Heavyweight: 2014, Apr 28- May 4

The Champ got one of his easier title defenses on Saturday in Oberhausen, Germany, stopping Australia-based Samoan upstart Alex Leapai in 5, having encountered very little resistance on the way.  Leapai was trying to work his way in a little bit in the first round, but simply lacked the talent to do so.  He paid for the little boldness he showed with a clean knockdown, and was apparently completely domesticated by the experience.  If it was survival mode he was aiming for, however, he did a terrible job of that, as well.  After the first round, he basically just hung around in prime punching range for the rangy Klitsckho, allowing the Champion to punish him more and more with each passing round.  It was the most non-competitive of many non-competitive fights, or perhaps second only to the Mormeck whitewash.

 

Lucas Browne won the Commonwealth title with a knockout over high-level Quebec journeyman Eric Martel Bahoeli Saturday in Sheffield, England.  Browne is simultaneously everything we love and everything we hate about today’s heavyweight boxing.  He’s got raw power of legendary proportions, and can seemingly knock anyone out if he can get a shot in.  But the guy is clearly not committed to becoming a champion or even a true professional.  From all appearances, he hasn’t bothered to develop any boxing skill whatsoever.  I mean not even enough to pass a test of basic competency.  He looks like just some big strong dude from the street got hired to fight for one night.  Literally the only times that Bahoeli didn’t look like Mohammed Ali by comparison was when he was hurt or on the canvas.  Luckily for Browne, that was enough.  Browne admitted after the fight that he relies on his power, but also said that his fitness and technique are getting better.  I’ve only seen him a couple times, and in fairness he did look better overall against a gun-shy Richard Towers, but it’s terrifying, if this is what progress looks like, to imagine the fitness and technique of Browne when making his debut 5 years ago.  The wasted potential is immense.  The guy has the raw power of a prime David Tua or Sam Peter, but he’s also tall enough at 6’4″ to avoid being automatically held at bay by the 6’6″+ champion and others like him.  My advice to Browne, as if it means anything, would be NOT to rely on your power.  You say your fitness and technique is getting better, but you need to truly commit.  The gut is not helping anything.  As he said in the same interview, his power will always be there…but if he can gain some semblance of learned skill, it will allow him to deliver that power against real contenders, something I very much doubt he could consistently do now.  And with the level of fitness that would come with simply treating his body like that of an athlete, he could afford to let his bombs fly more than once every round or two.  

 

One story is that I’ve skipped so far is that Browne was badly cut in the 3rd from an accidental clash of heads.  The fight was at risk of being stopped at any moment, and frankly it was looking as if the smart thing for Browne to do at the point in the 4th in which the doctor was taking a serious look would have been to beg out of the fight and sneak away with a no contest.  The fight was clearly even after three, and Bahoeli had been controlling the 4th to that point.  But to his credit, Browne realized the urgency, and rather than quitting, he determined to win the fight.  He summoned a burst of aggression, and dropped the Quebec fighter for the second time in the fight, giving himself a two point working margin heading into the 5th round of a fight that could be stopped at any moment.  Not content to rest on that lead for a moment, he came out and ended it with a continued assault in the 5th.  Bahoeli appeared overwhelmed, and was ready to submit at that point, and stayed down for the count.  Nevertheless, his stock may have gone up in the fight, if only because of the exposure and the fact that he outboxed Browne for perhaps the majority of the fight.

 

Obviously Wlad retains his crown.  Leapai doesn’t lose any ground.  He looked awful, granted, but I don’t rate based on aesthetics.  The truth is, a TKO5 loss to Klitschko is probably about the best that most would-be #16 contenders could ever hope for.  Despite the wipeout, he hardly proved himself any less worthy than those behind him, who would likely suffer a similar fate.  As for Browne, he’s now beaten his 3rd top 50 fighter (though none were much better than just that), and that quantity is enough for him to graduate to the fringe contender level, aka the top 25 in my parlance.  I’ve got him unofficially at #25 even.  No changes to the top 20, though.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (253-466-466)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- TKO5 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: Unknown
Klitschko easily handled Leapai, and it seems he’ll probably get his long-delayed mandatory with Pulev next.
1) Tyson Fury (11-11-11)
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 (7-7-71)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD12 #4 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
Glazkov reports that negotiations for a fight with Povetkin have failed, and that Povetkin would likely be fighting Manuel Charr, instead.
3) Alexander Povetkin (7-340-340)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
See Glazkov’s notes, above.
4) Amir Mansour (4-4-4)
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 (11-104-181)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s sounding increasingly likely that Pulev will get a long awaited shot at Klitschko next.
6) Dereck Chisora (11-126-189)
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 (4-71-71)
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 (4-6-205)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- W* (SD12) vs. #8 Odlanier Solis
Next Fight: 6/6/2014- vs. #11 Carlos Takam
Thompson- no stranger to the road- will visit France for a fight with tough customer Carlos Takam on June 6.
9) Tomasz Adamek (4-210-210)
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 (4-58-205)
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 (4-15)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #11 Mike Perez
Next Fight: 6/6/2014- vs. #8 Tony Thompson
See Thompson’s notes, above.
12) Bermane Stiverne (4-61)
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 (4-34)
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 (4-53)
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.  If that falls through for some reason, Andy Ruiz wants to step in to fight him.
15) Erkan Teper (4-35)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO1 Martin Rogan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
16) Alex Leapai (4-23)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Eh…nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose.
17) Andy Ruiz (4-23)
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 (4-47)
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 (4-8)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Francesco Pianeta (4-7)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO2 Robert Teuber (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/30/2014- vs. Mickael Vieira (UNR)
Pianeta makes his 2014 debut in Dresden on May 30 against lower-mid-level journeyman Mickael Vieira of France.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:
Wednesday
Kyotaro Fujimoto vs. Nobuhiro Ishida; Tokyo, Japan; TV Unknown
Fujimoto is a shaky-looking top 50 fighter, but has cobbled together enough journeyman wins to claim that status on boxrec, at least.  If Ishida, who is moving up drastically in weight from his last fight at middleweight, is ever going to beat a top 50 heavyweight, he could scarcely have picked a better opportunity.  Fujimoto is the Japanese champion, though for some reason this is an 8 round non-title fight.  I’m almost certain this is the first heavyweight fight I’ve ever reported on between two Japanese fighters, and to the best of my admittedly limited knowledge on this particular subject, this might be the most important fight ever contested between to Japanese heavyweight boxers.  Besides moving up to a nearly unprecedented degree, Ishida also hasn’t had much success recently in his career.  Nevertheless, his upset knockout of James Kirkland a few years ago still gives him enough quality on his resume to be ranked in the top 25 middleweights currently.  It’s a big projection, but I would say that makes him a top 50 heavyweight too, give or take.
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