Heavyweight: 2013, Feb 25- Mar 3

Insanely busy weeks with a lot of important fights are always tough to organize.  Here’s my best effort, roughly in order of importance.

 

#15 Tony Thompson took out unranked fringe contending and undefeated English prospect David Price in the latter’s hometown of Liverpool, and needed just 2 rounds to accomplish the task.  After Price had apparently taken full control earlier in the 2nd, Thompson caught Price with a bit of an awkward looping right hand on the inside just above the ear.  It wasn’t particularly flush, nor did it appear to have an extraordinary amount of weight behind it.  I would say it was a classic equilibrium shot, except that Price collapsed very quickly as if hit on the chin.  If I had to guess, I’d say that it was indeed a bit of an equilibrium shot, but also that Price simply doesn’t take a head shot very well in general.  This was seen as a huge upset, though it’s hard for me to see it that way when Thompson had never lost to anyone not named Wladimir Klitschko since a 4-rounder in 2000, and since Price had never fought anyone in the top 25.

 

Another prospect had his own share of struggles a bit later on Saturday, when #19 Vyacheslav Glazkov of the Ukraine took on fellow undefeated prospect Malik Scott of Philadelphia on Long Island.  Scott had control of the fight throughout.  That’s not to say he dominated by any means.  Just that whatever Scott did or didn’t do made all the difference in the fight, while Glazkov’s efforts remained fairly steady and mediocre.  How did that play out?  Well, Scott clearly won the first 3 rounds behind a sharp jab, and lost the next two when he slowed down a bit.  Scott then reasserted himself slightly to sweep the last 5 rounds on my card. 

 

Judge John Poturaj saw it exactly as I did at 98-92.  But John McKaie had it 96-94 for Glazkov, while Julie Lederman had it all even.  That does bother me, because I think Scott pretty clearly won the fight, but at the same time, of the last 5 rounds that I gave to Scott, I do think Glazkov had an argument in 4 of them, since Scott had lost a lot of steam and was just doing enough in terms of activity to barely nick each frame.  I can’t necessarily say that any of the judges got any specific round blatantly wrong, but I think Lederman’s 95-95 and especially McKaie’s 96-94 indicate mild but consistent bias in favor of Glazkov, the house fighter.  Favoring the house fighter is unfortunately nothing new for McKaie and Lederman, who teamed up to rob Ossie Duran blind against Brandon Gonzales.  McKaie is particularly notable for his poor cards.  Among his other lowlights: he gave Jerson Ravelo the decision against Joey Spina in a fight that was clearly either a draw or a win for Spina in March 2012, had Mayfield-Herrera a bit too close in October, and was fixing to rob Luis Abregu until he stopped Thomas Dulorme the same night.  He’s had some good cards mixed in there too, but he’s a very busy judge that I would consider a risky choice if I were making the appointments.
 
 

In London on the same busy evening, the latest installment of the Prizefighter series brought international heavyweights together for a series of 3-rounders.  The field of 8 included 2 members of the top 50 in Albert Sosnowski and Travis Walker.  Sosnowski in particular was something like a co-winner of the last installment, having been blatantly robbed in the semis.  But neither of these two deserved favorites made it past the first round.  Sosnowski was roughed up and stopped late in the 3rd by a 41 year old but apparently resurgent Martin Rogan, who was last seen in high level action getting clowned, dominated, and stopped by a southpaw version of Tyson Fury.  Walker lost a close split decision to fellow American Derric Rossy, a former prospect who was easily handled in consecutive fights by Eddie Chambers, Kubrat Pulev, and Maurice Harris.  British journeyman Audley Harrison took advantage of an easy first-round assignment by scoring a sensational one-punch stoppage of Danish journeyman Claus Bertino.  Ian Lewison, a novice at just 6-3-1, sprung a bit of an upset himself, stopping gargantuan German former fringe contender Timo Hoffmann in the first round, though it was a terrible stoppage by referee John Keane.  Nevertheless, Lewison did well to drop Hoffmann hard. 

