Cruiserweight: 2014, Jun 30- Jul 6

Ilunga Makabu overcame a rather poor start against veteran contender, now gatekeeper, Glen Johnson on Saturday in Kinshasa, Congo, becoming only the 2nd man (after Bernard Hopkins) to stop the now 45 year-old Road Warrior.  Johnson soundly outworked the Congolese contender in the first couple rounds, but seemed to fade in and out of tiredness thereafter.  I actually still had it even after 8, largely due to Makabu giving away rounds, when Makabu apparently sensed Johnson weaken, and poured on a sustained flurry that prompted the referee to call a halt to the bout.  Makabu’s style was very odd.  As I mentioned, he gave away entire rounds by not working, and often threw tapping punches when he did work.  But there was nothing tapping about his finishing flurry, as he was beginning to ping-pong Johnson’s head back and forth along the ropes.

 

Wednesday, in parts unknown in Russia, undefeated prospect Murat Gassiev socred a post-1st-round stoppage over 41 year-old sub-.500 journeyman Daniil Peretyatko, who honestly looked closer to 60 in appearance.  I was going to avoid saying anything out of respect, but since his nickname is “Shreck,” I assume he’s aware that he looks like a fantasy creature of some kind, and owns it.  Gassiev scored two knockdowns in the lone round, and Shreck retired before the 2nd.  Even better, this fight looked like it was not fixed, unlike Gassiev’s last farce.

 

Thursday featured the return, in France, of French former Champion Jean-Marc Mormeck, who last fought at Cruiserweight when he lost the title in late 2007 to David Haye, and last fought in general in March 2012, in what was a comatose and pathetic attempt at the Heavyweight Championship against Wladimir Klitschko, who put him out of his misery in 4.  I must say, Mormeck looked as in-shape and determined in this fight with mid-level Hungarian journeyman Tamas Lodi as he did out of shape and checked-out against Klitschko.  I’m not sure how much we can learn about how much of his old skill he’s retained by watching him beat up on a mediocre opponent who offered little resistance, but he looked good enough that you’ve got to wonder if he can maybe still be a major factor in the division, even at 42.  Mormeck won every round, put a large amount of hurt on Lodi in a dominant 3rd round, and stopped him in the 4th after dropping him hard and following up with a relentless attack.  To the extent such comparisons matter, Mormeck looked significantly better against Lodi than Nuri Seferi had, and approximately as good as Ilunga Makabu.  That might speak well of his continued potential in this division.

 

BJ Flores saw action in a non-televised 8-rounder in Vegas on Friday, winning a unanimous shutout over low-level journeyman Anthony Caputo Smith just a few pounds over the divisional limit.  Unfortunately for Flores, the decision not to make 200 ensures that he can’t reclaim the ranking that is no doubt still waiting for him here at cruiser when he returns to action in the division.

 

Hard-hitting undefeated and fringe-contending Polish prospect Krzysztof Glowacki got a comfortable decision over veteran journeyman Ismail Abdoul, who at one point was a gatekeeper.  The challenge here for the concussive Glowacki seemed to be whether he could stop Abdoul, who had not been halted early since the late stoppage he suffered to Glowacki’s countryman and namesake, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, way back in 2002.  By that standard, Glowacki failed.  But he certainly moves forward in his career, having won every round according to Olena Pobyvailo, 6 with 2 even according to Leszek Jankowiak, and 6 with one lost and one even according to Pawel Kardyni.  I couldn’t readily find a video of the full fight, so I can’t comment on the fight more than that.

 

Speaking of 2002 (okay maybe that’s exaggerating just a bit), #12 Lukasz Janik dredged up long-forgotten former contender Rico Hoye.  The Detroit veteran didnt embarrass himself by any stretch, winning anywhere between one and five rounds (I gave him 3 of the 10).  Janik threw with conviction for the entire fight, and more often in meaningful combinations than did his opponent.  Hoye was relaxed and showed good technique in some ways and featured a nice jab throughout, but he generally only strung punches together while in too close for them to have much effect.  The judges all saw it reasonably similar to my card of 97-93 Janik, with Grzegorz Molenda turning in 98-92, Pawel Kardyni at 98-93, and Olena Pobyvailo at 97-94.

