Super Middleweight: 2014, Feb 17-23

Paris played host on Saturday to a pretty major upset.  One-loss French prospect Samy Anouche was probably leading by 1-3 points going into the 8th round of a 12-round fight with Dominican journeyman Mariano Hilario.  Hilario came in at 9-2, having never beaten anyone remotely established, and having lost to two complete nobodies back-to-back in 2012.  Through most of the fight, Hilario looked like he wanted to peck and poke while boxing on the outside, while Anouche looked to apply pressure.  Both guys had success in spots.  In the aforementioned 8th round, right after Anouche had his best round of the fight by beating Hilario from pillar to post in the 7th, southpaw Anouche threw a soft lead left hand which glanced off the hairline of Hilario, and was intended to set up what appeared to be a follow up right hook.  Hilario had other ideas.  He crouched down and leaned into a short right hand that connected with devastating precision as the Frenchman was still in the early stages of his own shot.  Anouche landed hard on his back, after having his head spun around exorcist-style.  A little wobbly at first, he managed to gain his feet by about the count of seven, and at least from the over the shoulder shot I saw, seemed to be reasonably steady and able to hold his hands up as instructed.  Unfortunately for him, veteran Italian referee Guido Cavalleri saw something in the eyes he didn’t like, and waved the bout off for a shocking TKO victory for the Spanish-based Domincan.


Hilario has put himself on the map, but given his history he’ll need at least another similar win or two to advance much past a mid-level gatekeeper.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (114-248-248)
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 (91-401-401)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #8 George Groves
There is talk of a record gate when Froch meets Groves in a highly anticipated rematch in a London soccer stadium at the end of May.
2) Robert Stieglitz (48-234-234)
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 (62-480-480)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler is reportedly discussing a return with Sauerland, but there is no obvious opponent available for him at present.
4) Arthur Abraham (40-226-226)
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 (34-34-34)
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 (21-142-190)
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 (15-15-60)
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 (15-62-84)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #1 Carl Froch
See Froch’s notes, above.
9) James DeGale (14-37-123)
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 (14-14-37)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- UD6 George Kandelaki (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/22/2014- vs. Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Rebrasse will get a March 22 rematch against Ndiaye that is hardly needed, as Rebrasse dominated the first fight on his way to being robbed.
11) Sakio Bika (14-359)
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 (15-67)
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 (15-57)
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 (21-40)
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 (3-3)
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 (3-26)
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 (3-11)
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 (3-51)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Caleb Truax (3-35)
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 (3-31)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 Rogelio Medina (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/28/2014- vs. Derek Edwards (UNR)
Jack will be on ShoBox at the end of the month against journeyman Derek Edwards, in what amounts to a tune-up for his eliminator against DeGale.


The Week Ahead: 
#16 Ryota Murata vs. Carlos Nascimento; Macau, China; UniMas (US)
Nascimento is a 36 year-old Brazilian who was at one point a 16-0 prospect, but has been a low-to-mid level journeyman ever since he started getting tested.  Murata is a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, and made waves in his first pro fight by beating Asia’s best middleweight.  Both guys should really be fighting at middleweight, and as I understand it, this fight will follow the pattern that Murata’s established by being contested just a pound or two over the middleweight limit.

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