Super Middleweight: 2012, Dec 10-16

#18 James DeGale had less trouble than I expected with gatekeeper Fulgencio Zuniga.  I didn’t watch the fight, but the sources I was able to find were unanimous that he won it comfortably, although apparently he still has a bit of a problem with hanging out on the ropes too often.  
 

#3 Mikkel Kessler had even less trouble with fringe contender Brian Magee, knocking the Northern Irishman down three times in just over 2 rounds, all from body shots, and stopping him on the last one. 

 

Both fights have some effect on the rankings.  Kessler was behind Abraham in part due to much of his success being a bit old due to inactivity.  Magee isn’t a ranked fighter, but he is still an estimable fringe contender.  As a result, he gives Kessler the fresh blood he needs to just barely slip past Abraham into the #2 position.  DeGale surpasses the man that questionably beat him in 2011 in George Groves, as well as Jesus Gonzales, whom the year 2012 has not served well.  DeGale therefore settles in at #16, which I believe to be his highest ranking to date.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (52-186-186)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: 2/23/2012- vs. #8 Kelly Pavlik
An injury to Ward has caused his January 26 fight with Kelly Pavlik to be postponed to February 23.
1) Carl Froch (29-339-339)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- KO3 LHW #11 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: Unknown
All indications are that Bute still wants a rematch, but Froch has now started making noise about fighting Kessler suspiciously close to the prospective date for the Bute fight.  Meanwhile, Adonis Stevenson is Froch’s mandatory, but appears to be on the outside looking in at the moment.
2) Mikkel Kessler (1-418-418)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO3 Brian Magee (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler and Froch are discussing a fight according to Froch, but it’s unclear what effect the contracted Bute rematch will have on those discussions.
3) Arthur Abraham (1-164-164)
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.
4) Lucian Bute (16-348-348)

Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 LHW #16 Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown

At last check, Bute still wanted the Froch rematch, but Froch has inexplicably begun talking publicly about negotiating another fight.
5) Robert Stieglitz (16-172-172)
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 (16-80-128)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen missed weight initially but managed to sweat it off to fight Zuniga.
7) Adonis Stevenson (9-53-53)
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 contracted fight with Bute likely in March.
8) Kelly Pavlik (9-23-23)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- UD10 #12 Will Rosinsky
Next Fight: 2/23/2013- vs. Champ Andre Ward
Ward is injured, so his fight with Pavlik is rescheduled for February 23.
9) Sakio Bika (20-52-297)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO10 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
10) Karoly Balzsay (20-20-34)
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 (23-92)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(TKO7) vs. MW#? Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee has recently challenged Matthew Macklin to what would likely be a middleweight bout.  No word on whether or not that’s likely to happen.
12) Anthony Dirrell (20-54)
Last Fight: 12/2/2011- TKO4 Renan St. Juste (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After his motorcycle crash, Anthony Dirrell was said to be out until at least November.  November has come and gone, and not a peep.  Hopefully he gets back in the ring before his woefully inactive twin brother.  As for his ranking, I will now commit to not remove him until at least June 2, 2013 due to his very serious injury situation.
13) Will Rosinsky (20-26)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(UD10) vs. Kelly Pavlik (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/19/2012- vs. Otis Griffin (UNR)
Rosinsky will fight former fringe contender Otis Griffin- who recently reversed a losing streak with a win over a weaker journeyman- on December 19 in New York.
14) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (20-57)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- RTD9 Jose Maria Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/26/2013- vs. #16 James DeGale
Ndiaye’s fight with DeGale is set for late January instead of December 8 as reported earlier.  DeGale will be fighting a likely lesser opponent on December 8, it appears.
15) Dimitri Sartison (20-128)
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) James DeGale (1-61)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/26/2013- vs. #14 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
After a nice win for DeGale over Zuniga, there is no rest for the wicked, as he’ll be fighting the toughest opponent of his career (or at least highest-ranked) in Ndiaye just 6 weeks later.
17) Jesus Gonzales (1-75)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: 1/19/2012- vs. Albert Onolunose (UNR)
Gonzales’ fight at Desperado’s Nightclub in Calgary has been pushed back for a second time- this time to January 19.  But at least he has an opponent now- Nigerian journeyman Albert Onolunose, who is frankly a level or two better than I was expecting Gonzales to fight in such a small-sounding venue.
18) George Groves (1-22)
Last Fight: 7/28/2012- TKO6 Francisco Sierra (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/15/2012- vs. Glen Johnson (UNR)
Groves’s December 15 opponent turned out to be kind of a surprise: former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson.  Johnson retired just a few months ago, but evidently isn’t ready to keep them hung up yet.  This could be an interesting crossroads fight.
19) Maxim Vlasov (5-5)
Last Fight: 11/5/2012- UD10 Khoren Gevor (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/30/2012- vs. Geard Ajetovic (UNR)
Vlasov will fight again on New Year’s Eve Eve against decent Serbian journeyman Geard Ajetovic in Moscow.
20) Edwin Rodriguez (5-20)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO8 Jason Escalera (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
According to Gennady Golovkin’s trainer, Rodriguez turned down a huge offer to fight Golovkin.

 

The Week Ahead: Two major fights in Europe this Saturday.  In Nürnberg, Germany, #3 Arthur Abraham follows the lead of the man who just passed him in the rankings (Mikkel Kessler) by fighting French gatekeeper Mehdi Bouadla. 

 

In London, #18 George Groves fights most likely the toughest opponent of his career in Glen Johnson, who is coming out of a brief retirement for the fight.

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