Archive for February, 2014

Welterweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Rankings, Welterweight with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by danboxing
Undefeated Australian Jeff Horn on Friday won what has to be viewed objectively as a bit of an upset in Northbridge, Western Australia against Tunisian-born fellow Aussie Naoufel Ben Rabeh.  Ben Rabeh was a top 50 gatekeeper with a string of 13 straight wins- including a knockout of gatekeeper Isaac Hlatshwayo in 2011- dating back to 2008.  Horn was an untested 5-0 prospect.  It was just a 6-rounder, and frankly I would have to say the effort was workmanlike rather than in any way spectacular.  He basically outworked the older man, and ground out a close but relatively clear points victory.  Despite his record of having stopped essentially all of his previous opponents, I would put him more in the mold of a Daniel Geale sort of high-motor volume puncher than a true power puncher.  Granted that’s based on one single amateur video taken from what looked like the furthest corner of the ceiling in a small-looking venue, but that’s all I’ve got to go on.  He now joins Jake Carr among Australian prospects who successfully took big steps up early in their careers this year.

 

In the Battle of Brooklyn at the Barclay’s Center, fringe contender Paulie Malignaggi surprised me by absolutely dominating top-10 light welter contender Zab Judah over 12 rounds.  The judges had it too close, especially Michael Pernick at 116-111.  I gave Judah two rounds, and that might be on the generous side.  He got a knockdown in round two that was hotly contested by Malignaggi, so you have to give him that one (10-9 by my reckoning).  The only other one he even might have squeaked out, and which I gave him, was round seven.  This result (and the one that follows) set up a troubling set of paradoxes in my rankings that I’ll discuss below.

 

On the undercard, technically undefeated prospect Shawn Porter (he should have at least one loss to Alfonso Gomez) sprung a major upset on #5 Devon Alexander.  I scored this one 118-110, as well.  Porter was first.  He committed to the body.  He was awkward defensively, and perhaps that led to the fact that Alexander tended to wait too long.  Alexander seldom punched until Porter was already in his kitchen, and Alexander’s longer arms were not effective at that range.  I could see one round that I gave to Porter going to Alexander, and so the closest reasonable score I can endorse would be 117-111 for Porter.  But much as he did against Kotelnik, Matthysse, and to a lesser extent against Maidana, Alexander got a bit more than just the benefit of the doubt from the judges.  Waleska Roldan had it one round outside the realm of reality at 116-112, and she was joined by John Stewart.  Julie Lederman was even further off the reservation at 115-113.  Obviously this one won’t go down as a robbery because the right guy still won, but that doesn’t mean we should just forget about the botch-job that it was.

 

Last week’s #4 Shane Mosley announced his retirement on Saturday, prompting his removal from the rankings.

 

So now to the rather confused rankings situation.  Porter debuts at #5.  Alexander falls to #9.  Malignaggi debuts at #14.  Maidana moves up two to #4.   Meanwhile, Van Heerden, Abregu, Zaveck, Provodnikov, Cano, and Dan each fall one spot.  Kevin Bizier is forced out after debuting last week.

 

So why is the above so problematic, as alluded to above?  Start with Maidana.  He passes a guy who beat him in 2012 due to Alexander’s fall.  That’s not usually a result I seek.  In addition, he remains ahead of the guy who beat the guy that beat him.  Also not the most logically sound of possible outcomes.  On the other hand, Maidana is resurgent, having beaten a #4 contender by TKO in his last fight.  As for Porter, there is reason enough to argue that he either had an exceptionally good night, or that Alexander had an exceptionally bad one.  After all, it wasn’t long ago that he was struggling to scratch out a debatable draw with Julio Diaz, and before that he clearly lost to Alfonso Gomez.  The head-to-head comparison versus Alexander doesn’t carry quite as much sway as the weight of the overall resume, and thus Maidana wins out in a close call.  His fight this weekend could go a long way to confirm or alter that state of affairs, however.

 

Next, Malignaggi.  I don’t care what the judges say.  He lost in dominant fashion to Cano.  But now he’s ranked well ahead of the young Mexican.  Ultimately it comes down to this: you have to credit a guy for winning a pretty big fight.  Making the decision a little easier is the fact that Cano did lose a fight in the interim (against Shane Mosley), and also the fact that he came in three quarters of a pound overweight for the fight.

 

The other x-factor is Adrien Broner.  It doesn’t really make sense that he should be unranked after pretty clearly beating the guy that’s now the #14 contender.  That being said, Malignaggi wasn’t at this height when he fought Broner, and I don’t make it a practice of re-ranking a guy based on what his opponent later does.  Is Broner a top 20 welterweight?  Yes.  Can I rank him there without opening up an even bigger quagmire of subjectivity and inconsistency?  I think not.  He’ll have his opportunity to earn that ranking beyond all doubt this Saturday, for what it’s worth.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (189-221-221)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #2 JMW Saul Alvarez (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Floyd will likely be back on both May 3 and September 13, with Amir Khan being rumored as the May 3 opponent.
1) Timothy Bradley (9-9-79)
Last Fight: 10/12/2013- W (SD12) vs. #1 Juan Manuel Marquez
Next Fight: Unknown
Bradley-Pacquiao II is very likely for April 12.
2) Juan Manuel Marquez (9-109-109)
Last Fight: 10/12/2013- L (SD12) vs. #17 Timothy Bradley
Next Fight: Unknown
After retirement was mentioned a couple different times, Marquez now says he intends to fight twice in 2014.
3) Manny Pacquiao (9-262-262)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- UD12 #5? JWW Brandon Rios
Next Fight: Unknown
See Bradley’s notes, above.
 
4) Marcos Maidana (1-27-27)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO6 #4 Josesito Lopez
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. LW Champ Adrien Broner
The Maidana-Broner fight on December 14 will now headline a regular Showtime Championship boxing broadcast, instead of a PPV, as the undercard has suffered significant collapses.
5) Shawn Porter (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD12 #5 Devon Alexander
Next Fight: Unknown
All indications are that Porter will fight his mandatory, Kell Brook, next.
6) Jesus Soto Karass (1-20-46)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- TKO12 #7 Andre Berto
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. #13 Keith Thurman
Soto Karass’s fight with Thurman has been moved from the December 7 Malignaggi-Judah undercard in Brooklyn to the following week’s pay-per-view tilt between Broner and Maidana.
7) Robert Guerrero (1-55-72)
Last Fight: 5/4/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Guerrero turned down Keith Thurman for a proposed November fight, according to both fighters’ promoter.  Dan Rafael reports that Guerrero might be waiting around to fight the winner of Maidana-Broner.  He’s also been rumored to be in the mix to fight Khan, though his team has denied it.
8) Kell Brook (1-137-137)
Last Fight:10/26/2013- TKO4 Vyacheslav Senchenko (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Porter’s notes, above.
9) Devon Alexander (1-94-94)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (UD12) vs. Shawn Porter (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
10) Randall Bailey (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- W (DQ8) vs. Humberto Toledo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Josesito Lopez (3-77)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (TKO6) vs. #11 Marcos Maidana
Next Fight: 12/13/2013- vs. Mike Arnaoutis (UNR)
Just days after the fight was announced, Lopez’s December 13 opponent for on an FS1-televised card from Indio, California, Aaron Martinez, withdrew with injury.  He’ll now be fighting veteran Mike Arnaoutis, instead.
12) Andre Berto (3-55)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- L (TKO12) vs. #11 Jesus Soto Karass
Next Fight: Unknown
 
