori Boy Campas and Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez, while Serrano lost to a debuting fighter named Ramon Olivas, who later lost to Rogelio Ruvalcaba, who later was virtually shut out by gatekeeper Francisco Sierra.  So that gives you maybe a sense of his level.

Cruiserweight: 2012, Sep 24-30

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on September 29, 2012 by danboxing
Last week’s biggest fight was the rematch between Puerto Rico’s Francisco Palacios (#13) and Poland’s Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (#7).  In their 2011 meeting, Wlodarczyk got a fairly comfortable decision that completely lacked credibility.  The fight (a total snoozer) was a complete toss up, though I thought Palacios deserved the nod.  This time around, the fight was downright watchable, and it was Wlodarczyk with the edge, and the cards were pretty decent, though I think Christophe Fernandez of France gave Wlodarczyk an even round that he lost.  The difference in the fight- which was contested mostly on even terms throughout- was the Polish fighter’s apparently superior power and hand defense, with the most dramatic example coming in the 10th, when Wlodarczyk caught Palacios with a perfect right hand that had him out on his feet, but only a few seconds remained in the round and Palacios was able to hold on for dear life and survive.

 

In the weekend’s other notable card, the semifinals of the South African Super 8 Cruiserweight Tournament played out.  Gatekeeper-level fighters Zack Mwekassa and Danie Venter met in one bout, with Venter scoring an upset knockout win in round 4 to advance to November’s final.  The other semifinal was an immediate rematch of one of the first-round fights, between Thabiso Mchunu and Flo Simba.  This became the case after one first round fight fell through when the tournament favorite Ran Nakash of Israel bailed.  His heavy underdog of an opponent, Johnny Muller, who it was originally believed would get a bye to fight the winner of Simba-Mchunu.  But Muller stepped aside in favor of a shot at an African Light Heavyweight title shot on the same card (which he lost), allowing the rematch of what was a 1st round TKO win for Mchunu.  But why rematch a fight that ended like that, you ask?  Bad officiating, of course.  The fight was stopped without justification.  Unfortunately for Simba, the rematch was simply a confirmation of Mchunu’s superiority, as the result was another first round TKO.  Mchunu, who was stopped by Mwekassa a year ago, will now face the new tournament favorite, Danie Venter, in the finals.

 

Now for the inevitable ratings shakeup.  Mchunu really did nothing but confirm his earlier win over Simba.  Given his loss to an unheralded Mwekassa less than a year before the two wins over Simba, he’s not in the conversation for a ranking at the moment.  Venter, however, does manage to sneak in at #20.  His record is hardly spotless, but he hasn’t fought any meaningful fights below heavyweight since a 4 year hiatus that ended in 2010, and thus he gets a clean slate.  His win over Mwekassa, in a vacuum, is enough to sneak past last week’s #20 Pawel Glazewski, whose banner performance against Roy Jones had the disadvantage of taking place at a catchweight in the low 180s.  He’s roughly on equal footing with #19 Dmitro Kucher, but Kucher’s win over Cesar Crenz is ever-so-slightly more impressive than Venter’s resume. 

 

Wlodarczyk somewhat surprisingly stays put at #7, since #6 Ola Afolabi’s draw against Marco Huck still sets him narrowly apart in my opinion.  Palacios takes a dive.  Two things happened to him since the last time his ranking was examined.  Obviously he just lost…and that loss undermines his whole resume, since his undeserved loss to Wlodarczyk supported his being ranked in the first place, almost entirely by itself.  His only other significant fight has gone stale recently, as his win over Louis Azille is now over 5 years old.  These two factors together drive the Puerto Rican down to #16.  Fragomeni, Branco, and Masternak each benefit from this, advancing to #13, 14, and 15, respectively. 

