Light Heavyweight: 2013, Aug 19-25

Friday at Comiskey Park in Chicago, #14 Andrzej Fonfara pulled one out of the fire against #6 Gabriel Campillo.  This was a great crossroads fight, as it held the potential to prove whether or not Fonfara was for real, and whether or not Campillo had faded.  I’d say the answers to both are likely yes, although I’m more convinced of the negative on Campillo than the positive on Fonfara.  Campillo clearly still has world-class skill, but he has now been stopped in his last two significant fights.  His intangibles seem to have withered.  Not so much his chin, since he went down multiple times in perhaps his finest performance overall against Cloud- but rather his raw desire not to get stopped, and thereby to win. 


I don’t know what the likely pro-Fonfara scorecards looked like at the time of the stoppage, but I had Campillo winning 7 of the 8 completed rounds when Fonfara put him down with a combination midway through the 9th, and Campillo stayed there, his body language that of a broken man.


The following night in Cardiff, Wales, #3 Sergey Kovalev easily handled #8 Nathan Cleverly in his opponent’s backyard.  It wasn’t quite the all-out, seek-and-destroy destruction from the jump the way Kovalev’s victories over Campillo and White played out, but it was close.  It was more like Kovalev methodically broke Cleverly down, but as a testament to Kovalev’s devastating power, that breaking down process took less than 4 rounds to complete.  Regardless of the method, it was clear in the end that Cleverly was hopelessly outgunned and never had a chance.  The Welshman is by nature a volume puncher, and he had no chance to apply that style against a guy who could counter that style by punching in between with devastating effect.  As a result, he was much more careful than usual, but still couldn’t remotely deal with the Russian’s power, even in more of a skirmish.


On the undercard, fringe contender Ovill McKenzie and gatekeeper Enzo Maccarinelli fought a rematch of their very prematurely stopped fight from last fall.  In that fight, McKenzie was looking the better of the two by far, but hadn’t hurt Maccarinelli significantly when the fight was stopped in the 2nd.  It’s also worth noting that McKenzie is known to fade after about 5 or 6 rounds. 


Flash forward to last weekend.  It was a gut check for both guys.  The British commentary team took it as a foregone conclusion that the fight would end within a round or two either way.  Not the case.  Both fighters fought with dogged determination through 10 rather grueling rounds, with each guy largely seeking the knockout everyone expected.  On my card, the Welshman Maccarinelli won 3 of the first 4, with McKenzie coming back strong to sweep the next three and claim a narrow lead after 7.  BoxNation color man Barry Jones, who appeared to be strongly biased in favor of Maccarinelli, had it for the home fighter even at that point.  But it became a moot point, as Maccarinelli caught a second wind in the 8th, swept the next three rounds, and- having pinned McKenzie in the corner- landed a devastating uppercut in the 10th that had McKenzie in a very vulnerable position: hunched over with his hands hanging down, completely unconscious, but still very much on his feet.  Luckily, Maccarinelli landed only one glancing blow to the top of the head before the ref made it there to stop it.