 

In the second round, Harrison easily handled Rogan over the 3 round distance, leading to the conclusion that Rogan simply can’t begin to handle tall fighters.  In the other semi, Rossy eeked out a split decision over Lewison.  I had it a shutout for Lewison, but 2 of the 3 rounds were close. 

 

In the finals, Harrison simply finished off an already-tired Rossy, stopping him in the second round to win the tournament for the second time in his career.  I was reminded why I don’t bet on sports, as I only gave Harrison a 6% chance of winning in my preview last week.  Then again, if I’d have known he was going to draw Bertino, Rogan, and Rossy, I might have given him a significantly better shot.

 

Backtracking to Friday, one-loss prospect Manuel Charr- best known for his stoppage loss to Vitali Klitschko- was in what was shaping up as a barn-burner with one-loss and largely untested Turk Yakup Saglam.  Through two rounds, the two were just squaring up and throwing bombs, rock ’em sock ’em robots style, with each man giving as well as he received.  But the fight fell off the rails, as Saglam complained of a shoulder injury between rounds and retired in his corner.

 

Way back on Tuesday in Minsk, Belarus, Ondrej Pala of the Czech Republic (nominally a top 50 fighter), managed to win just 6 of 8 rounds against 6-3 novice Yuri Bihoutseu, though in Pala’s defense, Bihoutseu was the home fighter.

 

Prizefighter fails to make its mark on the rankings, contrary to my expectations.  The reason for this is that Harrison had a bit too easy a road.  Bertino did absolutely nothing for him.  Rogan helped, since his win over Sosnowski had made him a temporary fringe contender, but the Rossy win was tainted a bit by the fact that Rossy had probably deserved to lose to a journeyman in the semis.  That, combined with Harrison’s prior struggles in losing ugly stoppages to Davids Price and Haye, as well as a prior close loss to Rogan 4 years ago, conspire to leave him in the top 25, but outside the top 20.

 

Thompson’s TKO of Price gives the veteran a modest boost to #13.  It could have been better if I’d overrated Price as heavily as most did, but the fact is he had never proven himself to be anything better than a fringe contending prospect.  He looked scary against mid-level opposition and worse, but to view him as anything better than a borderline top 25 guy would involve a fair amount of projection, which I try to avoid here.

 

With the help of a pair of judges, Glazkov manages to stay put at #19, while Scott wins out in a close struggle for the #20 spot, ultimately displacing Bermane Stiverne, who had been on the inside for just 5 weeks since the last time he was forced out.  Stiverne owns a win over a #20 contender in Ray Austin, but that win is getting pretty old as his last major success, and he also suffered an embarrassing draw to complete nobody Charles Davis in ’09.  Scott has a win over a low-level gatekeeper in Bowie Tupuo to add to his fresh draw with #19 Glazkov.  It doesn’t hurt his case that he all but certainly won it.

 

Charr and Pala’s wins are nowhere near significant enough to matter.  Whew!  If I keep writing entries this long, I’m going to start feeling like an actual journalist!

