Heavyweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Friday in Brandenburg, fringe contender Francesco Pianeta came in 10 pounds heavier than he did for his Klitschko shot in May, but it’s possible he’s been lifting weights.  He didn’t look pudgy at all.  He looked strong, and completely dominated undefeated prospect Robert Teuber.  But in fairness, Teuber was an unknown quantity at best, having not defeated even a reasonably decent journeyman on his way to this fight.  He seemed totally intimidated by the jump in class, as he didn’t really get any offense (or defense to speak of, for that matter) going against Pianeta, who forced Teuber’s corner to throw in the towel less than halfway into the second round.


Later that night in Santa Ynez, California, former cruiserweight contender Lateef Kayode made his long-awaited return to the ring and heavyweight debut, dropping experienced but awful journeyman Travis Fulton in the first before stopping him in the second.


No changes this week.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (233-446-446)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- UD12 #3 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Klitschko is in talks to fight his mandatory, Alex Leapai.
1) Alexander Povetkin (3-320-320)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin is calling for a rematch.  He would probably need to become the WBA mandatory by winning an eliminator (possibly against Luis Ortiz) in order to get that shot.  His promotional ties expire at the end of the year, and he says he’ll announce his next move in early 2014.
2) Steve Cunningham (3-51-51)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- L (KO7) vs. #6 Tyson Fury
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Cunningham will fight severely inactive journeyman Manuel Quezada in Atlantic City this Saturday, off TV.
3) Tomasz Adamek (3-190-190)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kathy Duva, who promotes both fighters, says she will reschedule the cancelled Adamek-Glazkov fight.  Adamek shot down rumors that he wants to fight Bryant Jennings in January, saying he’s fighting Glazkov in March.
4) Kubrat Pulev (3-84-161)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- UD12 #11 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Joey Abell (UNR)
By my count, Joey Abell just became, on short notice, Pulev’s third scheduled opponent for this weekend.
5) Dereck Chisora (3-106-169)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO3 Ondrej Pala (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chisora looks likely to return in February, and David Price and Tyson Fury are apparently in the running.  He also challenged Deontay Wilder, who seems uninterested.
6) Odlanier Solis (3-38-185)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- TKO7 Yakup Saglam (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Solis was briefly set to fight Kevin Johnson on November 26, but quickly withdrew due to an IBF mandate that he fight Carlos Takam, instead.  Reportedly that fight will now happen in January, though it’s not finalized yet.
7) Bermane Stiverne (3-25-41)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12 #15 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Stiverne is currently fighting his promoter Don King, in court, for the right to possibly fight Vitali in February.  But Klitschko has been given until December 15 to decide what he wants to do with his alphabet title, so the situation is very unclear at present.
8) Chris Arreola (3-14-14)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- TKO1 #12 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola may be a candidate for Wilder, or could fight for a vacant title in a rematch with Stiverne, should Vitali retire.  Fury has also named him as someone he’d like to replace David Haye with for February 8.
9) Tony Thompson (3-4-185)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- L (UD12) vs. #8 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Thompson is now actively seeking a fight with Povetkin, Fury, Adamek, or Wilder.
10) Erkan Teper (3-3-15)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO1 Martin Rogan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Teper might have scored the heavyweight knockout of the year, and probably retired Martin Rogan in the process.
11) Mike Perez (3-6)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- UD10 Magomed Abdusalamov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Perez will have to do what many great fighters have had to do in the past- get over the psychological difficulty of having beaten a man to within an inch of his life, just by doing his job.
12) Deontay Wilder (3-33)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO4 Nicolai Firtha (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
In the immediate aftermath of the Haye-Fury fallout, Wilder apparently agreed verbally to fight Fury on February 8.  But a couple days later, Wilder’s promoter revealed that Fury’s management wasn’t returning phone calls, and Fury announced his retirement around that same time.  Now Wilder says his first choice would be to fight for Vitali’s title if and when the legend retires.  If that doesn’t happen, Fury would be the second choice, followed by Chisora.
13) Alex Leapai (3-3)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- UD10 #20 Denis Boytsov
Next Fight: Unknown
Leapai and Wlad are beginning negotiations for a mandatory fight.
14) Robert Helenius (4-185)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W*(UD10) vs. Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
If there was a fatal rift between Helenius and Sauerland, it appears to have been quietly repaired, as Helenius’ team now claims there is no plan to buy out his contract.  Helenius is reportedly back in fighting condition after a wrist injury in his last fight, and intends to return in early 2014.
15) Andy Ruiz (3-3)
Last Fight: 11/24/2013- RTD3 Tor Hamer (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ruiz has called out Tyson Fury, whose team says he’s out until at least March.
16) Seth Mitchell (4-27)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- L (TKO1) vs. Chris Arreola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mitchell’s chin is so fragile that he might want to consider calling it a career.  Golden Boy’s CEO says he’s advised Mitchell to do just that, though he reports that Mitchell seems to have no such intention.
17) Alexander Dimitrenko (3-152)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko is rumored at least to be fighting Sam Sexton in the first round of the WBC World Cup, but that tournament appears to be in limbo for the time being, at least.
18) Vyacheslav Glazkov (3-51)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Garrett Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Adamek’s notes, above.
19) Malik Scott (3-42)
Last Fight: 7/20/2013- L (KO6*) vs. #8 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Scott is getting serious buzz for a fight with Wilder.
20) Johnathon Banks (3-56)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Banks apparently dinged his hands up pretty good in the Mitchell fight- an alternate explanation for those who, like me, thought his inexplicable failure to follow up on his early success was a bit suspicious.  He’s been doing physical therapy, and is about ready to get back in the ring.  He’d like a rematch with Mitchell, but unfortunately a trilogy probably isn’t of much benefit to the fragile young contender at this point.  He’s penciled-in for the second round of the WBC World Cup, against the winner of Sam Sexton and Alexander Dimitrenko, but as noted above, that whole tournament is delayed and in doubt.


