Heavyweight: 2012, Dec 17-23

The week at heavyweight was led off on Friday by two relative mismatches.  Bosnian-born Canadian one-loss prospect Neven Pajkic won a fairly dominant 10-round decision over journeyman Shane Andreesen for what was billed as the Canadian title.  A few hours earlier, in his adopted home of France, Cameroon’s Carlos Takam stopped generic Croatian journeyman Ivica Perkovic in 3 rounds.


Saturday, we got a rematch of the outrageous first meeting between undefeated German Edmund Gerber and solid British journeyman Michael Sprott.  To recap, Sprott appeared to be ahead 2 rounds to 1 when, in the 4th, he was dropped by a sudden hard right hand from Gerber.  He was very obviously ready to continue when German referee Gerhard Sigl ridiculously waved the fight off.  Sprott, knowing he had just had an opportunity to win stolen from him, shoved Sigl slightly, whereupon Sigl collapsed to the canvas as if shot.


I have to confess that I wasn’t able to find video of the rematch.  That’s very odd indeed, when you consider the potential intrigue involved.  But the consensus seems to be that Sprott won clearly, at something like 97-93.  Surprisingly, one of the judges chosen- of all the potential options- was Gerhard Sigl.  That alone is an outrage.  But to his credit, Sigl appears to have grown a conscience between fights, and had it 97-94 for Sprott.  Austria’s Norbert Duernberger had it the same.  Germany’s Joerg Milke saw it even at 95-95, but I can’t criticize him due to not having seen it, myself.  Either way, Sprott earned his redemption.


Gerber obviously exits the top 20.  As for Sprott, his resume unfortunately holds him back from taking the spot.  Gerber aside, Sprott had lost 8 fights since his last significant win, which was nearly 6 years ago when he knocked out Audley Harrison.  Many of his losses were respectable- he very nearly upended 12th-ranked Alexander Dimitrenko in 2007- but the list also includes losses to Tye Fields, Taras Bidenko, and Alexander Ustinov.  Certainly it’s possible to claw your way back to a ranking after hitting a rough patch in your career, but one good performance over a barely-ranked fighter is not going to get it done alone.  Naturally we will keep our eye on Sprott going forward, though.


The final spot is assumed by Franklin Lawrence, whose inactivity against decent opposition has led to his being unranked since mid-July.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (182-395-395)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Mariusz Wach (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Tyson Fury says that Wlad has agreed to fight him probably in mid-2013.  Fury’s impression is that Wlad will likely fight Povetkin first in March.  The latter is consistent with previous reports that Wlad’s March opponent prospects included Povetkin and Boytsov.  No statement either way from the Klitschko camp yet.
1) Vitali Klitschko (219-219-219)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO4 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vitali originally said he’d decide whether to retire or fight on by December 17, but has now said he won’t decide until 2013.
2) David Haye (23-23-23)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- TKO5 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Haye has indicated that a fight with Vitali may be the only fight that would lure him away from re-retiring. 
3) Tomasz Adamek (23-139-139)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO5 Travis Walker (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/22/2012- vs. CW #4 Steve Cunningham
Originally scheduled to fight Odlanier Solis, Adamek will instead fight a rematch of his classic cruiserweight title fight of 4 years ago when he fights Steve Cunningham in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, after Solis pulled out.
4) Alexander Povetkin (23-269-269)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO2 Hasim Rahman (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There are currently rumors floating around to the effect that Povetkin has emerged as the frontrunner for the March shot at Wlad.
5) Tyson Fury (7-74-74)
Last Fight: 12/1/2012- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fury’s promoter says that David Price has made a non-serious offer to fight him.  In reality, the money probably doesn’t matter.   Fury could sit around eating Cheetos indefinitely and still get a big-money Klitschko shot in 2013.  The same is not true if he loses to Price.  If he loses to Klitschko, he can probably still fight Price later.
6) Eddie Chambers (7-27-27)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
Chambers has announced he’ll be moving down to cruiserweight.  He’ll stay rated here for the time being, until he’s been inactive at heavyweight for a year or schedules a cruiserweight fight for after that time.
7) Kubrat Pulev (7-33-110)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- KO11 Alexander Ustinov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pulev may be in for a fight with the Adamek-Cunningham winner, or may go straight to a shot at Wlad in early 2013.
8) Dereck Chisora (7-55-118)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- L(TKO5) vs. David Haye (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chisora is in the process of re-applying for his British license, and if successful, may very well fight David Price next.
9) Johnathon Banks (5-5-5)

