Light Heavyweight: 2013, Jun 10-16

In what turned out to be one of the most important light heavyweight results in recent years, Chad Dawson- long considered the class of the division- was brutally TKO’d with one vicious shot, just halfway through the first round, by #6 Super Middleweight Adonis Stevenson.  Dawson beat the count, but was barely able to stand, much less fight, when the time came, and referee Michael Griffin correctly stopped it.  You can tell from my preview of the fight from last week that I favored the hard-hitting Stevenson in the fight, though I stopped short of saying it outright. 
 

Stevenson is now one of the big guns at both 168 and 175, considered by many to be the lineal champ, and has an exciting style and skills that equal or exceed virtually anyone else in the sport in that respect, and he has the moral authority to credibly call out any of the top fighters in his two weight classes, ranging from Hopkins to Ward and Froch, or even the fight that would be one of the most exciting match-ups in any weight class- against Kovalev.

 

There was supposed to be a really nice fight between #16 Eleider Alvarez and gatekeeper Allan Green on the undercard, but HBO reportedly was instrumental in the inexplicable decision to bump the fight off the card entirely.

 

On the Huck-Afolabi undercard in Berlin, undefeated German Robert Woge was mostly unspectacular, but easily ground out the significant majority of rounds against the very tall, but rather feather-fisted and ungainly Polish prospect Dariusz Sek.  Sek won, at most, 2 rounds in the middle of the fight, but the official judges and the embarrassing British commentary team of Barry Jones and Alan Partidge somehow saw it closer than that.  Barry Jones even had Sek winning the fight, even while describing everything he threw as “pitty-pat” punches.

 

Also on the card, gatkeeeper Eduard Gutknecht more or less shut out low-level journeyman Richard Vidal of Uruguay.

 

And finally (well- not finally at all, actually), #15 Dmitry Sukhotsky knocked out his own low-level journeyman in Mikhail Krinitsin in his hometown of Barnaul, Russia on Tuesday, needing just 2 1/2 rounds to do so.  I didn’t notice until I started writing this, but the fight was actually at 168.  I’ll break with tradition and just mention it here, though, since Sukhotsky is ranked here alone, and since the fight has no importance even to that extent at 168.

 

The Stevenson-Dawson result presents a bit of a conundrum.  Obviously Stevenson is the new #1 contender, but it’s always a difficult call when one guy loses to a guy ranked well below him in a lower division, but the guy below him recently lost to the first guy.  Normally I’d say that Dawson should remain ahead of Hopkins, on the theory that Dawson had already clearly proved his superiority over Hopkins, and that Stevenson simply proved much better than his ranking.  This case is a little less clear, though, since Hopkins did beat Pascal, who had beaten Dawson.  Dawson was also dominantly stopped in consecutive fights by naturally smaller guys who technically weren’t even ranked at 175, and it seems a bit illogical to punish Hopkins for those struggles in equal measure to Dawson.  For that reason, Dawson sinks to #3, while Hopkins holds firm. Everyone ranked below Hopkins last week backtracks a notch, including #10 Cedric Agnew, who exits the top ten after 4 weeks in, and Ovill McKenzie, who exits the top 20 after just one.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (40-40-40)
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) Adonis Stevenson (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO1 #1 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson has tons of options after destroying Dawson.  His WBC mandatory, for what it’s worth, is Tony Bellew.
2) Bernard Hopkins (40-366-366)
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) Chad Dawson (1-367-367)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L(TKO1) vs. SMW #6 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown

Dawson’s career is suddenly in an all-out tailspin just 2 fights after winning the lineal title from Hopkins.
4) Tony Bellew (1-87-87)
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 Stevenson, which would continue the trend of the best fighting the best at 175.
5) Sergey Kovalev (1-21-21)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- TKO3 #4 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: 6/14/2013- vs. #10 Cornelius White
Kovalev is back in action against another pretty tough opponent on June 14.
6) Gabriel Campillo (1-155-155)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- L(TKO3) vs. Sergey Kovalev (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/14/2013- vs. Ionut Trandafir Ilie (UNR)
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.
7) Tavoris Cloud (1-198-198)
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.
8) Nathan Cleverly (1-175-175)
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.  He even says he’d drop down to 168 for the fight, but it still doesn’t sound like one of Froch’s top 2 or 3 options.
9) Isaac Chilemba (1-11-71)
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.
10) Cornelius White (1-48-78)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Otis Griffin (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/14/2013- vs. #5 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.
11) Cedric Agnew (1-9)
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 (1-60)
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.
13) Andrzej Fonfara (1-48)
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 (1-32)
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 (1-59)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013– W* (SD10) vs. Zsolt Erdei (UNR) (should be draw)
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. SMW #13 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 (1-137)
Last Fight: 6/4/2013- KO3 Mikhail Krinitsin (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sukhotski may be sticking around at 168 from now on, but only time will tell.  He has until December to schedule a fight at 175 if he wants to keep his ranking.
17) Eleider Alvarez (1-20)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO3 Nicholson Poulard (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Alvarez’s very good fight with Allan Green was abruptly bumped from the Dawson-Stevenson undercard.
18) Yunieski Gonzalez (1-13)
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 (1-10)
Last Fight: 3/16/2013- UD12 #14 Vyacheslav Uzelkoff
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Glen Johnson (1-5)
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: #6 Gabriel Campillo gets a tune-up on Friday against Ionut Trandafir Ilie- a very weak Romanian journeyman who only sounds like a fictional character.  That fight is in Madrid.

 

Campillo’s recent conqueror, #5 Sergey Kovalev, is in a bit deeper, taking on #10 Cornelius White in a fight that is probably somewhat more mismatched than it sounds on paper.  That will be on NBC Sports, also on Friday.

 

Sunday in Kampala, Uganda, local gatekeeper Joey Vegas looks to win a second time against Egyptian prospect and national champion Hany Atiyo, in a fight that was supposed to happen last week.
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