THE WEEK AHEAD: Since I can only think of so many novel ways to construct sentences to the effect that “X will fight Y on Day X at Y location,” I’m going to try out a new capsule format in this section, and go lighter on the forced prose.


Lucas Browne vs. Clarence Tillman; Flemington, Australia; Off-TV
It’s an odd little stay-busy affair.  Browne won a scheduled 12-rounder less than 6 weeks ago, and returns in a 6-rounder against a sub-.500 journeyman without much to say for his career.  This is the definition of a tune-up.


Shane Cameron vs. Brian Minto; Auckland, New Zealand; SKY (NZ), Main Event (AUS)
Cameron returns from more than a year of inactivity against a possibly resurgent journeyman in Minto.  Cameron’s recent career has been a bit of a roller-coaster, briefly getting himself into the picture in the summer of 2012 with a KO win over Monte Barrett, who had recently beaten David Tua.  But then he moved down to cruiserweight and was handled by Danny Green, which made him tough to rate.  Minto, for his part, is a high-energy fireplug of a brawler, and is himself a rather small heavyweight.  Just a month ago, he gave Michael Sprott just about all he could handle in the second round of the Prizefighter tournament, and looked pretty good in doing so.  Neither guy looks to hide in there, so this should be a good one.


#4 Kubrat Pulev vs. Joey Abell; Neubrandenburg, Germany; ARD (Germany)
This should just be a paycheck for Pulev while he waits around for a mandatory shot at the Champ.  Abell is a career-long journeyman who has been stopped in recent years by Chris Arreola and Fres Oquendo, and by lesser competition earlier in his career.  I see no reason to believe this should be any different.  That being said, he has 28 KOs in 29 wins, so I suppose Pulev will still need to look out for a lucky punch.


Amir Mansour vs. Kelvin Price; Atlantic City, New Jersey; NBC Sports (US)
I’m actually rather looking forward to this fight.  Mansour has a very interesting story, having lost 9 years of a promising career to a prison sentence, and by all accounts he does pack a punch even as a 41 year-old undefeated prospect.  I’ve been following his career since he beat Dominick Guinn in 2011, but have yet to actually see him in action.  As for Price, he’s a very tall, lanky former NCAA hoopster whose only loss to date is a reasonably forgivable one to top prospect Deontay Wilder.


#2 Steve Cunningham vs. Manuel Quezada; Atlantic City; Off-TV
America’s most accomplished active heavyweight is surprisingly off TV on a card that his promoter is basically broadcasting.  His opponent isn’t even that bad.  I mean he’s not that good, either, but still…probably worth showcasing such a good fighter against if you’ve already got the cameras set up.  He’s fighting Manuel Quezada, who is a former top 50 fighter who has been off for 2 1/2 years after losing his last 3, including a knockout in his last fight against Bowie Tupou.  This will be just an 8-rounder, and as long as Quezada doesn’t manage to catch Cunnningham with something crazy, it should be a relatively easy night for the Philly contender.

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