Light Heavyweight: 2013, Mar 11-17

In far and away the biggest fight of the week in any division, #2 Bernard Hopkins defied father time again, capturing a unanimous decision over #6 Tavoris Cloud in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday.  I do have some qualms, though.  I preface this by saying that I did score the fight for Hopkins 115-113.  So naturally I don’t have a problem with giving him full credit for a win.  But it seems to me that both the commentary and the judges demonstrated a fair amount of bias.  They made a Hopkins win seem like a clear and foregone conclusion on HBO before the decision was read, and the decision itself reinforced their cheerleading.  Judges Poturaj and Stewart scored it 116-112, while Schreck went even further at 117-111.  Despite being as little as 1 round difference from my own score, I do not consider any of the cards particularly reasonable.  I feel that I gave Hopkins every round he had any claim to.  Despite believing that Hopkins did just enough to win, I would buy a 119-109 Cloud card before a 117-111 Hopkins one.  The Cloud rounds- of which there were no fewer than 5- were generally the clearest rounds.


Nevertheless, Cloud has every reason to be embarrassed with himself.  At 48 years old, the one and only chance Hopkins had to win the fight was to slow the pace and fight a tactical and cerebral fight.  If things got physical or in any way gruelling, Cloud would win easily.  So what did Cloud do?  He hung back.  He was cautious even against an opponent that hasn’t won by stoppage since 2000.  He let it become, by and large, a jab and move kind of fight.  He followed Hopkins around carefully, allowing himself to be kept off balance and out of punching range.  He didn’t need to try and match Hopkins’ boxing ability.  He needed to go all out to get inside and try to rough the old man up.  He did nothing of the kind- at least not for more than about a minute of the fight.  So while I believe the fight easily could have gone in his favor, I don’t really think that he deserved success based on his effort.


American prospect Marcus Oliveira was scheduled for a fight with a bad opponent named Junior Ramos in the Dominican Republic, but it appears the fight may not have come off.  Even if it did and the reports are just late in coming, it is barely worth mentioning unless there is a major upset.


#7 Cornelius White also managed to sneak in a fight that wasn’t even on Boxrec a week before it happened.  He won what appears to have been a reasonably comfortable 8-round decision over quality journeyman Otis Griffin.


And backtracking to Wednesday, fringe contender Roberto Bolonti knocked out mid-level Uruguayan journeyman Jorge Rodriguez in Santa Clara, Argentina in the latter half of round 3.


Although by all laws of reason and the physical world Cloud should have been expected to beat Hopkins, the result is actually very much in line with what you’d expect from a generic #2 and #6 contender.  Hopkins is unable to advance past Dawson because Dawson beat him in his previous fight- the fact that Dawson lost a fight in the meantime notwithstanding.  As for Cloud, he hasn’t won an honest fight in nearly 2 years, but he has still both won and lost at a significantly higher level than #7 Cornelius White, and thus stays put, as well. 


