Cruiserweight: 2013: Aug 5-11

A pretty huge upset opened the NBC Sports card from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino on Saturday.  Eddie Chambers, who was recently removed from his #7 ranking at heavyweight for inactivity and making his debut at cruiser, was the heavy favorite against South African one-loss prospect and #16 Contender Thabiso Mchunu.  But the script couldn’t have been followed less closely.  The impressively buff Mchunu flashed his power early, which left Chambers tentative virtually throughout the fight.  That is, when combined with a Mayweather-esque shoulder defense and counter-punching disposition.  Actually, more so than Mayweather, I felt like I was watching a 200-pound hulking version of Guillermo Rigondeaux.  Unfortunately for Chambers (who actually appeared to be the naturally smaller man by a significant margin), he was not able to summon the relative ability of a Donaire to make it a challenge.  He won at most one round (I gave him none), though judge Carlos Ortiz very generously gave him 3. 

 

Chambers fails to pick up the cruiserweight win he needed to claim a ranking here, while Mchunu’s impressive performance gets him promoted all the way to #7.  While the issue of what level Chambers is at as a cruiser is quite subjective, this much is clear: #6 Firat Arslan clearly deserved a win over #5 Marco Huck, who was also a top 5 heavyweight at that time, having fought #2 Alexander Povetkin to essentially a stalemate earlier that year.   When Chambers was removed for inactivity at heavyweight recently, he was at #7.  This alone makes Arslan the clear choice to remain ahead of Mchunu so far.  That being said, I’m baffled as to how a relative mediocrity like Zack Mwekassa could ever have defeated Mchunu, and I see the South African as potentially a deserved favorite to beat any active cruiserweight.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (2-183-183)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lebedev was winning the fight on points against Jones when his eye ballooned and he faded to a stoppage.  Who’s to say that he wouldn’t have won if Jones had been weakened by making weight the right way (or by not using whatever PEDs he may have been masking with the substance)?  Lebedev is accorded the benefit of the doubt, and will be treated like the fight never happened.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (47-163-163)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez pulled out of his scheduled 2/2 fight with Eric Fields with a fractured hand.
3) Troy Ross (47-47-79)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L*(UD12) vs. #1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Next Fight: Unknown
Quote from Ross’s Twitter: “If the right opportunity arises I will fight again.”  That sounds more like a semi-retired fighter than the guy that just outfought the division’s #1 contender.  Here’s hoping he starts hunting for good fights like a starving mountain man any second now.
4) Marco Huck (2-348-348)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- W (MD12) vs. #5 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 9/14/2013- vs. #6 Firat Arslan
Huck will make a mandatory defense in a rematch against Firat Arslan on September 14.
5) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (2-424-424)
Last Fight: 6/21/2013- TKO8 Rakhim Chakhkiev (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlodarczyk showed tremendous determination in first weathering a storm, and then rapidly breaking down a strong young challenger in his own backyard in Chakhkiev.  He indicated interest in moving up to fight Adamek, but Adamek isn’t for it.  His mandatory is Giacobbe Fragomeni, who would have little chance after struggling to practical stalemates with 46-47 year old Silvio Branco.
6) Firat Arslan (2-65-108)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD10 Varol Vekiloglu (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/14/2013- vs. #4 Marco Huck
See Huck’s notes, above.

7) Thabiso Mchunu (1-1-39)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Eddie Chambers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mchunu looked like a giant version of Guillermo Rigondeaux against Chambers.  Your guess is as good as mine as to how Zack Mwekassa managed to stop him at one point.  He and Marco Huck are already beefing on Twitter.
8) Ola Afolabi (1-230-230)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (MD12) vs. #8 Marco Huck
Next Fight: Unknown
9) Danny Green (1-39-192)
Last Fight: 11/21/2012- UD12 Shane Cameron (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Green is leaning toward retirement at last check.
10) B.J. Flores (1-10-163)
Last Fight: 10/6/2012- TKO2 David McNemar (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
He is much less willing to say it publicly, but my sense is that Flores has the same problem as Francisco Palacios: having to wait out a bad contract with Don King.  Not sure when his expires.
11) Giacobbe Fragomeni (1-247)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- UD8 Toni Visic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fragomeni snuck in a strictly stay-busy fight with Toni Visic on about 1 day’s notice as far as I can tell.
12) Silvio Branco (1-73)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- W (TD10) vs. Juho Haapoja (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Branco continues to chug along at 47 years young.  He’s like a lower-level Hopkins.
13) Alexander Alekseev (1-134)
Last Fight: 2/22/2013- UD12* Garrett Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Alekseev barely squeaked by after building an early lead against Wilson, but it’s still an improvement from his previous fight.
14) Mateusz Masternak (1-71)
Last Fight: 4/13/2013- TKO9 Sean Corbin (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/5/2013- vs. #18 Grigory Drozd
Masternak will fight Drozd on the Klitschko-Povetkin undercard on October 5.  I assume his August 24 fight is now off since it’s no longer appearing on the schedule, but I’ll let you know if I learn otherwise.
15) Francisco Palacios (1-123)
Last Fight: 9/22/2012- L(U12) vs. #7 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
Palacios very likely will not fight until after his contract with Don King expires in September.
16) Ilunga Makabu (1-4)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- W (MD12) vs. #17 Dmytro Kucher
Next Fight: 8/31/2013- vs. Eric Fields (UNR)
Makabu takes on borderline top-30 Oklahama one-loss prospect Eric Fields in South Africa on August 31.
17) Enad Licina (2-163)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- UD6 Marko Rupcic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Licina has been fighting nobodies slightly over the heavyweight limit since November.  He’ll be removed in November for inactivity at cruiserweight if he doesn’t schedule something at 200 by then, or in January if he does that, but doesn’t get a significant win, since his last one is 5 years old in January.
18) Grigory Drozd (2-39)
Last Fight: 12/17/2012- UD12 Jean-Marc Monrose (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/5/2013- vs. #14 Mateusz Masternak
This is a pleasant surprise: Drozd’s Klitschko undercard fight will be an excellent match-up against Mateusz Masternak.
19) Dmytro Kucher (2-58)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kucher is practically back to square one after falling short against Makabu.
20) Krzysztof Glowacki (2-2)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- UD8 Taylor Mabika (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: One-loss Kansas City-based Nigerian prospect Olanrewaju Durodola makes his debut as a top 50 fighter against journeyman and former gatekeeper Harvey Jolly in Wichita, Kansas on Saturday.  I witnessed Durodola’s pro debut, and can tell you that he is an impressive physical specimen with tremendous power, and a former Nigerian Olympian.  He also had a very unexpected stoppage loss to fellow undefeated prospect Ahror Muralimov of Uzbekistan from last year.
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