Super Middleweight: 2014, May 5-11

Undefeated prospect Jonathan Gonzalez got yet another close and/or controversial result to add to his resume on Thursday in an ESPN2-televised bout from Hialeah, Florida.  Gonzalez, who looked fairly fleshy at super middle, was nevertheless the more effective puncher, shot for shot.  But his opponent- tough Mexican journeyman Rogelio “Porky” Medina (the far less porky of the two, in reality)- vastly outworked the Puerto Rican prospect, though his punches did tend to slap a bit.  I had it 95-95, and I could easily have seen up to two rounds flipping in either direction.  It was about as close as it gets.  All of the judges turned in what I thought were reasonable cards, with the result being a split decision in favor of Gonzalez.  

 

Saturday in Berlin, #2 Arthur Abraham won a decision that was evidently more comfortable on the cards than it was in his own body.  Abraham got a spirited effort early from his fairly unworthy challenger, Montenegro’s Nikola Sjekloca, who put together scattered combinations with enough frequency to grab a few rounds, give or take, from the notoriously slow-starting Armenian.  Abraham said after the fight that his fingers were already damaged at the start of the fight, and that the use of his right hand was limited even in training.  He claims to have broken the hand completely a little more than halfway through the fight.  I didn’t notice a real difference in his use of the right until the 12th, when he clearly only threw it about twice.  Abraham blames the hand for the fight being “so close” (one judge had it 116-113, and another 116-112).  I didn’t think it was all that close, with Abraham actually pulling away effectively down the stretch, despite the hand problems.  My card was 117-111.  I thought the 116-113 card by Andre Van Grootenbruel was a shade too close to be considered fully reasonable, as I think he gave Abraham both of the toss-up rounds and also called a pretty clear Abraham round even.  But the real nasty card of the night was courtesy of Russia’s Viktor Panin, who is apparently as bad a judge as he proved himself to be as a referee in the Avanesyan-Mabuza fight recently.  He had it 119-110, which is just plain out of bounds.

 

J’Leon Love once again had his hands full in the PPV opener for Mayweather-Maidana on Saturday.  He was in with Mexican prospect Marco Antonio Periban, who took Sakio Bika to life-and-death territory in a loss last year.  Love was able to break Periban’s nose about the end of round 1, but was dominated in rounds 3-5, and nearly got stopped in the 5th by taking a barrage on the ropes after being hurt by a Periban right hand, in a round in which he was also dropped.  Perhaps affected by the nose and resulting difficulty breathing, Periban seemed unwilling to press the issue after the 5th, and Love was able to clearly win 4 of the last 5 rounds.  I had it 95-94 for Love, in the end.  That being said, the only round that I found tough to score was the 2nd, which I gave narrowly to Love.  This means that appropriate scores, in my view, could only have ranged between 95-94 Love and 95-94 Periban.  Glen Trowbridge’s card was a clear round too wide at 96-93 Love.  Lisa Giampa’s was a complete joke at 97-92, while David Sutherland’s would have been potentially decent if it had only made numerical sense.  He had it 96-93, which means there was either a math error, or he gave somebody a 10-8 round in addition to that earned by Periban in the 5th- something that would not be remotely defensible.  The judges’ dereliction is nothing but needless controversy in a fight that I did think Love won, narrowly but legitimately.

 

Despite the closeness of his victory, Love’s performance does get him established at about the fringe contender level.  He doesn’t quite have enough steam, when coupled with at best indifferent performances against Rosado and Derrick Findley in the past, to crack the top 20 just yet.  No changes, as there is no quantity of Sjekloca-level wins that would propel Abraham past Froch.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (125-259-259)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward lost an arbitration with his promoter, but it sounds like the rift between the two is far from solved.
1) Carl Froch (102-412-412)
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 (10-237-237)
Last Fight: 5/3/2014- UD12 Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abraham might be on the shelf for a little while, after reporting a broken hand against Sjekloca.  When he comes back, he says he would like a rematch with Andre Ward.
3) Robert Stieglitz (10-245-245)
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 (10-491-491)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Sauerland has announced a press conference to make a major announcement regarding Kessler’s future.  Stay tuned for the results next week.
5) Brandon Gonzales (45-45-45)
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 (32-153-201)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: Unknown
Apparently Oosthuizen and his once and future promoter Rodney Berman have mended fences.  His future still appears to lie at light heavyweight.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (26-26-71)
Last Fight: 4/25/2014- TKO3 Richard Vidal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna stayed busy in impressive fashion against Vidal.
8) George Groves (26-73-95)
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. (10-10-10)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- UD10 #5 MW Bryan Vera
Next Fight: Unknown
Chavez has balked at a proposed Top Rank extension, and the delay has left Golovkin- his proposed opponent- looking elsewhere.
10) Bryan Vera (10-10-10)
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 (10-134)
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 (10-48)
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 (10-370)
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 (10-78)
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 (10-68)
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 (4-14)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- TKO5 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ramirez is pencilled in to return on the Chavez-Golovkin undercard, assuming that fight is made.
17) Ryota Murata (4-37)
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 (4-22)
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 (4-62)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Caleb Truax (4-4)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Saturday
Vincent Feigenbutz vs. Chris Mafuta; Karlsruhe, Germany; TV Unknown
Feigenbutz is a Karlsruhe native who has won all but one of his fights, and all but one of those via knockout in three rounds or less.  His one loss was a head-scratcher TKO in 2012 against a guy making his pro debut, whose record currently sits at just 3-2-1.  But since then, he’s been destroying legit prospects.  Mafuta is a low or perhaps lower-mid-level journeyman, originally from Congo.  He poses no threat if Feigenbutz is in anything like top form.

 

Maciej Sulecki vs. Nicolas Dion; Brodnica, Poland; Polsat Sport (Poland)
Sulecki is an undefeated Polish prospect with a pretty decent apparent upside.  Dion is a prospect from France who, like Feigenbutz above, had a loss in his 2nd fight in 2012.  Unlike Feigenbutz’s conqueror, however, Dion’s nemesis remains undefeated to this day.  Pretty interesting clash, I must say.
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