Super Middleweight: 2014, Apr 28- May 4

#4 Middleweight Martin Murray took his second consecutive stay-busy fight at super middleweight (the first of which he arguably lost), making his debut for his new South African promoter in that country on Wednesday.  Murray didn’t exactly light the world on fire, but most likely won every round in fairly pedestrian fashion against low-level Ghanaian journeyman Ishmael Tetteh, who quit for no apparent reason after 6 rounds.  I’m not sure how much criticism Murray deserves in this instance for not looking sensational against such an easy opponent.  After all, he seldom looks sensational even at his best.  He neutralizes the opposition with a tight guard, and does just enough catch-and-shoot counterpunching to outpoint his man.  That’s more or less what he did to Tetteh.  With Murray failing to really put on a show, we at least got a little bit of comic relief from the quirky Ghanaian, who apparently told the broadcast team that he is better than Azumah Nelson.  Well, Ghanaian Hall of Famer Nelson is almost 56 years old, so I guess it might be close at this point, especially if Nelson spots Tetteh the 24 pound weight difference in Tetteh’s favor, prime for prime.  To put this in perspective, Tetteh currently has a total of 5 boxrec rankings points, which is just over 1% as many as Murray, and his career high number of 23 from back in 2007 is right at about 2% of Nelson’s career high total.  Not only that, but Tetteh appropriated Roy Jones, Jr.’s entire name as his announced ring nickname.  That’s right.  Ishmael “Roy Jones, Jr.” Tetteh.  He should try changing it to “The Identity Thief.”  Or, if he insists on using the full name of another fighter, maybe he could switch to “Victor Ortiz,” considering how easily he gave up in the fight.  Yeah, I know…ouch.

 

One fighter that did look good at 168 this week was #7 Ezequiel Maderna, who used his long arms to devastating effect in a variety of ways in a Friday fight from La Plata, Argentina.  His opponent, Richard Vidal of Uruguay, was roughly comparable in overall quality to Tetteh, but is at least a naturally bigger man than the Ghanaian.  Maderna peppered Vidal with long-range 1-2 combos, whip-like body shots, and the odd uppercut just for good measure.  Maderna has one of the more complete arsenals in the sport, bar none, and is probably among the game’s most underrated contenders.  That being said, he didn’t do anything we wouldn’t expect and possibly demand of him against a guy on Vidal’s level.

 

The same night in a small outdoor venue in Kanasin, Mexico, undefeated #17 middleweight Andrey Meryasev of Russia dominated a flabby, slow, but incredibly durable Carlos Baldomir for 10 rounds.  Baldomir hadn’t been in the ring since September 2012, and it probably should have stayed that way.  Baldomir, it’s incredible to think, was the Welterweight Champion of the World 7 1/2 years ago before Floyd took that title from him.  Since then, his skills and career have been on a steady decline, even as his weight has steadily ballooned.  I do have to give the old man credit on some level.  Not only did he keep himself upright for the full 10 rounds despite being visibly out of shape, but he actually never appeared hurt in the fight, despite being in with a guy with the style of a puncher, and a respectable KO percentage, as well.  Meryasev helped him out a bit in that respect, though, as he seldom put his punches together.  This was actually the first Meryasev fight I’ve seen, and although I’m certain he won every round of a fight in which the scorecards were not announced, I can’t say I’m particularly impressed by his performance.  In case you were keeping track, it appears that Baldomir’s head has actually grown since the days in which he appeared to have merely double the intracranial volume of Mayweather.

 

No changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (124-258-258)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward says he’s asked his promoter for a fight, even as the two hash out a lawsuit.
1) Carl Froch (101-411-411)
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 (9-236-236)
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 (9-244-244)
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 (9-490-490)
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 (44-44-44)
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 (31-152-200)
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 (25-25-70)
Last Fight: 4/25/2014- TKO3 Richard Vidal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna stayed busy in impressive fashion against Vidal.
8) George Groves (25-72-94)
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. (9-9-9)
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 (9-9-9)
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 (9-133)
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 (9-47)
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 (9-369)
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 (9-77)
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 (9-67)
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 (3-13)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- TKO5 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ramirez says he’d like to fight Sakio Bika and Chavez.
17) Ryota Murata (3-36)
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 (3-21)
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 (3-61)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Caleb Truax (3-3)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Thursday
Jonathan Gonzalez vs. Rogelio Medina; Hialeah, Florida; ESPN2 (US)
Gonzalez is an undefeated prospect with inconsistent efforts and weight issues in his past.  He gets often dangerous veteran Mexican journeyman Rogelio “Porky” Medina on a Thursday night edition of Friday Night Fights in Miami-adjacent Hialeah, Florida.

 

Saturday
#2 Arthur Abraham vs. Nikola Sjekloca; Berlin, Germany; ARD (Germany)
For a guy that has been publicly discredited as a top contender at least 3 different times, Abraham is sure in a nice position.  He’s obviously not the terrifying puncher he once was, but he has perhaps evolved as a boxer to some extent.  Sjekloca keeps getting bites at the apple despite having fallen short even, some would say, in his only two significant wins.  This shouldn’t be one of Abraham’s tougher fights, but it’s hard to see what good options he has now that the Super Six is long over and he’s being fed essentially European-level opposition.  He’s lost to Ward and Froch already, and has won the trilogy with Stieglitz.  I guess a Kessler fight would be worthy if the Dane decides to renew his career at some stage.

 

Marco Antonio Periban vs. J’Leon Love; Las Vegas, Nevada; Showtime PPV (US)
An interesting and potentially even match-up on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard.  The winner most likely earns a ranking.  I’d make Periban the favorite, since he’s fought on even terms with the well-proven Bika, while Love has struggled at nearly every turn since he stepped up even to the upper level of non-top-50 journeymen.
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