Cruiserweight: 2012, Dec 17-23

We got another inconclusive result in the Giacobbe Fragomeni-Silvio Branco saga on Saturday.  The first third of the fight was essentially even, with #12 Fragomeni coming on strong in the middle rounds, only to fade a bit down the stretch as #13 Branco closed strong.  All three judges- Sergio Silvi (116-112 Fragomeni), Massimo Barrovecchio (115-114 Fragomeni), and Franco Criminale (115-113 Branco)- had reasonable scores.  I had it a draw.  Two fights between the two, and I’ve had them both draws.  It could have been anything between 116-112 Fragomeni and 115-113 Branco without any serious argument from me.  I must say, though, that I don’t like the fact that Barrovecchio’s cop out even round may have made the difference.


#14 Mateusz Masternak, on the other hand, had a very easy night against Finnish gatekeeper Juho Haapoja.  Reportedly, he seemed bored with the matchup, and just hung out and won rounds in a boring fight.


Finally, on this side of the Atlantic, Argentine fringe contender Alejandro Valori stopped mid-range journeyman Orlando Farias in San Miguel, Argentina via 3rd round TKO.


Surprisingly, even though 3 ranked fighters were fighting top-50 opponents, there are no changes to the rankings this week.  Fragomeni and Branco pretty much proved that they belong back to back in the rankings, just as they already were.  And Masternak’s win doesn’t change the fact that he still hasn’t fought anyone in the same league as those guys yet.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (14-150-150)
Last Fight: 4/4/2012- KO2 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/17/2012- vs. Santander Silgado (UNR)
Lebedev has made a decision for his next opponent: Colombian undefeated prospect Santander Silgado.  Silgado figures to be little more than a stay-busy fight for the division’s #1 contender, but it could have been a lot worse.  In addition to a very credible fight with Kayode, a useless fight with journeyman Andres Taylor had also been discussed.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (14-130-130)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez officially got the win over Ross, and I’m not quite willing to call it a robbery, but it’s pretty close to one.  I think you’d be pushing the limits of reason to give the fight to Hernandez, and I think that even if you managed to do so in terms of rounds won, you’d have to admit that Ross got the better of the fight overall.  Even Hernandez promoter Sauerland admits that Hernandez didn’t deserve a win, and believes a rematch is warranted.
3) Troy Ross (14-14-46)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ross deserved to beat Hernandez.  That’s all I’ve got to say (except the more detailed statement I made above).
4) Steve Cunningham (14-444-444)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- UD10 Jason Gavern (UNR) (at HW)
Next Fight: 12/22/2012- vs. HW #3 Tomasz Adamek (at HW)
With Odlanier Solis’ withdrawal, Cunningham has a chance to avenge his 2008 loss to Tomasz Adamek just before Christmas, at heavyweight.  He’ll retain his ranking here until the anniversary of his February 4 cruiserweight fight, or until he schedules a heavyweight fight for a date after that.
5) Ola Afolabi (7-197-197)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- Draw* (MD12) vs. #4 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi will fight Huck- likely in March- and will get robbed again in Germany.  There was some talk of a December tune-up, but I haven’t heard anything about that lately.
6) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (7-391-391)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- UD12 #13 Francisco Palacios
Next Fight: 2/2/2013- vs. HW #18 Jean-Marc Mormeck
Slowed negotiations have led to a new date of 2/2 for Wlodarczyk-Mormeck.
7) Firat Arslan (7-32-75)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #5 Marco Huck (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
A bizarre twist in Arslan’s schedule this week, as he signed on to save Felix Sturm’s 12/1 show by replacing Ruslan Chagaev as the main support on just 2 days’ notice, but then he mysteriously changed his mind just hours before the bell.
8) Marco Huck (7-315-315)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #10 Firat Arslan (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Huck will apparently be fighting a 3rd fight with Afolabi in March.  The fight will sadly take place in Germany, nearly ensuring a robbery.
9) Lateef Kayode (7-29-109)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. ‘Roided up #3 Antonio Tarver
Next Fight: Unknown
After he turned down a fight with Lebedev over insufficient prep time, Kayode is once again indicating that his next fight might be at heavyweight.
10) Danny Green (6-6-159)
Last Fight: 11/21/2012- UD12 Shane Cameron (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
As has been the case after every fight since he had very serious surgery a couple years ago, there is speculation that Green may retire following his win over Shane Cameron.  Green himself remains non-committal.
11) B.J. Flores (6-130)
Last Fight: 10/6/2012- TKO2 David McNemar (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Flores’ level of opposition lately is consistent with that of a protected undefeated prospect rather than a veteran contender trying to get back on top.  He’s completely treading water at this point in his career.
12) Giacobbe Fragomeni (6-214)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- W*(SD12) vs. #13 Silvio Branco
Next Fight: Unknown
You’ve gotta wonder if Fragomeni might consider calling it a career after now twice failing to conclusively beat 46-year old Branco.
13) Silvio Branco (6-40)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- L*(SD12) vs. #12 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Branco can still hang with whippersnappers like 43 year-old countryman Fragomeni, but you’ve gotta think his active days are numbered at 46.
14) Mateusz Masternak (6-38)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- UD12 Juho Haapoja (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak just put it on cruise control and walked away with a European title belt.
15) Francisco Palacios (6-90)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- L(UD12) vs. #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Very little of note left on his resume after his should-be win over Wlodarczyk was neutralized by a close but clear loss to same, and with his win over Louis Azille over 5 years old now.
16) Alexander Alekseev (6-101)
Last Fight: 5/11/2012- Draw*(MD12) vs. #19 Firat Arslan (robbery- should have been L)
Next Fight: Unknown
Apparently there are talks underway for Alekseev to fight American fringe contender Garrett Wilson.
17) Thabiso Mchunu (6-6)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- TKO5 #20 Danie Venter
Next Fight: Unknown
Mchunu is probably ready to take the Chilemba/Oosthuizen journey out of South Africa and into the international scene after conquering the local scene in the form of Venter.  He may have some unfinished business with Zack Mwekassa first, however.
18) Dmitro Kucher (8-25)
Last Fight: 10/27/2012- KO2 Steve Herelius (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kucher took out one-time contender Steve Herelius in spectacular fashion, making him definitively one to watch.
19) Enad Licina (8-130)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- TKO2 Koeksal Orduhan
Next Fight: Unknown
Really, Enad?  He just fought the most obviously terrible opponent I think I’ve ever had to write about on here.  The record of said fighter?  0-15.  No joke.
20) Grigory Drozd (6-6)
Last Fight: 6/20/2012- TKO1 Fabio Garrido (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/17/2012- vs. Jean-Marc Monrose (UNR)
Drozd now has an opponent for 12/17: French journeyman Jean-Marc Monrose.  They will do battle on the Lebedev-Silgado undercard.


