Light Heavyweight: 2013, Dec 16-22

There were three notable fights last week, all on Saturday.  


First, #12 Juergen Braehmer baffled undefeated Kansas prospect Marcus Oliveira for the better part of 12 rounds in Neubrandenburg, Germany.  Oliveira’s relative lack of experience showed, and he lacked rhythm and appeared to be possibly a bit musclebound.  The wiry Braehmer had no such problems.  He displayed a masterful exhibition of boxing, and frustrated Oliveira with frankly excessive holding down the stretch.  The most interesting and perplexing moment of the fight came in the 10th, when Braehmer was credited with a knockdown after Oliveira took a knee for no apparent reason.  I had the fight 118-109 in Braehmer’s favor.  Judges Garcia Reyes and Colon both had it a very reasonable 117-110, while Jean-Louis Legland turned in an unbelievably bad 115-112 card.  


Later that night in Atlantic City, one-loss prospect Ryan Coyne had a similar set of problems against gatekeeper Lionell Thompson.  Thompson was very slick, with fast hands and feet, and extremely sharp and accurate counterpunching.  Coyne didn’t let his hands go much, and could hardly lay a hand on Thompson when he did.  It was a clear shutout over 10 rounds for Thompson, though all three judges somehow found a round (I’m guessing it was the 3rd) to give to Coyne.


Meanwhile, in San Antonio, Beibut Shumenov returned from an 18-month layoff to beat down undefeated but untested Slovakian prospect Tamas Kovacs, dropping him three times in less than three rounds.  Kovacs was obviously displaying a total lack of a chin, but the stoppage in the third by referee Rafael Ramos was still very premature.  The fight was only just beginning, and Kovacs was not badly hurt despite the three knockdowns.  Ramos also erred by waiting about 6 seconds to start the count for the second knockdown.  As for Shumenov, he was much more selective with his punches than I remember, and much more powerful, as well.


Braehmer’s last loss is now more than 5 years old, which allows his superior quality of good wins to finally supersede the two slightly more impressive ones of Cornelius White.  Braehmer therefore moves up one spot to #11.  


I fully expected that Shumenov would reclaim a ranking merely by returning to activity, but with 2 of his significant wins having expired in the past year, his resume really doesn’t stack up all that well.  He fits in below Yunieski Gonzalez, and above Igor Mikhalkin, in the low 20s.  So now we have a “super champion” who is not even a top 20 fighter in his division.


Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (67-67-67)
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, but seems hopeful of a March or April return.
1) Adonis Stevenson (28-28-28)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO6 #6 Tony Bellew
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson-Kovalev is the obvious can’t-miss battle in the division, but it sounds like Stevenson is looking for a much safer outing against Andrzej Fonfara for April 12.
2) Bernard Hopkins (67-393-393)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Karo Murat (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is working on an in-house clash between Hopkins and Shumenov, though B-Hop still says he strongly prefers a middleweight clash with Mayweather- a great superfight, but a fight that is probably not going to get made, realistically.
3) Sergey Kovalev (27-48-48)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO2 Ismayl Sillakh (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kovalev is actively pursuing a fight with a seemingly reluctant Stevenson, and says he’s open to fighting Ward at 175, too.
4) Chad Dawson (27-394-394)
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 (18-18-75)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- KO2 Samuel Miller (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fonfara was being discussed as a possible alternative for Kovalev if Stevenson fell through, but apparently there are now active discussions for him to fight Stevenson, instead.
6) Tony Bellew (18-114-114)
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.  Cleverly seems like a natural opponent there, since he’s moving up as well.  Both men are interested.
7) Gabriel Campillo (18-182-182)
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 (18-225-225)
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 (18-202-202)
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 (18-38-98)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD8 Michael Gbenga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Jürgen Brähmer (1-87)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD12 Marcus Oliveira (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Braehmer now has an alphabet title.  The rather abysmal rankings of that organization would suggest that guys like Mohammedi and Eleider Alvarez are at the top of the heap to challenge for that.
12) Cornelius White (1-105)
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.
13) Karo Murat (8-8)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- L (UD12) vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Cedric Agnew (8-36)
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 (8-23)
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 (8-59)
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 (8-25)
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 (8-47)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- UD10 Edison Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/18/2013- vs. #6 SMW Thomas Oosthuizen
Alvarez-Oosthuizen appears to be a go for the Bute-Pascal undercard.
19) Dmitry Sukhotsky (4-4)
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 (4-18)
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: Nothing.

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