Light Heavyweight: 2014, Apr 7-13

What might have otherwise been a competitive fight in Rostock, Germany on Saturday was compromised by the utter destruction of Enzo Maccarinelli’s eye inside of one round by #12 Juergen Braehmer.  Maccarinelli’s defense was leaky as a sieve, and Braehmer scored at will.  Braehmer’s hands reaped grotesque swelling on Maccarinelli’s right eye just a matter of seconds before the end of the initial round, after the Welshman had opened a small cut over the German’s eye.  Maccarinelli still couldn’t break Braehmer’s rhythm in the second, as his eye ballooned to full closure.  In the third, though, he began to hold his own.  I don’t know if it was because Braehmer was focusing too intently on the eye as a target or if Maccarinelli’s own focus simply sharpened due to the dire straights in which he found himself.  But whatever the reason, Maccarinelli clearly won the 3rd, and I thought he may have edged both the fourth and the 5th, as well.  But having exhorted their charge to give everything he had in each of the rounds since the 3rd in hopes of scoring a stoppage, and seeing that his eye was in desperately bad shape, Maccarinelli’s trainer pulled the plug after the 5th, a decision the Welshman didn’t seem to mind too terribly much.  I must say that Maccarinelli’s corner let him down at least a little bit in one respect.  There was no endswell.  When the swelling needed initial treatment after the first, the best Maccarinelli’s corner could summon was a rag that I charitably assume was filled with ice.  Now I’m no cutman, so it is possible there’s a school of thought among such practitioners that holds an ice-filled rag in greater esteem than an endswell, but if that is true, I’ve never heard that opinion.  To the best of my knowledge, the lack of an endswell is a universal sign of unpreparedness.  I can’t say that an endswell could have controlled the swelling any better in this instance, but it would have been worth finding out.

 

The fight was essentially even in rounds, which means I wouldn’t want to go so far as to treat Braehmer’s win as the type of unequivocal triumph that other forms of stoppages would deserve.  In these instances, I’ve reserved by precedent the ability to differentiate cut/injury stoppages based on the course of the action.  For fights 4 rounds or longer, I look at the scorecards, artificially flip a round to the winner, and if that score favors the winner, I treat it as a decision win for the winner at the least.  If he was winning convincingly, I can treat it like a regular KO.  If he wasn’t winning even after the extra round is given him, I’m more likely to treat it as more of a non-event.  In this case, 2 of the 3 Maccarinelli rounds were toss-ups, and if one of them were flipped to Braehmer, he would have been ahead.  I’ll treat it similarly to a close decision win for the German.

 

Braehmer, if he ever beat a top 20 contender in the past 5 years, did so 4 1/2 years ago against Kuziemski.  He’s therefore unable to eclipse Isaac Chilemba, who has beaten a #16 in Edison Miranda and a #9 (or should have) in Tony Bellew.  As a result, there are no changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks   in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (83-83-83)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #15 Edwin Rodriguez (as SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kovalev’s promoter has zeroed in on the inactive Ward as an “inevitable” future opponent.
1) Adonis Stevenson (44-44-44)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO6 #6 Tony Bellew
Next Fight: 5/24/2014- vs. #6 Andrzej Fonfara
In something of a coup, Stevenson-Fonfara will be carried by Showtime.   This not only further diminishes HBO’s stable of top fighters, but also puts in serious doubt the plausibility of what appeared to be an upcoming megafight with Kovalev.
2) Bernard Hopkins (83-409-409)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Karo Murat (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/19/2014- vs. Beibut Shumenov (UNR)
Hopkins will fight Shumenov in mid-April at the D.C. Armory in Washington.
3) Jean Pascal (12-12-12)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- UD12 #16 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Bob Arum has floated the possibility of a July fight with Julio Cesar Chavez.  Perhaps toward that end, Pascal has split from his previous promoter, Yvon Michel.
4) Sergey Kovalev (12-64-64)
Last Fight: 3/29/2014- KO7 #15 Cedric Agnew
Next Fight: Unknown
Kovalev had some choice words for Stevenson after the Haitian defected to Showtime and, apparently, scuttled their much hyped matchup for later this year.  No news yet on what Kovalev’s next move will be after the development.
5) Chad Dawson (12-410-410)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L(TKO1) vs. SMW #6 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
Dawson has signed a deal with manager Al Haymon, which certainly brightens his career prospects.  He says he is interested in a Stevenson rematch.  Prospects for another occasionally-discussed rematch- with Jean Pascal- increased recently with word that Pascal’s trainer offered Dawson a contract.
6) Andrzej Fonfara (12-34-91)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- KO2 Samuel Miller (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/24/2014- vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
See Stevenson’s notes, above.
7) Tony Bellew (12-130-130)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO12 Valery Brudov (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bellew is campaigning at cruiserweight now, but he’ll keep his ranking here until he schedules a fight there for after November 30, or until after November 30 itself.  BJ Flores wants to fight him, but it sounds like he’ll fight Cleverly before the year is out.
8) Gabriel Campillo (12-198-198)
Last Fight: 8/16/2013- L (KO9) vs. #14 Andrzej Fonfara
Next Fight: 5/9/2014- vs. Ibrahim Lopez (UNR)
Campillo will reportedly fight unproven one-loss Spanish prospect Ibrahim Lopez on May 9 in Madrid.
9) Tavoris Cloud (12-241-241)
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.
10) Nathan Cleverly (12-218-218)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (TKO4) vs. #3 Sergey Kovalev
Next Fight: 5/17/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Cleverly’s cruiserweight debut is once again on the scheduled.  This time for May 17 in Cardiff.
11) Isaac Chilemba (12-114)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD10 Denis Grachev (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chilemba looked very very sharp in dominating a game Denis Grachev, and might soon be in line for a shot at Adonis Stevenson.
12) Jürgen Brähmer (12-103)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD5 Enzo Maccarinelli (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Braehmer certainly didn’t look spectacular after inflicting a gruesome eye injury on Maccarinelli, and the closeness of the fight thereafter has emboldened the Welshman to demand a rematch- one I, for one, would be interested to see.
13) Karo Murat (11-24)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- L (UD12) vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
Murat is a free agent after his contract with Sauerland recently expired.
14) Thomas Williams, Jr. (11-11)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- TKO1 #13 Cornelius White
Next Fight: Unknown
Williams has been well-matched against vulnerable guys with good resumes.
15) Cedric Agnew (12-52)
Last Fight: 3/29/2014- L (KO7) vs. #4 Sergey Kovalev
Next Fight: Unknown
After taking a risk against Kovalev and coming up short, I can only assume that his prospects for a regional title bout against Dudchenko and a IBF eliminator against Sukhotsky might both be out the window at least for the moment.
16) Edwin Rodriguez (12-39)
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.  Before that happens, he’ll need to recover from minor elbow surgery he had in December.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (24-41)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Cornelius White (11-121)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- L (TKO1) vs. Thomas Williams, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Never blessed with big-time promotional or managerial ties, White has risked becoming a permanent opponent with his last two losses.
19) Eleider Alvarez (11-63)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- UD10 Andy Gardiner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Alvarez may have been suffering from a letdown after Oosthuizen withdrew from what could have been the Colombian’s biggest fight ever, and almost let it effect him to the point of losing to an unheralded undefeated prospect in Gardiner.
20) Lucian Bute (11-75)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- L (UD12) vs. Jean Pascal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bute wants his contractually-guaranteed rematch with Pascal.  He recently parted ways with his long-time trainer.

