Light Heavyweight: 2012, Nov 5-11

#16 Denis Grachev put forth a heck of an effort against Lucian Bute (#4 at 168).  In truth, he fought a whole heck of a lot better than he did in his crowning victory over Ismayl Sillakh, in which he got the stoppage after being dominated for much of the fight.  He was in the fight every step of the way with Bute.  While Bute appeared to be the much sharper puncher, Grachev was able to impose his physical strength and keep Bute backing up for the vast majority of the fight.  I had it 116-112, with a possible margin of 2 rounds in either direction.  All of the judges did a good job and had it within that range. 


In the co-feature of the same Montreal card, two fringe contenders whose careers had been flagging lately met, giving one a chance to get back on the right track.  The combatants?  40-year-old Renan St. Juste and once-hyped prospect Allan Green.  Both men are fairly recent former super middleweights- St. Juste in his last fight, Green most recently 2 years ago.  Green put on a gutsy performance, getting dropped and badly hurt in round 4, but bouncing back to win every other round in a competitive fight.  The unfortunate backstory, however, was that Green badly missed weight (the fight was contracted for the 175 pound limit), and payed for the privilege of weighing in at 178 3/4.  This may have helped him bust St. Juste up to the tune of a 7th round stoppage by the doctor, and also may have helped him avoid being hurt worse by St. Juste’s power punching.  As a result, he gets no credit here, as these rankings don’t encompass cruiserweights who beat light heavyweights.


