Heavyweight: 2014, Apr 14-20

Another relatively busy week led off on Friday with what turned out to be similar to a generic form of Ambien.  And no, nobody got put to sleep in the ring.  It was simply a sleep-inducing performance by both Konstantin Airich and Christian Hammer.  Hammer appears to have decent physical tools, and certainly has a marketable name, but he was less than scintillating in his decision victory (the scores weren’t announced, nor are they available on Boxrec) over Airich.  Shopworn veteran journeyman Airich- the shorter man- clearly won the second round, and backed up and probably hurt Hammer in the last round, but overall he was passive and seemed resigned to a decision loss.  Hammer probably wasn’t in top shape, as his output was fairly low, even while he was dominating.  He also didn’t sit down on what looked like they could have been devastating punches, if thrown with better technique and conviction.  Nevertheless, Hammer moves along, while Airich fades further into obscurity.

 

The following night in Bonn, Germany, Lebanese-German prospect Manuel Charr got the best win of his career by walking down and outpointing gatekeeper Kevin Johnson over 10 rounds.  Johnson boxed effectively at times- particularly in the first few rounds of the fight, but in the long run he was unable to hold off the constant pressure of Charr, who had him on the ropes frequently.  I had it 98-92 Charr, and 2 of the 3 judges agreed, with the third having it a round closer, which is reasonable.

 

Meanwhile, in Esbjerg, Denmark, 2-loss prospect David Price got yet another scare- losing the first two rounds and getting dropped in the first against Czech journeyman Ondrej Pala.  He didn’t appear to enjoy the idea of a third loss, though, and quickly dispatched Pala with 2 single right hands, scoring two knockdowns in quick succession and ending the fight.  

 

Eddie Chambers also snuck in some late-breaking action in London, stopping the comically bad (5-39-4) Moses Matovu in 70 seconds in the most obvious stay-busy fight since perhaps Chambers’ last fight against 9-45-6 Tomas Mrazek.  Don’t strain yourself, Eddie.

 