 

Makabu moves up to #9, aided as much by the expiration (more than 5 years old) of two of his rivals’ best results (Fragomeni’s draw with #2-ranked Wlodarczyk and Afolabi’s knockout of 6th-ranked Maccarinelli, both in 2009) than by his win over the faded Johnson.  Afolabi falls to #10.  Fragomeni, whose loss that should have been a win over Zsolt Erdei now stands as by far his best performance in the last 5 years, slips all the way to #14 from #10 last week.  That allows Janik, McKenzie, and Kalenga all to move up a spot.  Fragomeni had been in the top 10 for 41 consecutive weeks.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: None
1) Marco Huck (7-395-395)
Last Fight:1/25/2014- TKO6 #5 Firat Arslan
Next Fight: 8/30/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Bild Zeitung in Germany reports that Huck will be back on August 30, with Nuri Seferi appearing the most likely candidate to be his opponent, but with Pawel Kolodziej getting some buzz, as well.
2) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (7-210-210)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO10 #12 Alexander Alekseev
Next Fight: 8/16/2014- vs. #6 Firat Arslan
Hernandez is set to fight Arslan on August 16, in Erfurt, Germany.  
3) Denis Lebedev (7-230-230)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- L (TKO11) vs. Guillermo Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Given his legitimate injury that shelved him for a big chunk of the year and the fact that his opponent screwed him over via PED use, I’m going to use my discretion and leave Lebedev ranked at this point.  Still, his best work is simply getting too old to stay at the very top.  Some reports have him returning in the fall against Pawel Kolodziej.
4) Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (42-471-471)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 #9 Giacobbe Fragomeni
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s looking like Wlodarczyk will be back in August, possibly against BJ Flores, though Makabu’s win over Glen Johnson has him in position for a shot, as well.
5) Thabiso Mchunu (23-48-86)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD10 Olanrewaju Durodola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mchunu’s scheduled fight with Brazilian prospect was scrapped on just a day’s notice due to the surprise withdrawal of the card’s sponsors.
6) Firat Arslan (23-112-155)
Last Fight: 6/7/2014- UD8 Tamas Bajzath (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/16/2014- vs. #2 Yoan Pablo Hernandez
See Hernandez’s notes, above.
7) Grigory Drozd (32-39-86)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 Jeremy Ouanna (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
8) Rakhim Chakhkiev (5-5-5)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- UD12 #11 Santander Silgado
Next Fight: Unknown
Chakhkiev has finally cashed in a high-level win to go with his hype and promise.  Most likely another title shot is not far off.
9) Ilunga Makabu (1-1-51)
Last Fight: 6/28/2014- TKO9 Glen Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Makabu didn’t look great for most of his fight with 45 year-old Glen Johnson, but he had a lot more in the tank than the old veteran, and became only the 2nd guy to get him out of there.
10) Ola Afolabi (1-277-277)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- W* (MD12) vs. Lukasz Janik (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. Pawel Kolodziej (UNR)
After we got no news on the fight for months, Afolabi-Kolodziej is now scheduled for the Golovkin-Geale undercard on July 26.
11) Lukasz Janik (1-35)
Last Fight: 6/28/2014- UD10 Rico Hoye (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Janik did enough to beat a perhaps better-than-expected Rico Hoye, but didn’t exactly light the world on fire in doing so.
12) Ovill McKenzie (1-12)
Last Fight: 6/7/2014- TKO2 Jon-Lewis Dickinson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After blowing out the British Champion, McKenzie has his sites set on a European or perhaps World belt.  He wants to fight Marco Huck most of all.
13) Youri Kalenga (1-2)
Last Fight: 6/21/2014- W (SD12*) vs. #12 Mateusz Masternak
Next Fight: Unknown
How a guy can get dominated by Arturs Kulikauskis, only to come back and dominate Mateusz Masternak within about 9 months, is beyond me.  Still, the former fight aside, he’s got another pretty nice win on his resume right before that, over Iago Kiladze, a then-undefeated prospect.
14) Giacobbe Fragomeni (1-294)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. Olegs Lopajevs (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The fight with Lopajevs was purely a stay-busy contest, but he’s talking about another title shot even at 44 years old.
15) Mateusz Masternak (2-118)
Last Fight: 6/21/2014- L (SD12*) vs. Youri Kalenga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Having now lost to his last two decent opponents, the future of Masternak, who looked like a can’t-miss talent not long ago, seems very much in doubt.
16) Santander Silgado (2-35)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- L (UD12) vs. Rakhim Chakhkiev (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I don’t want to say Silgado made it easy for Chakhkiev, because it looked relatively difficult, but he sure didn’t help himself by taking a fight with a fringe contending Olympic Gold Medalist on 2 weeks’ notice.
17) Danie Venter (2-42)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- KO1 Shawn Cox (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Venter’s June 6 fight was cancelled a day in advance due to a withdrawal of the card’s sponsors.
18) Dmytro Kucher (2-105)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ilunga Makabu (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The inactive Kucher may now be in danger of losing his ranking in the next couple weeks, as his stay-busy fight in late May did not come off.
19) Nuri Seferi (2-28)
Last Fight: 5/16/2014- UD12 Tamas Lodi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I took Seferi’s stated desire to fight Marco Huck as idle chatter, but that fight now looks likely for August 30, deserved or not.
20) Gusmyr Perdomo (2-12)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- Robbery Loss (should be draw) vs. #15 Nuri Seferi
Next Fight: Unknown
Perdomo deserved at least a draw against Seferi, but the judges summoned just enough coincidental incompetence to take it from him.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:  After a packed week last time around, we’ve got at least a brief respite on our hands this week.
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