Super Middleweight: 2013, Aug 26- Sep 1

#4 Arthur Abraham showed the surest sign yet of his decline Saturday in Schwerin, barely squeaking by against Namibian journeyman Wilbeforce Shihepo.  I had the fight for Abraham 115-113 (or 114-113, if you count the very clear knockdown that was ridiculously called a slip by the Luis Pabon clone of a referee).  With a good ref, I think fair scores could have ranged between 116-111 either way.  Of course Mickey Vann couldn’t be bothered to score it in that range, as he had it 117-111.  He also had a ridiculous score in Thompson-Pulev on the undercard.  He’s quickly laying claim to being one of the worst judges in the world.


Dimitri Sartison, who would be ranked here if he had made 168 recently, once again fought a couple pounds over the limit, knocking out journeyman Baker Barakat in 2 from Gladbach, Germany the same night.


Aging and overrated one-loss Montenegrin prospect Nikola Sjekloca threw in his own 2nd-round knockout the same night, taking care of low-level Serbian journeyman Misa Nikolic in Budva.


Finally, in Donetsk, Ukraine fringe contending should-be undefeated prospect Stas Kashtanov needed 10 rounds to dispose of lower-mid-level Costa Rican journeyman Jaime Barboza, dropping him twice in the process.


While subjectively I think Abraham has shown himself to be closer to #15 than #4 by the quality of at least his last two performances, he still has objectively a better resume than #5 Brandon Gonzales, and I deal with subjectivity only on the margins.  No changes this week.


This is an edit, as I originally thought this was merely a middleweight fight (I discuss the fight in more detail in that update), but Olympic Gold Medalist Ryoto Murata knocked out #14 Junior Middleweight Akio Shibata in his pro debut.  He’s not eligible to be ranked at 160 since the fight was contested at 161.  It’s kinda sad that a large and growing percentage of the contenders in this very shallow division are really just middleweights that didn’t make weight, but Murata joins those ranks.  He checks in between fellow middleweights Andy Lee and Caleb Truax at #16.  This forces Truax and everyone ranked below him down a spot, and bounces #20 Dom Mouton from the rankings after 14 weeks.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (89-223-223)
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 (66-376-376)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #8 George Groves
Froch-Groves is set for November 23 in Manchester.
2) Robert Stieglitz (23-209-209)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO10 Yuzo Kiyota (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Arthur Abraham badly wants a trilogy.
3) Mikkel Kessler (37-455-455)
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 (15-201-201)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- UD12 Wilbeforce Shihepo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abraham is hoping his weak effort against non-entity Shihepo will earn him a mandatory spot for a trilogy with Stieglitz.
5) Brandon Gonzales (9-9-9)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- D* vs. #5 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales at least earned a draw with Oosthuizen despite fading late.  I had it a win, and I give him credit for that.
6) Adonis Stevenson (15-90-90)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO1 LHW#1 Chad Dawson (at LHW)
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. #7 LHW Tavoris Cloud (at LHW)
Stevenson looks like he’ll be fighting Cloud in Montreal in late September.  After that, he’ll probably get Tony Bellew before the end of the year when he wins.  He’ll probably be removed here in October, since he hasn’t fought at 168 in nearly a year.
7) Thomas Oosthuizen (9-117-165)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- D* vs. Brandon Gonzales (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen laid a complete, fully-formed goose egg in the first half of his fight with deserved underdog Brandon Gonzales, and was extremely lucky to escape with a draw.
8) George Groves (9-37-59)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- TKO5 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
Groves and Froch will face off on November 23 in Manchester.
9) Sakio Bika (9-28-334)
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.  He’s also been called out by Chavez, Rodriguez, Badou Jack, and Anthony Dirrell recently.  A guy gets a meaningless alphabet belt, and all of a sudden he goes from one of the most avoided fighters in the sport to a guy everyone wants to fight.
10) James DeGale (9-12-98)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- RTD4 Stjepan Bozic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale badly wants a big-money fight with Froch.
11) Christopher Rebrasse (9-12)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Rebrasse should have no reason to rematch Ndiaye, having beaten him decisively in June, but the judges completely corrupt ripoff has somehow conspired to make Rebrasse waste time and take a risk to confirm a very clear result.
12) Maxim Vlasov (8-42)
Last Fight: 7/12/2013- UD8 Mark Suarez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
13) Edwin Rodriguez (8-32)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO1 #16 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez named Bika as someone he’d like to fight next.  Both are talented fighters who care little about technique as they wing wild punches.  Could be fun if it happens.
14) Ezequiel Maderna (8-35)
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 (8-15)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. Domenico Spada (UNR) (at MW)
Lee will be in a rare title fight for him, and will thus most likely make the 160 pound limit for his Haye-Fury undercard fight with Domenico Spada- a rarity for him.
16) Ryoto Murata (1-1)
Last Fight: 8/25/2013- TKO2 #14 MW Akio Shibata
Next Fight: Unknown
Murata joins Lee and Truax as Middleweights who can claim a ranking in this very shallow division by beating an opponent a few pounds or less over 160.  But he comes with a twist…he’s done so in his very first fight.
17) Caleb Truax (1-10)
Last Fight: 6/21/2013- KO6 #15 Don George
Next Fight: 9/21/2013- vs. Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW?)
Truax will see action in Minneapolis on September 21 against fellow Minnesota prospect Ceresso Fort.
18) Hadillah Mohoumadi (1-26)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- TKO7 #20 CW Pawel Glazewski (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mohoumadi cancelled his long-scheduled fight with Giovanni De Carolis in favor of an opportunity with Pawel Glazewki at light heavyweight, it would appear.
19) Glen Johnson (1-17)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Looks like Johnson’s scheduled fight with Isiah Thomas, which would have been on Friday Night Fights, was canceled.  I don’t know why.
20) Badou Jack (1-6)
Last Fight: 7/19/2013- UD10 Farah Ennis (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/12/13- vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
No soft touches for Jack.  He will get prospect Marco Antonio Periban- who gave Sakio Bika all he could handle- on the newly rebranded Fox Sports 2 (formerly Fuel TV) a couple days before Mayweather-Canelo.


The Week Ahead: Two notables will be in action on Friday. 


In Homebush, Australia, 2-loss Kiwi prospect Junior Talipeau gets what should be an easy assignment against low-level Argentine journeyman Walter Crucce.


Gatekeeper Francis Cheka gets a rare test in his native Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania against Minneapolis gatekeeper Phil Williams, who owns draws with Derrick Findley and Caleb Truax.

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