Light Heavyweight: 2012, Sep 3-9

Undefeated Brazilian Jackson Junior was in action Tuesday, taking on Argentine veteran Walter Crucce.  Crucce, now 38, had been a factor between 140 and 154 from the 90s until the middle of last decade, but is long past it and out of his depth at 175.  Despite a 50-11 overall record, he was rightly regarded as a low-level journeyman at the time of the fight.  And it showed.  Junior won by stoppage when Crucce couldn’t continue at the start of the 6th.  No changes to the rankings.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Chad Dawson (19-327-327)
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 (19-326-326)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- L(MD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Hopkins might be looking to return- likely for his last fight- around the end of the year.
2) Jean Pascal (19-168-168)
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.
3) Gabriel Campillo (29-115-115)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud (Robbery)
Next Fight: 9/21/2012- vs. Sergei Kovalev (UNR)
With Cloud otherwise occupied and Shumenov no doubt wanting nothing to do with him, Campillo will fight Russian prospect Sergei Kovalev in late September on NBC Sports.
4) Tavoris Cloud (29-158-158)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12* vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #7 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.
5) Cornelius White (8-8-38)
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.
6) Nathan Cleverly (8-135-135)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- UD12 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #12 Vyacheslav Uzelkoff
Cleverly has taken what could be a trap fight against the somewhat underachieving Uzelkoff, in Cardiff.
7) Karo Murat (8-49-70)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO7 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #4 Tavoris Cloud
With Pascal’s injury, Murat will get his alphabet title shot a little earlier than expected, with November being the apparent target.
8) Tony Bellew (8-47-47)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- TKO5 #20 Danny McIntosh
Next Fight: 9/8/2012- vs. Edison Miranda (UNR)
Bellew will fight another halfway decent matchup with Edison Miranda in early September.
9) Beibut Shumenov (8-111-115)
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.
10) Yusaf Mack (8-79-115)
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.
11) Isaac Chilemba (31-31)
Last Fight: 2/3/2012- UD10 #16 Edison Miranda
Next Fight: 9/29/2012- vs. Zsolt Erdei (UNR)
Chilemba will fight former (I guess arguably current) lineal Champion Zsolt Erdei in late September on HBO.
12) Vyacheslav Uzelkoff (23-31)
Last Fight: 7/21/2012- W(MD12) vs. Mohamed Belkacem (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/27/2012- vs. #6 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.
13) Andrzej Fonfara (8-8)
Last Fight: 7/13/2012- UD10* SMW #16 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: Unknown
I don’t think he landed enough clean blows to have cleanly beaten Johnson, but since I could have pictured a draw being a fair result, I am compelled to rate him anyhow.
14) Jürgen Brähmer (8-20)
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. 
15) Denis Grachev (8-19)
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.
16) Dmitri Sukhotski (8-97)
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.
17) Mikkel Kessler (8-16)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- TKO4 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler has an offer from Brian Magee, but may have the inside track on a big fight with the resurgent Arthur Abraham.
18) Tony Averlant (8-23)
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 (8-86)
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 (8-15)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- W*(SD12) vs. Tony Averlant (UNR) (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: This week plays host to a solid fight between #8 Tony Bellew and fringe contender Edison Miranda in London. 

 

But the most consequential fight for the division is actually not a light heavyweight match at all.  Champion Chad Dawson is dropping down to 168 to fight Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward.  Though the official line as far as the alphabets are concerned is that only Ward’s title is on the line.  But from a historical and, I think, logical perspective, when you’re the legitimate champion at a given weight, you’re defending your title every time you fight at or below that weight.  No legitimate champion at one weight, so far as I know, has ever dropped down in weight to challenge a champion at a lower weight.  But historically it’s well established that you do not have to weight any minimum amount to challenge for the title of a given weight class.  Examples of this include Manny Pacquiao (who ridiculously won an alphabet belt at 154 while weighing under 147- never having fought a 154 pounder before), Roy Jones (who won John Ruiz’ alphabet title at heavyweight while weighing in the 190s), and Bob Fitzsimmons (who won the undisputed Heavyweight Championship while weighing a mere 167 pounds and attempted to defend it at that same weight).  Even in alphabet terms, there is precedent for the titles of 2 divisions being on the line in a single fight.  In 1988, WBC Light Heavyweight titlist Donny Lalonde dropped down to Super Middleweight to fight Middleweight Champion Sugar Ray Leonard for both his title at 175, as well as the WBC’s vacant 168 pound strap.  So while I may be largely alone in this, the winner of this week’s showdown will be (assuming there are no issues making weight) the legitimate Super Middleweight AND Light Heavyweight Champion of the World.  What an historic occasion.

 

PS- Special thanks to my friend and Interbox employee Tammy Erickson for informing me of the Lalonde-Sugar Ray situation- though she ultimately disagreed with my conclusion.
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