Are you randomly wondering how premature Manuel Charr’s ill-fated September 2012 shot at Vitali Klitschko really was?  Well, you’re in luck, because I’m gonna tell you.  Very premature.  Charr hadn’t beaten anyone even arguably within the top 50 at that point.  He did so (emphasis on the arguably) in his next fight, for the first time, against Konstantin Airich, and only now- 18 months later- does he beat his first clearly top-50 fighter.  Again, to highlight just how premature the opportunity really was: even now that he’s at a much higher level of achievement than he was back then, Charr still barely cracks the top 30 with the Johnson win.  Perhaps more importantly, though, he’s reinvigorated his career, and is back on track as a serious prospect.  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 (251-464-464)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- UD12 #3 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. #16 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) Tyson Fury (9-9-9)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- TKO4 Joey Abell (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #6 Dereck Chisora
Fury-Chisora has been made.  July 26, in Manchester.  The winner will become one of Wlad’s mandatories.
2) Vyacheslav Glazkov (5-5-69)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD12 #4 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
3) Alexander Povetkin (5-338-338)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin declined an opportunity to fight undefeated Cuban prospect Luis Ortiz for a “regular” title that would have set him up for an eventual rematch for the real title.
4) Amir Mansour (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery L (UD10) vs. #4 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham had the more sympathetic story and a legitimately great comeback attempt, but Mansour had the better collection of rounds legitimately won.  Mansour was robbed even though the fight was close, and deserves Cunningham’s former position in the rankings for his effort.
5) Kubrat Pulev (9-102-179)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pulev dominated Perkovic, a low-level journeyman who took the fight on roughly a day or two’s notice.  He’s now back in the position to wait for a Klitschko shot.
6) Dereck Chisora (9-124-187)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #1 Tyson Fury
See Fury’s notes, above.
7) Steve Cunningham (2-69-69)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery W (UD10) vs. Amir Mansour (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I hope you’ll all pray for his daughter to recover from her life-threatening health condition, and the guy had guts to come back from the 2 knockdowns.  But he didn’t win the fight.
8) Tony Thompson (2-4-203)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- W* (SD12) vs. #8 Odlanier Solis
Next Fight: Unknown
Thompson has been on a pretty decent run in the past couple years, and he might be at his highest point since his first fight with Wlad after getting a questionable win in a very close fight with Solis.  He has called out Tyson Fury, though the timing for that is a bit odd.
9) Tomasz Adamek (2-208-208)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- L (UD12) vs. #18 Vyacheslav Glazkov
Next Fight: Unknown
I’d have to think Adamek would at least consider retirement after being brutalized for 12 rounds by a guy that had looked like he might top out around the top 15.  He’s recently announced his candidacy for the European parliament elections in May, so that may be a sign that he’s leaning that direction.
10) Odlanier Solis (2-56-203)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
The Solis haters are out in force, claiming a clear loss in a fight that Solis deserved to win.  You might not like his physique or his training habits or his style, but if he outfights the other guy, he still deserves to be respected as a winner at least as much as a disappointment.  A loss to Thompson is not that embarrassing, especially when you ought to have won it.
11) Carlos Takam (2-13)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #11 Mike Perez
Next Fight: Unknown
Takam has been called in to spar with Tyson Fury.  Good call.  He’s about as close to Chisora as you can get.
12) Bermane Stiverne (2-59)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12 #15 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: 5/10/2014- vs. #13 Chris Arreola
ESPN has landed the fight- their biggest score in a while on that front.  May 10 in Los Angeles.
13) Chris Arreola (2-32)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- TKO1 #12 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: 5/10/2014- vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
14) Deontay Wilder (2-51)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 #19 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown
With the win over Scott, Wilder appears poised to fight the Stiverne-Arreola winner for an alphabet title and probably near-universal recognition as the best American heavyweight.
15) Erkan Teper (2-33)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO1 Martin Rogan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
16) Alex Leapai (2-21)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- UD10 #20 Denis Boytsov
Next Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Leapai-Klitschko is done for April 26 in Germany.
17) Andy Ruiz (2-21)
Last Fight: 11/24/2013- RTD3 Tor Hamer (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/17/2014- vs. Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Ruiz was scheduled to fight on the Marquez-Alvarado undercard on May 10, but has been bumped back a week to a fight in Fresno against Manuel Quezada.
18) Seth Mitchell (2-45)
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.
19) Johnathon Banks (2-6)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Francesco Pianeta (2-5)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO2 Robert Teuber (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:
Wednesday
Charles Martin vs. Alexander Flores; Santa Monica, California; Off TV
Martin and Flores are both undefeated prospect, and both are close to top 50 level, give or take.  Martin comes from St. Louis and is now based near L.A.  Flores is a California native and most likely the local favorite.  He also has the cleaner record of the two, having won all but two of his fights by knockout, including each of his last 10.  Martin has flashed similar power, earning a stoppage in 13 of his 15 wins, but he did have to settle for a draw with a bad fighter in a 4-rounder last year.  The best mark (based on Boxrec rankings) on each man’s resume were similarly-ranked mid-level journeymen.  Martin won a 6 round decision at that level, while Flores scored an 8-round TKO.  Any way you slice it, it’s a pick ’em fight, though if you split enough hairs, I think you have to make Flores the slight favorite despite his slightly lower ranking.  Regardless of who wins, that guy will become a top prospect instantly.  The fight and the deep and excellent card it’s part of, is not televised.  Hopefully it ends up on YouTube at some point.

 

Friday
Maurice Harris vs. Andrey Fedosov; Hammond, Indiana; Off TV
Another potentially significant off-TV heavyweight fight.  Harris is a 38 year-old American gatekeeper who has lost 3 of his last 4 and 4 of his last 6 against mostly solid competition.  Fedosov is a Hollywood-based 3-loss journeyman from Russia who is looking to jump-start his career after a stoppage loss to Bryant Jennings last year stalled his bid to get into the top 50, himself.
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