Berto’s shoulder surgery will keep him out until sometime in 2014.
13) Keith Thurman (3-40)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO10 Diego Chaves (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. #6 Jesus Soto Karass
See Soto Karass’s notes, above.
14) Paulie Malignaggi (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD12 #8? JWW Zab Judah
Next Fight: Unknown
Malignaggi expects a big money fight in the wake of his handy victory over Judah.  He is interested in the Maidana-Broner winner.
15) Chris van Heerden (1-78)
Last Fight: 3/2/2013- UD12 Matthew Hatton (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Amidst conflicting reports variously suggesting he would fight in February in the US or in South Africa, the truth has emerged.  He’s starting a 3-year contract with a US promoter, and supposedly has a fight planned for early in the new year.
16) Luis Carlos Abregu (1-33)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD10 Antonin Decarie (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abregu’s plans for an October fight have been scrapped, as he recently had 2013-ending hand surgery.  The WBC is looking to match him with Antonin Decarie when he returns.
17) Jan Zaveck (1-209)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD8 Sebastien Allais (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
As expected, Zaveck had little trouble with French journeyman Allais.
18) Ruslan Provodnikov (1-39)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- RTD10 #3 JWW Mike Alvarado (at JWW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Provodnikov proved against Alvarado that the Bradley fight was no fluke.  He’s a big-time fighter now.  Mostly it’s all rumor at this point, but there has been speculation of his fighting Rios or Marquez.  He said he would refuse a fight with Pacquiao, a friend with whom he shares a trainer.
19) Pablo Cesar Cano (1-13)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD10*) vs. Ashley Theophane (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cano said after the 143-pound catchweight win against Theophane that he intends to seek title contention at 140 now.  I must say I’m surprised by the move, considering he failed to make weight for one of his biggest fights at 147 against Malignaggi.

20) Jo Jo Dan (1-2)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- W* (SD12) vs. Kevin Bizier (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dan wants a title shot.  My belief is that he owes Bizier a rematch.

 

The Week Ahead:
Friday
#11 Josesito Lopez vs. Mike Arnaoutis; Indio, California; Fox Sports 1 (US)
Lopez will mainly looking to keep busy and keep his name out there against shopworn veteran Mike Arnaoutis.  Arnaoutis was once a pretty legitimate gatekeeper, but at 34 he hasn’t kept the gate too effectively of late.

 

Alvaro Robles vs. Miguel Lopez; Mexicali, Mexico; Off TV
Two-loss local prospect Robles will just look to get some easy work in, having been out of the ring since getting the biggest win of his career back in March.  Lopez is sub-par and sub-.500.

 

Saturday
Leonard Bundu vs. Lee Purdy; London, England; Sky (UK)
Just a couple weeks ago, Bundu was in the top 20 and looking to improve his ranking.  Now he’s barely in sight of the top 20 after a flurry of welterweight action recently.  He’ll look to change all that when he takes on Lee Purdy, a serviceable English gatekeeper who gave Devon Alexander a reasonably good scrap earlier this year.

 

#4 Marcos Maidana vs. LW Champ Adrien Broner; San Antonio, Texas; Showtime (US)
If hype is the measure, Broner has got to be the favorite.  Not that he’s all hype.  He does have a lightweight Championship in his pocket, having dominated Antonio DeMarco back in March.  But welterweight is a better division than lightweight, to say nothing for the peril of stepping up in weight.  And Maidana is among its best and hardest-hitting contenders.  Broner looked downright ordinary against Malignaggi, and I daresay Maidana would eat Brooklyn’s finest for lunch.  If Broner can pull off a win this big, he will have earned the hype, to a large extent, at his new weight.  But he’ll need to come prepared for battle to a much greater extent than he did in his last outing.

 

#6 Jesus Soto Karass vs. #13 Keith Thurman; San Antonio, Texas; Showtime (US)
Soto Karass will put his recent string of success to the test against hard-hitting undefeated prospect Keith Thurman.  Thurman, despite his strength and concussive power, was struggling with a big physical Argentine in Diego Chaves last time out, but showed that he’s more than capable of switching styles and boxing a little when plan A doesn’t work.  That might be the difference maker against Soto Karass, who more or less knows just one way to fight.
 
 
 

Junior Middleweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Junior Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by danboxing
Saturday in Brooklyn, #5 Erislandy Lara absolutely dominated a competent but far less dynamic #4 Austin Trout.  Trout, who beat Cotto more comprehensively than Mayweather and almost certainly deserved the nod over Canelo as well, really couldn’t get much going against Lara.  The Cuban put on a master class of boxing, effectively utilizing movement and creating angles, and sustaining an effective rhythm throughout, with the coup de gras of an 11th-round knockdown.  I had it 118-109, which agreed with John McKaie (whose cards I usually have a huge problem with), and was one reasonable round different from the typically excellent John Poturaj and Tom Schreck at 117-110.

 

On the non-televised undercard, undefeated Philly prospect Julian Williams stopped low-level journeyman Orlando Lora in three.

 

In Cordoba, Argentina, John Jackson of the Virgin Islands, and the son of former titlist Julian Jackson, dominated and stopped significantly shorter Jorge Miranda, despite a referee in Victor Correa that would not allow him to punch to the body, for all intents and purposes. 

 

Earlier in the night in Liverpool, undefeated hometown prospect Liam Smith stopped fairly low-level Lancashire journeyman Mark Thompson in four to win the British title vacated by Brian Rose this summer.
 

Lara advances all the way to #2.  I imagine that will be a bit controversial, especially among those who consider Mayweather to be the lineal champion now.  In order to call him the Champion, I think you’d have to give him unequivocal credit for all of his wins at 154 as well as a fair amount of residual credit for his welterweight resume.  Even then, I would find it difficult to have ranked any of his opponents #1 or #2 when he beat them.  Carlos Molina is always overlooked.  In addition, I fit in the tiny minority that supports CJ Ross in her implied proposition that Mayweather’s win over Canelo was not conclusive.  With a direct comparison, Mayweather’s 154 resume consists of wins over an overrated Cotto and over Canelo.  I considered the Cotto win too close to call, as well.  Even if I grant that he clearly deserved the win in both fights, I would propose that Trout beat Cotto by more than Mayweather did, and that he deserved to beat Canelo by a wider margin than Mayweather, as well.  By conquering Trout, Lara has arguably demonstrated superiority over the pound for pound #1 at this weight, albeit indirectly.  Even if you reject that premise, his overall resume supports a better ranking in terms of volume as opposed to Mayweather.  Trout, aside from being passed up by Lara, retains his position.

 

