Year-End Awards: Light Heavyweight, 2012

This is the first time I’ve done this, and I hope you like it.  It’s been a lot of effort.  First, a list of awards for the division.  Then, a look at the 20 fighters that did the best work in 2012 specifically, followed by a rundown of the year’s rankings history.  Dig in!

 

Light Heavyweight Fighter of the Year: Chad Dawson
Obviously it was an up-and-down year for Dawson, which ended on a low note, but since Andre Ward never actually fought in the weight class despite winning its championship, Dawson is still the only light heavyweight to have beaten a Champion this year.  The runner up would be Campillo.

 

Prospect of the Year: Isaac Chilemba
It’s a bit surprising- considering his major victory in February that had him on the cusp of the top 10- that I’m still talking about Chilemba as a prospect.  He’s already been in the top 20 in two divisions now.  But perhaps largely due to a withdrawal on the part of would-be September opponent Zsolt Erdei, Chilemba failed to follow up on that victory, and has stalled at the #11-12 range.  Since a fighter only loses prospect designation for me when they either crack the top 10 or lose too much, and since the only other comparable win this year by a prospect was a questionable one by Andrzej Fonfara, Chilemba carries the category.

 

Most Important Knockout of the Year: Denis Grachev TKO8 #15 Ismayl Sillakh
Ward’s TKO of Dawson was the stoppage during the year that had the greatest effect on the division, but I’ve decided not to consider it because it didn’t actually happen in a fight at this weight at all.  Instead, unheralded prospect Denis Grachev’s arrival on the scene with his shocking knockout of the more advanced Ismayl Sillakh- which allowed not only Grachev, but also Lucian Bute, to enter the rankings at 175, and sent Sillakh reeling into relative obscurity- takes the prize.  Click “TKO8” to see a video.

 

Most Sensational Knockout of the Year: #7 Tony Bellew TKO5 #20 Danny McIntosh
As sensational as Grachev’s stoppage of Sillakh was, there are really only two choices.  Bellew’s sensational right hand counter shot put McIntosh’s lights out instantly.  The same could be said of Mikkel Kessler’s fantastic left hook to the chin of Allan Green.  I’m not sure how I chose, except perhaps that the Bellew knockout seemed more exciting while watching the fight.  Perhaps the raucous Liverpool crowd deserves the credit for that, as they absolutely lost their minds when Bellew’s shot connected, while Kessler’s Copenhagen fans were a bit more reserved.  Click “TKO5” in the headline to see a video.

 

Match-Up of the Year: Champ Bernard Hopkins vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Considering Hopkins had already beaten #1 Contender Jean Pascal, this was the best fight that could have been made in the division.  Or at least the best combination of rankings.  The fight itself was a snoozer, but this is a purely numerical award as I distribute it.  It also featured the oldest man to defend his title (legitimate or otherwise) since George Foreman, and began the short reign of Dawson.

 

Fight of the Year: Mikkel Kessler KO4 Allan Green
The main contenders for this honor for me are Bute-Grachev (a competitive, close style clash with decent action), Kessler-Green (a see-saw chess match with moments of intense excitement), and Cloud-Campillo (a great comeback from a disastrous round, clouded by an atrocious robbery).  If you like gritty distance fights, you’d pick Bute-Grachev.  If you like effective boxing and occasional excitement in your distance fights (or unnecessary drama), Cloud-Campillo is for you.  But I went with the short but sweet Kessler-Green.  You can’t ask for much more competitiveness than a 10-8 first round for the guy that lost the fight a few rounds later, nor can you ask for a better finish than the knockout of the year candidate scored by Kessler.
 
Upset of the Year: Tony Averlant Robbery SD12 L vs. #12 Eduard Gutknecht
Okay, so maybe this wasn’t technically an upset.  The favored guy technically won, but only because of biased judges.  Averlant clearly beat Gutknecht, and it was the shocker of the year despite the scorecards.  Averlant came in as a journeyman with 5 losses, while Gutknecht- despite a poor performance in his previous fight against Vyachelsav Uzelkoff- looked to be a pretty strong #12.

 

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Cornelius White
White began this comeback last year by taking a 6-rounder against fringe contender Yordanis Despaigne, but put himself all the way up near the top tier of contenders with his shocking and dominant 12-round drubbing of 10th-ranked Dmitri Sukhotski.  What was he coming back from, you ask?  The answer is relative obscurity, courtesy of his brutal February 2011 first round beatdown at the hands of ordinary prospect Don George.

