Light Heavyweight: 2014, Jun 23-29

Congolese Gatekeeper Doudou Ngumbu notched a win in Monte Carlo on Saturday, outpointing high-level South African journeyman Johnny Muller over 10 rounds.  Scores were 99-91 (Pawel Kardyni), 97-93 (Juan Manuel Garica Reyes), and 96-94 (Olena Pobyvailo), all for the winner.  The only video I had unfortunately had an error and cut out permanently after round 7, but all of those scores were possible on my card, depending on how I saw the last rounds, since I had it 69-64 for Ngumbu to that point.  Muller looked heavy-handed, but was having all kinds of trouble finding the awkwardly elusive Ngumbu, who was light-hitting by comparison, but still effective while lighting Muller up consistently with counters off misses.

 

Later that night in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, of all places, French gatekeeper Nadjib Mohammedi jump-started his career in a big way with a dominant and dynamic 7-round TKO win over Ukrainian gatekeeper/fringe prospect Anatoliy Dudchenko on an NBC Sports card.  Mohammedi, an unorthodox pressure fighter, looked really impressive overall.  His hands were surprisingly fast, his head movement was good, his accuracy was accurate, and his power looked solid.  As for Dudchenko, he was almost as disappointing as Mohammedi was…appointing.  Dudchenko stood stiff and straight up, like the bad version of Sergei Dzinziruk.  He also may have been concussed in the third or fourth round, because he had pretty much nothing left with which to slow down Mohammedi’s momentum after that point.

 

Chad Dawson returned to action after more than a year of inactivity, and didn’t make any friends in doing so.  The contract weight was an already generous 179, making it highly likely that the ex-Champ would be removed for moving up in weight anyway, but he failed to even come close to making that weight.  At 182.75, he outweighed George Blades by 5.25 pounds on the scale, and doubtless more than that on fight night.  That no doubt helped him in scoring a first-round knockout, featuring two knockdowns.  As if the extra weight and talent gap weren’t already enough of an advantage, referee Raul Caiz, Jr. awarded Dawson one of those knockdowns despite a fairly clear low blow.  The result has no bearing on the rankings, since Blades (who I consider a friend and a really good guy, by the way) was a gatekeeper at his peak, when he challenged Zsolt Erdei for the lineal Championship, and is very much a journeyman at this late stage in his career.  The weigh-in does, however, have an effect, as Dawson is removed, having not made anything close to 175 in over a year.  He has been ranked in my top 10, and the Ring Top 10 before I started publishing, for a total of 420 consecutive weeks.

 

Dawson’s removal allows everyone ranked #6 and below last week to move up one, including Isaac Chilemba, who re-enters the top 10 after a handful of months out.  Dmitry Sukhotsky returns to the top 20.  Mohammedi just barely misses the top 20 with his big win, as I now have him unofficially at #22.  If not for a loss to unheralded Thierry Karl nearly 5 years ago, he might have squeaked in.  I may re-evaluate his standing in July, when that loss passes the 5-year mark.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks   in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Andre Ward (94-94-94)
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 (55-55-55)
Last Fight: 5/24/2014- UD12 #6 Andrzej Fonfara
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevenson is very likely to fight Bernard Hopkins next, though there have been no negotiations that I’m aware of yet.
2) Bernard Hopkins (94-420-420)
Last Fight: 4/19/2014- W (SD12*) vs. Beibut Shumenov (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Hopkins is considering leaving Golden Boy.  This would give him free choice between Stevenson, Kovalev, or anyone else, really.  Mohammedi is now technically his mandatory, but we’ll see if they find some way around that.
3) Jean Pascal (23-23-23)
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.  There is currently talk of Tavoris Cloud being the September opponent.  That’s a significant step up from Sean Monaghan, who had been the odds-on favorite to fight Pascal on that date.
4) Sergey Kovalev (23-75-75)
Last Fight: 3/29/2014- KO7 #15 Cedric Agnew
Next Fight: 8/2/2014- vs. Blake Caparello (UNR)
Kovalev is back on August 2 against apparently one of the few guys willing to fight him- Australian undefeated prospect Blake Caparello.
5) Tony Bellew (1-141-141)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO12 Valery Brudov (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: 7/12/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Dos Santos (UNR) (at CW)
Bellew’s July 12 opponent has been announced as Brazilian 2-loss fringe prospect Julio Cesar Dos Santos, who will basically just be extending his training camp after an aborted fight with Thabiso Mchunu. 
6) Andrzej Fonfara (1-45-102)
Last Fight: 5/24/2014- L (UD12) vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
See Kovalev’s notes, above.
7) Gabriel Campillo (1-209-209)
Last Fight: 5/9/2014- TKO7 Ricky Pow (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/1/2014- vs. #13 Thomas Williams, Jr.
This could be the start of Campillo’s resurgence, or the continuation of his decline.  He’ll fight up-and-comer Thomas Williams, Jr. on Friday Night Fights, August 1.
8) Tavoris Cloud (1-252-252)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L (TKO7) vs. #1 Adonis Stevenson
Next Fight: Unknown
A September 27 fight with Pascal is a possibility.
9) Nathan Cleverly (1-229-229)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- TKO2 Shawn Corbin (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: 7/12/2014- vs. Alejandro Valori (UNR)
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 will fight next on July 12, when he takes on Argentine gatekeeper Alejandro Valori at the 200 pound limit.  Valori is a solid performer on the South American scene, but has never fought outside Argentina.  If he gets by that, Bellew-Cleverly II is being targeted for November.
10) Isaac Chilemba (1-1-125)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD10 Denis Grachev (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/2/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Chilemba looked very very sharp in dominating a game Denis Grachev, and might soon be in line for a shot at Adonis Stevenson.  He’s coming back on the Rios-Chaves undercard on August 2, but no opponent yet.
11) Jürgen Brähmer (1-114)
Last Fight: 6/7/2014- UD12 Roberto Feliciano Bolonti (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Braehmer looked solid for 11 of the 12 rounds against Bolonti.  It’s said that he aspires to a Hopkins fight.
12) Karo Murat (1-35)
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.
13) Thomas Williams, Jr. (1-22)
Last Fight: 4/24/2014- TKO3 Enrique Ornelas (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/1/2014- vs. #7 Gabriel Campillo
See Campillo’s notes, above.
14) Cedric Agnew (1-63)
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.
15) Edwin Rodriguez (1-50)
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.
16) Hadillah Mohoumadi (1-52)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Cornelius White (1-132)
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.
18) Eleider Alvarez (1-74)
Last Fight: 5/24/2014- UD10 Alexander Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There are rumors springing up in Russia of Alvarez fighting Dmitry Sukhotsky on July 19 in Quebec.
19) Lucian Bute (1-86)
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.
20) Dmitry Sukhotsky (1-1)
Last Fight: 6/4/2014- UD12 Joey Vegas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I can’t find a video anywhere, but Sukhotsky’s win over Joey Vegas in Russia was suspiciously close.

 

The Week Ahead
Friday
#14 Cedric Agnew vs. TBA; Houston, Texas; Off TV
There’s not a lot to say about this one, since Agnew doesn’t have an opponent yet.  Obviously not likely to be too stiff a challenge.
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