THE WEEK AHEAD: We’re off and running bright and early in the week with a cruiserweight-heavy card in Moscow.  #1 Denis Lebedev headlines with a tilt against undefeated Colombian prospect Santander Silgado.  On the undercard, #20 Grigory Drozd sees action against French journeyman Jean-Marc Monrose.  Monrose was briefly a contender after shocking unbeaten Johny Jensen in 2008, but was chopped back down to Earth by 4 consecutive losses between then and 2010.


Fast forward to Saturday, when Brazil’s two best cruiserweights meet up in Sao Paolo.  William Fernando Souza Bezerra is undefeated, and none of his 32 opponents have lasted the distance.  Ricardo Augusto Souza has only one loss.  The bad news?  That one loss was a two-round, three-knockdown drubbing at the hands of Souza Bezerra less than a year ago.  Souza has been very busy and effective since the loss, though, stopping 8 opponents in a row.  Anybody want to bet this one doesn’t go the distance?  This fight is for Souza Bezerra’s Brazilian title, which is very legitimate.  It’s also being billed as a South American title fight.  Souza Bezerra won that vacant title in October 2010 over a guy who was not one of the top contenders by any legitimate measure.  The true South American champion can only be determined at present by a matchup between Souza Bezerra and Alejandro Valori of Argentina- a fight I’d certainly like to see.

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