Heavyweight: 2013, Feb 4-10

I hope ESPN Classic is able to draw fights from ESPN3.com, because the post-Friday Night Fights online broadcast of undefeated Polish prospect Artur Szpilka’s fight against inactive slugging journeyman Mike Mollo turned out to be an instant heavyweight classic.  Mollo started fairly hot for a guy that hadn’t fought in 30 months, scoring a somewhat weak knockdown in the opening round.  I personally thought Szpilka did enough to keep it to 10-9 anyway, though.  Szpilka then took over in rounds 2 and 3, establishing range and dropping hard jabs and right hands on Mollo with consistency.  He also opened a bloody gash over each of Mollo’s eyes with a head clash and elbow.  The fourth saw Mollo again flooring Szpilka- this time hard- as part of a dominant round.  Mollo probably edged out the 5th, except that referee Celestino Ruiz- who seemed to have it out for Mollo from the very start- deducted a point for leaning on Szpilka’s dipping head.  It was a ridiculous deduction.  By this time, Mollo’s energy was beginning to flag, and Szpilka took advantage in the 6th in a big way, blinding the journeyman with a jab even moreso than he had already done with the profusely bleeding cuts, and following with a straight right that effectively put the lights out. 

 

Last week, I mentioned Tyson Fury as the only under-25 fighter more advanced than Szpilka in the division.  After seeing the Pole fight for the first time, I have to say the two have a few other parallels, as well.  Both have showed dentable chins.  Both have effective jabs and are at their best when sharpshooting from the outside.  Both have shown defensive liabilities against shorter fighters.  And both have shown the ability to overcome adversity with brilliant displays of power punching.

 

No changes, as Mollo was hardly on the map after having all but retired as a mid-level journeyman years ago.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (189-402-402)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Mariusz Wach (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBA has granted Wlad a dispensation to duck Povetkin for a few more months.  He is looking to schedule a fight on April 6.  Odlanier Solis looked like a serious possibility, but after reportedly agreeing on all points, Wlad apparently decided to look elsewhere.  39 year-old Fres Oquendo- a borderline top-50 fighter at best right now- is incredibly being floated as the new frontrunner, though 3 unnamed fighters are also being considered according to Klitschko’s manager.
1) Vitali Klitschko (226-226-226)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO4 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With 2013 in full swing, we’re still waiting on Vitali’s decision to fight on or retire.
2) David Haye (30-30-30)
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 (7-7-7)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- L (SD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
The judges denied him what should have been a shot at Kubrat Pulev by robbing him against Adamek, but there appears to be justice in the world, as Cunningham appears likely to get a comparable opponent in #6 Tyson Fury, on April 20.  The likely fight would be on big NBC during the afternoon, from MSG.
4) Alexander Povetkin (30-276-276)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO2 Hasim Rahman (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlad appears to be avoiding Povetkin, in something of a role-reversal.  Povetkin’s team is fighting it, but Wlad has successfully requested a voluntary defense before having to fight him.
5) Tomasz Adamek (7-146-146)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- W (SD12)* vs. CW #4 Steve Cunningham (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
As if Adamek needed another reason to lose popularity after being gifted a completely undeserved win and slamming the victim mercilessly and classlessly, he was recently arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after causing a 3-car accident.  He’s still got a fight with Pulev looming, and will probably get the benefit of a friendly venue in Poland.
6) Tyson Fury (7-81-81)
Last Fight: 12/1/2012- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/20/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Fury is looking to fight in the US on April 20, with the opponent likely being the formidable Steve Cunningham.
7) Eddie Chambers (7-34-34)
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.  Chambers has said he wishes to accept the challenge.
8) Kubrat Pulev (7-40-117)
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.  The fight is rumored for Poland, which Pulev is understandably not thrilled about.
9) Dereck Chisora (7-62-125)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- L(TKO5) vs. David Haye (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/16/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Chisora is penciled in for the big Frank Warren event on 3/16 in London.  The only obstacles at this point are securing an opponent and getting his license back.
10) Johnathon Banks (7-12-12)
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 (7-141)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD12 Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
According to Solis’ camp, the fight with Wlad on April 6 appeared to be all ready for signatures, when suddenly Wlad decided to look elsewhere. 
12) Marco Huck (7-50)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- W*(UD12) vs. CW #10 Firat Arslan (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Huck admits to not wanting the trilogy fight with Afolabi, but intends to go forward with it in late March or early April.  Since his last heavyweight fight was February 25, he will be removed when I publish my first update after that date, or my first update after that fight is announced at cruiser, whichever comes first.
13) Robert Helenius (7-141)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- W*(UD10) vs. Sherman Williams (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Helenius will reportedly fight Michael Sprott next, but reports that it was done for March 2 have been vehemently denied by Sauerland.
14) Alexander Dimitrenko (3-108)
Last Fight: 12/21/2012- UD8 Samir Kurtagic (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/9/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Dimitrenko is scheduled to return on March 9 in Hamburg.
15) Tony Thompson (3-141)
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.
16) Chris Arreola (3-203)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- KO1 Eric Molina (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/9/2013- vs. Bermane Stiverne (UNR)
Arreola-Stiverne has been delayed yet again- this time likely owing to Andre Ward’s injury.  It will now be March 9 in Costa Mesa, California.
17) Denis Boytsov (3-190)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/17/2013- vs. Marcelo Nascimento (UNR)
Boytsov is getting ready to fight Marcelo Nascimento of Brazil in Schwerin on the 17th.  But his practically defunct promoter has no involvement in the fight and vows to block it.  Stay tuned.
18) Jean-Marc Mormeck (3-141)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- L(TKO4) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Mormeck reports a bad shoulder injury while training for his cruiserweight fight with Wlodarczyk.  He will be unable to train for two months- at which point he’ll have been inactive for over a year.  Theoretically he could still schedule a heavyweight fight during that period, so he will retain his ranking until March, if only as a formality.
19) Vyacheslav Glazkov (3-7)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- RTD4 Tor Hamer (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/23/2013- vs. Malik Scott (UNR)
Fresh off the Hamer win, Glazkov has an intriguing match with undefeated prospect Malik Scott, a 32 year old who took 3 years off leading up to 2012.
20) Bermane Stiverne (3-3)
Last Fight: 4/14/2012- UD8 Willie Herring (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/9/2013- vs. #16 Chris Arreola
Stiverne’s fight with Arreola is now scheduled for 3/9.  I haven’t been counting, but this is at least the 3rd or 4th scheduled date for the fight.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  Samoan gatekeeper Alex Leapai will be fed weak journeyman Matt Hicks- who has been stopped inside of 3 rounds in each of his last 6 fights- in Boondall, Australia on Friday.

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