Super Middleweight: 2012, Oct 15-21

#8 Adonis Stevenson stepped into the ring with fringe contender Don George this past Friday in Montreal.  The pair had been scheduled to do battle on Friday Night Fights over the summer before the fight was derailed by a Stevenson injury.  George put up a valiant effort in a pretty decent action fight, but only managed to win one round on my card.  He went down twice in the fifth before coming back to close the round strong, was dropped again in the sixth, and fell another couple times in the twelfth, by which point he looked completely spent.  Referee Marlon B. Wright (of Lucian Bute long-count fame) appropriately stopped the fight immediately upon the second knockdown, as George appeared to just slump to the canvas based on Stevenson’s pressure as opposed to any actual punch. 

 

The following night in England, #18 James DeGale took on fringe-top-50 frenchman Hadillah Mohoumadi in England.  Folks, James DeGale can’t seem to do anything conclusively- win or lose.  DeGale is definitely the more talented fighter, but he was much less active, laid on the ropes all night, and let Mohoumadi dictate the fight roughly 90% of the time.  Mohoumadi did tire toward the end, allowing DeGale to climb back into the fight, but I still scored it 115-113 for the underdog Frenchman.  In doing so, I marked 3 rounds- all Mohoumadi rounds- as toss ups.  This means that I could imagine a fair scorecard anywhere between 116-112 DeGale and 115-113 Mohoumadi.  In retrospect, I kinda wish I wouldn’t have called the first two of them toss-ups, because in truth, the clean effective punching in both rounds (4 and 5) was about even, but Mohoumadi was the effective aggressor and ring general by a fairly wide margin in both.  The last of these rounds (round 11) was a true toss-up, in which DeGale earned a narrow edge in clean effective punching but a significant deficit in the other categories.  Mohoumadi clearly won rounds 3, 6, 8, and 9.  DeGale clearly won 1,2,7,10, and 12. Naturally, we saw some shameful judging.  Danish judge Freddy Rafn had it at what, to me, was a slightly biased but mostly reasonable 116-112 for DeGale.  In front of a partisan crowd, I guess that’s what Mohoumadi had to expect.  Italian judge #1 Pierluigi Poppi went a step further and (assuming he otherwise scored things competently) gave DeGale one round that was clearly won by Mohoumadi, at 117-111.  Italian judge #2, whose very name- Franco Criminale (and yes, that’s Italian for criminal)- is hilariously accurate, disgracefully scored the fight 119-109 DeGale.  This guy was either pathetically incompetent, heavily intoxicated, or was getting paid a sizeable stipend per DeGale round.  Even by boxing standards, that’s a notably absurd card.  I don’t think the guy should ever be allowed to judge again in any jurisdiction.  There’s a such thing as a bad night, and then there’s a point at which you realize that a guy’s judgment and/or integrity are so irredeemable that he needs to call it a career whether he likes it or not.  Criminale is in the latter category.

 

Unfortunately, even if I went against my initial instinct and only called the 11th round a toss-up, a draw would still be easily plausible.  So I can’t reverse the decision and give Mohoumadi the win for the purposes of my ratings.  But since I had it for the other guy, I will treat the official result with minimum deference- essentially a draw with a de minimus edge for the official winner, DeGale.

 

