Heavyweight: 2012, Dec 24-30

I’ll start with the bigger fights and move on to the smaller ones this week.

 

First and foremost, the rematch between #3 Tomasz Adamek and #4 cruiserweight Steve Cunningham.  What should have been a grand showcase for the sport on network TV turned into a debacle that no doubt reinforced many of the public’s negative perceptions about the sport.  Cunningham came in at 203 pounds, proving that he is probably a small cruiserweight who likely barely needs to drain- if at all- to make that weight.  While lacking serious power, he boxed the ears off Adamek.  The Polish contender took on a persona largely unfamiliar to his heavyweight run, fighting as an aggressive come-forward slugger.  Unfortunately for him, he was significantly too slow, with his 20 pound weight advantage, to frustrate Cunningham’s hit and run, long-range sharpshooting game plan.  Cunningham won no fewer than 8 of the 12 rounds- perhaps as many as 10- and landed the more effective shots overall from all appearances, but was blatantly robbed by 2 of the 3 judges.  Judge Debra Barnes- whose card was twice announced incorrectly- incredibly gave the fight to Adamek 115-113, and Dave Greer went even further at 116-112.  Even the one judge that had it for Cunningham- Tom Miller- had it too close at 115-113.  On this page, Cunningham will obviously be given full credit as the winner. 

 

On the undercard, a battle of fringe contending prospects ended in an unsatisfying way, as New York’s Tor Hamer- who rose to a degree of prominence by beating fringe contender Kevin Johnson in a 3-rounder to win Britain’s latest International Prizefighter Heavyweight tournament- quit on his stool after round 4.  His opponent Vyacheslav Glazkov- who had obtained essentially the same status by dominating then-credible Konstantin Airich in September- had begun to catch him with clean shots on a consistent basis, after a relatively even first three rounds.  The NBC broadcast left the impression that Hamer quit essentially from frustration and lack of desire.  Unfortunately, they did not conduct an interview with Hamer to confirm that impression.  There is no way to know Hamer’s real reason or lack thereof until we hear from the fighter himself.  But two things are certain: Glazkov has made a name for himself and made himself a real fighter to watch, and Hamer will be adjudged a quitter- whether fairly or unfairly- among most fans.

 

Backtracking to Friday, Lebanese prospect Manuel Charr- who suffered his first loss in his last fight by questionable stoppage against Vitali Klitschko, and whom I misidentified last week as Turkish- stopped the aforementioned Konstantin Airich in just 44 seconds in Cologne.  Prior to a recent losing streak and positive PED test, Airich had been viewed as a legitimate gatekeeper-type.

 

In the Czech Republic, #14 Alexander Dimitrenko returned to the ring for the first time since his demoralizing stoppage loss in May to Kubrat Pulev.  I’m not sure how the overall fight went, but I do know that he won a unanimous 8-round decision over low-level journeyman Samir Kurtagic, but was dropped in the final round along the way.

 

Last and least, borderline gatekeeper Alex Leapai of Samoa gave me my first-ever opportunity to report on a fight held in China, when he traveled there to stop weak Uzbek Akmal Aslanov midway through the 5th round.

 

Cunningham’s clear victory propels him from heavyweight obscurity to #3.  Adamek, despite losing to a cruiserweight, slumps below a fighter who had a similar moment within the year, although the fact that Povetkin had a better argument for a win over Huck than Adamek did over Cunningham is probably the decisive difference that allows the Russian to overtake the Pole.  Tyson Fury still lacks the top 10 victory he’d need to advance past Adamek, though.

 

Glazkov’s win also earns him a spot in the top 20- just barely.  His debut and that of Cunningham force out last week’s #s 19 and 20, Bermane Stiverne and Franklin Lawrence.  Stiverne had been rated for 78 weeks straight, while Lawrence had only returned last week after a long absence.  Everyone rated 5-18 last week drops a spot, as well, including Odlanier Solis, who drops back to #11 after just 7 straight weeks in the top 10.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (183-396-396)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Mariusz Wach (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It now appears to be a virtual certainty that Wlad and Povetkin will meet in or around March.
1) Vitali Klitschko (220-220-220)
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 (24-24-24)
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) Steve Cunningham (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- L (SD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Judges don’t like Steve Cunningham, and he’s the visiting fighter even at home.  I don’t know why.  He makes interesting fights and has been excellent for years.  But he was borderline robbed in his first fight with Hernandez, and now blatantly so against Adamek.
4) Alexander Povetkin (24-270-270)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO2 Hasim Rahman (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It now looks like a good bet that Povetkin-Wlad will be made early in 2013.
5) Tomasz Adamek (1-140-140)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- W (SD12)* vs. CW #4 Steve Cunningham (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
The judges, at first blush, appeared to have helped Adamek.  But what he gets is undeserved public scorn at having won a fight in which he put in an honest effort but clearly lost.  For a bonus, he most likely gets a fight with Kubrat Pulev that he is likely to lose very badly.
6) Tyson Fury (1-75-75)
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.
7) Eddie Chambers (1-28-28)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
After announcing that he’s moving down to cruiserweight, Chambers has a suitor at that weight in #1 Denis Lebedev.  Lebedev would like to come to New York to fight him in March or before.
8) Kubrat Pulev (1-34-111)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- KO11 Alexander Ustinov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With Wlad likely to take care of his WBA mandatory against Povetkin in March, Pulev appears likely to fight for the IBF mandatory position against Adamek around the same time.
9) Dereck Chisora (1-56-119)
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.
10) Johnathon Banks (1-6-6)

