Super Middleweight: 2013, May 27- Jun 2

#1 Carl Froch removed pretty much any doubt that he’s the best 168 pounder not named Andre Ward by beating the only other man to ever beat him.  He did so a lot more clearly than had been done to him, as well.  The margin of the first fight was so razor thin that it could have easily gone the other way had it not been in Kessler’s back yard.  Kessler certainly had his moments this time, and it was a compelling fight, but Froch was a clear winner, with reasonable scores ranging from 116-112 to 117-111.  Naturally, two of the judges couldn’t handle being reasonable.  Adelaide Byrd, who tends to score fights on the extreme edges of reason and occasionally steps over the line, did so a gain, scoring it 118-110.  Jean-Francois Toupin  went the other direction, scoring it 115-113.  Toupin has turned in unreasonable cards in 2 of the 5 distance fights I’ve seen him judge (this one and Gutknecht-Uzelkoff) and a barely reasonable one in Sturm-Murray.  It seems like it’s not a good thing to be an English fighter going up against this French judge.  But I’m splitting hairs.  The right man won, and the cards averaged out to a reasonable outcome, particularly with the help of Carlos Sucre’s solid 116-112 score.


Froch and Kessler essentially traded rounds (and hard shots) over the last half of the fight, but Froch had built up a healthy lead in the first 5 rounds that allowed him to easily win on the cards.  Froch’s best moments came in the 8th, when he hurt Kessler repeatedly, and was so dominant it looked very unlikely that the fight would go more than about another round.  Instead, he won the next round, and in the 11th rocked Froch badly, himself.  A great fight, though I’ll still take the first installment for consistent action and competitiveness.


On the undercard, George Groves continued his streak of impressive victories by thoroughly dominating Uruguayan gatekeeper Noe Gonzalez.  I was originally skeptical of Groves, having seen him get what I thought was an undeserved decision over James DeGale.  In that fight, he boxed and moved expertly, but seemed to lack the ability to sit down on his punches enough to cause much harm.  I saw him as a super middleweight Ivan Calderon- an expert boxer who needs to be nearly perfect to succeed.  But since that fight, he’s shown that he does have a more punishing dimension.  This fight was no exception.  Groves showed early that he was capable of controlling the fight with the jab, but not in the sense that he moved behind it and kept Gonzalez off balance like many jabbers do.  Rather, Groves flashed a penetrating jab that snapped with concussive force and was capable of punching through Gonzalez’s defense.  It was also hard enough (coupled with right hands occasionally) to keep Gonzalez’s hands at home and render him essentially a punching bag.  It appeared that Groves was working on things even as he dominated.  For instance, he would back to the ropes repeatedly for no apparent reason.  Gonzalez would walk him down, but was still too tentative to usually let many punches go, and Groves would turn the tables with ease.  It was during a rare bout of bravery by Gonzalez that the end came.  The South American dipped to throw a wide right to the body, but was beaten to the punch by a short right hand from Groves right on the chin that dropped him hard.  Gonzalez got up, but looked to be in a fair amount of distress as he paced around with his back to the ref.  When Terry O’Connor called a halt to proceedings, he protested and looked much more with it, but based on the information that O’Connor had at the time (and the general direction of the bout), it was well-stopped.


