Heavyweight: 2012, Sep 10-16

There were several good heavyweight fighters in action this weekend, though I’m not sure I’d say there were any good matchups.  I’ll break down the action chronologically, by card:


Friday in Germany: Fringe contending Italian prospect Francesco Pianeta took care of business by outpointing  aged former fringe contender Francois Botha of South Africa over 10 rounds.  Seems to have been roughly an average decision, with scores ranging from 97-93 to 100-90.


Saturday in Moscow: #1 Vitali Klitschko did roughly as expected against Syrian fringe prospect Manuel Charr, stopping him on cuts in the 4th.  The cut in question was bleeding profusely, but it didn’t seem to be getting in Charr’s eye to any great extent and wasn’t very ugly, either.  Pretty much just a slit along the eyebrow.  I didn’t like the stoppage.  Not that Charr had much of a chance.  He was very tentative until the cut happened actually.  He seemed extremely reluctant to let his hands go, and he had also been on the deck.  Vitali, though, looked very slow to me (moreso than usual) and he got hit solidly a time or two- more than you’d expect considering his typical dominance when healthy and Charr’s lack of credentials.  It’s possible that this was Vitali’s last fight, though a Haye fight is also possible.  I, for one, think Haye would stand a pretty decent chance in that fight.  At 41, the gap in athleticism between Vitali and his younger brother has never been greater.  I’m not sure Vitali can still effectively control distance against a top contender with sufficient guts at this point (if one exists).  That being said, Vitali was fighting with his hands down completely against Charr, and obviously preferred to club his opponent like a raw caveman than to flash his skill.  It’s entirely possible that looking good in the way that I’m discussing was not in the gameplan at all.


The most competitive matchup of the weekend on paper was on the Moscow undercard between undefeated Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov and Kazakh-born German gatekeeper Konstantin Airich.  Ultimately it was not all that competitive, as Glazkov punished Airich to a 10-round decision. 


In Newark, New Jersey, a pair of former cruiserweight rivals were in separate fights on the same card.  #3 Tomasz Adamek easily took care of gatekeeper Travis Walker with a 5th round stoppage, while Cruiserweight #3 Steve Cunningham- who will likely never fight in that division again- pitched a near shutout over solid journeyman Jason Gavern, losing only one round on one scorecard.  Also on the card, hot new American prospect Bryant Jennings got an easy assignment against non-entity Chris Koval, knocking the journeyman down twice and stopping him, all within 35 seconds.


Finally, on the non-televised Ward-Dawson undercard, 36 year-old fringe contender Franklin Lawrence continued to waste what few years he has left as an effective fighter by fighting the likes of journeyman Homero Fonseca, who quit before the 8th and final round.  This is the 3rd consecutive hapless opponent Lawrence has been matched against.


No changes to the rankings, despite the wealth of action.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (168-381-381)
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 (205-205-205)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: 9/8/2012- vs. Manuel Charr (UNR)
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 (9-9-9)
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 (9-125-125)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO5 Travis Walker (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/22/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Adamek once again struggled with what should have been an overmatched opponent in Travis Walker.  Walker dropped and badly hurt Adamek in the 2nd round of their fight, but Adamek rallied to return the favor late in the round and ultimately stop him in the 5th.  Credit Adamek with staying busy, though.  He’s already got a fight lined up for just before Christmas, with no lesser an opponent than Odlanier Solis being mentioned.  This would fit into the rumors of a WBC tournament to which Ustinov, Solis, Adamek, and Pulev were all invited.  Ustinov and Pulev are already scheduled for a fight.
4) Alexander Povetkin (9-255-255)
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 (9-29-29)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw (MD12) vs. CW #7 Ola Afolabi (at CW)
Next Fight: 11/3/2012- vs. CW #9 Firat Arslan (at CW)
Huck just signed for an alphabet defense against Arslan, kind of out of nowhere.
6) Tyson Fury (9-60-60)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- TKO5 Vinny Maddalone (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fury is reportedly frustrated with apparently tepid interest from Chagaev after he had reportedly ruled out possible fights with James Toney and Jean Marc Mormeck.
7) Eddie Chambers (13-13-13)
Last Fight: 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 (9-41-104)
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 (9-76-120)
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 (9-19-96)
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 (9-120)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD12 Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/12/2012- vs. Leif Larsen (UNR)
Solis is apparently scheduled to fight 37-year-old undefeated Norwegian fringe prospect Leif Larsen in Madrid, but there is also talk of him fighting Adamek in December.
12) Seth Mitchell (9-40)
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 (9-304)
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 (9-87)
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 (9-120)
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 (9-182)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola pulled out of a scheduled fight with journeyman Mike Mollo  with an injury.
17) Denis Boytsov (9-169)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Boytsov will reportedly return in October.  No exact date or opponent is known.
18) Jean-Marc Mormeck (9-120)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- L(TKO4) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Bermane Stiverne (9-64)
Last Fight: 4/14/2012- UD8 Willie Herring (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Edmund Gerber (9-19)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- UD8 Maurice Harris (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/15/2012- vs. Michael Sprott (UNR)
Gerber has been added to the deep Bamberg card this weekend, fighting solid journeyman Michael Sprott.


THE WEEK AHEAD: On the weekend’s second-biggest card in Bamberg, Germany, #20 Edmund Gerber takes on steady British journeyman Michael Sprott.  While Sprott is certainly not what he was 5 years ago, when he reached the apex of his career by knocking out then-contender Audley Harrison, is still dangerous- as evidenced by his near upset of Alexander Dimitrenko last year.  Though his recent record doesn’t really show it as compared to Gerber victims Rene Dettweiler and especially Maurice Harris, I still would not discount the possibility that Sprott is the best opponent of Gerber’s career.

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