 

The Week Ahead
Friday
Igor Mikhalkin vs. Mohamed Belkacem; Berlin, Germany; Eurosport
Mikhalkin is a one-loss Russian who has been defeated only by the solid Aleksy Kuziemsky in 2010.  He comes off a split decision over Doudou Ngumbu, who himself was fresh off an upset over Vyacheslav Uzelkoff.  Belkacem is a mid-level journeyman from Algeria who has lost 3 of his last 5, including close decisions to both Uzelkoff and Ngumbu.

 

Vyacheslav Uzelkoff vs. Geard Ajetovic; Brovari, Ukraine; Boytsovskiy Klub (Russia)
Uzelkoff is a Ukrainian gatekeeper who was once a top prospect.  He has been stumbling of late.  Ajetovic is a Serbian mid-level journeyman who at one point over 5 years ago could have been called something like a fringe contender, but since suffering his second loss to Daniel Geale in 2008, he’s lost as often as won, and hasn’t beaten anyone better than a low-level journeyman in that time span.

 

Oleksandr Cherviak vs. Artem Redko; Brovari, Ukraine; Off TV
Cherviak is a gatkeeper coming off a loss by TKO to fringe contender Nadjib Mohammedi after derailing the career of undefeated Dustin Dirks.  Redko is, well, merely an opponent.  He comes off back-to-back draws to low and lower-mid-level journeymen, followed by a 6 round destruction at the hands of Maxim Vlasov.  He already fought Cherviak once, though, in 2009, and lost a close decision.  For that reason and that reason alone, the fight has some intrigue.

 

Erik Skoglund vs. Danilo D’Agata; Esbjerg, Denmark; BoxNation (UK)
Skoglund is an undefeated Swede whose best wins thus far were so-so decisions over journeyman Lolenga Mock and untested undefeated prospect Luke Blackledge.  D’Agata of Sicily is a one-loss prospect, having lost a split decision to Orial Kolaj, a journeyman on a similar level to Mock, after having beaten the same fighter earlier in his career, and he’s never faced anyone else at that level or above.  Neither fighter has really excelled above the mid-level of journeyman/prospects, and so there is plenty of room to imagine different outcomes for this fight.  Skoglund has earned the right to be considered a mild or perhaps moderate favorite, though.  I’m not sure if this one will make the TV portion of the card.

 

Sean Monaghan vs. Joe McCreedy; Las Vegas, Nevada; Off TV
Monaghan is an undefeated prospect who has been featured on HBO pay-per-view undercards in the past, with hope that he would become the next Mickey Ward or perhaps Arturo Gatti.  This is because his style is fairly crude and aggressive.  Whether or not he has enough talent to really merit the kind of long-term TV exposure that could keep him in the limelight remains to be seen.   It won’t be seen- at least not too widely or clearly- on Saturday, for a couple reasons.  First, because McCreedy is a fairly low-level operator who shouldn’t be able to test a guy like Monaghan on any level.  Second, because the fight is not expected to be carried on the PPV broadcast this time around.
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