Light Heavyweight: 2013, Apr 22-28

#9 Nathan Cleverly finally fought his oft-delayed contest with Robin Krasniqi on Saturday in London.  Krasniqi entered as a two-loss top 50 fighter who probably still qualified as a prospect, considering those two losses both came at the very beginning of his career.  Now he’s more like a 3-loss gatekeeper.  Cleverly dominated the fight, losing at most a round or two when he got maybe a bit lazy in the middle rounds, but 2 of the judges quite reasonably scored it a shut.  It was basically seek and destroy in terms of tactics, pressuring and outpunching Krasniqi constantly.  The one negative aspect of his continuous and successful assault on Krasniqi, however, was that it revealed that his punching power is nothing special, since he hurt his man much less often than you might expect from how often he landed cleanly.


In the week’s other truly meaningful matchup, one-loss Kiwi prospect Robert Berridge stopped 2-loss prospect Serge Yannick of Melbourne by way of Cameroon to cap a very interesting fight in Footscray, Australia on Thursday.  The fight was very back and forth early, with the fighters evenly splitting the first 4 rounds on my card.  Yannick began to take over in the 4th, dominating round 5 to the point where Berridge looked discouraged.  But then Berridge began to reassert himself from behind, losing a very close call in the 6th on my card, and easily winning the 7th.  By the 8th, Yannick was starting to look a bit ragged- perhaps due to Berridge’s commitment to the body.  It was in this context that Berridge managed to catch Yannick trading with his hands down in the 8th, and dropped him heavily to the canvas.  Yannick stood at the count of 9, looking less than steady.  Referee Tony Marretta allowed the fight to continue, as Yannick got on his bike trying to wake his legs up.  Berridge tracked him down threw a heavy combination that landed entirely on the gloves, but managed to disturb the weakened Yannick’s balance enough to send him down for a second time. 


That’s when Marretto screwed up.  He waved off the fight without a count, as if Yannick was either in need of medical attention, or as if there was some kind of two knockdown rule in effect.  Yannick blocked all the punches, so it’s impossible to conclude that he was incapable of defending himself.  Sure, he needed to lose a point for the knockdown, but that fight was not over at that point, and the fight would still have been close on the scorecards despite the 2 knockdowns.  I had Yannick up a point when the round began, and the announcers (no doubt partial to the adopted Australian Yannick) commented at, I believe, the beginning of the 7th round that Berridge actually needed a knockout.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think Berridge likely would have won, probably even by TKO or KO.  But the fight was not over.


In a lesser fight that was actually the main event of that particular card in Footscray,  undefeated prospect and prior Berridge conqueror Blake Caparello thoroughly dominated Uruguayan journeyman Jorge Rodriguez, winning every round on every card en route to a 12-round decision.


On the Cleverly undercard, used-up gatekeeper Enzo Maccarinelli stopped the awful Carl Wild late in the 6th and final round of their rather insignificant affair. 


Berridge fails to make a serious play for the top 20, mainly because he loss to a rather unproven Caparello in the past.  Cleverly, however, makes a surprising move to #7.  Frankly his resume remains very weak in terms of the overall quality of his opposition.  Krasniqi is pretty much in line with the average of those opponents, but the overall volume of top 50 fighters he’s fought allows him to push past Cornelius White and Isaac Chilemba, who despite generally getting better marks on their resume when they do fight, have relatively little experience at the top 50 level in this division.  In comparing him to Chilemba, it was difficult to weight each man’s fight with Tony Bellew.  Despite the scorecards indicating otherwise, I thought that Chilemba pretty clearly beat Bellew while Cleverly pretty clearly lost to him.  In addition, Bellew was more highly-ranked when he fought Chilemba than when he fought Cleverly.  Ultimately Cleverly just had too many fights against gatekeepers and the like, and at some point they have to add up to a really good win or two.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (33-33-33)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 Champ Chad Dawson (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward is looking to return in August, and is reportedly thinking about fighting one of the winners of Kessler-Froch and Pascal-Bute, at least at some point.
1) Chad Dawson (33-360-360)
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 (33-359-359)
Last Fight: 3/9/2012- UD12 #6 Tavoris Cloud
Next Fight: 7/27/2013- vs. Karo Murat (UNR)
All the buzz had been revolving around a Hopkins-Cleverly showdown, but with little or no warning, he signed to fight his mandatory, the slightly more proven but inactive Karo Murat, instead.
3) Jean Pascal (33-201-201)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- UD10 Alexei Kuziemski (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #15 Lucian Bute
Pascal bailed on Dawson for a less internationally compelling fight with Lucian Bute on the same date.
4) Sergey Kovalev (14-14-14)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- TKO3 #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
5) Gabriel Campillo (14-148-148)
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 (14-191-191)
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) Nathan Cleverly (1-168-168)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- UD12 Robin Krasniqi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cleverly has beaten a lot of decent opponents, but we’re still waiting for him to take on a top guy.
8) Isaac Chilemba (1-4-64)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- Draw* (SD12) vs. #9 Tony Bellew (should be win)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #10 Tony Bellew
That didn’t take long!  Chilemba will rematch Bellew on the Froch-Kessler undercard in London, less than two months removed from getting borderline robbed the first time around.
9) Cornelius White (1-41-71)
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.
10) Tony Bellew (4-80-80)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- Draw* (SD12) vs. #13 Isaac Chilemba (should be loss)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #7 Isaac Chilemba
See Chilemba’s notes, above.
11) Cedric Agnew (2-2)
Last Fight: 4/12/2013- UD12 #14 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: Unknown
Agnew may have caught a fading Yusaf Mack at the right time, but he’s clearly a climber, having now beaten both Mack and Otis Griffin.
12) Jürgen Brähmer (2-53)
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.
13) Beibut Shumenov (2-148)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Andrzej Fonfara (2-41)
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) Lucian Bute (3-25)
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.
16) Denis Grachev (3-52)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013– W* (SD10) vs. Zsolt Erdei (UNR) (should be draw)
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. SMW #16 Edwin Rodriguez
Grachev will be fighting Edwin Rodriguez at a catchweight of 171.5 in Monte Carlo for a million dollar prize.
17) Dmitri Sukhotski (3-130)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO1 Vladimir Borovsky (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/4/2013- vs. Mikhail Krinitsin
Sukhotski will fight in Barnaul, Russia on June 4 against low-level Kazakh journeyman Mikhail Krinitsin.
18) Eleider Alvarez (3-13)
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.
19) Yunieski Gonzalez (3-6)
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. 
20) Doudou Ngumbu (3-3)
Last Fight: 3/16/2013- UD12 #14 Vyacheslav Uzelkoff
Next Fight: Unknown


The Week Ahead: Saturday in Hamburg, #12 Juergen Braehmer takes on journeyman Tony Averlant, who was briefly ranked in the top 20 after getting robbed against the highly overrated Eduard Gutknecht, but resoundingly removed after getting beat by no-account journeyman Mounir Toumi.

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