Fonfara rockets up to #5, joining no less than Kovalev as the only fighters to ever legitimately beat Campillo.  Campillo is forced down to #7 by the move, but avoids further descent due to the fact that he still compares favorably to new #8 Tavoris Cloud, since he clearly beat Cloud last year and since Cloud has no wins since.  Likewise, Cleverly is bumped down to #9 by Fonfara’s promotion, but suffers no further decline since there’s no particular shame in even an early stoppage to Kovalev at this point, and since his overall resume still swamps that of new #10 Chilemba, with both having what could be described as mixed results against Bellew and wins over #16 contenders, but with the remainder of Cleverly’s body of work being far superior.  Kovalev can’t eclipse Hopkins, since Hopkins has won at a Championship level in the last 5 years and failed only at the level of #2 in that span, where Kovalev has yet to venture.  Maccarinelli makes his debut as a light heavyweight player, well after many had written him off as shot, parking at #17 behind Hadillah Mohoumadi and ahead of the recently-struggling Denis Grachev.  Everyone #5-13 last week is forced down a spot by Fonfara’s rise, including Cornelius White, who exits the top 10 after 57 weeks.  Everyone #17 and below likewise takes a slight dip due to Maccarinelli’s debut, including last week’s #20 Yunieski Gonzalez, whose ouster comes after 22 weeks in the rankings.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (50-50-50)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 Champ Chad Dawson (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward has offers more or less on the table to fight Froch or Stevenson.  He is trying to split with promoter Dan Goossen, though, which could conceivably complicate matters.
1) Adonis Stevenson (11-11-11)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO1 #1 Chad Dawson
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. #8 Tavoris Cloud
It’s Stevenson-Cloud in September, with the winner to fight Bellew in November. 
2) Bernard Hopkins (50-376-376)
Last Fight: 3/9/2012- UD12 #6 Tavoris Cloud
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Karo Murat (UNR)
Hopkins-Murat has been reset for October 26, with Showtime televising.
3) Sergey Kovalev (10-31-31)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- TKO4 #8 Nathan Cleverly
Next Fight: Unknown
Kovalev continues to cut through top 10 light heavyweights like butter.  The only two challenges that would really mean anything to his ranking at this point (assuming Ward won’t move up) are Hopkins and Stevenson.
4) Chad Dawson (10-377-377)
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.
5) Andrzej Fonfara (1-1-58)
Last Fight: 8/16/2013- KO9 #6 Gabriel Campillo
Next Fight: Unknown
Fonfara looked outclassed for the most part, but got the desired result in the end, knocking out a fading Campillo in the latter half of the fight.
6) Tony Bellew (1-97-97)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #7 Isaac Chilemba
Next Fight: 11/30/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Bellew is scheduled to fight the Stevenson-Cloud winner on his November 30 birthday.
7) Gabriel Campillo (1-165-165)
Last Fight: 8/16/2013- L (KO9) vs. #14 Andrzej Fonfara
Next Fight: Unknown
Campillo might be on his way to deserved obscurity after being robbed of deserved prominence for so much of his career.  He still has plenty of boxing skill, but his will might be fading just a bit.
8) Tavoris Cloud (1-208-208)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- L (UD12) vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
See Stevenson’s notes, above.
9) Nathan Cleverly (1-185-185)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (TKO4) vs. #3 Sergey Kovalev
Next Fight: Unknown
Cleverly says he’ll take a vacation after his drubbing at the hands of Kovalev, and is unsure as to whether he’ll keep fighting or not.
10) Isaac Chilemba (1-21-81)
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.
11) Cornelius White (1-88)
Last Fight: 6/14/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #5 Sergey Kovalev
Next Fight: Unknown
White was blasted out by Kovalev, but at least he has good company in that regard.
12) Cedric Agnew (1-19)
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.
13) Jürgen Brähmer (1-70)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- TKO2 Tony Averlant (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/24/2013- vs. Stefano Abatangelo (UNR)
Braehmer will take on low-level Italian gatekeeper Abatangelo on August 24, while awaiting a title shot.
14) Edwin Rodriguez (1-6)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO1 #16 Denis Grachev
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez turned in a career-best performance against Grachev, and thus has earned a ranking in a division he has no intention of continuing in.  He wants Ward or Bika next.
15) Lucian Bute (6-42)
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.
16) Hadillah Mohoumadi (6-8)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- TKO7 CW #20 Pawel Glazewski
Next Fight: Unknown
Often robbed at 168, Mohoumadi took matters into his hands in his first major outing at 175 by stopping the local favorite.
17) Enzo Maccarinelli (1-1)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- TKO11 Ovill McKenzie (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maccarinelli has revitalized his career to an extent with the gutsy McKenzie win.
18) Denis Grachev (1-69)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (TKO1) vs. #13 SMW Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Dmitry Sukhotsky (1-147)
Last Fight: 6/4/2013- KO3 Mikhail Krinitsin (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sukhotsky 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.
20) Eleider Alvarez (1-30)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO3 Nicholson Poulard (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. Edison Miranda (UNR)
Alvarez’s 9/28 opponent will be fringe contender Edison Miranda.
The Week Ahead: There are two Euro fights to report this week, both on Saturday.


In Schwerin, Germany, #13 Juergen Braehmer takes on barely top-50 Italian fringe prospect Stefano Abatangelo.


In Donetsk, Ukraine, local one-loss prospect Ismayl Sillakh will fight low-level Russian journeyman Konstantin Piternov in essentially a stay-busy fight.


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