Super Middleweight: 2012-2013, Dec 31-Jan 6

In the week’s only significant action, #19 Maxim Vlasov handled solid Croatian journeyman Geard Ajetovic with relative ease, winning a 10-round decision and losing only 2 rounds between the three cards.


However, there will be a change in the rankings this week- and a rather unexpected one, at that.  As it turns out, there was a meaningful fight in Argentina on December 14 that never made it onto the Boxrec schedule until it was over.  As a result, I totally missed it.  That fight featured undefeated prospect Ezequiel Maderna defeating ordinarily middleweight gatekeeper Claudio Abalos when Abalos failed to answer the bell to start the 7th.  I’m not going to go back in time and change the last two weeks of rankings.  First, there is an argument to be made that since Abalos is only a gatekeeper at middleweight, he may be something less than that at 168.  Therefore, not ranking Maderna for these two weeks doesn’t strike me as the level of injustice that would demand retroactive action.  That being said, I do believe that Maderna has sufficiently proven himself to earn a ranking now.  He was previously ranked for the majority of 2011 before being forced out by the debut of Anthony Dirrell.  He returns at #18, forcing Edwin Rodriguez out after 22 weeks.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (55-189-189)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward needs surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder capsule, and is likely on the shelf until Summer at the earliest.
1) Carl Froch (32-342-342)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- KO3 LHW #11 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: Unknown
Froch is trying to finalize a deal with Kessler, and Bute acknowledges that he might be looking at the Fall for his rematch.
2) Arthur Abraham (3-167-167)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- TKO8 Mehdi Bouadla (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown date- vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz
The odd Stieglitz rematch now appears essentially done, with a likely date of either March 30 or April 6.
3) Mikkel Kessler (3-421-421)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO3 Brian Magee (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler and Froch are discussing a re-match.
4) Lucian Bute (19-351-351)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 LHW #16 Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bute appears likely to take Andre Ward’s place as Pavlik’s next opponent.
5) Robert Stieglitz (19-175-175)
Last Fight: 8/25/2012- L(UD12) vs. #6 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
See Abraham’s notes, above.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (19-83-131)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/2/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Oosthuizen has a fight scheduled in Connecticut on March 2, but no opponent yet.
7) Adonis Stevenson (12-56-56)
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 (12-26-26)
Last Fight: 7/7/2012- UD10 #12 Will Rosinsky
Next Fight: Unknown
With Ward needing surgery for a shoulder injury, Pavlik is looking for other options- with Bute being a distinct possibility.
9) George Groves (3-3-25)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- UD12 Glen Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With DeGale having caved to pressure by the WBC and their weak “silver belt” and relinquishing his European Title, Groves now appears likely to fight for the vacated strap against the man DeGale had been set to fight, Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye.  No word of talks between the two, but a purse bid has been scheduled.
10) Karoly Balzsay (23-23-37)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- TKO12 #8 Dimitri Sartison
Next Fight: Unknown
Balzsay suffered a back injury way back in August, but I don’t know if that remains a factor as to why he hasn’t scheduled a fight since then.  More likely, his ties to practically defunct promotional company Universum are the primary reason.
11) Andy Lee (26-95)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(TKO7) vs. MW#? Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (at MW)
Next Fight: 2/9/2013- vs. Anthony Fitzgerald (UNR)
After the death of his trainer and father figure Emmanuel Steward, Lee is back in the British Isles, training with Adam Booth.  He is scheduled to fight in Belfast for his first fight on the east side of the Atlantic since 2010 on February 9 against decent Irish journeyman Anthony Fitzgerald.  This could turn out to be at 160, which would put his 168 ranking in jeopardy.
12) Sakio Bika (3-300)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO10 Dyah Davis (UNR)

Next Fight: Unknown
Bika has informed me that he plans to fight early in the new year, but could not provide any more information. He says the fight should be announced soon.
13) Anthony Dirrell (3-57)
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.
14) Will Rosinsky (3-29)
Last Fight: 12/19/2012- UD10 Otis Griffin (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rosinsky was cut and also outmuscled for much of his fight with Griffin, but managed to cobble together enough rounds to eek out a decision.  He admitted after the fight that he’s too small for light heavyweight, and pledged to return here or, possibly, even drop down to 160.
15) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (3-60)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- RTD9 Jose Maria Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After appearing set to fight James DeGale, Ndiaye might have a date with DeGale’s rival George Groves, instead, after DeGale vacated the belt the two were to fight for.
16) Dimitri Sartison (3-131)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- L(TKO12) vs. Karoly Balzsay (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sartison has been medically cleared since August following another knee surgery, and was said to be looking to return in December, but he has no fight scheduled yet, and no recent buzz of any kind, either.  It may be significant to note that he is a Universum fighter, and that that promotional outfit has become practically defunct in recent months.
17) James DeGale (3-64)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale was set to fight the highest-ranked fighter of his career in January, but opted to drop the EBU belt in favor of a third-rate WBC trinket.  In doing so, he appears to have bequeathed the risk and the opportunity of the Ndiaye fight to his domestic rival, George Groves.  DeGale has already tentatively set his return for mid-February, with no opponent yet announced.
18) Ezequiel Maderna (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- RTD7 Claudio Abalos
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna is back in the rankings for the first time since December 2011 after his under-the-radar win over Abalos.
19) Jesus Gonzales (1-78)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: 1/19/2013- 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.
20) Maxim Vlasov (1-8)
Last Fight: 12/30/2012- RTD7 Geard Ajetovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After fighting just once in the first 10 months of 2012, Vlasov closed strong with 2 solid wins in the last 2 months.


The Week Ahead: No fights of note at 168 this week.

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