Super Middleweight: 2013, Nov 11-17

#11 Maxim Vlasov dominated and stopped low-level Ukrainian journeyman Artem Redko on Monday, in a rematch of a fairly interesting 6-round scrap they had in 2006.  Coincidentally, this fight ended in 6, as well, but with a TKO late in that round.

 

Fast-forwarding to Saturday, #6 Thomas Oosthuizen had his hands full for the second fight in a row, this time against one-loss Argentine prospect, #13 Ezequiel Maderna, at the Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park, South Africa.  Just as in his last fight with Brandon Gonzales, he got a little bit of luck on the cards.  I had it all even at 114-114, even after scoring the first 4 in a sweep for Oosthuizen, though the first three at least were toss-ups.  Maderna dominated the middle rounds, earning a sweep from rounds 5-9 on my card to lead by a point.  Oosthuizen appeared to edge the 10th, having gotten his second wind, and easily won the 11th before Maderna reasserted himself to conclusively capture the 12th.  In fairness to Oosthuizen, he was dealing with a cut that appeared to be a threat to stop the fight at any time after the 5th or 6th when it happened.

 

 I counted no less than 6 toss-up rounds in the fight, and while I think Maderna, if anyone, deserved the edge, Oosthuizen’s win wasn’t fundamentally unfair.  England’s Dave Parris (whom I’m seldom a fan of) actually had the best card at 114-114.  Stanley Christodoulou, the aging hall of fame ref/judge, who appears to be losing his ability if recent performances are any measure, apparently gave Oosthuizen all the close rounds to arrive at 116-112.  Canadian judge Benoit Roussel turned in a rather indefensible 117-111 in favor of Oosthuizen.  Since the fight obviously could have gone either way, I will treat Oosthuizen as the winner in deference to the official scores, but, appropriately, I think, by only the narrowest of margins.

 

For ratings purposes, the fight will have an effect similar to a draw.  Maderna, as a result, is really the big winner.  Oosthuizen stands pat at #6, while Maderna moves up to meet him at #7.  This forces everyone ranked #7-12 last week down one place each, and causes Christopher Rebrasse to slip from the top 10 for the first time in 6 weeks.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (100-234-234)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Ward has finally secured an opponent for his November 16 return: two-division fringe contender Edwin Rodriguez.
1) Carl Froch (77-387-387)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #7 George Groves
Froch-Groves is set for November 23 in Manchester.
2) Robert Stieglitz (34-220-220)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stieglitz and Abraham’s recent wins over mediocre competition sets them up for a likely trilogy battle in early 2014, which the WBO has now ordered.
3) Mikkel Kessler (48-466-466)
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 (26-212-212)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abraham-Stieglitz III is being negotiated.
5) Brandon Gonzales (20-20-20)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- D* vs. #5 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Gonzales will fight undefeated but untested prospect Jonathan Nelson on the Ward-Rodriguez undercard.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (7-128-176)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. LHW #18 Eleider Alvarez (at LHW)
Oosthuizen barely survived an upset for the second fight in a row.  His promoter says it’s clear that he’s outgrown 168, so it’s very unlikely we’ll see him here again.  He had a pre-arranged fight set up with Eleider Alvarez at 175 at last check.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (1-1-46)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: Unknown
I doubt he’ll get much love from the alphabets for his effort, but I think you could make a better case for him winning than losing against Oosthuizen, though I had it a draw personally.

8) George Groves (1-48-70)

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 (1-39-345)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- MD12 Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Bika will be fighting Anthony Dirrell on the Malignaggi-Judah undercard on December 7.
10) James DeGale (1-23-109)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- RTD4 Stjepan Bozic (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. Dyah Davis (UNR)
DeGale will return to action in Bluewater, Kent on November 16.  He’ll be up against a good measuring stick in Dyah Davis.
11) Christopher Rebrasse (1-23)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse’s unnecessary rematch with Ndiaye appears to have been cancelled. 
12) Maxim Vlasov (1-53)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- TKO6 Artem Redko (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/5/2013- vs. Maxell Taylor (UNR)
Fresh off his win over Redko, Vlasov will go stateside and fight Baltimore journeyman Maxell Taylor in Orange County, California on Thursday, December 5.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (1-43)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO1 #16 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. Champ Andre Ward
Rodriguez will get a shot at reigning two-division Champion Andre Ward in mid-November, after a drama-filled negotiation.
 
14) Andy Lee (7-26)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee now says he’s in talks to fight Macklin in March.
15) Ryoto Murata (7-12)
Last Fight: 8/25/2013- TKO2 #14 MW Akio Shibata
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. Dave Peterson (UNR)
Murata is back in action on December 6 in Tokyo against unproven Minnesota prospect Dave Peterson.  He also recently signed with Top Rank, which gives hardcore US fans hope that we might see him eventually.
16) Caleb Truax (7-21)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Truax looks to get off to a fast start in 2014, likely participating in the first notable fight of the year in Minneapolis.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (7-37)
Last Fight: 10/17/2013- TKO1 Raimonds Sniedze (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Glen Johnson (7-28)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson needs to schedule a fight at 168 before mid-December to keep his ranking.
19) Badou Jack (7-17)
Last Fight: 9/12/2013- Draw (MD12) vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Jack will be back in action against an opponent to be announced on a December 6 ShoBox telecast.
20) Don Mouton (7-7)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: Undefeated Russian Fedor Chudinov (brother of Middleweight notable Dmitry) takes a step up in competition against gatekeeper Jimmy Colas.  It should be noted that Colas is moving up two divisions from his normal 154.  Even so, he’s a borderline top 50 fighter in the very shallow 168 pound ranks.  That’s Friday in Barnaul, Russia.