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (2-138-138)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #9 Guillermo Jones
Lebedev will fight very inactive alphabet titleholder and former welterweight Guillermo Jones in Moscow this October.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (2-118-118)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez officially got the win over Ross, and I’m not quite willing to call it a robbery, but it’s pretty close to one.  I think you’d be pushing the limits of reason to give the fight to Hernandez, and I think that even if you managed to do so in terms of rounds won, you’d have to admit that Ross got the better of the fight overall.  Even Hernandez promoter Sauerland admits that Hernandez didn’t deserve a win, and believes a rematch is warranted.
3) Troy Ross (2-2-34)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ross deserved to beat Hernandez.  That’s all I’ve got to say (except the more detailed statement I made above).
4) Steve Cunningham (2-432-432)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- UD10 Jason Gavern (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: Unknown
So far so good for Cunningham at Heavyweight.  He’ll retain his ranking here until the anniversary of his February 4 cruiserweight fight, or until he schedules a heavyweight fight for a date after that.
5) Marco Huck (2-303-303)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #10 Firat Arslan
Huck will fight Arslan next in early November.
6) Ola Afolabi (2-185-185)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
7) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (2-379-379)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- UD12 #13 Francisco Palacios
Next Fight: Unknown
Redemption for El Diablo, as he confirmed his superiority over Palacios after a year of living with a gift decision.
8) Lateef Kayode (2-17-97)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. ‘Roided up #3 Antonio Tarver
Next Fight: Unknown
Kayode is upset that he has been passed over for a shot at Tarver’s stripped alphabet title, as an Aussie-Kiwi rivalry match between Danny Green and Shane Cameron will fill that vacancy for whatever that’s worth.  It’s unclear if rumored negotiations with Grigory Drozd are still pending or not.
9) Guillermo Jones (2-104-104)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #1 Denis Lebedev
Jones will travel to Moscow to put his alphabet title on the line against the much younger Lebedev.
10) Firat Arslan (2-20-63)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev (Robbery)
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #5 Marco Huck
Long-since slated for a November rematch with Alekseev, Arslan was the subject of a surprise announcement that he would instead fight Marco Huck.
11) Danny Green (2-147)
Last Fight: 7/25/2012- TKO5 Danny Santiago (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/21/2012- vs. Shane Cameron (UNR)
Will take on Kiwi fringe contender Shane Cameron in late November.
12) B.J. Flores (2-118)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/6/2012- vs. Ahmed Samir (UNR)
Flores will take on undefeated/untested Egyptian prospect Ahmed Samir in Springfield, MO on October 6.
13) Giacobbe Fragomeni (1-202)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni appears to be showing his age after nearly losing to an even older man in Branco.
14) Silvio Branco (1-28)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
45 year old veteran Silvio Branco got what may have been his final hurrah with a close-fought draw with top 10-ranked Giacobbe Fragomeni.
15) Mateusz Masternak (1-26)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO8 David Quinonero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak put on a Masterful performance against a game but apparently limited Quinonero, but that was only the 2nd-best event of his week, as his son was born that same Wednesday.
16) Francisco Palacios (1-78)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- L(UD12) vs. #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Very little of note left on his resume after his should-be win over Wlodarczyk was neutralized by a close but clear loss to same, and with his win over Louis Azille over 5 years old now.
17) Alexander Alekseev (2-89)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw*(MD12) vs. #19 Firat Arslan (robbery- should have been L)
Next Fight: 9/28/2012-  vs. Agron Dzila (UNR)
We know that Alekseev will fight journeyman Agron Dzila in September.  We also know he won’t be rematching Arslan in November as previously-expected.  It remains to be seen if that fight will eventually happen after Arslan fights Huck or not.
18) Enad Licina (2-118)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Dmitro Kucher (2-13)
Last Fight: 8/19/2012- TKO5 Geoffrey Battelo (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Kucher will be fighting in Kiev on October 27 for some alphabet regional color-coded belt, but no announced opponent yet.
20) Danie Venter (1-1)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- TKO4 Zack Mwekassa (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Thabiso Mchunu (UNR)
Venter has established himself as clearly the best South African cruiserweight, and will fight for what amounts to that country’s undisputed championship in the Super 8 Tournament finals in November.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: #17 Alexander Alekseev takes on once-beaten novice Agron Dzila of Macedonia in Germany on Friday.

