Heavyweight: 2014, Jun 2-8

Friday night in Moscow, #3 Alexander Povetkin fought a beautiful, near perfect fight, standing toe-to-toe in the pocket with Manuel Charr and giving the Syrian prospect a lesson in punching technique, as he patiently and crisply picked his opponent apart, while avoiding any telling blows for the entire 7 rounds the fight lasted.  Povetkin hurt Charr a few different times during the fight, starting in the first round.  He capped it off in the 7th by lifting Charr’s head with a perfect uppercut as the Syrian bent down, and then capitalizing with a relentless fusilade of hooks and right hands to send Charr crashing partially through the ropes.  Referee Massimo Barrovecchio stopped the fight without a count for some reason, a trend in the sport that I really hate.  Sure, it was a devastating combination, but you never know what a guy’s chin can take and how fast he can recover.  In this case, I don’t think Charr would have been able to continue in a meaningful way, but I truly don’t believe Barrovecchio could have known that when he stopped it.

 

In a much less conventional ending in Dresden, #20 Francesco Pianeta got a knockout win of his own when his opponent, French journeyman Mickael Vieira, broke his arm by hitting Pianeta’s shoulder with a punch.

 

Povetkin swaps places with #2 Glazkov this week.  It’s a very very close call, but the way I see it, #4 Adamek is a bit better of a win than the declining #6 Chagaev, and when it comes to fights they nearly lost that they probably should not have, Povetkin’s debateable win over top 5 cruiser Marco Huck is a bit more forgivable than Glazkov’s debateable draw with unproven Malik Scott.  This is one of those races that could swing every time one guy or the other fights.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (258-471-471)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- TKO5 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: 9/6/2014- vs. #5 Kubrat Pulev
It’s looking all but certain that Wlad will fight Pulev on September 6.
1) Tyson Fury (16-16-16)
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) Alexander Povetkin (1-345-345)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- TKO7 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin made a case that he’s the most technically skilled heavyweight in the division with a beautifully-executed performance against an outclassed Charr.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (1-12-76)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD12 #4 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
Reports have a fight between Glazkov and Main Events stablemate Bryant Jennings being targeted for July on HBO.
4) Amir Mansour (9-9-9)
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 (16-109-186)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/6/2014- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
See Klitschko’s notes, above.
6) Dereck Chisora (16-131-194)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #1 Tyson Fury
See Fury’s notes, above.
7) Bermane Stiverne (4-4-66)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- TKO6 #13 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Stiverne is hoping to fight Wilder sometime in November in either Montreal or Las Vegas.
8) Steve Cunningham (4-76-76)
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.
9) Tony Thompson (4-11-210)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- W* (SD12) vs. #8 Odlanier Solis
Next Fight: 6/6/2014- vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Thompson- no stranger to the road- will visit France for a fight with tough customer Carlos Takam on June 6.
10) Tomasz Adamek (4-215-215)
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.
11) Odlanier Solis (4-210)
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.
12) Carlos Takam (4-20)
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.
13) Deontay Wilder (4-58)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 #19 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
14) Chris Arreola (4-39)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
Having spent the better part of the last 5 years losing or fighting nobodies, Arreola’s resume now depends entirely on the Mitchell win.
15) Erkan Teper (9-40)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO1 Martin Rogan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Teper, after months of radio silence, is said to be in line for an impending European Union title fight with France’s Johann Duhaupas, a so-so prospect in my estimation.
16) Alex Leapai (9-28)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Leapai is reportedly interested in fighting Shannon Briggs in the wake of his total non-performance against the Champ.
17) Andy Ruiz (9-28)
Last Fight: 5/17/2014- TKO2 Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Even against a faded Quezada who showed little resistance, I must confess to being impressed by Ruiz’s skill and heavy hands, especially considering the sharp contrast between his physique and the results it yields.
18) Seth Mitchell (9-52)
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 (9-13)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Banks had an offer to fight in the Auckland Super 8 Tournament on June 6, but either turned it down or failed to respond.
20) Francesco Pianeta (9-12)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- KO1 Mickael Vieira (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pianeta says he wants to give Vieira a rematch due to the flukey broken arm that KO’d the Frenchman.  The fight was a waste of time the first time, honestly, so I’m not sure we need a second helping, regardless of the reason.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:
Wednesday
Super 8 Heavyweight Tournament; Auckland, New Zealand; Main Events PPV (Australia/NZ)
This is the New Zealand version of Prizefighter, complete with 3 minute rounds and a wide range of mid-level talent.  The participants include, in approximate order of current quality, Michael Sprott, Martin Rogan, Kali Meehan, Hasim Rahman, Alonzo Butler, and three guys even I’ve never heard of in Hunter Sam (some relation to Sinan Samil Sam, perhaps?), Anthony Nansen, and Brice Ritani-Coe.  Based on what I know of the fighters and excluding the guys I’m not familiar with from consideration, I think Sprott has shown the best form of late, and remains close to a top 25 guy.  Rahman is a former Heavyweight Champion, but should have been retired for at least 5 years or so by now.  Rogan is close to Sprott’s level, but he was knocked out by Erkan Teper last year so brutally that I think everyone thought he was finished, having reportedly shattered his jaw.  I’m shocked that he’s fighting again so soon.  Meehan was a solid guy in his prime, but he hasn’t made any noise in roughly 5 years.

 

Friday
#9 Tony Thompson vs. #12 Carlos Takam; Levallois-Perret, France; TV Unknown
Yet another important road fight for Thompson.  He got a questionable win over Odlanier Solis just a couple months ago to follow up on a couple upset-type wins over intimidating prospect David Price.  Takam is a different challenge, as he’s sure to come forward and looks to stay in on the much taller Thompson.  He comes off a clear win over contender Mike Perez, though he was robbed and awarded only a draw in that fight.  Before that, he was a sort of gatekeeper/prospect type.  If Takam is really as good as he looked against Perez, this may very well be a barn-burner.  If he’s more like what most assumed him to be going into that fight, Thompson should win relatively comfortably.

 

Saturday
David Price vs. Yaroslav Zavorotnyi; Schwerin, Germany; BoxNation (UK)
Zavorotnyi is a mid-level Ukrainian journeyman whose crowning achievement was a knockout of a moderately established undefeated prospect back in 2010.  I guess that gives him a puncher’s chance against Price, a hard-hitting but chinny British giant who’s just looking to rebuild his career under new promoter Sauerland following back-to-back stoppage losses to Tony Thompson and a shaky performance against Ondrej Pala in his last fight before he won by knockout.
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