Mohoumadi has, at least to me, made himself a bit of a player in the division.  Nevertheless, this is one of few times that a draw or minimum deference decision occurs in which I do not rate the fighters involved back-t0-back.  George Groves does surpass DeGale now, considering his near-stalemate with his rival, and the fact that he recently beat an opponent as good or better than Mohoumadi.  DeGale’s drop is cushioned by Edwin Rodriguez, however, since Rodriguez has a similar record of inconclusive fights with unproven prospects like Aaron Pryor and Will Rosinsky.  Mohoumadi, due largely to his loss to journeyman Cristian Sanavia from 2010, doesn’t quite crack the rankings, though he’s pretty close.  Last week’s #8 Adonis Stevenson switches spots with #7 Kelly Pavlik.  Pavlik has, by a huge margin, the best win between the two, with his early 2008 win over Jermain Taylor, but he was much more recently fortunate not to absorb a loss against the very mediocre Alfonso Lopez.  That, combined with Stevenson’s sheer volume of recent quality wins, makes the difference.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (44-178-178)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Both camps comfirm talks for a February 23 HBO fight with Pavlik.
1) Carl Froch (21-331-331)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- TKO5 #1 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: 11/17/2012- vs. LHW #11 Yusaf Mack
After the negotiations initially appeared to have failed, Froch eventually secured a fight with Yusaf Mack, afterall.
2) Arthur Abraham (8-156-156)
Last Fight: 8/25/2012- UD12 #4 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: 12/15/2012- vs. Mehdi Bouadla (UNR)
Abraham will make a fairly weak follow-up to his big win over Stieglitz.  His opponent is Mehdi Bouadla, who made a brave stand against Kessler before getting stopped fairly early in their 2011 fight.  Since then, Bouadla- essentially a journeyman- has been fighting exclusively nobodies, mostly at middleweight.
3) Mikkel Kessler (8-410-410)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- KO5 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/8/2012- vs. Brian Magee (UNR)
Kessler fights fringe contender Brian Magee in Herning, Denmark on December 8.
4) Lucian Bute (8-340-340)
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 (8-164-164)
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 (8-72-120)
Last Fight: 8/2/2012- UD12 Rowland Bryant (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Oosthuizen will fight Colombia’s Fulgencio Zuniga in South Africa on November 10.
7) Adonis Stevenson (1-45-45)
Last Fight: 10/12/2012- TKO12 Don George (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson probably has a shot at Carl Froch due to him at some point, as he is the mandatory challenger for Froch’s belt.  But Froch already has a fight coming up soon with Yusaf Mack, and a contracted fight with Bute likely in March.
8) Kelly Pavlik (1-15-15)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- UD10 #12 Will Rosinsky
Next Fight: Unknown
Pavlik’s team is currently negotiating a February 23 title shot against Ward on HBO.
9) Sakio Bika (12-44-289)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO10 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
10) Karoly Balzsay (12-12-26)
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 (15-84)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(TKO7) vs. MW#? Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
12) Anthony Dirrell (12-46)
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 (12-18)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(UD10) vs. Kelly Pavlik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (12-49)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- RTD9 Jose Maria Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
15) Dimitri Sartison (12-120)
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) Jesus Gonzales (2-67)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: 11/9/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Gonzales will return from 9-month layoff in Calgary this November.  No opponent yet, but since it’s taking place in a nightclub, I can only assume it won’t be anyone spectacular.
17) George Groves (1-14)
Last Fight: 7/28/2012- TKO6 Francisco Sierra (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/15/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Groves will be back in the ring on December 15, with opponent TBA.
18) James DeGale (1-53)
Last Fight: 10/13/2012- UD12* Hadillah Mohoumadi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale was very fortunate to walk away from a relatively stay-busy-looking fight with Hadillah Mohoumadi without some sort of blemish being added to his record.  He’s got the talent, but needs to step up the effort.
19) Edwin Rodriguez (2-12)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO8 Jason Escalera (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez is now fighting with Andre Ward………for a chance to fight Kelly Pavlik next.  Just keeping you on your toes.
20) Dyah Davis (2-2)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- L(TKO10) vs. #9 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: Friday in Cartagena, Colombia, Bogota’s Alexander Brand- a prospect whose only loss was a complete toss-up of a split decision to fellow undefeated Badou Jack- squares off with veteran South African gatekeeper William Gare.

 

Saturday in Buenos Aires, Uruguayan native Noe Gonzalez- who is somewhere between a prospect and a gatekeeper, having lost twice, but only at the top level- faces an Argentine native in Miguel Cobas that, while undefeated, is untested and has endured 4 four-round draws in his career, including 2 in his last 3 fights.

 

Also on the schedule for Saturday, former middleweight contender Danny Jacobs returns to the ring after 19 months of inactivity and a bout with cancer.  Jacobs will be in against Kansas City native and part-time Hollywood actor Josh Luteran who, while 13-1, has never fought anyone so far.  This fight will be televised on the Showtime Extreme broadcast preceding the main Showtime Championship Boxing telecast.

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