Super Middleweight: 2014, Feb 3-9

Undefeated Mexican prospect Gilberto Ramirez blitzed #19 Don Mouton in the opening round of their scheduled 10 in Laredo, Texas on Saturday,  sending the frequently hard-luck fringe contender down twice in the first 90 seconds of the fight, whereupon referee Rafael Ramos quite prematurely stopped the fight.  Ramirez first maneuvered Mouton to the ropes and hit him with an impressive double right hand to knock his man through the ropes.  Despite being a bit hurt and somewhat entangled in the bottom rope, Mouton managed to gain his feet in time to continue, but Ramirez took advantage of his opponent’s compromised balance to make him take a seat with a heavy-handed straight right just a few seconds later.  Ramos ridiculously stopped it without a count.  Were Mouton’s legs all the way there?  No, they weren’t.  But Ramirez’s right hand was not a knockout blow.  Mouton was not in any danger health-wise, and so even if ultimately the ref might have legitimately determined that the fighter was not fit to continue, he absolutely should have given Mouton the 8 count to recover.  I suspect he’d have been able to continue, if so.


Despite that minor controversy, however, you could hardly have asked more of Ramirez’s performance.  With the caveat that Mouton weighed in at under 163 for the fight (Ramirez was 166), this was a win over a proven formidable player in this division, and thus Ramirez can’t help but earn a ranking.  That being said, there’ s a pretty good case to be made that Ramirez projects as a middleweight, which would make him one of four ranked fighters in this division that perhaps don’t really belong here, with Lee, Murata, and Traux being the others.  Perhaps it’s not entirely coincidence, then, that Ramirez debuts just behind Lee and just ahead of Murata at #15.  As for Mouton, he really can’t avoid a demotion, slipping below the guy he unquestionably deserved a win against last year in Anthony Dirrell, and thus out of the rankings.  Dirrell, without being stuck behind Mouton, is able to press a claim to an even higher ranking, since his overall resume- largely on the basis of his draw with Bika- is pretty clearly superior to those of Jack, Truax, and Mohoumadi.  He therefore gets a passive promotion to #17.  In the reshuffling, Murata slips a spot to #17, while Mohoumadi, Truax, and Jack each fall two places.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (112-246-246)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward says his manager is working on his next fight despite his lawsuit against promoter Dan Goossen.  He had indicated interest in Golovkin, but the Kazakh’s own trainer recently said his fighter is not ready for that fight.
1) Carl Froch (89-399-399)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: Unknown
In George Groves’ quest for a Froch rematch, he’s found an ally in the IBF, who recently mandated that the fight be staged within 90 days.  The two sides failed to agree to terms, but with bids having been held, Froch will get a whopping 85% of the purse.  Date and venue have still yet to be finalized, though May 31 in London looks like a good bet.
2) Robert Stieglitz (46-232-232)
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 (60-478-478)
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 (38-224-224)
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 (32-32-32)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #12 Maxim Vlasov
Gonzales and Vlasov have reached a deal for an eliminator to become Froch’s mandatory, but I haven’t been able to find a date yet.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (19-140-188)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen was yanked from his intended January 18 fight with Eleider Alvarez and released by his promoter after a bicycle accident and reportedly being hopelessly out of shape about 2 weeks before the fight.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (13-13-58)
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 (13-60-82)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
See Froch’s notes, above.
9) James DeGale (12-35-121)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Gevorg Khatchikian (UNR)
DeGale has been ordered to face Badou Jack for a shot at Bika’s alphabet belt.  Before that, he’ll fight undefeated Dutchman Gevorg Khatchikian on March 1 in Bristol.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (12-12-35)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- UD6 George Kandelaki (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse was apparently involved in a December 6 fight that was so under the radar that I missed it until two weeks after it happened.
11) Sakio Bika (12-357)
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.  In the meantime, machinations are underway for an eliminator between Jack and DeGale, with the winner to become his mandatory.  On Bika’s end, he’d like a unification with Froch.
12) Maxim Vlasov (13-65)
Last Fight: 12/5/2013- KO4 Maxell Taylor (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #5 Brandon Gonzales
Vlasov appears set for an IBF eliminator against Brandon Gonzales.  A deal has been reached, but no date has been reported.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (13-55)
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.  He’ll be on the shelf for a little while due to bone chip-removal surgery on his elbow in December.
 14) Andy Lee (19-38)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee is reportedly being considered for a shot at Gennady Golovkin on April 26.
15) Gilberto Ramirez (1-1)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO1 #19 Don Mouton
Next Fight: Unknown
Much like many of his peers in the 168 pound rankings, Ramirez might really be a middleweight, but nevertheless has a solid resume in this division.
16) Ryota Murata (1-24)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO8 Dave Peterson (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/22/2014- vs. Carlos Nascimento (UNR)
Murata is slated for a February 22 card in Macau against mediocre Brazilian journeyman Carlos Nascimento.
17) Anthony Dirrell (1-9)
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.  He’s called for a rematch (good idea) and a fight with Golovkin (bad idea).
18) Hadillah Mohoumadi (1-49)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Caleb Truax (1-33)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD12) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax may have been a little lucky to escape with a draw against Duran.  I agree with the decision, but it could only have tilted the other way if it tilted at all.
 20) Badou Jack (1-29)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 Rogelio Medina (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jack has been ordered to face DeGale for a shot at Bika.


The Week Ahead: The super middleweights take a break to watch the Olympics this week.

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