Super Middleweight: 2013, Nov 25- Dec 1

Saturday’s Froch-Groves fight in Manchester, England could hardly have been more intriguing.  Groves blitzed Froch in the first round, dropping the top contender heavily with a vicious right hand, and generally overwhelming the Nottingham superstar.  Froch wasn’t particularly sharp at this stage, and perhaps expected Groves to try and outbox him, rather than press the action.  Based on the clear contrast between his trademark pithy wit and the meandering ramble-fest that characterized his post-fight comments this time, it’s pretty clear that Froch was concussed, and that almost certainly was a result of the beating he took in the first round.  With that being the case, perhaps it’s not as surprising as it may have seemed in the moment that Froch lost probably 5 of the next 6 rounds (my original scorecard was lost to computer issues, but that’s my best recollection of it), as Groves got back to his boxing, and was nothing short of masterful in beating Froch to the punch and frustrating the heavy favorite.  The British broadcasters had Froch essentially needing a knockout or multiple knockdowns by the 9th, at which point I had him well behind, but still redeemable at either 77-74 or 78-73.  But by the end of the 8th, Froch had begun to take over as he attacked with more urgency and Groves began to visibly tire.  In the 9th, Groves got lit up with a barrage of punches, and badly hurt, began to stagger away with his hands down as Froch pressed forward.  Referee Howard Foster stepped in at that point, and controversially stopped the fight.

 

I did think the stoppage was a little quick, since Groves had little or no time to regain his composure and demonstrate whether or not he could continue to defend himself.  That being said, I think the answer to that issue is probably that he could not have, and most likely the fight would have been legitimately stopped a few seconds later after Groves ate a few more devastating punches.  Froch also made a good-point post fight when he opined that the referee could not allow Groves to take what would essentially have been a free shot from a puncher of Froch’s caliber.  In any case, it’s hard for me to imagine the fight ending as anything but a stoppage win for Froch, though I suppose stranger things have happened in the sport.  In the end, there was really no loser.  Froch got the “W,” while Groves pretty clearly established himself as elite, even in defeat.  He may also have set up a big money rematch, though that remains to be seen.

 

Andy Lee saw fairly unimportant action on the undercard, dropping Hungarian journeyman Ferenc Hafner 3 times en route to a TKO in the first half of the 2nd round in a fight contested in the low 160s.

 

In terms of the rankings, it’s a wash.  I don’t give fighters credit for losing unless they earned the win.  For all of Groves’ success, he fell short of that.  As for Froch, he can’t be punished for a gutsy TKO win, and even if I were to do so, he’s so far ahead of #2 Robert Stieglitz that it wouldn’t make a difference.  No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (102-236-236)
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 (79-389-389)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: Unknown
After a grueling fight that showed Froch returning to his pre-Super 6 ways by pulling one out of the fire late, Froch has a very credible and vehement rematch challenge in his lap, courtesy of George Groves. 
2) Robert Stieglitz (36-222-222)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
Abraham has announced a date of February 1 for his trilogy bout with Stieglitz.
3) Mikkel Kessler (50-468-468)
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 (28-214-214)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stieglitz’s notes, above.
5) Brandon Gonzales (22-22-22)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales says he is planning to fight again in early 2014, but nothing too specific right now.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (9-130-178)
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 (3-3-48)
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 (3-50-72)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
While I think the result of a TKO loss was an inevitable one, I also don’t fault Groves for the ultimatum he recently issued to Froch: rematch or retire.  Obviously he can’t make Froch do that, but I think he earned the rematch, and I think there’s a lot of money in it for both guys.
9) James DeGale (2-25-111)
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 (2-2-25)
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 (2-347)
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 (3-55)
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 (3-45)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was overweight, dirty, and outclassed.  Not a good night.  He’s probably done with 168, at any rate.
 14) Andy Lee (9-28)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
15) Ryoto Murata (9-14)
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 (9-23)
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 (9-39)
Last Fight: 10/17/2013- TKO1 Raimonds Sniedze (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Glen Johnson (9-30)
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 (9-19)
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 (9-9)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: Despite a pretty busy week in the sport as a whole, Super Middleweight doesn’t have anything significant scheduled.

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