Super Middleweight: 2014, May 12-18

Last week I reported that Vincent Feigenbutz has one all but one of his fights, and all but one of those by knockout.  Now I see both why he lost essentially to a random, and why he gets KOs.  The dude flings himself pretty much body and soul into every punch, leaving himself hilariously out of position for incoming counters, if only the opponent has the will and the accuracy to find him.  This opponent, Congolese journeyman Chris Mafuta, did not.  Feigenbutz dropped him hard in the first and pummelled him all over the ring in the 2nd, causing the ref to end it early.


In a much more competitive fight, unbeaten Polish prospect Maciej Sulecki got all he could handle from rugged- dare I say Mexican-style- Frenchman Nicolas Dion in a battle of European prospects in Brodnica, Poland.  Unfortunately the judging reflected the fact that it was, in fact, in Brodnica, Poland.  Sulecki, it was apparent from the opening bell, was the far more athletic, in shape, and talented of the two fighters, and he announced that with a thud relatively early in the first round, dropping the Frenchman rather heavily.  But as the rounds wore on, Dion kept plowing forward, often pinning Sulecki against the ropes, and just generally working non-stop.  Sulecki, for his part, seemed to get caught trying to look good as opposed to throwing punches.  I don’t want to knock him too much.  He wasn’t posing Adrien Broner style, but he was often standing in front, moving his head, turning his man, and all the other things that a good slick boxer is able to do.  The only problem is that he didn’t always punch off that work, and kept his hands at home too much while displaying his qualities.  Not that he was extraordinarily inactive, either.  He just didn’t quite rise to activity level of his opponent as often as you’d like from a rising prospect like Sulecki.  I had it all even at 94-94 (six rounds to four for Dion, with Sulecki scoring the knockdown in the first and I guess a standing 8 count in the 10th when he had almost stopped Dion).  Sulecki pretty clearly won rounds 6 and 7 to go with his two 10-8 rounds, while Dion won the others clearly with the exception of the 5th, which I thought could have gone either way, but which I gave to Dion.  So maybe Sulecki did just enough.  What he did NOT do was win it by 10, 8, or even 4 points, which is what the clowns sitting at ringside would have you believe.  Actually, that’s a real disservice to clowns, who are generally involved in some sort of comedy or amusement.  These cards were a tragedy for the sport.  In order of their margin, the names to which we should hereby attach permanent shame are Krzysztof Bubak (100-90), Piotr Koslowski (98-90), and to a lesser extent Robert Gortat (96-92).  These guys are everything that’s wrong with the sport.


No changes.


Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (126-260-260)
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.  Kessler is the latest guy to renew a stated desire to fight him.
1) Carl Froch (103-413-413)
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 (11-238-238)
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 or a fight with Felix Sturm.
3) Robert Stieglitz (11-246-246)
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 (11-492-492)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler held a press conference to announce that he would fight on.  He names Ward, Froch, Groves, and Golovkin as guys he’d like to fight.  He’d better get on it soon to avoid removal for inactivity, though.
5) Brandon Gonzales (46-46-46)
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 (33-154-202)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. Doudou Ngumbu (UNR) (at LHW)
Oosthuizen and promoter Rodney Berman have patched things up, and the lanky South African will make effective his move to 175 on June 21 against fringe contender Doudou Ngumbu.  He’ll keep his ranking here until after November 9, or until he schedules a clearly light heavyweight fight for after that date.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (27-27-72)
Last Fight: 4/25/2014- TKO3 Richard Vidal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna stayed busy in impressive fashion against Vidal.
8) George Groves (27-74-96)
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. (11-11-11)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- UD10 #5 MW Bryan Vera
Next Fight: Unknown
Chavez is, at least for the time being, effectively a former Top Rank fighter, and he and Arum are at odds over who truly scuttled the now apparently unlikely Golovkin fight that appeared all but made at one point.
10) Bryan Vera (11-11-11)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera is calling out Peter Quillin.
11) James DeGale (11-135)
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 (11-49)
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 (11-371)
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 (11-79)
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 (11-69)
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 (5-15)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- TKO5 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ramirez was pencilled in to return on the Chavez-Golovkin card, but that fight now looks dead.
17) Ryota Murata (5-38)
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 (5-23)
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 (5-63)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Caleb Truax (5-5)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown


The Week Ahead: 
Callum Smith vs. Tobias Webb; Cardiff, Wales; Sky (UK)
The younger Smith brother has knocked out his last 8 opponents, including two borderline top 50 guys in Ruben Acosta and Patrick Mendy.  The hot Liverpool prospect fought 7 times in 2013, but this will be only his 2nd this year as he begins to really climb the ladder.  Webb is what you might call a fringe prospect.  His only career loss was in a Prizefighter final in 2011, against a legit prospect in Rocky Fielding.  We’ve seen some crazy things happen in Prizefighter, so I’d say Webb’s real quality under normal circumstances remains a bit of an open question.  It couldn’t possibly help Smith get ranked, but it’s a fairly worthy fight anyway at this point in his career.


Paul Smith vs. David Sarabia; Cardiff, Wales; Sky (UK)
Callum Smith’s more experienced older brother will be in action on the same card.  As opposed to Callum, Paul’s best days may be behind him.  Even so, he’s still a player in the lower half of the top 50, and should have no problem coming out on top in this stay busy, showcase-type fight.  Sarabia is a low-level journeyman from Spain who has three losses, at least one of which was against a bad fighter.  Even worse, the best (or at least most accomplished) fighter he ever beat carried a record of 6-31-2 at the time, and that was a split decision.

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