Super Middleweight: 2014, Apr 21-27

Wednesday saw two top 50 fighters in super middleweight action in Santa Monica, California.  Louis Rose knocked out unproven fellow one-loss prospect Emanuel Ledezma in the final round of an eight rounder.  Unfortunately I have no more detail than that, since there was no video available at press time.  The fight was contested less than a pound over the middleweight limit.  


In other non-televised action on the same card, #7 Middleweight Hassan N’Dam also saw action at 168 (I incorrectly identified it as a middleweight fight last week), winning a shutout decision unanimously over 10 rounds against solid Colombian journeyman Fulgencio Zuniga, despite reportedly tearing a bicep in the 4th.  There’s a highlight video on YouTube, but that’s all I could find.


Friday in Hammond, Indiana, gatekeeper Don George bounced back successfully from his brutal loss to Caleb Truax last year, returning from 10 months off to twice drop and eventually stop (in the final round of a 6-rounder) low-level journeyman Troy Lowry in what ended up being a light heavyweight fight.


Finally, undefeated 6’3″ English prospect Callum Smith looked sensational in destroying former French national middleweight champion Francois Bastient, who is really just a mid-level journeyman coming off two years of inactivity prior to his last fight.  Smith controlled distance when he chose, but also worked the body effectively and frequently, culminating in a devastating 3rd-round body shot that dropped Bastient.  The Frenchman got up (conveniently without his mouthpiece), but was in obvious agony.  This prompted his corner to throw in the towel just before the referee waved the fighters back to action.


None of the 4 top 50 operators in action this week was in with a peer, and thus no changes to the rankings this week.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (123-257-257)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward is being targeted by at least some on Kovalev’s team.
1) Carl Froch (100-410-410)
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) Arthur Abraham (8-235-235)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- W (SD12) vs. #2 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: 5/3/2014- vs. Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Abraham will have a quick turn-around when he defends his newly-won belt against the mostly fraudulent Nikola Sjekloca on May 3 in Berlin.
3) Robert Stieglitz (8-243-243)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (SD12) vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
Sauerland prospect Tyron Zeuge has expressed interest in a fight with Stieglitz.
4) Mikkel Kessler (8-489-489)
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.
5) Brandon Gonzales (43-43-43)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #11 James DeGale
Gonzales’ elminator with DeGale is finally set, for May 31 in London, on the Froch-Groves undercard.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (30-151-199)
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 (24-24-69)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: 4/25/2014- vs. Richard Vidal (UNR)
Maderna apparently will fight low-level journeyman Richard Vidal in La Plata, Argentina on April 25.
8) George Groves (24-71-93)
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) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (8-8-8)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- UD10 #5 MW Bryan Vera
Next Fight: Unknown
Chavez is talking like he might not renew his Top Rank contract, which might put a proposed Golovkin fight in jeopardy- especially since he’s reportedly negotiating with the Showtime-friendly Al Haymon.
10) Bryan Vera (8-8-8)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Even in defeat, Vera has regained a ranking at 168 and is- at least temporarily- ranked in 2 divisions.   There are also credible-looking reports to the effect that he broke his left hand early in the fight, for what it’s worth.
11) James DeGale (8-132)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- TKO11 Gevorg Khatchikian (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #5 Brandon Gonzales
See Gonzales’ notes, above.
12) Christopher Rebrasse (8-46)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- TKO4 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse now has two dominant wins over what was a top 10 contender the first time around.  He didn’t need the judges to notice the second time.
13) Sakio Bika (8-368)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After initially granting Julio Cesar Chavez the spot, the WBC has now made James DeGale the mandatory after it appeared Chavez would likely look at a different opportunity.  That may also have gone by the wayside by now, as DeGale is fighting Brandon Gonzales for a shot at the IBF title.
14) Maxim Vlasov (8-76)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD8 Derrick Findley (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vlasov looked very good against Findley, but he’ll need to schedule a fight at Super Middleweight before May 5 and make weight in order to keep his ranking, since he hasn’t made the divisional limit since November 2012.
15) Edwin Rodriguez (8-66)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was briefly scheduled to fight Marcus Johnson on May 24, but Johnson withdrew.
16) Gilberto Ramirez (2-12)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- TKO5 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ramirez says he’d like to fight Sakio Bika.
17) Ryota Murata (2-35)
Last Fight: 2/22/2014- TKO4 Carlos Nascimento (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/22/2014- vs. Jesus Angel Nerio (UNR)
Murata will stay busy in Kyoto on May 22 with Mexican journeyman Jesus Angel Nerio.
18) Anthony Dirrell (2-20)
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).
19) Hadillah Mohoumadi (2-60)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Caleb Truax (2-2)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown


The Week Ahead: 
#4 MW Martin Murray vs. Ishmael Tetteh; Kempton Park, South Africa; Premier (South Africa)
Murray takes a second consecutive tune-up-type fight at super middleweight.  The first one didn’t go very well, as he narrowly got the nod from the ref and sole judge in a fight he very well might have lost against journeyman Sergey Khomitsky.  Tetteh is significantly less of a threat.  He always loses to any fighter proven on any level, and in December he was even stopped by a very low-level journeyman who’d proven nothing to that point.


#7 Ezequiel Maderna vs. Richard Vidal; La Plata, Argentina; TyC Sports (ARG)
Maderna is an underrated contender who probably deserved a draw or better in fights with both Oosthuizen and Edwin Rodriguez.  Vidal is a low-level journeyman from Uruguay.


#17 MW Andrey Merysasev vs. Carlos Baldomir; Kanasin, Mexico; Boytsovskiy Klub (Russia)
Meryasev is another ranked middleweight taking a fight at 168 this week.  He’s early in his career, but he’s been impressive so far.  Baldomir is a former welterweight champion, who is long past it, not to mention fairly fat at 168.  Meryasev appears to have only average power, but I still see this as a knockout waiting to happen.

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