Heavyweight: 2014, Jan 27- Feb 2

In a Friday showcase fight in Indio, California that failed to make the televised FS1 card, undefeated prospect Gerald Washington took out sub-.500 journeyman Arron Lyons early in the 5th of a scheduled 8.  No major waves there.

 

David Price was supposed to fight Konstantin Airich on Saturday in Stuttgart.  Airich is a journeyman on the downside who had nevertheless enjoyed a stint as a notable gatekeeper fairly recently.  With the cancellation of that fight, Price had to settle for a relative walk in the park against lesser journeyman Istvan Ruzsinszky of Hungary.  He took care of business, stopping his man in the opening round.  That being said, to the extent you can look bad scoring a half-round knockout with a heavy knockdown involved, I think Price kinda did.  He looked very robotic and uncomfortable behind an awkward jab to begin the fight, though he did start leaning into his punches eventually, which is what led to the impressive 1-2 that dropped the Hungarian as if he’d been shot.  I’m probably being too hard on Price, who very likely was just being cautious and feeling his man out.  Another note before I move on: referee Jorg Milke botched his job, in my opinion.  The knockdown was impressive and heavy, no doubt.  But Ruzsinszky was up at 8, and to my eyes looked just fine.  Even if he hadn’t looked fine, Milke was already waving it off as the man was in the process of standing, having not wavered at all on his way up.  He didn’t look at the eyes or anything.  Obviously there was only going to be one winner of a fight like this, but you still can’t call it off any time you want like that if you’re a professional referee.

 

Last but not least, in what was by far the most consequential heavyweight action of the week, fringe contending unbeaten prospect Bryant Jennings notched the first truly significant win of his much-heralded career, making an impressive showing against power-punching fellow unbeaten Artur Szpilka of Poland in an HBO-televised bout from New York.  Szpilka put forth a very respectable effort, and did have some real success in the first 4- and especially the first 2- rounds, but ultimately didn’t have the physical presence over the long haul that Jennings brought to the table, with Jennings imposing his will on the Pole increasingly as the fight wore on.  Jennings showed impressive athleticism, and managed to be simultaneously disciplined and exciting in his work.  Up on the official cards by an 88-82 margin that I heartily agreed with, Jennings put the cherry on the top of a delicious performance with a stoppage in the final round of the scheduled 10, having already sent Szpilka to the canvas in the 6th.

 

With the win, Jennings has established himself as a legitimate fringe contender, but despite now having a good win, he still has yet to beat a truly proven opponent who isn’t totally shot, with Szpilka failing the former test.  As a result, he falls short of  the rankings by about 3 or 4 rungs.  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 (240-453-453)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- UD12 #3 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. #13 Alex Leapai
Klitschko-Leapai appears to be finalized for April 26 in Germany.  He said recently that he wants to capture his brother’s old alphabet title, which would unify all the major titles for the first time since Lewis in 1999.  He would have to wait for someone else to pick it up first, as the silly alphabets don’t let current titlists fight for vacant titles.
1) Alexander Povetkin (10-327-327)
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 expired on December 31, and he says he’ll announce his next move in early 2014.
2) Steve Cunningham (10-58-58)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD8 Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham had little trouble dominating a fading former gatekeeper in Quezada.
3) Tomasz Adamek (10-197-197)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/15/2014- vs. #18 Vyacheslav Glazkov
The rescheduled fight with Glazkov is now official for March 15.
4) Kubrat Pulev (10-91-168)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- TKO5 Joey Abell (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/5/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Pulev is back on the Braehmer card on April 5 in Rostock, Germany, but no opponent just yet.
5) Dereck Chisora (10-113-176)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO3 Ondrej Pala (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/15/2014- vs. Kevin Johnson (UNR)
After prospect Andriy Rudenko withdrew from their scheduled February 15 fight, Chisora replaced him with a better opponent in credible gatekeeper Kevin Johnson.
6) Odlanier Solis (10-45-192)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- TKO7 Yakup Saglam (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/22/2014- vs. #10 Tony Thompson
Solis was first set to fight Kevin Johnson.  But he backed out because the IBF wanted him to fight Takam.  But now word from Tony Thompson is that Solis will fight Thompson, instead, on March 22.
7) Carlos Takam (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #11 Mike Perez
Next Fight: Unknown
Takam clearly beat #11 Perez, and is ranked accordingly.
8) Bermane Stiverne (2-32-48)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12 #15 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Purse bids were cancelled as Stiverne and Arreola reached an agreement for their upcoming alphabet title fight, with April being targeted.
9) Chris Arreola (2-21-21)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- TKO1 #12 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
10) Tony Thompson (2-11-192)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- L (UD12) vs. #8 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: 3/22/2014- vs. #6 Odlanier Solis
Thompson says he’s fighting Odlanier Solis on March 22.
11) Erkan Teper (2-22)
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.
12) Deontay Wilder (10-40)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO4 Nicolai Firtha (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/15/2014- vs. #19 Malik Scott
Wilder will fight his close friend, Malik Scott, on March 15.
13) Alex Leapai (10-10)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- UD10 #20 Denis Boytsov
Next Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
It looks like Leapai-Klitschko is done for April 26 in Germany.
14) Robert Helenius (11-192)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W*(UD10) vs. Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
We finally have a bit of clarification on the Helenius-Sauerland situation.  Helenius says that when he signed a promotional contract with Sauerland in 2007, he had no representation and couldn’t even read it in German.  He is currently trying to get a Finnish court to allow him to fight in Finland, as he says Sauerland is blocking him from fighting now despite the fact that his health will now allow it.
15) Andy Ruiz (10-10)
Last Fight: 11/24/2013- RTD3 Tor Hamer (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ruiz is being targeted by Mike Perez.
16) Seth Mitchell (11-34)
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 (10-159)
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 (10-58)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Garrett Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/15/2014- vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek
Glazkov-Adamek is back on, for March 15, after the first attempt was cancelled due to an Adamek illness.
19) Malik Scott (10-49)
Last Fight: 7/20/2013- L (KO6*) vs. #8 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: 3/15/2014- vs. #12 Deontay Wilder
See Wilder’s notes, above.
20) Johnathon Banks (10-63)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Banks is 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: 
Saturday
Andrzej Wawrzyk vs. Danny Williams; Opole, Poland; Polsat Sport (Poland)
Wawrzyk is a one-loss Polish fringe prospect who should have at least two losses to go with his weak chin and poor reflexes, but there’s an excellent chance he will have little trouble with totally shot English former contender Danny Williams, who has lost 11 of his last 12 against less than stellar opposition, and last beat a worthwhile opponent in 2009.
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