Light Heavyweight: 2014, May 19-25

The MaxiNutrition Knockout Tournament held its semi-final round in Leeds, England on Saturday.

 

In the first semifinal, one-loss prospect Travis Dickinson got all he could handle from somewhat less proven fellow one-loss man Matty Clarkson.  It looked like it might be an early night after a couple rounds, as Dickinson dropped his man once in each of those frames.  But Clarkson bounced back with a knockdown in the 3rd (one I feel strongly was a slip).  Dickinson otherwise had a decent round, and I scored it only 10-9 for Clarkson.  Dickinson probably just nicked the 4th, before disaster struck in the 5th.  Clarkson landed a vicious body shot that dropped and hurt Dickinson badly.  Dickinson rose, but was dropped two more times with body shots by the end of the round.  Clarkson had developed his own problems by this time, as his right cheek was grotesquely swollen with a broken jaw.  Even with the 10-6 round in favor of Clarkson, I had it all even.  The 6th was shaping up to be a competitive affair when referee Michael Alexander abruptly stopped it, apparently due to the broken jaw.  I am not sure I want to argue with that decision too much, though the timing did seem fairly arbitrary after he’d already gotten an all-clear from the doctor earlier in the round.  Unfortunately, it interrupted a highly dramatic and competitive fight, and one that hadn’t really been decided yet on the merits.  As it is, Dickinson gets the win over a non-top-50 opponent, and thus pretty much remains the prospect that he was to begin with.

 

In the second semi, heavy tournament favorite Bob Ajisafe had a great deal of trouble finding the target on journeyman Leon Senior, who was just awkward and clever enough to grind the rangy Ajisafe’s offense to a standstill.  I actually gave Senior both of the first two rounds, though I thought the first in particular could legitimately have gone either way.  Ajisafe at least began to outwork his man in the 3rd, though I thought Senior may have again come back to nick the 4th.  That means I actually had the huge underdog leading 39-37 after 4.  But that’s all the time Ajisafe needed to figure things out.  Senior’s elusiveness began to wane noticeably, and Ajisafe began to find his face at the end of some of his probing one-two combos.  The fight really turned on a dime, and Ajisafe tattooed Senior with a sustained barrage that caused Mark Lyson to stop it, and quite correctly.  Senior went from possibly winning to stopped on his feet in a matter of a couple minutes.

 