Light Heavyweight: 2012, Sep 24-30

Posted in Light Heavyweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on September 28, 2012 by danboxing
Friday in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, undefeated Russian prospect Sergei Kovalev walked right through American journeyman Lionel Thompson, in a fight televised on NBC Sports.  Thompson simply was ill-equipped to deal with Kovalev’s voluminous skills, and it showed.  The fight nearly ended on two knockdowns very late in the 2nd round (one of which was very very close to being after the bell), but Thompson managed to weather the storm only for the privilege of being flattened again and stopped just seconds into the third.  Kovalev still hasn’t accomplished anything on a level even remotely sufficient to have truly earned this praise, but he looks to my eye to be a championship-level fighter at this early stage of his career.  Thompson is no Chad Dawson, nor even is he a Tony Averlant really, but the precision power punching and the speed with which he delivers combinations, when combined with his awkward defense, great footwork, and obvious closing skills makes it very difficult for me to picture any top light heavyweight, with the possible exception of Campillo, beating him.  But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  This is the first time I’ve actually seen Kovalev in action, and his opponent was several tiers beneath the level I am projecting him to have attained.  Still, his flashy skills and power- especially in light of the fact that he’s unfortunately killed an opponent in the ring- will likely win him some significant fights on the intimidation factor alone.  Think Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks.

 

The following night in Buenos Aires, Argentine prospect Roberto Feliciano Bolonti knocked out solid journeyman Jose Clavero, also of Argentina, in the 8th round of what was billed as the South American light heavyweight title.  I’m not going to knock it too much, since South America isn’t exactly a hotbed of good 175 pounders, but for my money I’d rather have seen an all-Colombian showdown between Edison Miranda and Eleider Alvarez for that honor.  Certainly Feliciano Bolonti can be viewed as the legitimate Argentine champ at this point, though.  Clavero came in as a respectable journeyman on the international level, having performed well against prospect Pablo Farias before winning that fight in an inconclusive manner by DQ when he flopped like a dying fish after Farias hit him on the break.

 