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.
11) Odlanier Solis (1-135)
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.
12) Marco Huck (1-44)
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.
13) Robert Helenius (1-135)
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.
14) Ruslan Chagaev (1-319)
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.
15) Alexander Dimitrenko (1-102)
Last Fight: 12/21/2012- UD8 Samir Kurtagic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko beat the very mediocre Samir Kurtagic, but couldn’t avoid getting dropped late in the contest.
16) Tony Thompson (1-135)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- L(TKO6) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: 2/23/2013- vs. David Price (UNR)
After failing to take the title from Wlad, Thompson will serve as a stepping stone to a top 10 ranking for sensational English giant David Price in a February fight in Liverpool- or at least he will if he plays along with Price’s plan.
17) Chris Arreola (1-197)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/23/2013- vs. Bermane Stiverne (UNR)
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.
18) Denis Boytsov (1-184)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Boytsov hopes to return February 9, but will have to get past issues with his cash-strapped promoter in order to make that fight a reality.
19) Jean-Marc Mormeck (1-135)
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.
20) Vyacheslav Glazkov (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- RTD4 Tor Hamer (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Glazkov may have had a bit easier a time in dispatching Hamer than you’d like to see, but he deserves plenty of credit for the performance nevertheless.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: Only one significant fight to report this week- and its significance is largely due to name recognition alone.  Former contender Oleg Maskaev returns to the sport for the first time since 2009, taking on oft-recycled journeyman Owen Beck in Moscow.  After so long, Maskaev certainly is not a current top 50 fighter, but has a recognizable enouigh name to merit a mention,  I think.
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2 Responses to “Heavyweight: 2012, Dec 24-30”

  1. Jean-Marc Mormeck ar #19 are u sick Dam he should not be in the top 40!!!

    Also Ruslan Chagaev’s last significant win is Meehan or Walker not Skelton and a good showing against Povetkin dont count for nothing for him but does for Huck?

    Marco Huck, Dereck Chisora and Johnathon Banks are way too high unless u rate Helenius and Jason Gavern very high.

    • Mormeck beat Timur Ibragimov a while back, and Ibragimov was ranked #19 here at the time. Mormeck isn’t very busy and certainly looked like crap against Wlad, but he hasn’t lost to anyone you would expect a #19 fighter to beat. He also beat Fres Oquendo back when Oquendo was still considered halfway decent.

      When Walker fought Chagaev, he was coming off back-to-back stoppage losses to Alex Leapai and Johnathon Banks. He had been stopped 4 times consecutively since he beat anybody halfway decent. But you might be right on Meehan. He wasn’t ranked in the boxrec top 50 when that fight happened, but upon further review it appears that was solely because he was coming off a 21 month layoff. He probably should have been viewed as something a little better than a mere journeyman despite that. I’ll have to re-evaluate whether the Meehan win alone will support a continued ranking or not. Even if so, it’ll probably be a lower one than he currently enjoys, though. As for the Povetkin showing, there is a key difference. While Chagaev was competitive with Povetkin, he still very clearly lost. By contrast, most observers (myself included) felt that Huck deserved better than the loss the judges gave him. I had the fight a draw, personally.

      Helenius was ranked #4 when Chisora (essentially) beat him, so you hit the nail on the head on that. Helenius attained that rank in part by knocking out Sam Peter, who I think I still had at #6 at the time. Banks got where he is by stopping Mitchell, who was ranked, I think, #12 when they fought. Huck was ranked even higher than he currently is before Firat Arslan beat the brakes off him recently. He got where he was due solely to his performance against Povetkin, who was ranked behind only the Klitschkos at that point.

      Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll keep commenting. And no, I’m not sick.

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