Who would have thought that the early-2011 clash between undefeated prospect Lara and inactive fringe contender Carlos Molina would be a preview of a potential match-up that would, by the end of 2013, constitute a potential battle for the legitimate championship?  Not I.  I thought that Molina was indeed a fringe contender, and that the fight proved that Lara wasn’t as good as we thought.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1Carlos Molina (45-127-142)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD12) vs. #5 Ishe Smith
Next Fight: Unknown
Molina is dreaming of a fight with Canelo.  But it’s just a dream.  Molina’s style and low-profile makes him essentially unpromotable, and he would be a serious threat to win that fight.  No chance Golden Boy puts it together.  On a possibly more realistic note, Demetrius Andrade wants him, and Australian sources indicate there are active negotiations for a fight with Mundine.
2) Erislandy Lara (1-127-149)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD12 #4 Austin Trout
Next Fight: Unknown
Lara wants Canelo next.
3) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (1-13-13)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #2 Saul Alvarez
Next Fight: Unknown
Mayweather intends to fight twice in 2014: on May 3 and September 13, if all goes to plan.  Amir Khan is the rumored opponent for May 3.  Bradley is getting a bit of buzz lately, too, as is Bernard Hopkins, at middleweight- though Floyd Sr. has said the latter will never happen.
4) Saul Alvarez (1-145-160)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L* (MD12) vs. WW Champion Floyd Mayweather
Next Fight: 3/8/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Alvarez will be back on March 8.  He’s hoping for either Cotto or Sergio.  After that, he expects to fight two additional times in 2014.  Reports indicate the Cotto fight is now imminent.
5) Austin Trout (1-80-149)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (UD12) vs. #5 Erislandy Lara
Next Fight: Unknown
Trout might be getting to that unfortunate position of having a record underwhelming enough to be low-reward, while still being easily skilled enough to be high-risk.
6) Ishe Smith (13-42-42)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L (SD12) vs. #1 Carlos Molina
Next Fight: Unknown
Smith sounds like he’s open to a variety of options for his next fight.  Anything from a Molina rematch, to Trout, to Angulo or Lara.  And even more various than that- he says he wants one UFC fight.  He’s also been in a war of words with Shane Mosley recently.
7) Anthony Mundine (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- vs. #4 WW Shane Mosley
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Mundine returns from a mere two months away on January 29 in Brisbane.
8) Miguel Cotto (2-184-184)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO3 #11 Delvin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown 
Cotto reportedly has a $10 million offer to fight Canelo on the table, and $15 million from Sergio. 
9) Cornelius Bundrage (2-175-175)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ishe Smith (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/24/2014- vs. Joey Hernandez (UNR)
Bundrage has been approved to fight Joey Hernandez in an IBF eliminator.  Golden Boy won the purse bid at a paltry $11,000, meaning Bundrage will bank just $6,600.  The fight is set for Indio, California on January 24, but incredibly is not a slam dunk to be included on the card’s telecast.
10Alfredo Angulo (2-220-220)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (TKO10) vs. #4 Erislandy Lara
Next Fight: Unknown
Angulo may be returning in January, and Carlos Molina has been discussed as a possible foe.
11) Sergey Rabchenko (2-78)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Bradley Pryce (UNR)

Next Fight: Unknown
Rabchenko is in line for an alphabet eliminator at any time.
12) Javier Maciel (2-7)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- Robbery L (SD12) vs. #14 Brian Rose
Next Fight: 1/11/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Argentine media reports that Maciel will return in Mar del Plata on January 11.
13) Demetrius Andrade (2-5)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (SD12) vs. #13 Vanes Martirosyan
Next Fight: Unknown
Andrade wants to unify against Carlos Molina, but negotiations are underway for a Brian Rose fight.
14) Delvin Rodriguez (2-126)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #7 Miguel Cotto
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez appears to be solid against borderline top-10 types (see Wolak), but completely out of his depth at just a tad higher level.
15) Vanes Martirosyan (2-132)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (SD12) vs. Demetrius Andrade (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
16) Willie Nelson (2-41)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- UD10 Luciano Cuello (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Nelson has injured his elbow, and his middleweight fight with Macklin has been cancelled as a result.
17) Brian Rose (2-38)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- Robbery W (Draw at best) vs. Javier Maciel (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rose will be fighting Andrade for his alphabet title at some point.  Totally undeserved, although the WBO title  at 154 is particularly meaningless already, having been handed to the very mediocre Zaurbek Baysangurov before being contested between two prospects.
18) Jermell Charlo (2-27)
Last Fight: 10/14/2013- TKO10 Jose Angel Rodriguez (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Charlo gets likely his toughest test to date in former junior middleweight contender Gabe Rosado, who has recently been used as an opponent at 160, but with mixed results.
19) Yuri Foreman (2-46)
Last Fight: 11/12/2013- KO1 Javier Gomez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Jack Culcay (2-10)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- W* (UD12) vs. #17 Guido Pitto
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Dieudonne Belinga (UNR)
Culcay has been added to the Braehmer-Oliveira undercard on December 14, and will have a new trainer when he takes on mid-level French journeyman Dieudonne Belinga.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Friday
Jermall Charlo vs. Joseph De Los Santos; Indio, California; Fox Sports 1 (US)
Definitely a stay-busy fight for fringe contending undefeated prospect Charlo, as he will fight a low-level Dominican journeyman in Joseph De Los Santos on the Golden Boy card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in California.

 

Hugo Centeno, Jr. vs. Angel Osuna; Indio, California, Off TV
Another, somewhat less advanced undefeated prospect, Hugo Centeno, Jr., will be in action on the non-televised portion of the same card.  Too bad.  The fight is actually marginally better-matched than Charlo’s.  Centeno is from nearby Oxnard, California, and takes on a halfway decent journeyman in Angel Osuna of Culiacan, Mexico.

 

Saturday
Dennis Laurente vs. Khomkaew Sithsaithong; Paranque City, Philippines; Off TV
Veteran Filipino gatekeeper Laurente keeps busy with a total novice from Thailand.

 

#20 Jack Culcay vs. Dieudonne Belinga; Neubrandenburg, Germany; ARD (Germany)
After a debatable loss (the first of his career) and a debatable win in back-to-back fights with Guido Pitto, Culcay will look for a much clearer result against mid-level French journeyman Dieudonne Belinga.

Middleweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2014 by danboxing
I’ll take the week’s action in order of importance this week.

 

Saturday in Stuttgart, #3 Darren Barker saw his body betray him, as a lingering hip injury flared up and saw him unable to keep his feet after originally getting caught for a knockdown in the 2nd round.  His opponent, #4 Felix Sturm, showed no visible signs of pity, dropping the wobbly Englishman again a few seconds later, before the corner mercifully threw in the towel and ended it.  

 

Later that night in Atlantic City, former junior middleweight contender James Kirkland returned after about 21 months off, and put a frightful- if initially competitive- beating on unbeaten junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia, stopping the game Tapia in 6, after Steve Smoger let it go maybe just a little too long.  The fight was contested at a contract weight of 156, which makes it relevant here.

 

On that undercard, #6 Matthew Macklin didn’t look all that spectacular against undefeated prospect Lamar Russ, but still did plenty to win the fight.  I had Macklin winning comfortably at 98-92, but there were a lot of close rounds.  The judges had it 96-94, 98-92, and 97-93, all for Macklin, and all reasonable.

 

On the non-televised portion of the card, undefeated Russian prospect Matt Korobov stopped Derek Edwards in the 9th of a scheduled 10, at a contract weight a few pounds over the limit.  No big deal there, as Edwards was a low-level journeyman.

 

Japanese undefeated prospect and Olympic Champion Ryota Murata was in action this weekend in Tokyo against Dave Peterson of Minnesota, but you’ll have to read my very detailed report on the Super Middleweight update to find out what happened, as Murata (who is ranked there) came in a half-pound over the limit.

 

Barker is very likely to retire, given his chronic catastrophic injuries, but for now we can only take the fight on its own merits.  It doesn’t prove that Sturm is dominant over a #3 contender, though you do have to give him full credit for the first knockdown.  But even if he had absolutely destroyed a healthy Barker, I’m not sure it would have made much difference in his actual ranking.  As for Barker, I am unable to assume that he’ll never fight again, or that he will be compromised if he does.  He’ll maintain his ranking until he proves unworthy of it, or until he retires.  Therefore, Sturm moves up to #3, while Barker swaps with him to #4.  For those that wonder how much pause I was given by the fact that #5 Geale beat Sturm, I can tell you that it wasn’t much.  Geale’s win over Sturm was one of the closest all-around fights I’ve ever seen, and the verdict was debatable.

