Heavyweight: 2013, Oct 7-13

Another day, another dominant defense for Wladimir Klitschko.  He won a lopsided decision over #3 Alexander Povetkin on Saturday.  But it wasn’t the normal fare entirely.  It was actually much worse in some ways.  Typically, I’m a moderate when it comes to criticizing the Klitschkos.  I usually blame their rather boring outings on the cowardice or incompetence of their opposition much more so than their style or cautious nature.  In this case, Povetkin gave an honest effort, and Wlad and referee Luis Pabon silently conspired to rob the Russian of whatever minimal chance he had to win the fight in the first place, and simultaneously rob the fans of what might have been a reasonably worthwhile contest, had it been on the level.  Now I’m not accusing Pabon of corruption per se.  He’s just a bad ref.  He always has been.  Why he continues to  get assignments in high-profile international fights is beyond me- particularly when heavyweights are involved.  He’s half Wlad’s size.  Usually the main criticism associated with Pabon is that he glides in and breaks the action every time the fighters get on the inside.  This time, it was a different issue.  The Champion leaned down on Povetkin’s neck practically every time the shorter Russian got into punching range, forcing a break and completely negating Povetkin’s offensive ambitions in a totally illegal fashion.  Pabon, for his part, did absolutely nothing to discourage it.  He did take a point from the Champion in round 11 for the unrelated and far less pervasive offense of pushing, but acted as if practically bending the guy over for a wedgie 15 times a round was totally acceptable. 

 

While I think it’s fairly shameful for a dominant Champion like Klitschko to resort to essentially cheating in order to beat an opponent that was badly outgunned to begin with, I can hardly put all the blame on him.  While he fouled at a level that easily could have justified a disqualification two or three times over, there’s no reason beyond sportsmanship for him to refrain from the foul if the foul is tacitly allowed by the fight’s ultimate arbiter.  Still, except for the deception involved, there is objectively little difference between Klitschko’s constant un-policed fouling and a guy that uses PEDs that aren’t detected by the authorities.  In both cases, you’re cheating, and the fact that you didn’t get caught or held to account doesn’t really make it okay.  Besides allowing Klitschko to unfairly negate Povetkin’s entire gameplan without giving Povetkin a similar opportunity, this refereeing breakdown also had the effect of rendering the fight relatively unwatchable.

 

Pabon also credited Klitschko with 4 knockdowns- only maybe two of which were legitimate.  

 

On the undercard, former top contender Ruslan Chagaev- from whom Klitschko won the vacant Championship in 2009- beat 42 year-old Serbian gatekeeper Jovo Pudar to earn his best win since 2010, with scorecards ranging from 115-111 to 118-108.

 

At this point, a loss to Klitschko is never going to hurt you unless it’s the only thing separating two otherwise even fighters, so Povetkin holds still at #3, while obviously Wlad remains the Champion.  Chagaev’s win should be seen as a possible first step toward rebuilding his resume, but with his truly big wins all over 5 years ago, it can only get him just shy of the top 25 at this point.  No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (224-437-437)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- UD12 #3 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Klitschko made no new fans with his unnecessarily dirty win over Povetkin.
1) Tyson Fury (5-116-116)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- KO7 #3 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: 2/8/2014- vs. #2 David Haye
Fury-Haye has been rescheduled for February 8.
2) David Haye (5-65-65)
Last Fight: 7/14/2012- TKO5 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: 2/8/2014- vs. #1 Tyson Fury
See Fury’s notes, above.
3) Alexander Povetkin (5-311-311)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
It feels like Povetkin’s technical qualifications to fight a Klitschko was the only factor that made him remotely interesting within the division.  I’m not sure where he goes from here.
4) Steve Cunningham (5-42-42)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- L (KO7) vs. #6 Tyson Fury
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham is now sparring with the man that knocked him out in April- Tyson Fury.
5Tomasz Adamek (5-181-181)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- #17 Vyacheslav Glazkov
With the Bryant Jennings proposal falling apart over money, Adamek will now be fighting Glazkov in one of NBC’s mid-afternoon telecasts.
6) Kubrat Pulev (5-75-152)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- UD12 #11 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
Pulev will now be at least one of Wlad’s mandatories after beating Thompson.
7) Dereck Chisora (5-97-160)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO5 Edmund Gerber (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/30/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Chisora continues to stay very busy.  He will fight an opponent to be announced in London on November 30.
8) Odlanier Solis (5-29-176)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- TKO7 Yakup Saglam (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/18/2013- vs. Carlos Takam (UNR)
Solis returns in the middle of the month against rugged Cameroon gatekeeper Carlos Takam (picture a poor man’s Sam Peter) in Mexico City, of all places.  This is the first leg of the heavyweight version of the “World Cup” being sponsored by the WBC.  That being said, I can’t seem to find out who the winner of Solis-Takam would be in line to fight.
9) Bermane Stiverne (5-16-32)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12 #15 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Stiverne said after being challenged to a rematch by Chris Arreola that he will wait on Klitschko and will not consider that fight.
10) Chris Arreola (5-5-5)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- TKO1 #12 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola may be a candidate for Wilder, or could fight for a vacant title in a rematch with Stiverne, should Vitali retire.
11) Tony Thompson (16-176)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- L (UD12) vs. #8 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Thompson may have come up a bit short against Pulev, but he proved that even at 41, he’s still a challenge for obviously top-10 opposition.
12) Erkan Teper (5-6)
Last Fight: 8/31/2013- TKO1 Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/?/2013- vs. Martin Rogan (UNR)
Irish sources are reporting that Teper will be fighting Rogan in Germany sometime in November.
13) Deontay Wilder (5-24)
Last Fight: 8/9/2013- KO1 Sergei Liakhovich (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Nicolai Firtha (UNR)
Wilder is set to fight Ohio journeyman Nicolai Firtha on the Hopkins-Murat undercard.
14) Robert Helenius (5-176)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W*(UD10) vs. Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
If Helenius’ team was accurate on the severity of his hand injury, it should be long healed by now, although there were immediate rumors that the injury was more serious.
15) Alexander Dimitrenko (5-143)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko turned down a Pulev rematch, and was last seen as a sparring partner in David Haye’s ill-fated camp.  No word on his next fight.
16) Seth Mitchell (5-18)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- L (TKO1) vs. Chris Arreola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mitchell’s chin is so fragile that he might want to consider calling it a career.
17) Vyacheslav Glazkov (6-42)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- TKO2 Byron Polley (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. #5 Tomasz Adamek
Glazkov will go from a non-TV tune-up directly to a NBC-televised afternoon showdown with Adamek.
18) Malik Scott (6-33)
Last Fight: 7/20/2013- L (KO6*) vs. #8 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Scott was up at 9.5 and ready to go, but Phil Edwards called the fight off in an unfortunate SNAFU.  That being said, Chisora was coming on and I already had him ahead.  Scott probably would have gone on to lose anyway.
19) Johnathon Banks (6-47)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Banks apparently dinged his hands up pretty good in the Mitchell fight- an alternate explanation for those who, like me, thought his inexplicable failure to follow up on his early success was a bit suspicious.  He’s been doing physical therapy, and is about ready to get back in the ring.  He’d like a rematch with Mitchell, but unfortunately a trilogy probably isn’t of much benefit to the fragile young contender at this point.
20) Denis Boytsov (6-225)
Last Fight: 6/15/2013- KO3 Alexander Nesterenko (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. Alex Leapai (UNR)
Boytsov suffered a minor knee injury, pushing his return back to November 23.  He will fight Samoan gatekeeper Alex Leapai.  No world-beater, but his best opponent in a while.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: No action to report in the division this week. 
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