Neither prospect was in deep enough to earn a ranking, so there are no changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 Champ Chad Dawson (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward is talking like he might fight Kelly Pavlik next, with a full move to 175 on the table at some point as well.
1) Chad Dawson (3-330-330)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- L(TKO10) vs. SMW Champ Andre Ward (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Most sources will still credit him with being the light heavyweight championship, but he lost a fight at or below the 175 pound limit, and thus his conqueror deserves that honor regardless of the actual weights of the fighters.
2) Bernard Hopkins (3-329-329)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- L(MD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
3) Jean Pascal (3-171-171)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #1 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
Pascal will come back in December following his long inactivity and hand injury (thus retaining his ranking), with venue and TV problems ensuring that the Cloud fight could not be rescheduled until 2013.  No opponent has been announced.
4) Gabriel Campillo (3-118-118)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
No word yet on a timetable for Campillo’s recovery from an injury that forced him to withdraw from what in retrospect would have been a really intriguing fight with Sergei Kovalev.
5) Tavoris Cloud (3-161-161)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12* vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #9 Karo Murat
With Pascal’s injury and subsequent scheduling difficulties related to TV dates and the venue, Cloud will now apparently fight Karo Murat sometime in November.  If successful, the idea would be for him to reschedule the Pascal fight for next year.
6) Cornelius White (3-11-41)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- UD12 #10 Dmitri Sukhotski
Next Fight: Unknown
White is on a tear.  Is he really top-5 good?  I wouldn’t think so, but he proves me wrong every time I feel I might be overrating him.
7) Nathan Cleverly (3-138-138)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- UD12 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #13 Vyacheslav Uzelkoff
Cleverly has taken what could be a trap fight against the somewhat underachieving Uzelkoff, in Cardiff.
8) Tony Bellew (11-50-50)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO9 Edison Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/17/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Bellew is back in mid-November.  No opponent yet.
9) Karo Murat (3-52-73)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO7 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #5 Tavoris Cloud
With Pascal’s injury, Murat will get his alphabet title shot a little earlier than expected, with November being the apparent target.
10) Beibut Shumenov (3-114-118)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Word has it that Shumenov is working on fighting gatekeeper/journeyman hybrid Nicholson Poulard in November, either in Vegas or Kazakhstan.  While it could be argued that Poulard is a bit more live of a body than Shumenov’s last 3 opponents, the step up would be marginal at best, and he’s really not at a different level than those guys.  Let’s hope this fight falls through, because Shumenov hasn’t fought a decent opponent in well over 2 years, and this would be a pathetic way to move forward in his career.
11) Yusaf Mack (3-118)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- UD6 Sabou Ballogou (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/17/2012- vs. #1 SMW Carl Froch (at SMW)
In a fairly sudden development, Mack will drop back down to 168 to fight Carl Froch.
12) Isaac Chilemba (3-34)
Last Fight: 2/3/2012- UD10 #16 Edison Miranda
Next Fight: 9/29/2012- vs. Rayco Saunders (UNR)
Chilemba’s notoriously fragile opponent Zsolt Erdei had to pull out of their fight.  Chilemba will keep the date, against journeyman Rayco Saunders.  He reportedly won’t be fighting live on HBO anymore, though clips will appear.
13) Vyacheslav Uzelkoff (3-34)
Last Fight: 7/21/2012- W(MD12) vs. Mohamed Belkacem (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #7 Nathan Cleverly
Uzelkoff won’t be able to muddle his way through his next fight the way he did with Belkacem if he intends to have a shot.
14) Andrzej Fonfara (3-11)
Last Fight: 7/13/2012- UD10* SMW #16 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: 11/16/2012- vs. Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Fonfara will fight journeyman Tommy Karpency in Chicago in mid-November.
15) Jürgen Brähmer (3-23)
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. 
16) Denis Grachev (3-22)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- TKO8 #15 Ismayl Sillakh
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. SMW #3 Lucian Bute
Grachev will fight Lucian Bute at a 170 pound catchweight in November.
17) Dmitri Sukhotski (3-100)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- L(UD12) vs. #16 Cornelius White
Next Fight: Unknown
The White loss must be a bitter disappointment for Sukhotski, who had been in line for a shot at an alphabet strap held by Cleverly for some time, but with Cleverly blatantly ducking him to great effect.
18) Mikkel Kessler (3-19)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- TKO4 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/8/2012- vs. Brian Magee (UNR) (at SMW)
Kessler will fight Irish fringe contender Brian Magee on December 8 in Denmark.  The fight will be at 168 it would seem.
19) Tony Averlant (3-26)
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 (3-89)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- L(TKO8) vs. Denis Grachev (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/13/2012- vs. Dmitri Kudryashov (UNR) (at CW)
Sillakh will look to get back in the win column when he fights totally untested Russian undefeated prospect Dmitri Kudryashov in Russia, apparently at cruiserweight.

 

The Week Ahead: Rather inactive gatekeeper Lafarrell Bunting sees his first action of 2012 on Tuesday, when he takes on journeyman and fellow Tennessean Donnell Wiggins in Memphis on Tuesday.  Wiggins was very briefly a significant fighter about 9 years ago when he beat gatekeeper Rodney Moore, before consecutive losses to Jeff Lacy and Rico Hoye made him a journeyman for good.

 

On Saturday, #12 Isaac Chilemba takes on reasonably decent journeyman Rayco Saunders on the (mostly) non-televised HBO undercard.  The word is that HBO will show highlights of the fight during their broadcast.  And in Caracas, Venezuela, Mexican gatekeeper Elco Garcia meets American undefeated prospect Marcus Oliveira.

