Light Heavyweight: 2013, May 27- Jun 2

On the Froch-Kessler undercard in London, #9 Tony Bellew earned redemption after receiving a very generous draw back in March against last week’s #7 Isaac Chilemba.  Bellew’s problem in the first fight was that he simply didn’t let his hands go with authority or in combination when he got in punching range, and let Chilemba control the action even while getting backed up (which, incidentally, he did very little of in the 2nd half of that fight).  This time around, Bellew set a far different tone from the opening bell, pushing a fast pace behind an effective jab that was totally absent in the last fight.  This aggressive beginning did come at a price, as he appeared to tire noticeably in the last two rounds, and became at time a sitting duck for Chilemba’s 1-2 combination in the last two rounds in particular.  Nevertheless, the calculated risk paid off, as Chilemba- not particularly a puncher- noticeably hurt Bellew perhaps one time, that being in the final round, and despite apparently winning the last 2 rounds, was too far behind by then to catch up.

 

Marcos Ahumada, the Argentine prospect, is now a serious player at 175 after knocking out cruiserweight fringe contender Alejandro Valori, but can’t be ranked here because it’s his only major fight and was fought at 179.

 

Despite the mixed results against Chilemba in the two fights and the close nature of both, this win nevertheless pushes Bellew over the top, where he had been teetering on the cusp of the elite.  He vaults all the way to #3.  Do I really think he’s better than Kovalev, you might ask?  Not a chance.  Kovalev absolutely destroyed #4 Gabriel Campillo, who was so solid at that rank that he only sunk far enough to make room for Kovalev, even after the loss.  But I was in the small minority that believed Bellew deserved a win (or at worst a draw) against a 4th-ranked Nathan Cleverly.  Obviously Kovalev was more impressive against his #4 than was Bellew in any case, and Campillo was a much more accomplished #4 than was Cleverly.  On the other hand, the only other significant fight on Kovalev’s record was an 8-round split decision win over borderline top 50 fighter Darnell Boone in late 2010.  Bellew can counter with a TKO over the similarly-ranked Ovill McKenzie from around the same time, and then follow-up with a #20 Danny McIntosh, 2 fringe contenders, and Chilemba.  It’s really no contest when you look at the records in total.  Everyone ranked #3-8 last week falls one place, including Chilemba, whose resume still compares well to Cornelius White’s. 

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (38-38-38)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 Champ Chad Dawson (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
With Pascal-Bute postponed, one of Ward’s best options went with it.  There is now serious discussion of a Ward-Froch rematch, potentially in England.  On one hand, we’ve seen it before, but on another, Froch is clearly still the most worthy challenger for Ward, to the point where he would be the undisputed champion at 168 if Ward didn’t exist.
1) Chad Dawson (38-365-365)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- L(TKO10) vs. SMW Champ Andre Ward (at SMW)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. SMW #6 Adonis Stevenson
Dawson will fight Adonis Stevenson (who moves up from 168) on June 8 in Montreal.
2) Bernard Hopkins (38-364-364)
Last Fight: 3/9/2012- UD12 #6 Tavoris Cloud
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- 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) Tony Bellew (1-85-85)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #7 Isaac Chilemba
Next Fight: Unknown
Bellew’s ultimate triumph over Chilemba has now set him up with a mandatory shot at the Dawson-Stevenson winner, which would continue the trend of the best fighting the best at 175.
4) Sergey Kovalev (1-19-19)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- TKO3 #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: 6/14/2013- vs. #9 Cornelius White
Kovalev is back in action against another pretty tough opponent on June 14.
5) Gabriel Campillo (1-153-153)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- L(TKO3) vs. Sergey Kovalev (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/14/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Campillo will fight Fonfara in an interesting crossroads fight at Comiskey Park in Chicago, but appears to have scheduled a tune-up on June 14 in Madrid, as well.
6) Tavoris Cloud (1-196-196)
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 (1-173-173)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- UD12 Robin Krasniqi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cleverly wants to fight Froch at 175, but Froch appears a bit more interested in Ward at the moment.
8) Isaac Chilemba (1-9-69)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #9 Tony Bellew
Next Fight: Unknown
Chilemba may have lost the second fight to Bellew in his opponent’s back yard, but between the two fights, he’s managed to elevate himself somewhat.
9) Cornelius White (1-46-76)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Otis Griffin (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/14/2013- vs. #4 Sergey Kovalev
Moment of truth time for White.  On June 14 we’ll find out if he’s more the guy that beat up Dmitri Sukhotski, or the guy that got sparked out in just seconds by Don George.  If he’s the latter, Kovalev should prove it pretty quickly.
10) Cedric Agnew (3-3-7)
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.
11) Jürgen Brähmer (3-58)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- TKO2 Tony Averlant (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Braehmer made an easy first defense of his European belt against Averlant.  He is currently the mandatory for Cleverly’s alphabet strap, as well, though it sounds like the Welshman would prefer bigger fish- or at least fish with bigger belts.
12) Beibut Shumenov (3-153)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- UD12 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
If Shumenov hasn’t scheduled a fight by Monday, he’ll be out.  And it’s rarely been deserved more, considering the poor quality of the last few guys he did fight.
13) Andrzej Fonfara (3-46)
Last Fight: 11/16/2012- TKO7 Tommy Karpency (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/16/2013- vs. #5 Gabriel Campillo
Fonfara will get a huge opportunity to launch himself into the top 5 when he takes on Gabriel Campillo in Chicago.
14) Lucian Bute (3-30)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 #16 Denis Grachev
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Jean Pascal (UNR)
Bute-Pascal has been rescheduled tentatively for December 7 after Bute suffered a hand injury.  They’ve also reserved January 25 as a back-up plan.  Either way, it will be in Montreal.
15) Denis Grachev (3-57)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013– W* (SD10) vs. Zsolt Erdei (UNR) (should be draw)
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. SMW #14 Edwin Rodriguez
Grachev will be fighting Edwin Rodriguez at a catchweight of 171.5 in Monte Carlo for a million dollar prize.
16) Dmitri Sukhotski (3-135)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO1 Vladimir Borovsky (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/4/2013- vs. Mikhail Krinitsin (UNR)
Sukhotski will fight in Barnaul, Russia on June 4 against low-level Kazakh journeyman Mikhail Krinitsin.
17) Eleider Alvarez (3-18)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO3 Nicholson Poulard (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. Allan Green (UNR)
Alvarez will now be fighting Green on the Dawson-Stevenson undercard.
18) Yunieski Gonzalez (3-11)
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. 
19) Doudou Ngumbu (3-8)
Last Fight: 3/16/2013- UD12 #14 Vyacheslav Uzelkoff
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Glen Johnson (3-3)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Strangely, even though Johnson looks completely spent, he is once again ranked (barely) at both 175 and 168.

 

The Week Ahead: Ugandan gatekeeper Joey Vegas fights one-loss prospect and current Egyptian champion Hany Atiyo in Kampala, Uganda on Saturday.  Atiyo’s only previous loss was an 11th round TKO to Vegas last year. 

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