 

As for Kirkland, he is held back a bit by his loss to Ishida from a couple years ago- especially as compared to undefeated prospects like Meryasev and Chudinov who have succeeeded at a slightly lower level than Tapia, but who have never suffered the appearance of limitation that comes from a loss at essentially the same level as Tapia that Ishida represented.  If there was any doubt as to where to place him in relation to a guy like Chudinov, it was dispelled by the fact that Tapia isn’t a true middleweight and that the fight was only at middleweight because there was not a title on the line.  Accordingly, Kirkland makes his debut in the middleweight rankings at #19, which once again forces out Akio Shibata after a 9-week stint.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (191-191-191)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. # 8 JMW Miguel Cotto
According to fighthype.com, citing anonymous sources close to Cotto, there is now no doubt that Cotto-Martinez will happen on June 7 in New York. 
1) Martin Murray (33-106-106)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- L* (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez (Robbery- D at worst)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR)
Murray’s fight with Khomitsky for the Froch-Groves undercard was cancelled on 3 days’ notice on account of a virus, but has been rescheduled for December 14.
2) Gennady Golovkin (24-67-130)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Golovkin returns February 1 in Monte Carlo.  Originally it looked like Murray was the opponent, but he will instead fight former borderline top 10 contender Osumanu Adama, who was removed from a #13 berth in September for failing to make 160 for 18 months.
3) Felix Sturm (1-534-534)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Sturm got a little help from Barker’s trick hip, but it’s gotta count for something, and he did score the first knockdown on his own.
4) Darren Barker (1-17-113)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (TKO2) vs. #4 Felix Sturm
Next Fight: Unknown
Barker’s body failed him against Sturm, and it’s led to heavy speculation that we may have seen the last of him.  His team has only fueled this speculation further.
5) Daniel Geale (17-234-234)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
In the wake of Sturm’s victory over the man that beat him, Geale has renewed calls for what would be a very interesting rematch with the German.
6) Matthew Macklin (17-129-220)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Lamar Russ (UNR)
After a legitimate but very unspectacular win over only moderately proven prospect Lamar Russ, Macklin has joined the chorus of quality middleweights looking for a rematch with Sturm.
7) Peter Quillin (33-60-81)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is looking to match Quillin with Danny Jacobs in Brooklyn on February 1.  A recent interview indicates he might prefer to fight some of the top contenders, instead.  Unfortunately most of them fight on HBO in this division, while Quillin’s promoter is tied to Showtime.
8) Sergio Mora (8-24-24)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora had hoped to fight Golovkin on February 1, but says he was never offered the fight.
9) Marco Antonio Rubio (8-10-150)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio looks poised to take on Sergio if Maravilla’s intended fight with Cotto falls through, though that possibility has begun to look increasingly unlikely.
10) Anthony Mundine (8-8-150)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- TKO7 #4 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
In a quick turnaround, Mundine announced that he will headline a January 29 show in Brisbane.  Most likely this will be nothing more than a quick payday, as I’m sure he won’t want to prepare for two big fights that close together.
11) Max Bursak (8-150)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- UD12 Nick Blackwell (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Gari Abajian (UNR)
Bursak will fight a low-level Georgian journeyman this weekend in a short-notice stay-busy contest.
12) Caleb Truax (8-12)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Derek Ennis (UNR)
Truax’s January 3 fight will likely be the first notable fight of the New Year.  He’ll face Derek Ennis.
13) Bryan Vera (8-60)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L* (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (UNR)
Vera-Chavez II now looks likely for March 1 in either Vegas or Texas, after a proposed February date was abandoned over concerns related to Olympic conflicts.
14) Grzegorz Proksa (8-139)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa had another hand operation in August, but thinks he’ll be ready to go for a proposed February fight in Poland with undefeated prospect Maciej Suleckim.
15) Curtis Stevens (8-19)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L (RTD8) vs. #2 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: 1/24/2014- vs. Patrick Majewski (UNR)
Stevens will make a surprisingly quick return from a grueling battle with Golovkin.  His January 24 opponent will be one-loss Polish fringe prospect Patrick Majewski.
16) Andrey Meryasev (5-5)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve still yet to see Meryasev in action, but his win over Sanders at this point in his career proves that he’s a real prospect.
17) Danny Jacobs (2-16)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is apparently looking to match Jacobs and Quillin on February 1 in Brooklyn.
18) Dmitry Chudinov (2-16)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- W (PTS8) vs. Max Maxwell (UNR) (at SMW/LHW)
Next Fight: 12/21/2013- vs. Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Chudinov makes his return in Moscow on December 21, taking on mid-level Colombian journeyman Juan Camilo Novoa.
19) James Kirkland (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO6 Glen Tapia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Only time will tell whether Kirkland does any serious campaigning at middleweight in the near future, but even though both men are typically junior middleweights, Tapia was a credible enough opponent at 160 (or 156, as it were) to earn Kirkland a ranking here.
20) Jorge Heiland (1-2)
Last Fight: 11/29/2013- TKO*12 #17 Billi Godoy
Next Fight: Unknown
After two closely-contested battles, there’s already talk of a trilogy with Godoy.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Wednesday
Sam Soliman vs. Les Sherrington; Flemington, Australia; Off TV
Soliman returns from a PED suspension against fellow Australian Les Sherrington, who has been able to rebuild himself to gatekeeper level after breaking his leg in a fight with the awful Kashif Mumtaz.  Soliman might reclaim a ranking with a win, simply by virtue of ending his forced inactivity.

 

Saturday
Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs. Anthony Fitzgerald; Barcelona, Spain; Off TV
This is another matchup that has the potential to get an inactive contender back into the rankings.  N’Dam is a shoe-in for a spot, assuming he wins and makes 160.

 

Max Bursak vs. Gari Abajian; Brovari, Ukraine; Off TV
Just a stay-busy fight for Bursak.  Abajian is a l0w-level Georgian journeyman.

 

Martin Murray vs. Sergey Khomitsky; London, England; Sky (UK)
This fight is expected to take place a few pounds over 160, and will likely be treated in more detail at 168.

 

Jermain Taylor vs. J.C. Candelo; San Antonio, Texas; Off TV
Another fight that is basically a middleweight fight, but which is expected to take place at super middle technically.  I haven’t decided which division I will discuss it in next week.

Super Middleweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2014 by danboxing
Friday
#15 Ryota Murata was in action for just the second time as a pro on Friday in Tokyo, and didn’t disappoint, stopping Dave Peterson in the final stanza of the 8-rounder.  This is the first time I’ve actually gotten to see him, and since I imagine very few in the western world can say the same, I thought it might be worth giving a scouting report.  I rarely do this, in part because most guys have well-known skill sets by the time they break the top 20, and in part because I’m really not an expert at evaluating technique, style, or potential.  But I’ll take a stab at it anyway.  From what I saw of him, I would say the following about Murata: 

 

Pro: He is very aggressive.  I’ve been told by someone who ought to know that the Japanese fight culture is at least the equal of Mexico in the value it places on coming forward and attacking the opponent.  If this is not true, you wouldn’t know it from seeing Murata.  Even in his worst moments, taking a backward step wasn’t even remotely on his mind.  He is heavy-handed.  His opponent, Minnesota fringe prospect Dave Peterson, was not looking to go away, but you could tell that Murata’s shots were making a dent.  He is a finisher.  When he hurt Peterson in the 8th round, he stepped up the pressure even more, and used well-selected and frequent punches to put him away.  He cuts off the ring relatively well.  Peterson was actually a respectable boxer in terms of style.  He used lateral movement and punched strategically, but Murata was still able to get to him almost at will.  He is very accurate.  Peterson, while no Pernell Whitaker by any stretch of the imagination, was defensively responsible, with a lot of movement of both head and feet, and yet I would bet money that Murata was landing well over 50% of his shots, both jab and power.