So a bit surprisingly, no changes this week.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (27-27-27)
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, though he is already in the gym.
1) Chad Dawson (27-354-354)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- L(TKO10) vs. SMW Champ Andre Ward (at SMW)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #3 Jean Pascal
The Pascal fight was signed, and there hasn’t been any official word that it’s off.  So for now I’ll leave it on the schedule.  But a recent interview I saw of Dawson indicates that he seems at least pessimistic and at most resigned to the fact that Pascal will pull out or has effectively done so already.  It sounds like Dawson will save the date anyway, though.
2) Bernard Hopkins (27-353-353)
Last Fight: 3/9/2012- UD12 #6 Tavoris Cloud
Next Fight: Unknown
It sounds like Hopkins-Cleverly is likely in the cards for later this year.
3) Jean Pascal (27-195-195)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- UD10 Alexei Kuziemski (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #1 Chad Dawson
As mentioned in Dawson’s notes, there is some intrigue involving a Pascal fight with Bute, either after or instead of the scheduled fight with Dawson.  If Pascal does ditch Dawson and scheduleds the Bute fight for any date after May 25, I believe I will be forced to take the long-overdue step of removing Pascal for inactivity, since he’s been stringing together scheduled fights that either don’t happen or for which he comes in heavy.
4) Sergey Kovalev (8-8-8)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- TKO3 #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
Kovalev is hoping to return in Moscow in April.
5) Gabriel Campillo (8-142-142)
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 (8-185-185)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- L (UD12) vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
The division is as weak in terms of talent as it’s ever been, and Cloud can’t beat a 48 year old contender in it.  I don’t think he’s ever going to be a champion.
7) Cornelius White (8-35-65)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Otis Griffin (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
White snuck in an under-the-radar 8-rounder against Otis Griffin.  It was a pound over the limit, but will buy him some more time to stay active at 175, at least.
8) Nathan Cleverly (8-162-162)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- TKO8 Shawn Hawk (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/20/2013- vs. Robin Krasniqi (UNR)
Cleverly’s long-lingering and mostly pointless fight against gatekeeper Robin Krasniqi has been moved to April 20.
9) Tony Bellew (8-74-74)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- UD12 Roberto Feliciano Bolonti (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. #13 Isaac Chilemba
Bellew has a mandatory shot at the European title against Braehmer waiting for him if he gets by Chilemba, but that may never happen since Bellew would also become the challenger-in-waiting for Chad Dawson, and might even get that opportunity on May 25 if Pascal does pull out.
10) Jürgen Brähmer (6-6-47)
Last Fight: 2/2/2013- UD12 Eduard Gutknecht (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/27/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Braehmer defends his European title in Hamburg on April 27.  No opponent yet.
11) Karo Murat (6-97)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO7 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Murat last made 175 on October 1, 2011.  He’s fought once slightly over the limit since then, giving him until April 1 to schedule a fight here.  This is partly Cloud’s fault for essentially standing him up, but that’s way too little activity to draw sympathy from me.  Murat remains the mandatory challenger for the Hopkins-Cloud winner, but either man could have a more lucrative fight to consider should he win, and Hopkins always seems a decent bet to retire at his age.
12) Beibut Shumenov (6-142)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
13) Isaac Chilemba (6-58)
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 (6-58)
Last Fight: 12/15/2012- TKO1 Giorgi Marosi (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/16/2013- vs. Sofiane Sebihi (UNR)
Uzelkoff will be in on short notice against Algerian journeyman Sofiane Sebihi in Kiev.
15) Andrzej Fonfara (6-35)
Last Fight: 11/16/2012- TKO7 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fonfara aggravated a previous injury to his right hand and had to withdraw from his ESPN2 fight with Nicholson Poulard.  He will hope that it heals on its own in a month, but if not he will need surgery that would keep him out for an additional 3-6 months.
16) Yusaf Mack (6-142)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- L(KO3) vs. #1 SMW Carl Froch (at SMW)
Next Fight: 4/12/2013- vs. Cedric Agnew (UNR)
After I rather thought he should retire after his showing against Carl Froch, Mack is instead back in the ring on April 12 against undefeated prospect Cedric Agnew.
17) Lucian Bute (8-19)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 #16 Denis Grachev
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
It originally appeared that Bute would be fighting Bika for a shot at Ward, but now he seems to have reached a deal to fight the seemingly otherwise-engaged Jean Pascal, instead.  Not sure of the timeline of the latter fight, or how it affects the Bika fight.
18) Denis Grachev (8-46)
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 (8-124)
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 (7-7)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- KO8 Danny McIntosh (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: 3/22/2013- vs. Nicholson Poulard (UNR)
Alvarez will fight in Montreal on March 22, and will take over the spot opposite Nicholson Poulard that was vacated by an injured Andrzej Fonfara on the FNF broadcast.


The Week Ahead: On Thursday, fringe contender Ismayl Sillakh is slated to fight an opponent to be determined in Hollywood, California.


In the Florida version of Hollywood, strong gatekeeper Rowland Bryant looks to swat down the challenge of undefeated but totally untested Cuban prospect Yunieski Gonzalez on Friday.


And Saturday in Kiev, #14 Vyacheslav Uzelkoff takes on mid-range Algerian journeyman Sofiane Sebihi.

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