Heavyweight: 2012, Sep 24-30

Posted in Heavyweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by danboxing
No heavyweight action to report from last week.  Rest in peace Corrie Sanders.  Sanders, the 46 year old former top contender from South Africa, was evidently murdered while protecting his daughter during an apparent robbery at a restaurant near Praetoria on Sunday.  Sanders was at the restaurant celebrating his nephew’s birthday.  Sanders was a fine fighter, and died a hero.  I hope my readers will pray for Sanders and his family, as we all hope that justice is served.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (170-383-383)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- TKO6 #11 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Mariusz Wach (UNR)
Klitschko-Wach is now a done deal for November 10.  Wach- a Polish prospect- is in no way worthy of a shot at the legitimate title yet, but is considered by many to be a dangerous fighter anyway due to his size and power.
1) Vitali Klitschko (207-207-207)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO4 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With the early indications being that Vitali’s silly sparring match with Charr being his last fight, there is now plenty of buzz that he might fight Haye in March of next year.
2) David Haye (11-11-11)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- TKO5 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Haye has indicated that a fight with Vitali may be the only fight that would lure him away from re-retiring.  He may get his wish, as there is now talk of a March 2013 matchup.
3) Tomasz Adamek (11-127-127)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO5 Travis Walker (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/22/2012- vs. #11 Odlanier Solis
Provided Solis beats tune-up opponent Leif Larsen in October, Adamek-Solis appears to be on, and will be televised by NBC Sports.  If earlier reports hold true, it’s likely that the winner will fight the winner of Pulev-Ustinov for a possible Klitschko shot.
4) Alexander Povetkin (11-257-257)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- W*(MD12) vs. CW #5 Marco Huck
Next Fight: 9/29/2012- vs. Hasim Rahman (UNR)
The Rahman fight will be broadcast in the US on Epix.  That’s a weaker than usual offering from the network, but I suppose more TV boxing is always better than less.
5) Marco Huck (11-31-31)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. CW #7 Ola Afolabi (at CW)
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. CW #10 Firat Arslan (at CW)
Huck just signed for an alphabet defense against Arslan, kind of out of nowhere.
6) Tyson Fury (11-62-62)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- TKO5 Vinny Maddalone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Unable to secure a fight with Chagaev, Fury has apparently been turned down by David Haye, too.  An offer was apparently made for the two to meet in Belfast on December 1.
7) Eddie Chambers (15-15-15)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
Chambers’ MRI revealed a torn tendon, and he had surgery to repair that.  No definite timetable has been set, but I’d be very surprised if we saw him back in the ring before early 2013.
8) Dereck Chisora (11-43-106)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- L(TKO5) vs. David Haye (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The Haye loss will be a huge setback for the already underrated Chisora.  Many will forget that he did clearly beat Helenius.
9) Robert Helenius (11-78-122)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- W*(SD12) vs. #18 Dereck Chisora (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Helenius is now back to full training, looking to return to the ring as early as November after suffering a shoulder injury against Dereck Chisora that required surgery.
10) Kubrat Pulev (11-21-98)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- KO11 #12 Alexander Dimitrenko
Next Fight: 9/29/2012- vs. Alexander Ustinov (UNR)
Pulev will fight an eliminator against Russian giant Alexander Ustinov in late September from Hamburg.
11) Odlanier Solis (11-122)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD12 Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/12/2012- vs. Leif Larsen (UNR)
Solis has a lot of work left to do in 2012, as he will fight fringe prospect Leif Larsen in October, then Adamek in December (assuming he wins).
12) Seth Mitchell (11-42)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- TKO3 Chazz Witherspoon (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/6/2012- vs. Johnathon Banks (UNR)
Mitchell’s injury-delayed fight with Banks has been rescheduled for October 6.  Adrien Broner will also fight on the card.
13) Ruslan Chagaev (11-306)
Last Fight: 9/1/2012- TKO7 Werner Kreiskott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chagaev has a fight with Tyson Fury on the table at last check, but is currently looking for a new trainer after his split with Universum.
14) Alexander Dimitrenko (11-89)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- L(KO11) vs. #17 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite showing the heart of a quitter and the consistency of a random number generator against Pulev, Dimitrenko hangs on to a solid ranking because the other guys in his tier haven’t been winning meaningful fights lately.
15) Tony Thompson (11-122)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(TKO6) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
In case any of you thought the first fight was a fluke, now you know for sure: Thompson really isn’t as good as Wlad Klitschko.
16) Chris Arreola (11-184)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Arreola-Stiverne appears very likely for November 10.
17) Denis Boytsov (11-171)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/12/2012- vs. Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Boytsov will see action October 12 in Hamburg, when he fights high-level journeyman Konstantin Airich.
18) Jean-Marc Mormeck (11-122)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- L(TKO4) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Bermane Stiverne (11-66)
Last Fight: 4/14/2012- UD8 Willie Herring (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stiverne is very likely to fight Chris Arreola on November 10, in a good test for each fighter, both of whom have been inactive and/or slumming against journeymen recently.
20) Edmund Gerber (11-21)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO4* Michael Sprott (UNR) (terrible stoppage)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gerber was losing to Sprott when he scored a knockdown.  The ref then ended the fight because he’s in the tank for Gerber’s team.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: Saturday in Hamburg, Bulgarian undefeated #10 contender Kubrat Pulev battles significantly older but significantly less battle-tested Russian undefeated prospect Alexander Ustinov, who at over 6’7″ and typically over 300 pounds is also much much bigger than Pulev.