Last Fight: 11/17/2012- TKO2 #11 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: 2/16/2013- vs. Seth Mitchell (UNR)
Banks doesn’t get to rest on his laurels for too long, as Mitchell has invoked his rematch clause.  The second helping will be placed on the table on a February 16 Adrien Broner undercard.
10) Odlanier Solis (5-7-134)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD12 Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Solis pulled out of his December 22 fight with Adamek, apparently due to severe differences with his Turkish promoter Ahmet Oner, from whom he is apparently trying to separate himself.  Solis’ scheduling has been notoriously unreliable under Oner ever since he injured his knee against Vitali Klitschko.
11) Marco Huck (5-43)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- W*(UD12) vs. CW #10 Firat Arslan (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Huck will be fighting a trilogy with Afolabi, with the last fight being in March, when Afolabi is likely to get robbed in Germany.
12) Robert Helenius (6-134)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- W*(UD10) vs. Sherman Williams (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Barely squeaked by after a comatose performance against journeyman Williams.  The judges had it pretty wide, but make no mistake- it was a 1 or 2 point either way kind of fight.
13) Ruslan Chagaev (23-318)
Last Fight: 9/1/2012- TKO7 Werner Kreiskott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chagaev is almost certain to be removed in January, when his last significant win- a solid decision over a contender in Matt Skelton- exceeds the 5 year mark of age.  I don’t factor fights over 5 years old in my rankings.
14) Alexander Dimitrenko (23-101)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- L(KO11) vs. #17 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: 12/21/2012- vs. Samir Kurtagic (UNR)
Dimitrenko is back in action this weekend against soft Austrian journeyman Samir Kurtagic.
15) Tony Thompson (23-134)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(TKO6) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
In case any of you thought the first fight was a fluke, now you know for sure: Thompson really isn’t as good as Wlad Klitschko.
16) Chris Arreola (23-196)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/23/2013- vs. #19 Bermane Stiverne
The oft-delayed Arreola-Stiverne fight once again has a new date- this time February 23- due to an injury to main event headliner Andre Ward.
17) Denis Boytsov (23-183)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Boytsov very well may remain a candidate to fight Wlad in March, but it now appears that Povetkin may have the inside track.  It’s not out of the question, as far as I know, that he might fight Fury- who is also in line for a fight with Wlad later in the year.  The two had briefly been scheduled to do just that, but Boytsov got cold feet.
18) Jean-Marc Mormeck (23-134)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- L(TKO4) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: 2/2/2013- vs. CW #6 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (at CW)
The Wlodarczyk fight has a new date of February 2, apparently due to difficulties in negotiating the particulars of the fight.
19) Bermane Stiverne (23-78)
Last Fight: 4/14/2012- UD8 Willie Herring (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/23/2013- vs. #16 Chris Arreola
See Arreola’s notes above.
20) Franklin Lawrence (1-1)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- RTD7 Homero Fonseca (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown


THE WEEK AHEAD: A busy week at heavyweight, with 3 notable fights on Friday and another two on Saturday.


Friday: Samoan gatekeeper Alex Leapai travels to China to fight weak Uzbek journeyman Akmal Aslanov.  #14 Alexander Dimitrenko hits the ring for the first time since his demoralizing stoppage loss to Kubrat Pulev in May, taking a soft touch in low-level Austrian gatekeeper Samir Kurtagic in the Czech Republic.  Finally, in Cologne, Germany, one-loss Turkish prospect and recent Vitali Klitschko opponent Manuel Charr looks to get back on track against quickly fading journeyman Konstantin Airich.

Saturday: The week’s headliner from Bethlehem, PA finds #3 Tomasz Adamek re-matching old cruiserweight rival Steve Cunningham.  Their 2008 title fight was one of the best fights in the recent history of the heavier weight divisions.  The undercard also features a pretty decent scrap, as fringe contending undefeated Ukranian Vyacheslav Glazkov takes on one-loss American and recent Prizefighter winner Tor Hamer of New York.  Both fights could easily affect the rankings.


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