Super Middleweight: 2012, Aug 27- Sep 2

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.

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