Both guys, at least in terms of the provenness of the opposition, were in tougher in the quarters than they were this time around, and neither does much more than advance to the no-doubt significant finals with these particular wins.  No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks   in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (89-89-89)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #15 Edwin Rodriguez (as SMW)
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) Adonis Stevenson (50-50-50)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO6 #6 Tony Bellew
Next Fight: 5/24/2014- vs. #6 Andrzej Fonfara
In something of a coup, Stevenson-Fonfara will be carried by Showtime.   This not only further diminishes HBO’s stable of top fighters, but also puts in serious doubt the plausibility of what appeared to be an upcoming megafight with Kovalev.
2) Bernard Hopkins (89-415-415)
Last Fight: 4/19/2014- W (SD12*) vs. Beibut Shumenov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Hopkins has been ordered to fight his mandatory, which is the winner of Anatoliy Dudchenko and Nadjib Mohammedi- not exactly big money names- but he has been given leave for a unification fight (presumably with Stevenson) before that.
3) Jean Pascal (18-18-18)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- UD12 #16 Lucian Bute
Next Fight: Unknown
Pascal is pencilled in for a September fight, and perhaps one more before the end of the year.  Prospective opponents, in order, are Sean Monaghan and Lucian Bute.  He wants Stevenson after that, assuming he comes through cleanly.
4) Sergey Kovalev (18-70-70)
Last Fight: 3/29/2014- KO7 #15 Cedric Agnew
Next Fight: Unknown
Kovalev had some choice words for Stevenson after the Haitian defected to Showtime and, apparently, scuttled their much-hyped matchup for later this year.  No news yet on what Kovalev’s next move will be after the development.
5) Chad Dawson (18-416-416)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L(TKO1) vs. SMW #6 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
Dawson has signed a deal with manager Al Haymon, which certainly brightens his career prospects.  He says he is interested in a Stevenson rematch.  Prospects for another occasionally-discussed rematch- with Jean Pascal- increased recently with word that Pascal’s trainer offered Dawson a contract.
6) Andrzej Fonfara (18-40-97)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- KO2 Samuel Miller (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/24/2014- vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
See Stevenson’s notes, above.
7) Tony Bellew (18-136-136)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO12 Valery Brudov (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bellew is campaigning at cruiserweight now, but he’ll keep his ranking here until he schedules a fight there for after November 30, or until after November 30 itself.  BJ Flores wants to fight him, but it sounds like he’ll fight Cleverly before the year is out.
8) Gabriel Campillo (18-204-204)
Last Fight: 5/9/2014- TKO7 Ricky Pow (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
While the result looked good on paper, the reality of Campillo’s uneven performance against Pow should be a little alarming to those who hope to see him remain at the top level.
9) Tavoris Cloud (18-247-247)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L (TKO7) vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
Cloud should probably get himself back in the win column at some point.
10) Nathan Cleverly (18-224-224)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- TKO2 Shawn Corbin (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cleverly looked good against Corbin in his cruiserweight debut.  He’ll keep his ranking here until he schedules a cruiserweight fight for after August 17 (the anniversary of his last fight in this division), or until that date passes, whichever comes first.  He wants to fight in July again, followed by a possible November rematch with bitter rival Tony Bellew.
11) Isaac Chilemba (18-120)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD10 Denis Grachev (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chilemba looked very very sharp in dominating a game Denis Grachev, and might soon be in line for a shot at Adonis Stevenson.
12) Jürgen Brähmer (18-109)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD5 Enzo Maccarinelli (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. Roberto Feliciano Bolonti (UNR)
After it initially appeared a Maccarinelli rematch is in the works, Braehmer will instead fight perennial gatekeeper Roberto Feliciano Bolonti of Argentina.
13) Karo Murat (17-30)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- L (UD12) vs. #2 Bernard Hopkins
Next Fight: Unknown
Murat wants Braehmer, his former stablemate, but is now without a promoter, which probably means Sauerland isn’t falling all over themselves to make that fight.
14) Thomas Williams, Jr. (17-17)
Last Fight: 4/24/2014- TKO3 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Williams just added another faded name to his resume…this one perhaps a bit too faded.
15) Cedric Agnew (18-58)
Last Fight: 3/29/2014- L (KO7) vs. #4 Sergey Kovalev
Next Fight: Unknown
After taking a risk against Kovalev and coming up short, I can only assume that his prospects for a regional title bout against Dudchenko and a IBF eliminator against Sukhotsky might both be out the window at least for the moment.
16) Edwin Rodriguez (18-45)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was scheduled to fight Marcus Johnson on May 24, but Johnson quickly withdrew.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (30-47)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Cornelius White (17-127)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- L (TKO1) vs. Thomas Williams, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Never blessed with big-time promotional or managerial ties, White has risked becoming a permanent opponent with his last two losses.
19) Eleider Alvarez (17-69)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- UD10 Andy Gardiner (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/24/2014- vs. Alexander Johnson (UNR)
Alvarez has switched from an undefeated prospect to a defeated- but more experienced- one in Alexander Johnson, and in doing so has gotten his fight televised in the US.
20) Lucian Bute (17-81)
Last Fight: 1/18/2014- L (UD12) vs. Jean Pascal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bute wants his contractually-guaranteed rematch with Pascal, a fight that appears tentatively planned for late in the year.  He recently parted ways with his long-time trainer, and says he’s in no hurry to get back in the ring.

 

The Week Ahead
Saturday
#1 Adonis Stevenson vs. #6 Andrzej Fonfara; Montreal, Quebec; Showtime (US)
Most people consider Stevenson the lineal champion, though I think that belongs to Andre Ward on a technicality.  Fonfara is probably a little overrated at #6 in terms of his actual skill, but his results- chiefly his come-from-behind knockout over Campillo- demand that kind of placement.  This feels like a so-so challenge for the intimidating Stevenson, but it’s hard to sneeze at a #1-#6 showdown.  This division produces so many high-level match-ups, I think maybe we’ve gotten spoiled.  The winner of this has an excellent chance to fight Hopkins next.

 

#19 Eleider Alvarez vs. Alexander Johnson; Montreal, Quebec; Showtime Extreme (US)
Alvarez is a promising Colombian who fights out of Quebec.  He is coming off a mediocre performance in his last fight, though, and will be looking to make a bigger impression against one-loss American fringe prospect Alexander Johnson, who was last seen on TV getting dominated by another prospect in Luis Garcia.
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