 

Con: No defense.  Murata is like a statue from the waist up.  He didn’t move his head once in the fight, I don’t think, even to roll with a punch.  His hand defense, to use the kindest possible description, is passive.  The only reason that a punch wouldn’t land on him would be if it was thrown with wild inaccuracy, or if it was aimed at a place that Murata’s gloves or arms were already stationed.  He does not pick off shots at all.  Speaking of his arms and gloves, his hands are also fairly slow.  Granted, what he gives up in speed, he more than gains in accuracy, but just don’t expect him to be putting them together like Roy Jones.  His one-two is just fine if he doesn’t have something coming back to trump it, but against better competition I fear he might not be hard to time with a big counter.

 

For what it’s worth, Peterson was under 159, while Murata missed 160 by just a half-pound.

 

In other action in Windhoek, Namibia, local gatekeeper Wilbeforce Shihepo knocked out mid-level Kenyan journeyman Daniel Wanyonyi to capture an alphabet-sponsored African title, and in doing so solidified his tenuous position as a top-50 fighter.

 

On the Chicago undercard of Wlodarczyk-Fragomeni, undefeated Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez carved up low-level Colombian journeyman Jaison Palomeque in 5 rounds to win by TKO, and frankly appears much more at home in this division than at 154, where he gained a reputation for badly missing weight before comfortably making it in his last fight, only to win a debatable decision over Derek Ennis.

 

Later that night on the ShoBox card from Shelton, Washington, #19 Badou Jack frankly continued his disturbing trend of apparently fighting down to his competition.  I had him behind by a point after 5 rounds with high-level Mexican journeyman Rogelio Medina, but to Jack’s credit, he was able to call on what looked to be an extra gear at that point, and since it appeared to be taking all of Medina’s effort to hang in there, Jack was able to dispatch his flagging opponent with three knockdowns in a brutal 6th before referee Bobby Howard- far too late- called an end to proceedings.  

 

Thursday
#12 Maxim Vlasov won the first three rounds against lower-mid-level journeyman Maxell Taylor, and knocked him out in the fourth.  The fight was not quite at 168.  Taylor weighed in at a hefty 176, while Vlasov at least stayed in the ballpark at 170.  This is worth bringing up mainly because Vlasov last made 168 on November 5, 2012.  He’s been within 2 pounds of it 3 times, but by my rules that still only buys him until May 5, 2014 to fight at 168 in order to maintain his ranking.

 

Saturday
#11 Sakio Bika retained his alphabet title with a fairly clear-cut draw against Anthony Dirrell on the Maidana-Broner undercard in Brooklyn.  Bika won rounds 4, 6, 7, 8, and 12 clearly.  Dirrell could say the same for 1, 3, 5, and 9.  He added a knockdown in 5.  Bika also would have won round 11 if it weren’t for a point deduction for a low blow.  I might have made it just a hard warning, to be honest, if I were the ref.  Rounds 2 and 10 were swing rounds, and I gave one to each guy.  113-113 Draw, with 114-112 either way being reasonable.  Judge Glenn Feldman was great at 113-113.  Don Trella was reasonable at 114-112 Bika.  Joseph Pasquale was out of his freaking mind at 116-110 Dirrell.  I mean this guy gave Dirrell all the toss-ups, one kind of close round that Bika clearly won, and one round that was 100% clear cut for Bika.  Even with a good result, there’s bad judging on the menu.

 

Conclusion
The Bika-Dirrell result is the only thing that might affect the rankings this week.  It’s an odd bit of data, I must say.  Dirrell was in the neighborhood of the low 30s in terms of unofficial rank, having needed a blatant robbery to notch a W against Don Mouton.  Mouton thereby gained, in effect, a win over a top 10 contender with the performance.  Both due to the head-to-head and the fact that Mouton got a win over #10 and Dirrell a draw against #11, Dirrell cannot reasonably surpass Mouton in the rankings, and is therefore frozen out, narrowly, from the top 20.  Very often in the case of a draw, the two fighters end up back-to-back in the rankings, or nearly so.  Not here.  Bika, despite the draw, must be compared to those that seek to surpass him.  Even against #12 Maxim Vlasov, Bika comes out looking like the better candidate for #11.  Vlasov’s best win was a dominant decision over Khoren Gevor, which itself was not all that significantly better than Bika’s stoppage win the same year over the roughly comparable Dyah Davis.  Bika then adds more recent wins over top 50 prospects Sjekloca and Periban, while Vlasov can only answer with an aging 2010 stoppage of Jerson Ravelo.  Vlasov’s loss to Chilemba supports the idea that his potential is that of a borderline top 10 fighter at best.  While Bika’s draw with Dirrell might say something similar (Dirrell once having occupied that lofty station himself), the greater and more recent volume of ratable wins demands that Bika stay right where he is.  On the merits of the fight alone, there would have very surprisingly been no movement in the top 20, but last week’s #18 Glen Johnson was kind enough to clear a space for Dirrell by signing a fight at Cruiserweight for December 18, which is a year and 3 days after his last fight at 168, and thus makes him officially inactive at this weight a couple weeks early.  Dirrell is among the beneficiaries, returning to the rankings at #20.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (104-238-238)
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.  In the meantime, he has maybe another fight to deal with that could do more damage to his career than any he has yet met in the ring- a lawsuit against his promoter.
1) Carl Froch (81-391-391)
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.  Rumor has it that he intends to refuse, and has also resisted suggestions that he move up to 175 to fight Stevenson.  His current focus seems to be on trying to make a Ward rematch.
2) Robert Stieglitz (38-224-224)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
The Abraham-Stieglitz trilogy bout, originally announced for February 1, is now official for March 1, in Stieglitz’s home base of Magdeburg.
3) Mikkel Kessler (52-470-470)
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, though the Viking Warrior recently said, rather vaguely, that he still wants a big fight.
4) Arthur Abraham (30-216-216)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #2 Robert Stieglitz
See Stieglitz’s notes, above.
5) Brandon Gonzales (24-24-24)
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 (11-132-180)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. LHW #18 Eleider Alvarez (at LHW)
Oosthuizen’s scheduled January fight has been denied title sanctioning by an alphabet organization.  It’s not clear whether that will pose a problem for the fight coming off.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (5-5-50)
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 (5-52-74)
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.  He’s having to resort to personal attacks to try and get a reluctant Froch to agree, however.
9) James DeGale (4-27-113)
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 (4-4-27)
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 (4-349)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dirrell wants a rematch, and that’s obviously a worthy endeavor given the legitimate draw the first time around.
12) Maxim Vlasov (5-57)
Last Fight: 12/5/2013- KO4 Maxell Taylor (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vlasov has until May to make 168 to remain in the rankings.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (5-47)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
According to his trainer Ronnie Shields, they might be looking to fight a top-15 level light heavyweight, and have absolutely no intention to ever try to make 168 again.
 14) Andy Lee (11-30)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee seems to be focused on a Macklin clash for the Spring.
15) Ryota Murata (11-16)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO8 Dave Peterson (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/22/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Murata is slated for a February 22 card in Macau.
16) Caleb Truax (11-25)
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 (11-41)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
 18) Badou Jack (1-21)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 Rogelio Medina (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jack called out the winner of Bika vs. Dirrell after his win over Medina, but might want to restate, since the fight ended in a draw the following night.
19) Don Mouton (1-11)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown
Mouton was set to fight Gilberto Ramirez on December 7, but that whole show has evidently been postponed or cancelled.
20) Anthony Dirrell (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. #11 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown
His hard-fought draw with Sakio Bika gained Dirrell a measure of redemption for what pretty clearly should have been a loss against Don Mouton, and has him back in the hot prospect category.

 

The Week Ahead:
Friday
Jake Carr vs. Zac Awad; Flemington, Australia; Off TV
Precocious undefeated prospect Carr has only 5 fights under his belt, but he proved himself to be quite advanced by beating veteran gatekeeper Serge Yannick in his last fight.  Awad is something of a veteran, himself, but at 32 his best days might already be behind him.  Since edging out prospect Junior Talipeau in 2011, he has struggled against mediocre opposition.  Nevertheless, I wouldn’t rule him out as a threat, especially if Carr’s performance against Yannick was a bit of a lucky night.  That being said, I don’t think it was.  Carr really did look impressive.