 

That fight, though much better matched, will be on the undercard of the relative farce of a fight between #4 Alexander Povetkin and complete has-been Hasim Rahman, a former champion that hasn’t won anything remotely mentionable since 2005.  What’s worse is that Rahman is expected by most to come in grossly overweight for the fight.

Cruiserweight: 2012, Sep 17-23

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by danboxing
#1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez can’t have a completely non-controversial fight, it seems.  Both of his decision wins over Steve Cunningham were disputed in some quarters (I agreed completely with the second), and now he gets very clearly outfought by #20 Troy Ross, but still walks away with what appeared from the cards to be a relatively routine decision win.  Now I will qualify that.  Ross straight-up gave away enough rounds (including while Hernandez was obviously still wobbly from a 5th round knockdown) to open the door to a narrow Hernandez victory, especially in Hernandez’ adopted home of Germany.  I think Floridian Michael Pernick’s card of 114-113 Hernandez gave the Cuban every benefit of the doubt, but that it was a respectable score.  The UK’s Mickey Vann (115-112 Hernandez) and especially Belgium’s Benny Decroos (116-112 Hernandez), on the other hand, were obviously determined not to give Ross any round that he didn’t dominate, or else they were intimidated by the venue and the promoter, in which case they don’t deserve to judge on this level.  I had the fight 115-112 Ross.  I think anything between 116-111 Ross and 114-113 Hernandez would be defensible.  I want to call this a robbery because it basically was.  But since I could see Hernandez winning the fight if he got all the toss-up rounds, this is a textbook example of a decision that will receive minimum deference here.  That is to say that it will be treated essentially as a draw, but with the barest of edges granted to the official winner, Hernandez, wherever relevant.

 

As for the fight itself, it was a wild and unpredictable affair.  There were times when it looked as if someone plucked Max Baer out of the Primo Carnera fight, cloned him, and matched him against himself, with wild swinging and tripping over each other being the rule rather than the exception.  But after the 5th, when Ross badly hurt Hernandez to the extent that it appeared he never totally recovered, Hernandez was a spoiler.  He held, he flopped, he slipped, and he even turned his back more than once.  But the visibly much smaller Ross, still evidently afraid of Hernandez’ power, too often laid back and let Hernandez walk him down, which likely won the Cuban a round or two almost by itself.

 

Lost a bit in the shuffle, #15 Mateusz Masternak turned in an excellent performance against the aging but still undefeated prospect David Quinonero, who came into the fight at 27-0 with 26 knockouts, including a 5th round knockout of borderline top-50 gatekeeper-type Ali Ismailov.  Quinonero showed nothing to suggest the devastating puncher his record might indicate.  He showed a really good chin and a lot of heart, which ultimately just meant he got a busted-up eye added to his defeat.  Masternak appeared bigger, stronger, faster, rangier, and more skilled.  I think he’s a special fighter.  The thing that most impressed me was that he was able to throw heavy, hurtful punches while going backwards.  Any opponent that hopes to get close enough to hurt Masternak is going to need a dynamic defense and a lot of will.  As Teddy Atlas would say, you have to go through a bad neighborhood to get to him.

