Cruiserweight: 2013, Nov 11-17

I’m behind in my posts, and am writing this in January.  That gives me the benefit of hindsight.  While I try to avoid using that hindsight in order to publish my blog exactly as I would if I’d done it on the intended day, in this case I feel it silly not to.  William Fernando Souza Bezerra- the enigmatic Brazilian who is either a fake fighter, a top 20 contender, or something in between- had a fight on the schedule for Saturday, November 9th.  As of the day I would have published this if I hadn’t been behind, the result had- true to the usual form with a Souza Bezerra fight- not yet been reported anywhere online.  By the time I became aware of the fight, however, it had long since showed up on boxrec.  I also found a heavily edited camcorder video of the fight on YouTube, which was posted on December 2.  I remain a skeptic.  Souza Bezerra’s very rotund opponent, Eduardo Rojas, didn’t even bring a corner man to the ring.  The fight apparently took place in a local YMCA-type gym or community center, and as best I can estimate from the video, was witnessed by roughly 9 people, some of whom you might assume were sent by the commission.  For a guy that has allegedly beaten two top-50 level fighters, Souza Bezerra didn’t look very skilled.  By my count, the video shows Souza Bezerra attempting only one head shot, which missed.  Apart from that, he lurched forward in a very unathletic-looking manner, leaning forward most of the time.  While some of his punches did make an audible sound when they landed, he appeared to be pulling some of them, and the rest were essentially slaps.  

 

Let me make this disclaimer:  I’m not a trained expert on technique.  What insight I do have would, I’m sure, pale in comparison to that of any competent trainer and most fighters.  That being said, I’ve watched and scored an average of about 2 fights per day for the last 4 or 5 years, so I would think there are not a lot of people in the world that have anything on me in terms of recent experience watching fights.  Take that for what it’s worth.  

 

That being said, my opinion is that at best, Souza Bezerra has beaten overrated opponents to get where he is in terms of the rankings argument.  I had never heard of the fighters Souza Bezerra beat before he beat them (and that’s quite a feat for a top 50 guy in a division I cover).  I suspect that video of the performances that got them to that level would probably be similarly hard to come by.  At worst, I think it’s very possible that his fights are fixed.  I base this on the media blackout that most of his fights experience, the video discussed above, and another video which shows him scoring a knockout about 15 seconds after the first round should have ended, with a referee that started the count at one, about 5 seconds after the guy actually went down.

 

To preempt any suspense, I will continue to mention his fights because I feel bound to give him the benefit of the doubt, and he’s certainly at least a top 50 fighter based on his record, even if his best wins are of greatly exaggerated quality, but I won’t seriously consider ranking him until he does something significant that I actually believe.  Challenging one of the credible Argentine cruiserweights for a South American title wouldn’t be a bad start.  If he’s at the level he’s supposed to be at, that’s the next logical step in his progression.  The Brazilian scene- even to the extent it’s genuine- can only do so much for your rep.  Heck, even if he gets brought in as an opponent to some hot prospect in Europe- as many South American fringe contenders do- and loses, we’ll at least get to gauge him against someone credible. 

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (16-197-197)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Guillermo Jones has finally been stripped of the WBA belt he took from Lebedev, for PED use leading up to that fight.  Strangely, the WBA is now insisting on a rematch.  Apparently PEDs are just a minor technicality for that organization.  Since the WBA appears to be in Don King’s pocket, the result is not surprising, though.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (61-177-177)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- W*(UD12) vs. #20 Troy Ross
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #12 Alexander Alekseev
Hernandez will make his long-awaited return on November 23 in Germany against Alexander Alekseev.
3) Marco Huck (9-362-362)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- W (MD12) vs. #5 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. #5 Firat Arslan
Huck-Arslan II has a new date of January 25 after Huck suffered a hand injury.
4) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (9-438-438)
Last Fight: 6/21/2013- TKO8 Rakhim Chakhkiev (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. #10 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Wlodarczyk will see action in the US for the first time since 2005 on December 6, fighting a trilogy bout with the rapidly aging Italian Giacobbe Fragomeni in Chicago.
5) Firat Arslan (9-79-122)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD10 Varol Vekiloglu (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. #3 Marco Huck
See Huck’s notes, above.

6) Thabiso Mchunu (9-15-53)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Eddie Chambers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mchunu recently signed a promotional deal with Main Events, the promoter of his recent victim Eddie Chambers.  This ensures that US fans will be seeing him on NBC Sports in 2014, if not earlier.
7) Danny Green (2-53-206)
Last Fight: 11/21/2012- UD12 Shane Cameron (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Green has vacated his alphabet belt, and says essentially that only a really good opportunity would get him back between the ropes at this point.  Still…he stopped short of retiring.  He recently shrugged off a fairly frivolous proposal of a super middleweight fight with Anthony Mundine, though he later said he would fight him under certain conditions.
8) Grigory Drozd (2-6-53)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO11 #13 Mateusz Masternak
Next Fight: Unknown
The first notable call-out of Drozd following his impressive victory over Masternak comes from Masternak’s countryman Krzysztof Glowacki.
9) Ola Afolabi (2-244-244)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- W* (MD12) vs. Lukasz Janik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi needed a gift to squeak by Janik.
10) Giacobbe Fragomeni (9-9-261)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- UD8 Toni Visic (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
See Wlodarczyk’s notes, above.
11) Silvio Branco (9-87)
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.
12) Alexander Alekseev (9-148)
Last Fight: 2/22/2013- UD12* Garrett Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #2 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Alekseev gets a shot at Hernandez on November 23.
13) Ilunga Makabu (6-18)
Last Fight: 8/31/2013- TKO5 Eric Fields (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Makabu is rumored for a Monaco 4-man tournament in the fall along with Flores and Australian Brad Pitt.
14) Santander Silgado (2-2)
Last Fight: 11/1/2013- TKO2 #20 Steve Herelius
Next Fight: Unknown
Silgado may have caught a finished fighter at the right time in stopping Herelius, but in a fairly shallow division, that’s enough for now.
15) Mateusz Masternak (2-85)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (TKO11) vs. #16 Grigory Drozd
Next Fight: Unknown
Masternak is still a legitimate prospect despite his first loss, but can no longer lay claim to the status of “top prospect” after losing to Drozd.
16) Lukasz Janik (2-2)
Last Fight: L* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
Janik would like a well-deserved rematch with Afolabi.
17) Enad Licina (2-177)
Last Fight: 9/27/2013- TKO3 Levan Jomardashvili (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Licina needs a significant win before January, as his only relevant win in the last 5 years will become older than 5 years at that point, prompting his removal.
18) Danie Venter (2-9)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I must admit I wrote Venter off when he lost a bit of an upset to Mchunu last year, but Mchunu has proven to be something of a world beater since, and Venter’s overall resume is quietly starting to look pretty solid.
19) Dmytro Kucher (2-72)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kucher would like a rematch with Makabu, and has his sights set on Wlodarczyk down the road, as well.  He expects to be back against someone in November or December.
20) Krzysztof Glowacki (2-16)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- TKO3 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Glowacki is keeping very busy, and will fight on December 14 in Poland, less than 2 months after his previous fight.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: Saturday in San Luis, Argentina, that city’s best-kept secret, Marcos Ahumada, gets an easy showcase opportunity against weak domestic journeyman Mauricio Caceda.  Ahumada flashed what might be world-class ability in his two fights with the estimable Alejandro Valori, but it should be noted that he is almost certainly a light heavyweight in reality, as he typically weighs in the 170s or 180s.
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