 

Saturday
Martin Murray vs. Sergey Khomitsky; London, England; Sky (UK)
This is basically a middleweight fight without as much dehydration.  I’m only mentioning it now as a formality, and probably won’t discuss it in my update for this weight next week at all, except in the highly unlikely event that it has some significance to the rankings (which would pretty much require a huge upset by Khomitsky).

 

Jermain Taylor vs. J.C. Candelo; San Antonio, Texas; Off TV
Another fight that’s basically intended as a middleweight contest, but since neither fighter is ranked at 160, I’ll probably mention it here if, as expected, one or both fighters don’t make 160.  Candelo is a fully used-up journeyman at this point, and Taylor is a shadow of his former self, teetering  between maybe getting a good enough win to try and scratch out a legitimate role as a fringe contender, and laboring in total obscurity.  A loss here would certainly put him squarely in the latter category.

Light Heavyweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Light Heavyweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by danboxing
Friday in Chicago, #5 Andrzej Fonfara fought mid-level journeyman Samuel Miller at a 176 pound contract weight.  Fonfara, to me, didn’t look that great, but made a decision to punch with Miller, catching him in and exchange, and allowing Miller’s momentum to carry him hard to the canvas.  Miller- who fought dirty in the very brief fight- may or may not have been too buzzed to get back up, but didn’t, resulting in a 2nd round KO, with a knockdown in each round.

 

In Poland that night, local one-loss prospect Pawel Glazewski won either 7 or 8 rounds, depending on the judge, against low-level Belorussian journeyman Andrei Salakhutdzinau.

 

Saturday in Liverpool, #20 Enzo Maccarinelli dropped mid-level local journeyman Courtney Fry in the first and sixth rounds before stopping him in the 7th.

 

No changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (66-66-66)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #15 Edwin Rodriguez (as SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
When asked about a fight with Hopkins, Ward acknowledged that it’s one of only two fights that would get him on PPV (the other being Chavez), but said he would only fight Hopkins if the legend called him out.  He’s now officially suing his promoter, so who knows when he’ll fight again.
1) Adonis Stevenson (27-27-27)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO6 #6 Tony Bellew
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson-Kovalev is the obvious can’t-miss battle in the division.
2) Bernard Hopkins (66-392-392)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Karo Murat (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Ward’s notes, above.
3) Sergey Kovalev (26-47-47)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO2 Ismayl Sillakh (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stevenson’s notes, above.
4) Chad Dawson (26-393-393)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L(TKO1) vs. SMW #6 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
Dawson is now a promotional free agent, and is looking to sign with a top promoter to start rebuilding after a rough year.  He says he is interested in a Stevenson rematch.
5) Andrzej Fonfara (17-17-74)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- KO2 Samuel Miller (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There is some buzz about Fonfara being Kovalev’s next opponent if Kovalev-Stevenson isn’t made.
6) Tony Bellew (17-113-113)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- L (TKO6) vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
Bellew plans a move to cruiserweight.  That division could use some new blood.
7) Gabriel Campillo (17-181-181)
Last Fight: 8/16/2013- L (KO9) vs. #14 Andrzej Fonfara
Next Fight: Unknown
Campillo might be on his way to deserved obscurity after being robbed of deserved prominence for so much of his career.  He still has plenty of boxing skill, but his will might be fading just a bit.
8) Tavoris Cloud (17-224-224)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L (TKO7) vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
Cloud should probably get himself back in the win column at some point.
9) Nathan Cleverly (17-201-201)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (TKO4) vs. #3 Sergey Kovalev
Next Fight: Unknown
Cleverly withdrew from his cruiserweight debut against Daniel Ammann with a back injury, on just 4 days notice.  It appears that his future remains a division to the north, however.
10) Isaac Chilemba (17-37-97)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD8 Michael Gbenga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Cornelius White (17-104)
Last Fight: 6/14/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #5 Sergey Kovalev
Next Fight: Unknown
White was blasted out by Kovalev, but at least he has good company in that regard.
12) Jürgen Brähmer (16-86)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- UD12 Stefano Abatangelo (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Marcus Oliveira (UNR)
Since getting dominated in your title fight, fighting journeymen, and then taking two years off is the required resume for becoming a WBA Super Champion, Beibut Shumenov has now assumed that dubious title.  Braehmer will now fight prospect Marcus Oliveira for the “regular” title on December 14 in Neubrandenburg, Germany.
13) Karo Murat (7-7)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- L (UD12) vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Cedric Agnew (7-35)
Last Fight: 4/12/2013- UD12 #14 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: Unknown
Agnew has been ordered to defend his regional title against fringe contender Anatoliy Dudchenko.
15) Edwin Rodriguez (7-22)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez’s trainer Ronnie Shields opines that a fight against a top-15 level light heavyweight would be a good jumping-off point for his anticipated permanent move up.
16) Lucian Bute (7-58)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 #16 Denis Grachev
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. Jean Pascal (UNR)
Bute-Pascal has been pushed back to January 18.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (7-24)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mohoumadi snuck in a low-level win on November 30, apparently at 168.
18) Eleider Alvarez (7-46)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- UD10 Edison Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/18/2013- vs. #6 SMW Thomas Oosthuizen
Alvarez is tentatively scheduled to fight Oosthuizen in January, and I have no new information to suggest whether or not Oosthuizen’s shaky performance and bad cut against Maderna, or the lack of expected alphabet sanctioning, will affect that.
19) Dmitry Sukhotsky (3-3)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO5 Eduard Gutknecht (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
As conclusive as the Sukhotsky-Gutknecht result looks on paper, I’d actually like to see a rematch, since Gutknecht was having the better of it before his eye began to balloon.
20) Enzo Maccarinelli (3-17)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO7 Courtney Fry (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maccarinelli has a likely fanciful desire to fight Bernard Hopkins.

 

The Week Ahead
Saturday
#12 Juergen Braehmer vs. Marcus Oliveira; Neubrandenburg, Germany; ARD (Germany)
Oliveira is an undefeated prospect with some pedigree, having beaten fellow unbeaten Ryan Coyne in April, as well as gatekeeper Otis Griffin in 2009.  But Coyne wasn’t really proven at any serious level, and so there was quite a gap between his arrival as a top-50 fighter in ’09 and this step up.

 

Lionell Thompson vs. Ryan Coyne; Atlantic City, New Jersey; NBC Sports (US)
As mentioned above, Coyne failed in his first attempt to bust through into legitimate contention when he lost to Oliveira earlier this year.  But he gets another chance this weekend.  Lionell Thompson is no world-beater, but he’s a legitimate top 50 gatekeeper, if not a prospect himself.  He suffered his only two career losses in back-t0-back 2012 fights to Nicholson Poulard (by split decision) and Sergey Kovalev.  He was totally overwhelmed in the latter, but that puts him in the same company as #11 Cornelius White.  The winner of this fight remains a viable prospect in the division, while the loser will look more like a journeyman.