 

In the also ran category, Finnish gatekeeper Juho Haapoja slammed the gate shut, as expected, on middling Italian fringe prospect Francesco Versaci in Finland, as the Italian failed to answer the bell for the 4th round.

 

Hernandez’ performance against a mere #20 contender obviously hurts his standing.  Ross has proven credible in the past, as it’s at least arguably the case that he should have won against then-#1 Steve Cunningham, as well.  It’s legitimately a reasonable conclusion that he might be the best cruiserweight in the world.  However, he hasn’t conclusively beaten anyone near that level.  Nevertheless, he gets credit for beating Hernandez on my scorecard, at least.  Hernandez has fairly conclusively beaten Cunningham, but a struggle like that he had against Ross shows that his status as the best cruiserweight in the world is at least arguable.  Enter last week’s #2 Denis Lebedev.  Lebedev conclusively beat then-#2 Marco Huck (without getting credit for it), and has torn through a series of fringe contenders (including a #19-ranked Alexander Alekseev) without coming close to losing against anyone but Huck.  His resume is of similar quality to Hernandez’, but without any setbacks of any significance such as you’d find on the Cuban’s ledger.  As a result, Lebedev succeeds him at #1. 

 

With Steve Cunningham still deserving the spot right behind Lebedev’s former position (arguments for his removal due to moving up in weight aside), it would be impossible for Hernandez to fall too far- particularly since Ross has given a near-prime Cunningham as significant a problem in abbreviated action as he did Hernandez, who therefore settles in at #2.  Ross, having done everything but clearly beat Hernandez, jumps all the way up to claim the #3 spot, forcing Cunningham and everyone else rated #3-19 last week down one place apeice.  Even Masternak is not immune from this with his win, since he still has not fought anyone on the level that Fragomeni and Branco have wins and/or draws against.  Included in the wave of demotion is Danny Green, who exits the top 10 after 3 consecutive months within its confines.  You know it was a significant week of action when not one fighter on the list has the same rank at which he found himself the week before.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (1-137-137)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/20/2012- vs. #9 Guillermo Jones
Lebedev will fight very inactive alphabet titleholder and former welterweight Guillermo Jones in Moscow this October.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (1-117-117)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez officially got the win over Ross, and I’m not quite willing to call it a robbery, but it’s pretty close to one.  I think you’d be pushing the limits of reason to give the fight to Hernandez, and I think that even if you managed to do so in terms of rounds won, you’d have to admit that Ross got the better of the fight overall.  Even Hernandez promoter Sauerland admits that Hernandez didn’t deserve a win, and believes a rematch is warranted.
3) Troy Ross (1-1-33)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ross deserved to beat Hernandez.  That’s all I’ve got to say (except the more detailed statement I made above).
4) Steve Cunningham (1-431-431)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- UD10 Jason Gavern (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: Unknown
So far so good for Cunningham at Heavyweight.  He’ll retain his ranking here until the anniversary of his February 4 cruiserweight fight, or until he schedules a heavyweight fight for a date after that.
5) Marco Huck (1-302-302)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #10 Firat Arslan
Huck will fight Arslan next in early November.
6) Ola Afolabi (1-184-184)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
7) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (1-378-378)
Last Fight: 11/30/2011- TKO11 #9 Danny Green
Next Fight: 9/22/2012- vs. #13 Francisco Palacios
It appears- according to Boxrec- that Wlodarczyk has finally consented to an alphabet-mandated rematch with Palacios. The first fight was close (I thought Palacios won), but unfortunately almost unwatchable, as well.
8) Lateef Kayode (1-16-96)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. ‘Roided up #3 Antonio Tarver
Next Fight: Unknown
Kayode originally was angling for a fight with Roy Jones, but now appears to be in discussions to fight Grigory Drozd in Siberia.