Weight is also a factor in deciding how to treat the main event.  Incredibly, Grachev came in at just 168.5 pounds, while Bute scaled 169.  I can’t see giving Bute full-fledged credit for beating a guy who was practically a super middleweight after presumably draining significantly, especially giving the fairly close margin.  But at the same time, he did technically beat a ranked light heavyweight at light heavyweight, so it’s got to count for something.  In particular, it’s only fair that he be rated ahead of wherever Grachev ends up.  Furthermore, Grachev probably shouldn’t drop too far precisely because of the disadvantages he faced from the contract weight.  The situation is fairly similar to that under which Kessler moved up to face Green, except that Green was a bit bigger, and Grachev a bit better in terms of the rankings.  But then again, Kessler won by early KO, while Bute won by close decision.  When all is said and done, Bute slips into the rankings in Grachev’s former position of #16, causing Grachev and everyone rated below him last week to backtrack one spot.  Grachev’s prior victim, Ismayl Sillakh, exits after 94 consecutive weeks.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (9-9-9)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 Champ Chad Dawson (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward and Pavlik’s promoters have both confirmed that talks are underway for a February 23 fight on HBO.
1) Chad Dawson (9-336-336)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- L(TKO10) vs. SMW Champ Andre Ward (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rumors of a Dawson-Pascal rematch are now floating around.
2) Bernard Hopkins (9-335-335)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- L(MD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Hopkins is currently non-committal on whether or not he’ll fight again.
3) Jean Pascal (9-177-177)
Last Fight: 5/21/2011- L(UD12) vs. #1 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: 12/14/2012- vs. Aleksy Kuziemski
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.  His opponent will be Polish gatekeeper Aleksy Kuziemski.
4) Gabriel Campillo (9-124-124)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
It now looks likely that Campillo will reschedule his fight with hot prospect Sergei Kovalev, from which he withdrew with injury this summer.  It looks like the fight will be the main event of a NBC Sports card from Bethlehem Pennsylvania on January 19.
5) Tavoris Cloud (9-167-167)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12* vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo (Robbery)
Next Fight: 11/24/2012- vs. #9 Karo Murat
The Cloud-Murat fight has been shifted back a week, but it will still rather inexplicably take place in Venezuela.
6) Cornelius White (9-17-47)
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.
7) Nathan Cleverly (9-144-144)
Last Fight: 2/25/2012- UD12 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/10/2012- vs. Shawn Hawk (UNR)
Cleverly’s replacement opponent for his Showtime Extreme debut is actually a bit more proven than ill-fated original choice Ryan Coyne.  It’ll be proud Native American and South Dakota prospect Shawn Hawk.
8) Tony Bellew (17-56-56)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO9 Edison Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/17/2012- vs. Roberto Feliciano Bolonti (UNR)
Bellew now has an opponent for his appearance on the Froch-Mack undercard: Argentine Champion Roberto Feliciano Bolonti.
9) Karo Murat (9-58-79)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO7 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/24/2012- vs. #5 Tavoris Cloud
See Cloud’s notes, above.
10) Beibut Shumenov (9-120-124)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Yusaf Mack (9-124)
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.
12) Isaac Chilemba (9-40)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- UD8 Rayco Saunders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chilemba came in a bit heavy, but performed as expected, shutting out journeyman Rayco Saunders.
13) Vyacheslav Uzelkoff (9-40)
Last Fight: 7/21/2012- W(MD12) vs. Mohamed Belkacem (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Andrzej Fonfara (9-17)
Last Fight: 7/13/2012- UD10* SMW #16 Glen Johnson
Next Fight: 11/16/2012- vs. Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Fonfara will fight journeyman Tommy Karpency in Chicago in mid-November.
15) Jürgen Brähmer (9-29)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- UD10 Vikapita Meroro (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Here we go again!  An announced Braehmer bout will not go forward as planned.  At least this time there was some notice.  No word on why the Gutknecht fight was scuttled.
16) Lucian Bute (1-1)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 #16 Denis Grachev
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. SMW #1 Carl Froch (at SMW)
Bute barely beat Grachev, and even more barely did so at light heavyweight, but I’ve still got to rate him. He’ll now fight a rematch with Froch in March or April.
17) Denis Grachev (1-28)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- L(UD12) vs. SMW #4 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Grachev put forth a valiant effort against a heavy favorite in Bute, even after presumably draining almost all the way to 168.  As a result, his ranking remains mostly intact.
18) Dmitri Sukhotski (1-106)
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.
19) Mikkel Kessler (1-25)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- TKO4 Allan Green (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/8/2012- vs. Brian Magee (UNR) (at SMW)
Kessler will fight Irish fringe contender Brian Magee on December 8 in Denmark.  The fight will be at 168 it would seem.
20) Tony Averlant (1-32)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- L*(SD12) vs. #12 Eduard Gutknecht (Robbery)
Next Fight: 11/9/2012- vs. Lubo Hantak (UNR)
Averlant is scheduled to return against a truly awful Slovakian opponent this weekend.


The Week Ahead: Two mentionable fights on Friday and another four on Saturday, amounting to one of the busiest weeks of the year for any division.


Friday: #20 Tony Averlant fights arguably one of the worst light heavyweights in the world, Slovakia’s Lubo Hantak, in France.  In a much more interesting fight in Liverpool, gatekeepers Ovill McKenzie (originally of Jamaica) and Welshman and former top Cruiserweight contender Enzo Maccarinelli do battle in an attempt to halt a negative trend in one of their careers.  The loser is likely done as anything but an opponent. 


Saturday: #7 Nathan Cleverly of Wales ventures to the US for the second time and faces South Dakota prospect Shawn Hawk on the Showtime Extreme-televised undercard of Mares-Moreno. 


Another notable Brit, Danny McIntosh, is scheduled to return in his hometown of Norwich against an unnamed opponent.  McIntosh has been out of the ring since he was roughed up by Tony Bellew back in April. 


Undefeated South African prospect Ryno Liebenberg will fight Zambian journeyman Donald Kampamba on the Oosthuizen-headlined card in Kempton Park, South Africa for what is being billed as a minor alphabet African title fight. 


Finally, fringe contender Nadjib Mohammedi of France will see action in his back yard against low-level Russian journeyman Sergei Beloshapkin (who I have referred to in the past as “Shapkin the Napkin,” due to his tendency to fall apart when hit by contenders like Gabriel Campillo and probably Mohammedi.

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