Light Heavyweight: 2013, Feb 4-10

In the main event of this weekend’s big Sauerland card from Berlin, #16 Juergen Braehmer stepped up to the gatekeeper level of opposition for the first time in nearly 3 years when he took on fallen former contender Eduard Gutknecht.  The fight was close, competitive, and at least on the Gutknecht side, pretty dirty.  Gutknecht was constantly pulling Braehmer’s head down and trying to throw him to the canvas, as well as various other minor chippy things like holding, rabbit punching, hitting on the break, and holding while hitting.  He probably should have lost 2-3 points, but was only docked one.  Nevertheless, it was a rare situation where a guy got a fair shake against an Uli Wegener fighter on a Sauerland show.  I had it 114-113 Braehmer.  Judge Manuel Palomo agreed with my score, while the other two judges had it a bit wider.  The fight could have gone either way, but I do feel the right man won. 

 

On the undercard, undefeated but still fairly untested German prospect Dustin Dirks found himself in an apparently competitive fight with American journeyman Christian Cruz- a loser of his last 9 fights- who nevertheless probably did enough to win round one.  Dirks started to take over in the 2nd, and really started to get to Cruz in the 3rd.  That’s when Cruz’s corner demonstrated a  likely part of the reason for his losing streak by stopping the fight apparently on the basis of two solid connects by Dirks.  They didn’t really give their fighter a chance.

 

Normally I don’t do this, but there was another fight on the card that outraged me so much that I had to mention it.  Undefeated and significantly hyped German prospect Robert Woge fought Frenchman Hakim Zoulikha in the co-feature, and was getting dominated by Zoulikha’s superior accuracy, speed, defense, and technique.  Zoulikha had probably won every round, or at least 8 of the 10.  In the 11th, Woge caught the Frenchman blind with a big left hook in an exchange, and Zoulikha was unable to continue just seconds after rising from the resulting knockout.  Fair play so far.  A huge come-from-behind win.  An 11-run home run.  Here’s where it gets ugly.  Barring an error by boxrec, here were the scores at the time of the stoppage (remember that reasonable scores would range between 100-90 and 98-92 Zoulikha): Berit Andreasen (Denmark)- 96-94 Woge, Harry Davis (Canada)- 98-92 Woge, and Matteo Montella (Italy)- 99-91 Woge.  If this fight HAD gone to the cards, it would have been one of the most disgustingly atrocious decisions of all time.  It would have made Campillo-Shumenov II look reasonable.  Let me put it in perspective.  Setting aside the two rounds that were legitimately debateable, the BEST of the three judges blatantly botched 4 of the 8 clear rounds.  Effectively, she gave Woge the benefit of the doubt on the close ones, and then flipped a coin to decide those that Zoulikha won.  Meanwhile, Davis got 6 of the 8 clear rounds wrong, while Montella got 7 of 8 wrong.  I really do hope this is an error on boxrec’s part.  If the opposite scores were true, then only Andriesen would have done anything wrong.  But if the scores are accurate as stated, we have a much bigger problem here than simple incompetence.  Woge was unproven enough to be considered just outside the top 50 at the start of the fight, which is why I wouldn’t have otherwise mentioned it.

 