9) Guillermo Jones (1-103-103)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- TKO6 Michael Marrone (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/20/2012- vs. #1 Denis Lebedev
Jones will travel to Moscow to put his alphabet title on the line against the much younger Lebedev.
10) Firat Arslan (1-19-62)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev (Robbery)
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. #5 Marco Huck
Long-since slated for a November rematch with Alekseev, Arslan was the subject of a surprise announcement that he would instead fight Marco Huck.
11) Danny Green (1-146)
Last Fight: 7/25/2012- TKO5 Danny Santiago (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
12) B.J. Flores (1-117)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- TKO6 Hugo Pineda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores suffered a hand injury in training for his September 14 date, and is now on the shelf for the moment.
13) Francisco Palacios (1-77)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- UD8 Joell Godfrey (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/22/2012- vs. #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
14) Giacobbe Fragomeni (1-201)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. Silvio Branco (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni appears to be showing his age after nearly losing to an even older man in Branco.
15) Silvio Branco (1-27)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
45 year old veteran Silvio Branco got what may have been his final hurrah with a close-fought draw with top 10-ranked Giacobbe Fragomeni.
16) Mateusz Masternak (1-25)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO8 David Quinonero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak put on a Masterful performance against a game but apparently limited Quinonero, but that was only the 2nd-best event of his week, as his son was born that same Wednesday.
17) Alexander Alekseev (1-88)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw*(MD12) vs. #19 Firat Arslan (robbery- should have been L)
Next Fight: 9/28/2012-  vs. Agron Dzila (UNR)
We know that Alekseev will fight journeyman Agron Dzila in September.  We also know he won’t be rematching Arslan in November as previously-expected.  It remains to be seen if that fight will eventually happen after Arslan fights Huck or not.
18) Enad Licina (1-117)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #17 Alexander Alexeev
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Dmitro Kucher (1-12)
Last Fight: 8/19/2012- TKO5 Geoffrey Battelo (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Kucher will be fighting in Kiev on October 27 for some alphabet regional color-coded belt, but no announced opponent yet.
20) Pawel Glazewski (1-12)
Last Fight: 6/30/2012- L(Robbery) vs. Roy Jones, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/13/2012- vs. Sofiane Sebihi (UNR) (at LHW)
Glazewski’s opponent for October is decent Swiss journeyman Sofiane Sebihi, and the fight will be contested at the 175 pound limit.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: Three notable fights can be found on two cards on Saturday.  In Wroclaw, Poland, #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk takes on #13 Francisco Palacios in a rematch of their close and controversial (and deathly boring) spring 2011 fight.  I scored that fight for Palacios 115-113, while two of the three judges disagreed.  Neither judge had a credible scorecard, incidentally.  Adrio Zannoni in particular scored a fight that was certainly between 115-113 Wlodarczyk and 117-111 Palacios as a 118-112 win for Wlodarczyk.  Regardless of the winner, I hope it’s a fair result this time around.

 

Meanwhile, in Kempton Park, South Africa, the semifinals of the “Super 8” Cruiserweight tournament plays out, with gatekeepers Zack Mwekassa  and Danie Venter doing battle.  The other fight originally figured to be a battle between the winners of first-round matchups between Israeli prospect/fringe contender Ran Nakash fighting seemingly overmatched fringe prospect Johnny Muller and Congolese gatekeeper Flo Simba fighting South African prospect Thabiso Mchunu.  When Nakash initially came in heavy and then bailed on the tournament entirely, it appeared Muller would fight the Simba-Mchunu winner after passing to the semis with a bye.   But after the Mchunu-Simba fight ended with an unnessesary and premature stoppage win for Mchunu, it appears that the promoter was able to prevail upon Muller to step aside in favor of a shot at an African Light Heavyweight title, allowing Simba and Mchunu to rematch on Saturday for a shot at the finals.