Light Heavyweight: 2013, Apr 1-7

Friday in Verona, New York, undefeated Brazilian prospect Jackson Junior battled one-loss Cuban Umberto Savigne on the Friday Night Fights undercard.  After a close first round, Savigne began to take over.  Junior’s tendency was to stand in front and pose without jabbing, a strategy (or lack thereof) that gave him no chance to win, and that allowed Savigne to increasingly pick him apart as the fight progressed.   Savigne fought like a good, hard-hitting counter puncher, capable of attacking when appropriate.  Savigne dropped Junior in round 2, and then 3 times in round 4.  Referee Mark Nelson stopped it immediately upon the 3rd knockdown, despite the fact that it wasn’t a particularly bad one.  I guess there might be a tendency to assume the fight should be stopped when a guy fails to keep his feet 3 times in a single round, but I’m personally not a fan of forgoing a count unless the guy appears to be in some sort of peril, which Junior hardly was.

 

The following night in Monte Carlo, Zsolt Erdei returned to action for the first time since June 2011.  If you’re willing to forgive 2 instances in which he was inactive within the division for nearly two years (including one in which he moved up to cruiser) and the fact that his defenses of the title in general were embarrassingly weak, Erdei might still have had a claim to the lineal title, though most observers got so tired of his sitting on the title that they withdrew his recognition in favor of a subsequent lineage beginning with Roy Jones.  I am among those observers.  Anyway, his return came against #17 Denis Grachev, who made his bones with an upset knockout against Ismayl Sillakh, who had been soundly outboxing him to that point.  He then earned a new level of respect by giving Lucian Bute all he could handle in a loss that could conceivably have gone the other way.  Erdei made a fool of those that expected ring rust from him, working brilliantly behind the jab, keeping Grachev off balance and inactive, and winning 4 of the first 5 rounds on my card, and giving himself an argument in the other.  It was his conditioning rather than his rust that seemed to bedevil him, as he stopped the jab to a great extent in the 6th.  I gave Grachev 4 of the last 5, yielding a draw on my card.  I felt that I gave 3 arguable rounds to Grachev and only 1 to Erdei, and so I guess if I had to pick a winner that the fight leaned towards, it would be Erdei.  The judges went the other way, via split decision.  All of them had a one-round margin.  I can’t argue with any of them really. 

 

Now to Bellew-Chilemba.  If you saw the fight with the British commentary, as I expect most English-speakers did, then you were sorely deceived.  Their color man, Jim Watt, gave Bellew literally every round in which he didn’t get clowned.  He gave him at least a round or two in which he didn’t land a punch.  Bellew did enough to edge the first 3 rounds I thought, but I only gave him one other round the rest of the fight.  Bellew only clearly won one round.  I had it 116-112 for Chilemba, and in my opinion the range of reasonable scores was between 114-114 and 119-109 Chilemba.  The interesting thing about Chilemba to me was that his shots were so quick that they could be called sneaky fast or lightning fast.  So much so that I think Jim Watt missed half of them.  That’s not how I remember Chilemba looking a couple years ago.  When he beat Maxim Vlasov, I noted that he did so with slickness, but that his punches were sloppy, wide, and slapping.  In this fight they were fast, concise, and surgical.  But he was every bit as slick.  Bellew could scarcely find him at all, let alone cleanly. 

 