Braehmer’s win- hard fought as it was- is enough to propel him back into the top 10 for the first time since he was removed for inactivity in May 2011.  He settles in at #10.  This forces everyone rated #10-15 last week down a spot, including Karo Murat, who exits the top 10 after 70 weeks in.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (22-22-22)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 Champ Chad Dawson (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward’s surgery is complete.  He’s expected to be out until at least Summer.
1) Chad Dawson (22-349-349)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- L(TKO10) vs. SMW Champ Andre Ward (at SMW)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #3 Jean Pascal
Likely in large part due to Pascal’s torn shoulder, Dawson will be fighting Pascal in May rather than March.  In the mean time, Dawson has switched trainers from John Scully back to Eddie Mustafa Muhammed.
2) Bernard Hopkins (22-348-348)
Last Fight: 4/28/2012- L(MD12) vs. #2 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: 3/9/2012- vs. #6 Tavoris Cloud
Hopkins appeared likely to fight Nathan Cleverly, but instead opted for Tavoris Cloud.  The fight will take place in Brooklyn.
3) Jean Pascal (22-190-190)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- UD10 Alexei Kuziemski (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #1 Chad Dawson
This latest delay is really testing my patience on continuing to rate Pascal, who will not have fought for approximately 2 years at 175 when the Dawson fight goes down.  But he keeps staying rateable by constantly having a fight scheduled- even if the fights seldom come off when intended.
4) Sergey Kovalev (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- TKO3 #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
We knew Kovalev could punch, but I don’t know how many observers imagined him thoroughly destroying arguably the best fighter in the division like that…
5) Gabriel Campillo (3-137-137)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- L(TKO3) vs. Sergey Kovalev (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It remains to be seen whether we’ve seen Campillo rapidly decline, have a bad night, or just run into a world-beater.  But he’s still going to be highly ranked because he recently beat the guy ranked right below him.
6) Tavoris Cloud (3-180-180)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12* vs. #4 Gabriel Campillo (Robbery)
Next Fight: 3/9/2013- vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Perhaps Cloud’s reasoning for pulling out of the Murat fight had something to do with his apparently better-than-expected chances of landing a much more lucrative Hopkins battle- a fight that now appears set for March.
7) Cornelius White (3-30-60)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- UD12 #10 Dmitri Sukhotski
Next Fight: Unknown
White is on a tear.  Is he really top-5 good?  I wouldn’t think so, but he proves me wrong every time I feel I might be overrating him.
8) Nathan Cleverly (3-157-157)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- TKO8 Shawn Hawk (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/16/2013- vs. Robin Krasniqi (UNR)
Cleverly will be fighting a long-rumored fight with fringe prospect Robin Krasniqi on March 16 in the UK.
9) Tony Bellew (3-69-69)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- UD12 Roberto Feliciano Bolonti (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. #13 Isaac Chilemba
A big time opportunity for two up-and-comers on tap for March 30, as Bellew collides with Isaac Chilemba in Liverpool.
10) Jürgen Brähmer (1-1-42)
Last Fight: 2/2/2013- UD12 Eduard Gutknecht (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Braehmer is now has the EBU European title, meaning he’ll probably have a steady stream of fringe contenders available to him.  Gutknecht aside, that’s an upgrade form his last 3 years of activity or lack thereof.
11) Karo Murat (1-92)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO7 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
No idea what’s next for Murat after Cloud left him at the proverbial altar.
12) Beibut Shumenov (1-137)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
13) Isaac Chilemba (1-53)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- UD8 Rayco Saunders (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. #9 Tony Bellew
Up-and-coming African star Chilemba takes a high-risk, high-reward fight on March 30 in Tony Bellew’s hometown of Liverpool.
14) Vyacheslav Uzelkoff (1-53)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- TKO1 Giorgi Marosi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Uzelkoff easily dispatched Marosi, in a fight so last-minute that I didn’t even know about it a week in advance.
15) Andrzej Fonfara (1-30)
Last Fight: 11/16/2012- TKO7 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/22/2013- vs. Nicholson Poulard (UNR)
Fonfara is scheduled to be in action on March 22 in Chicago.  His opponent is Jean Pascal’s brother, journeyman Nicholson Poulard.
16) Yusaf Mack (1-137)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- L(KO3) vs. #1 SMW Carl Froch (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s no shame to lose to Carl Froch, but Mack’s showing was bad enough that you’ve got to wonder if he’s finished.
17) Lucian Bute (3-14)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 #16 Denis Grachev
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Bute is tentatively scheduled to fight the Bika/Sjekloca winner on May 25, part of a split-site pay per view broadcast with Froch-Kessler, at 168.
18) Denis Grachev (3-41)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- L(UD12) vs. SMW #4 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. Zsolt Erdei (UNR)
Grachev will fight inactive former champ Zsolt Erdei in Monaco on March 30, with the winner to fight there against the winner of Edwin Rodriguez vs. Ezequiel Maderna in July.
19) Dmitri Sukhotski (3-119)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO1 Vladimir Borovsky (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sukhotski was originally rumored for the Monaco tourney, but he is not one of the 4 scheduled.
20) Eleider Alvarez (2-2)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- KO8 Danny McIntosh (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: 3/22/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Alvarez will fight in Montreal on March 22.

 

The Week Ahead: Nothing to report in the coming week.
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