 

Beibut Shumenov vs. Tamas Kovacs; San Antonio, Texas; Showtime (US)
Slovakia’s Tamas Kovacs is undefeated at 23-0, but is so untested that his best opponent to date is probably one-loss prospect Hamza Wandera (12-1) from back in early 2011.  Wandera has 5 losses and a draw since that fight, against progressively weaker competition.  Even at the time of the fight, Wandera had just 26 boxrec rankings points, meaning he was ranked very similarly to Kovacs’ 2nd-best opponent, Steve Kroekel, who entered with a losing record.  Yet Kovacs could only manage a split decision victory over the highly suspect prospect.  In terms of what he’s proven, Kovacs might as well be making his pro debut.  That makes him a pretty safe choice for the highly inactive Kazakh Beibut Shumenov, who hasn’t seen the inside of a ring since June 2, 2012.  Despite the inactivity (not to mention the fact that he clearly lost his title fight and hasn’t fought anything better than borderline top-50 opposition since his July 2010 domination of Vyacheslav Uzelkoff), Shumenov has not only held on to his WBA title, but has actually been promoted to “super champion.”  Okay.  I don’t usually mention alphabet titles, but this one is so absurd, I had to share.  What this fight actually means rankings-wise is that Shumenov can resume a place as a prominent fringe contender, should he avoid an upset.

Cruiserweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Cruiserweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by danboxing
On Friday in Chicago, #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk took bragging rights in his trilogy with the now 44 year-old #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni, arguably winning every round before the fight was stopped by the ring doctor between rounds 6 and 7 due to a cut, and knocking the Italian down in round 4 for good measure.

 

As much as I think Fragomeni is clearly not a top 10 fighter anymore, I can’t objectively justify dropping him.  He’s got the 2009 draw with Wlodarczyk that still counts more than Branco’s win over gatekeeper Haapoja, and the rest of Branco’s relevant resume cancels out with Fragomeni’s, since at cruiserweight it consists exclusively of inconclusive results in fights against Fragomeni.  Fragomeni’s losses (including this one) are at a high enough level to not really alter that.  Huck’s resume still overwhelms Wlodarczyk’s, so there is no change there.

 

Alexander Alekseev announced his retirement, as he will now transition into a position as a promoter.  Supposedly, he would have made the same decision even if he had won a title against Hernandez.  He is therefore removed, allowing everyone ranked #13 and below last week to move up, and opening a spot at #20 for Garrett Wilson.  This proves once and for all how shallow this division has become.  I searched high and low for a contender to take the spot.  I even considered installing William Souza Bezerra despite my position that his fights are most likely fake.  Wilson gets in largely based on a loss- that I scored a draw- against Alekseev, himself.  

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Denis Lebedev (20-201-201)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The rematch with Jones, according to Lebedev’s promoter, is all but done for mid-March in Moscow.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (65-181-181)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO10 #12 Alexander Alekseev
Next Fight: Unknown
Hernandez still seems a little vulnerable, needing his power to bail him out a little against Alekseev.
3) Marco Huck (13-366-366)
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 (13-442-442)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
Wlodarczyk had a relatively easy time in his third fight with Fragomeni, and is interested in Huck, Hernandez, Afolabi, Drozd, and Chakhkiev for his next fight.
5) Firat Arslan (13-83-126)
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 (13-19-57)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Eddie Chambers (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/24/2013- vs. #20 Garrett Wilson
Mchunu will be back on an NBC Sports card on January 24 against Garrett Wilson.
7) Grigory Drozd (3-10-57)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO11 #13 Mateusz Masternak
Next Fight: 3/15/2014- vs. Jeremy Ouanna (UNR)
Drozd will defend his European title in March against solid French journeyman Jeremy Ouanna, though Wlodarczyk’s team seems to think they might get Drozd in their next fight.
8) Ola Afolabi (3-248-248)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- W* (MD12) vs. Lukasz Janik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Afolabi needed a gift to squeak by Janik, and is on Wlodarczyk’s short list for the Pole’s next fight.
9) Giacobbe Fragomeni (3-13-265)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- L (TKO6) vs. #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Next Fight: Unknown
I really hope that Fragomeni will call it a career.  
10) Silvio Branco (3-91)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- W (TD10) vs. Juho Haapoja (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that Russian prospect Chakhkiev wants a fight with Branco.
11) Ilunga Makabu (3-22)
Last Fight: 8/31/2013- TKO5 Eric Fields (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Pawel Kolodziej (UNR)
Makabu is set to fight undefeated Polish prospect Pawel Kolodziej in Monaco for an interim alphabet belt on February 1.
12) Santander Silgado (1-6)
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.
13) Mateusz Masternak (1-89)
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.
14) Lukasz Janik (1-6)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #7 Ola Afolabi
Next Fight: Unknown
Janik would like a well-deserved rematch with Afolabi.
15) Enad Licina (1-181)
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.
16) Danie Venter (1-13)
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.
17) Dmytro Kucher (1-76)
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.
18) Krzysztof Glowacki (1-20)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- TKO3 Richard Hall (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Varol Vekiloglu (UNR)
Glowacki is keeping very busy, and will fight on December 14 in Poland, less than 2 months after his previous fight.  He will be fighting Varol Vekiloglu, a late replacement.
19) Rakhim Chakhkiev (1-3)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- KO10 Giulian Ilie (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Garrett Wilson (1-1)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD10) vs. #18 HW Vyacheslav Glazkov (at HW)
Next Fight: 1/24/2014- vs. #6 Thabiso Mchunu
Wilson is not really a top-20 caliber performer, but I’m being forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel in a shallow division.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:
Friday
Alejandro Valori vs. Ruben Ponce; San Isidro, Argentina; Off-TV
Strictly a stay-busy fight, with gatekeeper Valori set to beat up on Ruben Ponce, a journeyman (to put it charitably) with a 2-8 record that Valori has already beaten twice.

 

Saturday
#19 Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Varol Vekiloglu; Walcz, Poland; Polsat Sport (Poland)
Glowacki is an undefeated prospect with crushing power.  Vekiloglu, a German Turk, is nothing special, really, but did gain a bit of respect in his last fight by unexpectedly going this distance with Firat Arslan.  This is really a pretty straightforward test of Glowacki’s vaunted reputation as a finisher, although Vekiloglu is not an unbreakable rock historically, having been stopped by the likes of Konstantin Airich and Nenad Borovcanin prior to the Arslan effort.

Welterweight: 2013, Dec 2-8

Posted in Rankings, Welterweight with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by danboxing
In a fight with tons of close rounds, as well as a fair amount of back-and-forth action considering the large amount of holding that accompanied it, Montreal-based Romanian gatekeeper/prospect hybrid Jo Jo Dan grabbed a split decision over undefeated Quebec native Kevin Bizier on the Stevenson-Bellew undercard in Quebec City Saturday.  I disagree with the decision, though only the most extreme Dan judge was out of line, at an incredible 116-111.  Kason Cheeks had it 114-113 for Dan, while Larry Layton had it 117-110, which was about as wide a card in favor of Bizier that I might call reasonable.  I personally had it 115-112 for Bizier.  That’s a tough way to lose your undefeated record, especially against a guy that was holding so much he lost a point for it.  Since I can’t say that a narrow win for Dan is an unreasonable result, I will give minimal deference to the official result, and treat the fight as essentially a draw, with the narrowest of edges to Dan.

 

The same night in Mexicali, Mexico, gatekeeper Jorge Paez, Jr. stopped low-level journeyman Ivan Hernandez in 7.

 

A bit earlier that night in Carolina, Puerto Rico, local one-loss prospect Thomas Dulorme won every round of an 8-round decision over 77-fight veteran and low-level journeyman Hector Velasquez.

 

Backtracking to Tuesday in Bangkok, undefeated Thai prospect Teerachai Kratingdaenggym stopped totally novice 1-1 fighter Omar Marabayev of Kazakhstan in 5 rounds.  I don’t know why I can’t call Kratingdaenggym by Tewa Kiram, which is his birth name according to Boxrec.

 

#4 Shane Mosley was stopped due to a back injury against #10 Middleweight Anthony Mundine at 154.  It certainly diminishes his reputation, but I can’t let a loss to a top 10 middleweight at junior middleweight affect his standing at Welterweight.