Both Kessler and Froch maintain their original rankings, as the fight mainly proved that both men were ranked just about right.  Groves’ win is also not quite enough to get him past Adonis Stevenson, and thus there are no changes despite the high profile action.  Dimitri Sartison is removed, however, after having his mid-May fight canceled.  He hasn’t fought within 4 pounds of 168 since April 2012.  He should have been removed last week when it became 100% clear his scheduled fight hadn’t happened, but I missed it.  I am not going to go back and edit last week’s post, but will treat all the fighters rated below him (and new #20 Don Mouton) as if they had been ranked last week at their current spot.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (76-210-210)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
It sounds like both sides are interested in a Froch rematch.  There was no controversy the first time, but the Brit has definitely earned it since.
1) Carl Froch (53-363-363)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: Unknown
See Ward’s notes, above.
2) Robert Stieglitz (10-196-196)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- TKO3 #2 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
After being blitzed by an uncharacteristically aggressive Stieglitz, Abraham has demanded a trilogy bout, which Stieglitz seems disposed to grant.  Sauerland also seems to be on board.
3) Mikkel Kessler (24-442-442)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO3 Brian Magee (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
Froch is interested in a trilogy on neutral ground, perhaps even more so than a Ward rematch.  But it’s not even clear that Kessler will fight again, after saying pre-fight he might retire.
4) Arthur Abraham (2-188-188)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stieglitz’s notes above.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (2-104-152)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. Brandon Gonzales (UNR)
Oosthuizen will be fighting highly overrated and nominally “undefeated ” prospect Brandon Gonzales on the Golovkin-Macklin undercard.
6) Adonis Stevenson (2-77-77)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO6 Darnell Boone (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. LHW #1 Chad Dawson (at LHW)
After tending to unfinished business with the lowly Boone, Stevenson will now set sites on #1 light heavyweight Chad Dawson, who most outlets still consider the Champ.
7) George Groves (2-24-46)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- TKO5 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Groves is pressuring Froch to fight him.
8) Sakio Bika (2-15-321)
Last Fight: 2/16/2013- UD12 Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Bika will fight undefeated Mexican Marco Antonio Periban in California on June 22 for the WBC belt that that organization just heisted from Andre Ward.
9) Will Rosinsky (2-4-50)
Last Fight: 12/19/2012- UD10 Otis Griffin (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Rosinsky has been added to the Golovkin-Macklin undercard, but no opponent yet.
10) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (2-2-81)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W (PTS6) vs. Jevgenijs Andrejevs (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. Christopher Rebrasse (UNR)
Ndiaye battles French gatekeeper Christopher Rebrasse on June 8 in Italy.
11) James DeGale (2-85)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- KO2 Sebastian Demers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale turned in a solid performance against journeyman Sebastian Demers, a short-notice opponent who’s seen better days.
12) Maxim Vlasov (2-29)
Last Fight: 12/30/2012- RTD7 Geard Ajetovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
13) Edwin Rodriguez (2-19)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- W* (UD10) vs. #15 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. #15 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW)
After getting the benefit of yet another questionable but not totally out-of-bounds decision against Maderna, Rodriguez remains in the mix, but kinda on the periphery of the division’s contenders.  He gets a chance at a million bucks against Grachev, who also arguably deserved to lose his first round fight.
14) Ezequiel Maderna (2-22)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- L* (UD10) vs. #17 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna, despite arguably deserving a win against Rodriguez, did himself few favors in dropping the decision, especially considering how ugly the fight was.  I don’t imagine he’ll be getting too many international suitors anytime soon since he seems difficult to look good against.
15) Dyah Davis (2-14)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- L (TKO10) vs. #9 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown
Davis said on May 4 via Twitter that “a particular some(one)” called him on May 3 for a fight, and that based on “that performance” he’d better not call again.  That seems like a veiled reference to Anthony Dirrell to me.  He says he’s looking at a return date of July 19, which also fits reasonably well with Dirrell’s post-fight statement that he intends to fight at 168 in roughly two months.  If I’m reading the situation accurately, that would give both guys a good opportunity to prove they are for real after each has suffered significant setbacks in and/or out of the ring since their last significant success.
16) Don George (2-10)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. David Lopez (should be win)
Next Fight: 6/21/2013- vs. Caleb Truax (UNR)
Another reasonably decent challenge for George, as he travvels to Caleb Truax’s hometown of Minneapolis for their fight.
17) Andy Lee (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Yes, I know.  Andy Lee is not a Super Middleweight.  The only problem is he almost exclusively fights as one, if only barely.
18) Hadillah Mohoumadi (2-13)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- UD10 Cedric Bellais (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Mohoumadi gets a halfway decent outing on June 22 against borderline top 50 Italian Giovanni De Carolis, for the European Union title.
19) Glen Johnson (2-4)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson should be retired, but instead finds himself clinging to a ranking in a very shallow division.
20) Don Mouton (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/3/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mouton deserved to beat Dirrell, whom he also spotted nearly a full weight class.  Mouton was also a short-notice opponent.


The Week Ahead: No action to report for the upcoming week.

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