Super Middleweight: 2012, Jul 30- Aug 5

Undefeated prospect Nikola Sjekloca of Montenegro by way of Serbia met one-loss Frenchman Hadillah Mohoumadi of France on Tuesday in Sjekloca’s home city of Budva, Montenegro.  From all I’ve been able to learn of the fight, it was very close and could have gone either way.  The official score somewhat reflected that, but not really.  A close result in one fighter’s hometown always makes me want to examine the video for poor scoring, but unfortunately this fight doesn’t appear to be available anywhere online.  Therefore, I’ll have to recognize this as a close win for Sjekloca, even though I’ve witnessed him getting a rather unfair decision over Khoren Gevor in the past under similar circumstances.


In Saturday action in San Jose, California, #20 George Groves dispatched fringe contender Francisco Sierra with a  6th round knockdown and TKO when Sierra’s corner threw in the towel.  Groves fought in an uncharacteristic slugging style that on paper should have played into Sierra’s hands, and suffered a bit of adversity himself in the 3rd, when he was cut over the right eye by an apparent clash of heads.


Sjekloca has still done nothing more than edge out mid-range guys.  As a result, I still have him just outside the top 25.  I was tempted to promote Groves with his significant win, but the last few spots in the rankings at this weight are very very competitive.  Groves technically has a win over current #19 James DeGale, but I treat that essentially as a draw since I thought DeGale deserved the nod in a close fight.  So if we treat that as pretty close to a wash and move on to other major fights on their respective resumes.  Both men have stoppage wins over Paul Smith.  Groves’ was quicker and almost a year more recent, but Smith was slightly more respected before DeGale handed him his second career loss than he was when he met Groves with that loss on his record.  Call that a wash, as well.  So it comes down to Groves’ performance against Sierra this week against DeGale’s win over Polish fringe contender Piotr Wilczewski.  Groves won by knockout in his fight and did so almost a year more recently, while DeGale squeaked out a decision in a close fight, but ultimately I’m swayed by the quality of the opposition, with Wilczewski being roughly a full class better than Sierra.  Therefore DeGale retains his position by the narrowest of margins.


But not to worry.  Groves still gets some breathing room thanks to last week’s #9 Peter Quillin, who has not ventured north of 160 in more than a year now, and is therefore removed.  This allows everyone rated #10 or below last week to move up one place each, with the exception of Andy Lee and Karoly Balzsay.  Despite the completely unjust win over Stas Kashtanov that preceded his upset win over Dimitri Sartison, I’ve decided that Balzsay is still more deserving of the #10 spot than is Andy Lee, who not only lost recently at middleweight, but whose signature wins at this weight have never found him fighting a guy weighing over 163.  That being the case, Balzsay leaps forward 2 places, while Lee stands pat at #11.  Quillin’s departure also makes room for Edwin Rodriguez to debut at #20.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (33-167-167)
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 (10-320-320)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- TKO5 #1 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Bute is exercising his rematch clause, but not until probably March.  In the interim, Froch will fight in November.  He’s expressed interest in Kessler and Pavlik, although Oosthuizen now looks like the most likley option.
2) Mikkel Kessler (10-399-399)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- KO5 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Both Pavlik and Froch are jonesing for a fight with the Viking Warrior.
3) Lucian Bute (10-329-329)
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.
4) Robert Stieglitz (33-153-153)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- UD12 Nader Hamdan (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/25/2012- vs. #6 Arthur Abraham
Stieglitz vs. Abraham is official- August 25 in Berlin.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (33-61-109)
Last Fight: 4/27/2012- UD10 Marcus Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/2/2012- vs. Rowland Bryant (UNR)
Oosthuizen will be fighting in New York against Rowland Bryant, the athletic fighter that put a beating on Librado Andrade in a big upset earlier this year.
6) Arthur Abraham (33-145-145)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- UD12 Piotr Wilczewski (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/25/2012- vs. #4 Robert Stieglitz
See Stieglitz’s notes, above.
7) Kelly Pavlik (4-4-4)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- UD10 #12 Will Rosinsky
Next Fight: Unknown
Pavlik will likely return in October, possibly against Kessler.
8) Adonis Stevenson (4-34-34)
Last Fight: 4/20/2012- TKO2 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/11/2012- vs. Don George (UNR)
After no fewer than 7 contenders turned him down, Stevenson has finally found an August dance partner in fringe prospect/gatekeeper Don George.
9) Sakio Bika (1-33-278)
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 (1-1-15)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- TKO12 #8 Dimitri Sartison
Next Fight: 9/22/2012- vs. Brian Magee (UNR)
Balzsay’s mandatory defense against Brian Magee has been tentatively rescheduled for September 22.
11) Andy Lee (4-73)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(TKO7) vs. MW#? Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
12) Anthony Dirrell (1-35)
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 (1-7)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(UD10) vs. Kelly Pavlik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (1-38)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- RTD9 Jose Maria Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There is word of negotiations for a potential fight with James DeGale.
15) Dimitri Sartison (1-109)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- L(TKO12) vs. Karoly Balzsay (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sartison unfortunately underwent another knee surgery following his loss to Balzsay, and will be out until at least October.  It’s looking more and more likely that he’ll never be the same fighter.
16) Bryan Vera (1-78)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- UD8 Taronze Washington (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 8/11/2012- vs. Sergio Mora (UNR) (at MW)
Vera will give Sergio Mora a rematch of their competitive bout from early 2011.  Both of these guys are all over the map with their performances, so this could go either way.  The fight will be at 160.
17) Jesus Gonzales (1-56)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
18) James DeGale (1-42)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- TKO4 Cristian Sanavia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
May be up for a very good test against Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye next.
19) George Groves (1-3)
Last Fight: 7/28/2012- TKO6 Francisco Sierra (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fought Sierra’s type of fight but still came out easily on top. 
20) Edwin Rodriguez (1-1)
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: One significant fight on tap despite the Olympics being in full swing:
#5 Thomas Oosthuizen battles Librado Andrade’s conquerer, Rowland Bryant, on Tuesday in New York.

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