 

Robbery of the Year: #3 Tavoris Cloud W (SD12) vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo
This isn’t even the worst robbery Campillo has been victimized by in recent years, but it’s the worst in the division- and one of the worst in the sport- during 2012.  Campillo all but dominated the fight after going down twice in the opening round, and very obviously won 115-111 or 114-112.  It’s not just that the judges missed the call.  One of them in particular- David Robertson- embarrassed himself, the sport, and likely his own mother by scoring the fight for Cloud 116-110.  That means- giving Cloud all benefit of the doubt- that Robertson scored no less than 4 obvious Campillo rounds in favor of Cloud.  He made Joel Elizondo’s preposterous 114-112 Cloud card look positively acceptable by comparison.  All Elizondo did is give all the close rounds to Cloud, plus two that Campillo clearly won.  All in a day’s work for a Texas boxing judge, I guess.  Credit to the third judge, Denny Nelson, who scored it 115-111 for Campillo.  The runner up for this dubious award is Gutknecht-Averlant.

 

Now, for anyone that cares, I will rank the division based solely on the fighters’ 2012 accomplishments.  I will use the same criteria that I use to rank them overall (with victories, draws, or should-be victories and draws over top 50 opposition making one eligible), but will completely ignore all fights prior to 2012.

 

1) Chad Dawson
Significant Results: Apr 28- W (MD12) vs. Champ Bernard Hopkins.  Sep 8- L (TKO10) vs. Super Middleweight Champ Andre Ward (at Super Middleweight).
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Apr 29: #2.  Apr 30-Sep 9: Champ.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #1.
2) Gabriel Campillo
Significant Results: Feb 18- Robbery Loss (SD12) vs. #3 Tavoris Cloud.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 19: #4.  Feb 20-Sep 9: #3.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #4.
3) Cornelius White
Significant Results: Jul 14- UD12 #10 Dmitri Sukhotski.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 5: #14.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #16.  Apr 2-22: #15.  Apr 23-May 20: #16.  May 21-27: #17.  May 28-Jul 15: #16.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #5.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #6.
4) Tony Bellew
Significant Results: Apr 27- TKO5 #20 Danny McIntosh.  Sep 8- TKO9 Fringe Contender Edison Miranda.  Nov 17- UD12 Fringe Contender Roberto Bolonti.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 15: #7.  Jul 16-Dec 31: #8.
5) Isaac Chilemba
Significant Results: Feb 3- UD10 #16 Edison Miranda.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 5: Unranked.  Feb 6-Sep 9: #11.  Sep 10-Nov 18: #12.  Nov 19-Dec 31: #11.
6) Vyacheslav Uzelkoff
Significant Results: Feb 4- Questionable Loss (UD12) vs. #8 Eduard Gutknecht.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 5: Unranked.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #13.  Apr 2-Sep 9: #12.  Sep 10-Nov 18: #13.  Nov 19-Dec 31: #12.
7) Andrzej Fonfara
Significant Results: Jul 13- Robbery UD10 W (possibly draw) vs. Contender Glen Johnson.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 15: Unranked.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #13.  Sep 10-Nov 18: #14.  Nov 19-Dec 31: #13.
8) Tony Averlant
Significant Results: Mar 31- Robbery Loss (SD12) vs. #12 Eduard Gutknecht.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Apr 1: Unranked.  Apr 2-22: #17.  Apr 23-May 20: #18.  May 21-27: #19.  May 28-Jun 10: #18.  Jun 11-Jul 15: #17.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #18.  Sep 10-Nov 4: #19.  Nov 5-Dec 31: #20.
9) Lucian Bute
Significant Results: Nov 3- UD12 #16 Denis Grachev.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Nov 4: Ranked only at Super Middleweight.  Nov 5-Dec 31: #16.
10) Denis Grachev
Significant Results: Apr 27- TKO8 #15 Ismayl Sillakh.  Nov 3- L (UD12) vs. #4 Super Middleweight Lucian Bute.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Apr 29: Unranked.  Apr 30-Jul 15: #14.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #15.  Sep 10-Nov 4: #16.  Nov 5-Dec 31: #17.
11) Eleider Alvarez
Significant Results: Jun 8- UD12 Prospect Shawn Hawk.  Dec 14- KO8 Fringe Contender Danny McIntosh (at Cruiserweight).
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
12) Mikkel Kessler
Significant Results: May 19- TKO4 Fringe Contender Allan Green.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-May 20: Ranked only at Super Middleweight.  May 21-27: #16.  May 28-Jul 15: #15.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #17.  Sep 10-Nov 4: #18.  Nov 5-Dec 31: #19.
13) Nadjib Mohammedi
Significant Results: TKO5 Gatekeeper Doudou Ngumbu.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
14) Umberto Savigne
Significant Results: May 18- TKO6 Gatekeeper Richard Hall.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
15) Mark Flanagan
Significant Results: Nov 30- TKO11 Gatekeeper Kariz Kariuki.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
16) Fulgencio Zuniga