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (192-405-405)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Mariusz Wach (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlad is now expecting to return on May 4 instead of April 6, with Italian fringe contender Francesco Pianeta being the leading contender.  He would then theoretically face Povetkin, but there seems to be 3-way drama between the WBA and the two fighters’ camps right now.
1) Vitali Klitschko (229-229-229)
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 (33-33-33)
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 (10-10-10)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- L (SD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek (Robbery)
Next Fight: 4/20/2013- vs. #6 Tyson Fury
Adamek’s erratic behavior has yielded justice.  Cunningham beat Adamek, but was robbed.  Now he’ll fight Tyson Fury, with the winner to fight Kubrat Pulev for a mandatory shot at Wlad.  The fight will be at MSG and will be televised live in the afternoon by NBC.
4) Alexander Povetkin (33-279-279)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO2 Hasim Rahman (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After failing to convince the WBA to deny Wlad a voluntary before fighting him, Povetkin and his team are now raising cain about the 75-25 split the WBA has set for the purse bid.  No word on whether he’ll stay busy in the meantime, as it would be hard to imagine the fight happening before August at the earliest.
5) Tomasz Adamek (10-149-149)
Last Fight: 12/22/2012- W (SD12)* vs. CW #4 Steve Cunningham (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Adamek is acting erratic lately, I think it’s fair to say.  First he gets busted drunk driving, and now he has turned down the Pulev shot that he “won” by “beating” Cunningham, claiming to have a much more lucrative offer to fight an unknown opponent in Poland- an offer that all the major Polish networks claim to have no part of.  He has also denied rumors that he might be fighting Artur Szpilka.
6) Tyson Fury (10-84-84)
Last Fight: 12/1/2012- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/20/2013- vs. #3 Steve Cunningham
See Cunningham’s notes, above.
7) Eddie Chambers (10-37-37)
Last Fight: 6/16/2012- L(UD12) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
Chambers appeared set to fight Lebedev at cruiserweight, but it now appears that Lebedev will fight Guillermo Jones, instead.
8) Kubrat Pulev (10-43-120)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- KO11 Alexander Ustinov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With Adamek running scared, Pulev will reportedly defend his EBU title in March or April.  Next, he will likely fight the winner of Cunningham-Fury, with the winner becoming Wlad’s IBF mandatory.
9) Dereck Chisora (10-65-128)
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 (10-15-15)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- TKO2 #11 Seth Mitchell

Next Fight: Unknown
Banks broke his thumb in sparring, scuttling the Mitchell rematch.
11) Odlanier Solis (10-144)
Last Fight: 5/19/2012- UD12 Konstantin Airich (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/22/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Solis’ promoter- with whom he seems to have healed a major rift- says they’re looking at 3/22 for the big Cuban’s return, in Berlin.
12) Marco Huck (10-53)
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) Tony Thompson (1-144)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- TKO2 David Price (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Thompson wants Fury- who recently signed to fight Cunningham.  Price has a rematch clause, but Price himself has indicated he may not be “crying for a rematch,” while Thompson says he wouldn’t consider it unless they paid him a lot better and came to the US.
14) Robert Helenius (1-144)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- W*(UD10) vs. Sherman Williams (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Helenius was rumored for a March fight with Sprott, but no news since.
15) Alexander Dimitrenko (1-111)
Last Fight: 12/21/2012- UD8 Samir Kurtagic (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/9/2013- vs. Dzenan Hodzic (UNR)
Dimitrenko is scheduled to return on March 9 in Hamburg.  He will reportedly fight Dzenan Hodzic, a totally untested 4-0 Bosnian that has been inactive since 2008.
16) Chris Arreola (6-206)
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 (6-193)
Last Fight: 2/17/2013- UD8 Samir Kurtagic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Boytsov appears to have won the battle of wills with Universum over whether he gets to fight or not.  Now the trick will be getting him in against worthwhile opposition.
18) Jean-Marc Mormeck (6-144)
Last Fight: 3/3/2012- L(TKO4) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Mormeck will be removed on Monday, except in the unlikely event that he schedules a heavyweight fight this week.
19) Vyacheslav Glazkov (6-10)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. Malik Scott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Glazkov got the benefit of the doubt in every close round from two of the judges against Scott.  It was just about as close to a robbery as you can get without me calling it that. 
20) Malik Scott (1-1)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. #19 Vyacheslav Glazkov
Next Fight: Unknown
Scott was the victim of a bad decision against Glazkov it’s fair to say, but I stop short of calling it a blatant robbery.  I do believe he won 8 of the 10 rounds, but he only won 4 of them with clarity.  By easing off the gas in the latter half of the fight, he gave the judges the opportunity to hand it to the house fighter, which 2 of them were all too happy to do.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  In an effort to prevent me from getting carpal tunnel, the division takes a much-deserved breather after the melee that was last week.  But I will have something to write about, since both #12 Marco Huck and #18 Jean-Marc Mormeck are essentially certain to be removed for inactivity next week.

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