Super Middleweight: 2013, Jun 24-30

#15 Don George somehow let himself get talked into fighting in Caleb Truax’s hometown of Minneapolis, and at a weight much better suited to his opponent’s natural size than for his own- a 162-pound catchweight.  The result was even more dramatically bad for George than could have been expected.  In the interests of full disclosure, I believe that I am a very distant cousin of Truax, since I have that rather distinctive name in my family tree.  That being said, Truax set the tone early, pushing George back behind a jab and straight right hand that both landed almost at will.  George’s defense has never been anything worthy of admiration, but perhaps because of the lighter weight, George didn’t take the shots as well as he typically does.  Not that we should take too much away from Truax.  He’s a fairly legit puncher, as evidenced by the fact that he dropped and badly hurt a somewhat chinny but still classy Jermain Taylor.  George had won one round at most and arguably lost as many as 2 of them 10-8 without a knockdown, when he got backed to the ropes in the 6th and hurt by several clean combinations, and caught with a huge overhand right that put George face down for the count.  This is, by far, the best win of Truax’s career, and a major setback for George, who appeared to be on the rise before the fight.

 

The following night in Brooklyn, #8 Sakio Bika got a tougher-than-expected outing in what figured to be somewhat of a coronation for the WBC belt that was ridiculously heisted from true Champion Andre Ward.  Bika was back to his old self, winging shots wildly but consistently.  Perhaps he knew he could get away with it given then style and skill set of Periban.  The prospect gave a solid effort, but was not quite quick enough to make Bika pay often for the awkward positions he too often placed himself in.  By the end, both men were exhausted, but continued to work as hard as their bodies would allow- though with a conspicuous lack of technique.  The fight was full of toss-up rounds, and could have gone either way.  I scored it 116-112 for Bika, as did official judge Robin Taylor.  Julie Lederman had it even, while Max DeLuca had it for Bika by a 115-113 margin, yielding a majority decision for the veteran contender.

 

Bika stays put at #8, as a close win over Periban is not enough to get him past the superior recent resume of the very busy George Groves.  Periban was lucky to skate by in his last fight over gatekeeper and Groves knockout victim Francisco Sierra, so he hadn’t proved to be a world-beater at this point.  Despite the middleweight-ish catchweight of the George fight, Truax debuts at #16, just behind Andy Lee, who has practically made a career out of getting notable wins just a shade over the middleweight limit.  At least Truax has been known to fight as a full-sized 168-pounder at times.  George manages to just barely hang on to a ranking, slipping to #20.  Truax’s debut forces #20 Brian Magee out of the rankings after a 3-week stint.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (80-214-214)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward has fights on the table with Stevenson and Froch.  He is trying to separate himself from promoter Dan Goossen, though, which might complicate matters.  Goossen has also said Ward wouldn’t take the Froch fight immediately, since he has been laid up with injury for the better part of a year.
1) Carl Froch (57-367-367)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: Unknown
HBO wants Froch to fight either Kessler, Ward, Golovkin, or Chavez.  Froch’s team is taking that under advisement, but would like to add domestic up-and-comers James DeGale and George Groves to the short list.  Froch seems most keen to fight Kessler again out of the group.
2) Robert Stieglitz (14-200-200)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- TKO3 #2 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. Yuzo Kiyota
Stieglitz’s 7/13 opponent is a disappointing follow-up to his big victory over Abraham, as he’ll be fighting Japanese journeyman Yuzo Kiyota.
3) Mikkel Kessler (28-446-446)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
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 (6-192-192)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: 8/24/2013- vs. Wilbeforce Shihepo (UNR)
Abraham is slated to fight Namibian journeyman Wilbeforce Shihepo on 8/24, but he is unhappy with his purse and is threatening to retire rather than fight.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (6-108-156)
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 (6-81-81)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO1 LHW#1 Chad Dawson (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson is now the #1 light heavyweight as well as the #6 Super Middleweight.  His mandatory at 175 is Tony Bellew, and he may or may not still have a mandatory shot at Carl Froch waiting at 168- probably not.  He has tons of options, overall.  He also wants Ward, and Cloud has been proposed as well.
7) George Groves (6-28-50)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- TKO5 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Groves is pressuring Froch to fight him.
8) Sakio Bika (6-19-325)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- MD12 Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bika seems to consider an Andre Ward rematch his top priority.  The two fought a very close fight the first time around.
9) James DeGale (3-3-89)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- RTD4 Stjepan Bozic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale badly wants a big-money fight with Froch.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse was so blatantly robbed against Ndiaye that I have to remember to point it out.  It’s so clearly a win that I almost forget the judges world-class crookedness. The EBU has ordered a rematch, as if one were needed.
11) Will Rosinsky (3-54)
Last Fight: 12/19/2012- UD10 Otis Griffin (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
It appears that Rosinsky has been dropped from the 6/29 card, and thus he is in danger of being removed after the 7/7 anniversary of his last fight near the 168 limit.
12) Maxim Vlasov (6-33)
Last Fight: 12/30/2012- RTD7 Geard Ajetovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/12/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
13) Edwin Rodriguez (6-23)
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 (6-26)
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) Andy Lee (1-6)
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.
16) Caleb Truax (1-1)
Last Fight: 6/21/2013- KO6 #15 Don George
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax may have just gotten a breakthrough win against George.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (4-17)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- UD10 Cedric Bellais (UNR)
Next Fight: #20 CW Pawel Glazewski (at LHW)
Mohoumadi cancelled his long-scheduled fight with Giovanni De Carolis in favor of an opportunity with Pawel Glazewki at light heavyweight, it would appear.
18) Glen Johnson (4-8)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: 8/23/2013- vs. Isiah Thomas (UNR) (at LHW)
Johnson is being used as a stepping stone for undefeated Detroit light heavyweight prospect Isiah Thomas in August.
19) Don Mouton (4-6)
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.

20) Don George (1-14)
Last Fight: 6/21/2013- L (KO6) vs. Caleb Truax (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
According to Bernardo Osuna’s post-fight reporting, George has sworn off near-middleweight catchweights, citing a weaker chin at that weight.

 

The Week Ahead: On the Golovkin-Macklin undercard in Connecticut this Saturday, #5 Thomas Oosthuizen takes on prospect Brandon Gonzales.

 

Earlier that night in Bolton, England, borderline top-50 Brit Tony Dodson takes on journeyman Paul Smith for the vacant British title.

 

#17 Hadillah Mohoumadi sees action in Ostroda, Poland at light heavyweight against prospect Pawel Glazewski, who is nominally ranked #20 at cruiser.
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