Significant Results: Jul 19- KO7 Gatekeeper Alejandro Berrio.  Nov 10- L (UD12) vs. Super Middleweight Contender Thomas Oosthuizen (at Super Middleweight).  Dec 8- L (UD12) vs. Super Middleweight Fringe Contender James DeGale (at Super Middleweight).
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
17) Nathan Cleverly
Significant Results: Nov 10- TKO8 Fringe Prospect Shawn Hawk.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 15: #5.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #6.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #7.
18) Eduard Gutknecht
Significant Results: Feb 4- Questionable W (UD12) vs. Prospect Vyacheslav Glazkov.  Mar 31- Robbery Win (SD12) vs. Journeyman Tony Averlant.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 5: #8.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #12.  Apr 2-22: #18.  Apr 23-29: #19.  Apr 30-May 20: #20.  May 21-27: Unranked.  May 28-Jun 10: #20.  Jun 11-Jul 15: #19.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #20.  Sep 10-Dec 31: Unranked.
19) Jerson Ravelo

Significant Results: Mar 24- Robbery Win (should be draw) vs. Gatekeeper Joey Spina.

2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.

20) Togasilimai Letoa

Significant Results: Mar 30- TKO3 Gatekeeper Manny Vlamis.  Nov 30- L (UD6) vs. Journeyman Tyrone Jones.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

The following fighters could be found in the top 20 at various parts of the year, but did nothing at this weight to help their ranking.  Most are no longer around:

 

Bernard Hopkins– Jan 1-Apr 29: Champ.  Apr 30-Sep 9: #1.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #2.

 

Jean Pascal– Jan 1-Apr 29: #1.  Apr 30-Sep 9: #2.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #3.

 

Tavoris Cloud– Jan 1-Feb 19: #3.  Feb 20-Sep 9: #4.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #5.

 

Karo Murat– Jan 1-Jul 15: #6.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #7.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #9.

 

Beibut Shumenov– Jan 1-Feb 5: #9.  Feb 6-Jul 15: #8.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #9.  Sep 10-Dec 31: #10.

 

Yusaf Mack– Jan 1-Feb 5: #10.  Feb 6-Jul 15: #9.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #10.  Sep 10-Nov 18: #11.  Nov 19-Dec 31: #14.

 

Dmitri Sukhotski– Jan 1-Feb 5: #11.  Feb 6-Jul 15: #10.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #16.  Sep 10-Nov 4: #17.  Nov 5-Dec 31: #18.

 

Adrian Diaconu– Jan 1-Feb 5: #12.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #14.  Apr 2-22: #13.  Apr 23-29: #14.  Apr 30-May 27: #15.  May 28-Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Ismayl Sillakh– Jan 1-Feb 5: #13.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #15.  Apr 2-22: #14.  Apr 23-29: #15.  Apr 30-May 20: #19.  May 21-27: #20.  May 28-Jun 10: #19.  Jul 11-Jul 15: #18.  Jul 16-Sep 9: #19.  Sep 10-Nov 4: #20.  Nov 5-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Zsolt Erdei– Jan 1-Feb 5: #15.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #17.  Apr 2-22: #16.  Apr 23-May 20: #17.  May 21-27: #18.  May 28-Jun 10: #17.  Jun 11-Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Edison Miranda– Jan 1-Feb 5: #16.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #19.  Apr 2-22: #20.  Apr 23-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Danny McIntosh– Jan 1-Feb 5: #17.  Feb 6-Apr 1: #18.  Apr 2-22: #19.  Apr 23-29: #20.  Apr 30-Jun 10: Unranked.  Jun 11-Jul 15: #20.  Jul 16-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Jesus Gonzales– Jan 1-Feb 5: #18.  Feb 6-19: #20.  Feb 20-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Thierry Karl– Jan 1-22: #19.  Jan 23-Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Dyah Davis– Jan 1: #20.  Jan 2-22: Unranked.  Jan 23-Feb 5: #20.  Feb 6-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Luis Garcia– Jan 1: Unranked.  Jan 2-22: #20.  Jan 23-Feb 5: #19.  Feb 6-19: Unranked.  Feb 20-Apr 1: #20.  Apr 2-Dec 31: Unranked.
 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: