Super Middleweight: 2013, Jan 21-27

The most important development in the division this week was the surprise retirement of #8 Kelly Pavlik.  Pavlik had been scheduled for a shot at the championship until Champion Andre Ward withdrew with an injury.  Now he’s hung them up.  He cites the fact that he no longer feels like training and has built up enough money to live very comfortably for 10-15 years.  He’s had a fairly rocky last few years personally and professionally, but he is a former undisputed Middleweight Champion, and nobody can ever take that away from him.  Good luck, Ghost.  Stay clean, stay strong.

 

Now for the action in the ring.  The non-televised undercard for the Kovalev-Campillo shocker in Uncasville, CT featured a minor upset of its own.  Marcus Upshaw- who typically fluctuates between journeyman and gatekeeper anywhere between 160 and 175- established himself as a top 20 middleweight back in 2010 by soundly defeating Renan St. Juste, but squandered that by losing to 3 decent middleweights in a row and losing or drawing with 2 unproven prospects at super middleweight.  Vladine Biosse was a bit more respected, having followed up a rocky 2011 with a decent if unspectacular 2012 that landed him back in the top 50.  Upshaw was a decided underdog, but as he’s done at least once before in a similar position, he sprang a trap on Biosse- knocking the one-loss prospect down twice and stopping him with just over 30 seconds left in their 8-rounder.

 

In Elancourt, France earlier in the night, hard-luck fringe contender Hadillah Mohoumadi finally got the judges to see it his way, winning a solid 10-round decision over journeyman Cedric Bellais to defend his French title.

 

Based on the scorecards, it appears that one-loss Minnesota prospect Caleb Truax had a bit of trouble with veteran journeyman Matt Vanda.  Truax, at home, had margins of 7, 4, and 2 points on the three cards.  It’s hard to tell what to think about these cards.  The judge that turned in the median card was John Mariano who turned in such an awful card in Christopher Martin’s fight with Chris Avalos a while back (98-92 Avalos in a fight that was something like a shutout for Martin) that I personally believe we would be better off if he never judged again.  Denny Nelson had it the widest.  He had Campillo-Cloud right, but was doing his best to rob Salido against Juanma until Salido closed the show.  I don’t know much about the judge that only had it by 2, Tim Taggart.  In any case, it’s going to go down as an inconsequential win for Truax as far as the rankings go.

 

Upshaw enters approximately the top 30, but more importantly establishes positive career momentum again.  Pavlik’s departure allows everyone ranked #9 and below last week to move up, including Andy Lee, who re-enters the top 10 for the first time since July 8.  Edwin Rodriguez returns at #20 after 3 weeks out.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (58-192-192)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward’s done with surgery, and is likely out until at least the Summer.
1) Carl Froch (35-345-345)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- KO3 LHW #11 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #3 Mikkel Kessler
The deal is done.  Froch will get a rematch with Kessler on May 25 in London.
2) Arthur Abraham (6-170-170)
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 (6-424-424)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO3 Brian Magee (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
See Froch’s notes, above.
4) Lucian Bute (22-354-354)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 LHW #16 Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
With Froch and Pavlik both off the table, it looks possible that Bute will fight the winner of Bika-Sjeklola (ie Bika), for a shot at Andre Ward.
5) Robert Stieglitz (22-178-178)
Last Fight: 8/25/2012- L(UD12) vs. #6 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
See Abraham’s notes, above.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (22-86-134)
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.  Adonis Stevenson has been rumored.
7) Adonis Stevenson (15-59-59)
Last Fight: 10/12/2012- TKO12 Don George (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson is petitioning the IBF to allow him to fight either Oosthuizen, Bute, or Edwin Rodriguez for an interim title.  If successful, he would theoretically get the Froch-Kessler winner for the full title.
8) George Groves (1-6-28)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- UD12 Glen Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/16/2013- vs. #14 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Ndiaye-Groves now has a date.  March 16, as part of what’s shaping up to be a Frank Warren megacard at Wembley Arena in London.
9) Karoly Balzsay (1-26-40)
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.
10) Andy Lee (1-1-98)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(TKO7) vs. MW #4 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.
11) Sakio Bika (1-303)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO10 Dyah Davis (UNR)

Next Fight: 2/16/2013- vs. Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Bika will get a very winnable fight with mediocre prospect Sjekloca for an interim title or, in effect, a potential shot at Champion Andre Ward.  Or maybe a shot at Bute for an eventual shot at Ward.
12) Anthony Dirrell (1-60)
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.
13) Will Rosinsky (1-32)
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.
14) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (1-63)
Last Fight: 5/26/2012- RTD9 Jose Maria Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/16/2013- vs. #8 George Groves
Ndiaye-Groves is set for March 16 in London.
15) Dimitri Sartison (1-134)
Last Fight: 4/21/2012- L(TKO12) vs. Karoly Balzsay (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/27/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Sartison is on the schedule for January 27 in the Netherlands.  With Universum still his promoter at last check, I’ll believe it when I see it.
16) James DeGale (1-67)
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.
17) Ezequiel Maderna (1-4)
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.
18) Jesus Gonzales (1-81)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(KO1) vs. #9 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: 3/2/2013- vs. Albert Onolunose (UNR)
Gonzales’ fight at Desperado’s Nightclub in Calgary has been pushed back for a third time- this time to March 2.  That puts him over a year from his last fight, so if it falls through, he’s gone.
19) Maxim Vlasov (1-11)
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.
20) Edwin Rodriguez (1-1)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO8 Jason Escalera (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The last news on Rodriguez’s next fight was that he would be participating in a 4-man tournament in Monaco starting in March, with Zsolt Erdei, Jean Paul Mendy, and Dmitri Sukhotski.  This news surfaced before Christmas, and I’ve heard no more about it.  Stay tuned.

 

The Week Ahead: #15 Dimitri Sartison is scheduled to be in action on Sunday against an as-yet unnamed opponent in Heerlen, Netherlands.  I’m a little doubtful about the fight, since Sartison’s promoter has not been operating as such since filing bankruptcy months ago.

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