 

The next night is a busy one.  Champion Andre Ward defends his titles against #13 Edwin Rodriguez in Ontario, California.  

 

On the undercard, #5 Brandon Gonzales battles undefeated but untested prospect Jonathan Nelson of Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

Back to the theme of 154 pounders moving up to super middle, Mateo Veron of Argentina takes a trip up in weight to take on the bigger Ricardo Ramallo, a top 50 operator at 168.  Very interesting tilt.

 

A little earlier that night, in a pretty good test given his recent performances, #10 James DeGale takes on the serviceable but inactive Dyah Davis, who is roughly a top-20-level guy when he’s active, in Bluewater, Kent.

 

This is more of a note for myself than anything else, but Sakio Bika is likely to fall in the rankings next week, as his best win of the last 5 years will be more than 5 years old this time next week.
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3 Responses to “Super Middleweight: 2013, Nov 11-17”

  1. What did you think of Froch-Groves? Do you think Froch is slipping or he was just unprepared?

  2. Hey Jeff- I’m behind right now, so I hope to get to the report on that fight by Monday, if not before. But in short, I think it was closer than the British commentators were making it out to be. Froch was definitely down, but to the extent that he needed a knockdown yet. As for the stoppage, I agree with Froch that, as a ref, you can’t give a Froch-level puncher a free shot at a hurt fighter. If the stoppage was early at all, I think it was mere seconds early. There’s no doubt in my mind that Froch stops him beyond all controversy if it does go on any longer.

    I’m not sure he was unprepared, and while it makes sense to wonder if he’s slipping given how great he looked in the Kessler and especially the Bute fight, I think it’s more likely he just had an off night. Just seemed out of rhythm a bit to me. Groves has always been good at disrupting that, especially early, as in the DeGale fight. He’s a clever fighter, and in retrospect, probably a bad style for Froch.

    I also think Groves has been improving by leaps and bounds since I first saw him against DeGale. My impression of him at that time was that he was a very quick and opportunistic boxer with flashy skills, but that he probably lacked the power necessary to get the respect of top-level power punchers like Froch (and even DeGale to an extent). For that reason, I thought he might end up as a Malignaggi type. Or maybe an Ivan Calderon type, to be more accurate. Very capable, hard to beat, and hard to look good against, but needing to be constantly on point in order to stay out of trouble with big punchers that don’t have to worry about getting hurt. It’s only a select few guys that can be good enough to pull that off on a consistent basis. Maybe I was just blind back then, or maybe he just knew DeGale was a bit of a plodder and that was a unique gameplan. Either way, he seems to be sitting down on his punches much, much more than he did when he first came on the scene, even while maintaining most of his quickness and ability to attack from angles. It’s made him quite dynamic.

    Not to mention the fact that Froch getting outboxed isn’t as shocking as it might seem at first sight. The popular consensus not all that long ago was that he could hardly box at all. It wasn’t until he handcuffed Arthur Abraham behind a jab for 12 rounds that anybody started thinking he was more than an aggressive grinder with suspect technique that would grind you down and catch you with something if you gave him an opening. So in that sense, winning the way he did against Groves was just business as usual.

    Think about it. He’s been seen as a fairly complete fighter since Abraham. But let’s analyze his fights since then to see if he’s confirmed that status, or if maybe that was a bit of an aberration or had a lot to do with what Abraham wasn’t doing.

    Glen Johnson- Not that impressive. Barely won against an old fighter that later (admittedly significantly later) got absolutely dominated by Groves).

    Andre Ward- Not a lot you can say positive here, except that Ward is probably good enough that nobody’s going to look that great against him. If you’re being critical, you could point out that Sakio Bika looked much more dynamic against Ward than did Froch.

    Bute- Hurt him early. Pretty much did the whole grinding forward looking for an opening thing, but Bute just gave him way too many openings way too early.

    Yusaf Mack- Ridiculously easy work. Mack was either weight drained or just looking for a paycheck. Froch didn’t have to show much of anything to destroy him.

    Kessler II- Got in the trenches with an opponent that was for some reason just as willing to trade as he had been in the first fight. This was Froch’s kind of fight all the way, and the two fights were very similar except that either Froch had gotten a little better and/or Kessler had faded a bit.

    Now I don’t intend to knock Froch with any of the above. He’s actually one of my 2 or 3 favorite fighters, and I think he’s the unquestionable #1 contender at 168. It’s just that I think his boxing skills (not his overall quality, mind you) might be as overrated now as they were underrated before the Abraham fight. That is to say, I’m simply not sure that the Froch that fought Abraham or Bute would have looked any better prior to stopping Groves than did the current version.

    I don’t know if you wanted an answer that long, but there it is.

  3. I meant to say “not to the extent that he needed a knockdown yet” in the first paragraph.

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