 

The Bizier-Dan fight actually had a lot more importance than I originally thought.  To be honest, I didn’t see Dan as much of a player, and thought the fact that he scored essentially a draw with a fringe contending prospect like Bizier was just going to force me to give some analysis to a totally unworthy fighter.  After all, the only time I’d ever seen him before was when he got a total gift against a post-prime Steve Forbes, in a fight he definitely didn’t win and almost certainly deserved to lose.  But when I analyze someone’s record for the rankings, I don’t usually mail it in.  Seeing that Dan had two very close losses on his record against Selcuk Aydin in Turkey, I decided I’d better watch those fights.  Sure enough, Dan easily won both of them, and was blatantly robbed both times.  Since I had Aydin ranked last week, that was a pretty momentous development, even if the most recent of those fights did come over 2 years ago.  Aydin goes from #17 to gatekeeper status, all while sitting on his couch at home.  I’m not going to go back and change history in terms of the rankings, as much as I’d like to, but I would like to note that even with the Forbes debacle, Dan would probably have been ranked going into this week.  I speculate that I might have had him #18 (with Aydin out) if I’d have known then what I know now.  That being the case, he unofficially slips to #19 this week, as Cano slips by him.  Bizier debuts just behind at #20.  This forces out Leonard Bundu after 23 weeks, but he’ll have something to say about that state of affairs next week when he battles Lee Purdy.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (188-220-220)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #2 JMW Saul Alvarez (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Floyd will likely be back on both May 3 and September 13, with Amir Khan being rumored as the May 3 opponent.
1) Timothy Bradley (8-8-78)
Last Fight: 10/12/2013- W (SD12) vs. #1 Juan Manuel Marquez
Next Fight: Unknown
Bradley says he wants a rematch with Pacquiao, and has also expressed interest in a likely impossible match-up with Mayweather.  
2) Juan Manuel Marquez (8-108-108)
Last Fight: 10/12/2013- L (SD12) vs. #17 Timothy Bradley
Next Fight: Unknown
Marquez indicates that he’ll most likely retire if he can’t get a Bradley rematch, but has also been challenged by Provodnikov.
3) Manny Pacquiao (8-261-261)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- UD12 #5? JWW Brandon Rios
Next Fight: Unknown
Pacquiao’s logical next move after re-establishing himself against Rios would be a rematch against either Bradley or Marquez, since a Mayweather fight is now more impossible than ever before.
4) Shane Mosley (8-29-29)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- L (TKO7) vs. #10 MW Anthony Mundine (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
After a pretty spirited mini-comeback from his brief retirement, it might be worth thinking about calling it a career again, as his body may not be able to handle training hard anymore, if the freak back injury against Mundine is any indication.
5) Devon Alexander (8-93-93)
Last Fight: 5/18/2013- RTD7 Lee Purdy (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Shawn Porter (UNR)
Alexander’s fight with prospect Shawn Porter has been bumped back from November 30 to December 7, and will now be in Brooklyn instead of San Antonio.
6) Marcos Maidana (8-26-26)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO6 #4 Josesito Lopez
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Adrien Broner (UNR)
The Maidana-Broner fight on December 14 will now headline a regular Showtime Championship boxing broadcast, instead of a PPV, as the undercard has suffered significant collapses.
7) Jesus Soto Karass (8-19-45)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- TKO12 #7 Andre Berto
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. #13 Keith Thurman
Soto Karass’s fight with Thurman has been moved from the December 7 Malignaggi-Judah undercard in Brooklyn to the following week’s pay-per-view tilt between Broner and Maidana.
8) Robert Guerrero (8-54-71)
Last Fight: 5/4/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Guerrero turned down Keith Thurman for a proposed November fight, according to both fighters’ promoter.  Dan Rafael reports that Guerrero might be waiting around to fight the winner of Maidana-Broner.  He’s also been rumored to be in the mix to fight Khan, though his team has denied it.
9) Kell Brook (8-136-136)
Last Fight:10/26/2013- TKO4 Vyacheslav Senchenko (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Brook is now the mandatory for the winner of Alexander-Porter, and has talked about wanting to fight Broner, as well as his domestic rival Khan.
10) Randall Bailey (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- W (DQ8) vs. Humberto Toledo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Josesito Lopez (2-76)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (TKO6) vs. #11 Marcos Maidana
Next Fight: 12/13/2013- vs. Mike Arnaoutis (UNR)
Just days after the fight was announced, Lopez’s December 13 opponent for on an FS1-televised card from Indio, California, Aaron Martinez, withdrew with injury.  He’ll now be fighting veteran Mike Arnaoutis, instead.
12) Andre Berto (2-54)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- L (TKO12) vs. #11 Jesus Soto Karass
Next Fight: Unknown
 
Berto’s shoulder surgery will keep him out until sometime in 2014.
13) Keith Thurman (2-39)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO10 Diego Chaves (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. #7 Jesus Soto Karass
See Soto Karass’s notes, above.
14) Chris van Heerden (2-77)
Last Fight: 3/2/2013- UD12 Matthew Hatton (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Van Heerden is said to be planning a momentous fight in the US in February, but there’s also an effort underway to get him on a South African show in February, as well.
15) Luis Carlos Abregu (2-32)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD10 Antonin Decarie (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abregu’s plans for an October fight have been scrapped, as he recently had 2013-ending hand surgery.  The WBC is looking to match him with Antonin Decarie when he returns.
16) Jan Zaveck (2-208)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD8 Sebastien Allais (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
As expected, Zaveck had little trouble with French journeyman Allais.
17) Ruslan Provodnikov (1-38)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- RTD10 #3 JWW Mike Alvarado (at JWW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Provodnikov proved against Alvarado that the Bradley fight was no fluke.  He’s a big-time fighter now.  Mostly it’s all rumor at this point, but there has been speculation of his fighting Rios or Marquez.  He said he would refuse a fight with Pacquiao, a friend with whom he shares a trainer.
18) Pablo Cesar Cano (1-12)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD10*) vs. Ashley Theophane (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cano said after the 143-pound catchweight win against Theophane that he intends to seek title contention at 140 now.  I must say I’m surprised by the move, considering he failed to make weight for one of his biggest fights at 147 against Malignaggi.
19) Jo Jo Dan (1-1)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- W* (SD12) vs. Kevin Bizier (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
When Dan deserves to win, he loses.  When he deserves to lose, he wins.  Win or lose, he’s doing it mostly at a reasonably high level.
20) Kevin Bizier (1-1)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- L* (SD12) vs. unofficial #19 Jo Jo Dan
Next Fight: Unknown
Bizier has nothing to be ashamed of.  Decision notwithstanding, he narrowly outfought a guy that twice outboxed Selcuk Aydin for 12 rounds.

 

The Week Ahead: Friday in Northbridge, Australia, Tunisian-born local gatekeeper Naoufel Ben Rabeh puts his 13-fight winning streak on the line against undefeated but still fairly green Brisbane prospect Jeff Horn, who enters at just 5-0.  For Horn, it represents a quantum leap in class, though he has stopped all of his opponents except one with whom he had the equivalent of a no contest with after a head clash.

 

The following night in Brooklyn, top 10 contender (at 140) Zab Judah returns to 147 to meet high-profile fringe contender Paulie Malignaggi, as the two men vie for local bragging rights in their mutual hometown.

 

The undercard features an alphabet title defense by #5 Devon Alexander, as he fights his mandatory challenger, Shawn Porter.  Porter is technically undefeated, but needed a clear robbery against Alfonso Gomez and the benefit of the doubt in his first fight with Julio Diaz to stay that way.  His second fight with Diaz, while kind of ugly to watch, probably showed that he’s developing, but I seriously doubt he’s ready for a veteran contender like Alexander.