Super Middleweight: 2013, Nov 18-24

Champ Andre Ward successfully defended his title in dominant fashion on Saturday against #13 Edwin Rodriguez, who came in 2 pounds overweight, but failed to turn his size advantage into any kind of tangible results.  After a close first round, Ward reeled off 11 straight.  His jab, which he shot like a piston while darting in from angles, was consistently landing as if it was a lead right hand, instead.  The biggest single story of the fight, however, was an ugly episode in the fourth, in which Ward hit Rodriguez low, Rodriguez jerked his head down, got caught over the top in that clinch, and then threw about 5 punches after referee Jack Reiss had wrestled Ward away, one of which hit Reiss himself.  Reiss recommended fines for both fighters to the commission, and then deducted two points from each for intentional fouls.  Honestly, that may have been a bit harsh against Ward, whose foul or fouls was/were pretty ordinary in character.  But it did send a strong message, and the fight was much cleaner thereafter.  It had been extremely grabby and otherwise dirty before that.


A bit earlier in the night, #10 James DeGale mostly had his way with inactive fringe contender Dyah Davis in Bluewater, Kent.  DeGale- whose career has mostly been stalled in neutral while he wins in underwhelming fashion during recent fights- did have one lull mid-fight, but generally controlled it in every way for the majority of the duration.  Davis fell behind early, and didn’t really have the power to seriously challenge from that position.  I scored it 117-111, while all of the official judges had it a resaonable 118-110.


On the non-televised Ward-Rodriguez undercard, #5 Brandon Gonzales did little more than keep busy against undefeated but untested Arkansas prospect Jonathan Nelson, winning a comfortable 10-round decision.


Undefeated Russian Fedor Chudinov- brother of notable middleweight Dmitry- dominated light middleweight gatekeeper Jimmy Colas to a 10-round shutout in Podolsk, Russia on Friday.  Both guys were just short of top-50 status in this division going in, but I figure I should mention it since I teased it last week.  Chudinov will be a definite notable going forward.


Returning to Saturday, Argentine 154-pound gatekeeper Mateo Veron moved up all the way to 168 to defeat gatekeeper Ricardo Ramallo.  Well, not quite.  Veron weighed in at just 162, while Ramallo scaled 164.5.  It was a pretty wild, entertaining fight.  Veron’s technique has the relative length of Thomas Hearns, but wings punches from crazy angles with everything he has.  Ramallo likes to potshot from the outside, as well, but was more careful about picking his shots.  Nevertheless, Veron’s relentless motor allowed him to grind down the bigger man, even after absorbing a significant knockdown in the opening round.  Veron most likely evened things up with a dominant and punishing second round that didn’t feature a knockdown, but was probably 10-8 anyway.  He went on to win every round after that, and caught a fatigued-looking Ramallo with a crazy uppercut from way on the outside that landed right on the button.  This had to be one of the best fights in the division this year.


DeGale’s win gets him a promotion to #9, though he probably would have landed there anyway, since Sakio Bika’s best win in the previous five years exceeded that 5-year threshold this week and is thus no longer considered.  Accordingly, Bika falls from #9 to #11- his first time out of the top 10 in 40 weeks.  This allows Christopher Rebrasse to reprise his role as a top-10 fighter after just one week away.  None of the other fights leads to any change that shows up in the top 20.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (101-235-235)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward says he would fight Golovkin or Hopkins, but seems to doubt that either of them wants to fight him.
1) Carl Froch (78-388-388)
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 (35-221-221)
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 (49-467-467)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
After meeting with Kessler, his promoter says he won’t be fighting anytime soon, and Kessler hinted at possible retirement immediately after the Froch fight.  It’s not looking good for Kessler fans.
4) Arthur Abraham (27-213-213)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abraham-Stieglitz III is being negotiated.
5) Brandon Gonzales (21-21-21)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales will fight undefeated but untested prospect Jonathan Nelson on the Ward-Rodriguez undercard.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (8-129-177)
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 (2-2-47)
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 (2-49-71)
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) James DeGale (1-24-110)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale is agitating for a title fight after beating Davis, and thinks Froch and Groves are ducking him.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (1-1-24)
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. 
11) Sakio Bika (1-346)
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.
12) Maxim Vlasov (2-54)
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 (2-44)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was overweight, dirty, and outclassed.  Not a good night.
 14) Andy Lee (8-27)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Lee now says he’s in talks to fight Macklin in March.
15) Ryoto Murata (8-13)
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.  The next step after Peterson is probably a February fight in Macau.
16) Caleb Truax (8-22)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Derek Ennis (UNR)
Truax’s January 3 kickoff to 2014 will be on Friday Night Fights against Derek Ennis.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (8-38)
Last Fight: 10/17/2013- TKO1 Raimonds Sniedze (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Glen Johnson (8-29)
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 (8-18)
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 (8-8)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown


The Week Ahead: #1 Carl Froch takes on #8 George Groves in what will be a huge event in England on Saturday.


On the undercard, Andy Lee gets a stay-busy outing against low-level Hungarian journeyman Ferenc Hafner.

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