Savigne falls just a little short of earning a top-20 spot.  Erdei, despite getting credit for something close to a draw from me, has lost credit for most of his good wins due to their being over 5 years old, and thus he too falls short of reclaiming a ranking.  Grachev’s narrow win- both due to its questionable nature and the inactivity-diminished status of his opponent- is insufficient to propel him forward, particularly since #16 Lucian Bute recently beat him.  And so ultimately only Bellew-Chilemba will impact the rankings.  In keeping with precedent, I give Chilemba credit for a win, since I had it for him and since an actual win for Bellew would have been unreasonable.  He surges to #7 as a result.  This precedent also demands that I give Bellew credit for the draw he actually received, since that draw itself is reasonable.  He stays exactly where he is, since a draw to a #13 contender still leaves him in better condition than Juergen Braehmer, whose best wins are mostly too old to help as much as they otherwise would, and since he’s never actually beaten an opponent quite as good as Chilemba- at least not since 2006.  Chilemba’s promotion forces the demotion of everyone ranked #7-12 last week, including Juergen Braehmer, who falls from the top 10 after 8 weeks in.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (30-30-30)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 Champ Chad Dawson (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
After taking some seemingly unsolicited smack talk from Mayweather, Ward said he’d drain down to 160 to fight him.  Probably just talk, since neither man has ever fought that high/low.
1) Chad Dawson (30-357-357)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- L(TKO10) vs. SMW Champ Andre Ward (at SMW)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. SMW #7 Adonis Stevenson
Dawson will fight Adonis Stevenson (who moves up from 168) on June 8 in Montreal.
2) Bernard Hopkins (30-356-356)
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 (30-198-198)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- UD10 Alexei Kuziemski (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #16 Lucian Bute
Pascal bailed on Dawson for a less internationally compelling fight with Lucian Bute on the same date.
4) Sergey Kovalev (11-11-11)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- TKO3 #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
Kovalev is hoping to return in Moscow in April.
5) Gabriel Campillo (11-145-145)
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 (11-188-188)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- L (UD12) vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
Cloud’s manager expects him back in action by the end of the year.  Normally that wouldn’t be saying much, but that would be against type for Cloud.
7) Isaac Chilemba (1-1-61)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- Draw* (SD12) vs. #9 Tony Bellew (should be win)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chilemba put on a master-class defensive and boxing performance against the typically hard-hitting but totally befuddled Tony Bellew, and was only minimally rewarded for it, getting a split draw from the judges in his opponent’s hometown.
8) Cornelius White (1-38-68)
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.
9) Nathan Cleverly (1-165-165)
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.
10) Tony Bellew (1-77-77)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- Draw* (SD12) vs. #13 Isaac Chilemba (should be loss)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bellew failed to get a mandatory shot at the Dawson-Stevenson winner with his stymied performance against Chilemba, but at last check was still the mandatory for Braehmer’s European belt.  But he seems focused on a Chilemba rematch.
11) Jürgen Brähmer (1-50)
Last Fight: 2/2/2013- UD12 Eduard Gutknecht (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/27/2013- vs. Tony Averlant (UNR)
Braehmer defends his European title in Hamburg on April 27 against journeyman Tony Averlant.  Averlant so far only steps up when he fights for the European belt, having previously been robbed against then-beltholder Eddy Gutknecht, only to get beat by a journeyman himself.
12) Karo Murat (1-100)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- TKO7 Sandro Siproshvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Murat last made 175 on October 1, 2011, and despite the fact that Tavoris Cloud and Don King are largely to blame for his recent inactivity, Murat will be removed in next week’s update if he fails to schedule a fight by then, since he  has had 18 months to get in the ring at 175.
13) Beibut Shumenov (1-145)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Andrzej Fonfara (3-38)
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.
15) Yusaf Mack (3-145)
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.
16) Lucian Bute (3-22)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 #16 Denis Grachev
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #3 Jean Pascal
Bute will look to prove what I have long believed- that the 168 pound division is much better man-for-man than 175, by fighting his larger peer in Montreal on May 25.
17) Denis Grachev (3-49)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013– W* (SD10) vs. Zsolt Erdei (UNR) (should be draw)
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. SMW #? Edwin Rodriguez
Grachev will be fighting Edwin Rodriguez at a catchweight of 171.5 in Monte Carlo for a million dollar prize.
18) Dmitri Sukhotski (3-127)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO1 Vladimir Borovsky (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/4/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Sukhotski will fight in Barnaul, Russia on June 4, but no opponent yet.
19) Eleider Alvarez (3-10)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO3 Nicholson Poulard (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Alvarez continues to stay busy, as he already has another fight scheduled for the Bute-Pascal undercard on May 25.  No opponent yet, though.
20) Yunieski Gonzalez (3-3)
Last Fight: 3/15/2013- KO8 Rowland Bryant (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzalez took a huge step up in competition and made good, knocking out strong fringe contender Bryant. 

 

The Week Ahead: No action to report for this week.
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