Heavyweight: 2014, Nov 10-16

#11 Tomasz Adamek came into his all-Polish showdown with one-loss prospect Artur Szpilka looking for redemption after a beatdown at the hands of Vyacheslav Glazkov.  What he found instead may very well be the end of his career- almost certainly so in terms of his career as a world-class heavyweight.  Szpilka dominated most of the early rounds.  Adamek willed his way to victory in a few of the mid-to-late rounds as Szpilka appeared to be sitting on his lead by dancing on the outside a little bit too much, but it was apparent virtually from bell to bell that Szpilka was the bigger, stronger, faster, quicker, and livelier of the two fighters.  That leaves very little to Adamek’s benefit but heart, and though he used it to its full advantage, it simply wasn’t enough.  I had it 96-94, as did judges Pawel Kardyni and Valerie Dorsett.  Howard John Foster had it reasonably wider at 98-92.  It’s hard to see a path to continued relevancy for Adamek, having lost consecutive fights to prospects that haven’t really looked all that impressive when fighting anyone but him.

 

In a fight that was only carried for 2 of its rounds plus highlights on Britain’s Channel 5, Eddie Chambers from all appearances chased around a terrified Brazilian in the rather tall Marcelo Nascimento for 8 full rounds.  Nascimento was on the canvas several times, 3 of which were counted as knockdowns, and Chambers landed some nice right hands in the two rounds and change that I saw, though to be honest Nascimento may have gone down as much from tripping over himself trying to get away from Chambers as from any actual punch.  Chambers was visibly frustrated at not stopping the Brazilian as had Joseph Parker earlier in the year, but had only himself to blame.  Chambers looked amateurish in his pursuit, as he was completely unable to cut the ring.  Lone judge and referee Bob Williams saw it 79-71, which means he must have found 3 rounds even when doing the math on the 3 knockdowns.  I didn’t see the whole fight, and I would normally be critical of a judge punting on that many rounds, but it’s simply not right to ask one man to simultaneously do two jobs that require one’s full concentration to do correctly.

 

#3 Vyacheslav Glazkov stopped journeyman Darnell Wilson in 7th of a scheduled 10 on the Kovalev-Hopkins non-televised undercard.  It seems that you had to have been there to see it, so that’s about all I can say about the fight.

 

In a match-up that, on paper, was worse than Glazkov-Wilson and Chambers-Nascimento and much worse than Adamek-Szpilka, but which was the only one to get any American TV coverage, #4 Amir Mansour took probably longer than expected to dispose of Fred Kassi, a woefully unproven 18-2 journeyman that did just enough to hang around with the much better, much more experienced Mansour.  Kassi got a bit of hero worship from the broadcasters at NBC Sports despite losing every round pretty clearly, and was ultimately chopped down in the corner for a 7th round KO that was pretty scary in its viciousness.

 

A planned fight between Francesco Pianeta and Ivica Bacurin was canceled a few days before the fight due to Pianeta coming down with the flu.

 

Adamek falls from the top 20 despite his long resume, the positivity of which ended in 2012.  Since then, he’s won by robbery against Steve Cunningham, been bludgeoned by Vyacheslav Glazkov (whom frankly I felt at the time was lucky to be in the top 20), and been outpointed by Szpilka, who was stopped by Jennings, a lower-tier member of the top 20 currently.  Szpilka would debut higher, but gets stuck behind the man who beat him at #18.  Everyone ranked #12-18 last week moves up a spot.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (281-494-494)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- TKO5 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: 11/15/2014- vs. #5 Kubrat Pulev
The Pulev defense has now been rescheduled for November 15.
1) Tyson Fury (39-39-39)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- TKO4 Joey Abell (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/29/2014- vs. #6 Dereck Chisora
Fury-Chisora II has been moved back a week, to November 29.
2) Alexander Povetkin (24-368-368)
Last Fight: 10/24/2014- KO10 #7 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin’s finishing skills were quite impressive, but it might be a bit worrisome that he was clearly getting outboxed by Takam for a good chunk of the fight.  With the win, he now figures to eventually become the mandatory for the winner of Wilder-Stiverne.  His team seems to want Tyson Fury, though, which would be amazing.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (24-35-99)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- TKO7 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
An easy stoppage win for Glazkov over Wilson will hopefully be a quick confidence boost after he struggled mightily against mediocre opposition last time around.
4) Amir Mansour (32-32-32)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- KO7 Fred Kassi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mansour’s power was brought to bear on the mediocre Kassi, who did a good job of hanging in there- perhaps for longer than most expected while losing every round.
5) Kubrat Pulev (39-132-209)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/15/2014- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
See Klitschko’s notes, above.
6) Dereck Chisora (39-154-217)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/29/2014- vs. #1 Tyson Fury
See Fury’s notes, above.
7) Carlos Takam (23-23-43)
Last Fight: 10/24/2014- L (KO10) vs. #2 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Takam found the ceiling on his rise to the top in #2 Povetkin.  He actually appeared more than a match for the Russian early in the fight, but couldn’t hang in the later rounds.
8) Bermane Stiverne (23-27-89)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- TKO6 #13 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #12 Deontay Wilder
Stiverne-Wilder is finally signed.  Details haven’t been finalized, but it’s apparently looking like mid-January in either Vegas or New York.
9) Steve Cunningham (23-99-99)
Last Fight: 10/18/2014- W (RTD7) vs. Natu Visinia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite some scary moments with the much bigger relative novice Visinia, Cunningham ultimately took care of business.
10) Tony Thompson (23-34-233)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: 11/22/2014- vs. #11 Odlanier Solis
The Thompson-Solis rematch has been postponed due to a Solis ankle injury, with a new date of November 22.
11) Odlanier Solis (1-233)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 11/22/2014- vs. #10 Tony Thompson
See Thompson’s notes, above.
12) Deontay Wilder (1-81)
Last Fight: 8/16/2014- W(RTD4) vs. Jason Gavern (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date – vs. #8 Bermane Stiverne 
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
13) Chris Arreola (1-62)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: 12/11/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Arreola is scheduled to return from an elbow injury on December 11 in Temecula, California, but no opponent yet.
14) Malik Scott (1-10)
Last Fight: 10/31/2014- UD10 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: Unknown
After an apparently dominant win over Leapai, Scott is probably back in the mix for some sort of big fight.
15) Erkan Teper (1-63)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/13/2014- vs. Johann Duhaupas (UNR)
Teper will apparently be defending his European title against France’s Johann Duhaupas in Germany on December 13.
16) Andy Ruiz (1-51)
Last Fight: 10/25/2014- TKO1 Kenny Lemos (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/20/2014- vs. Sergei Liakhovich (UNR)
Ruiz has rescheduled his planned October fight with faded former contender Liakhovich for December 20.
17) Bryant Jennings (1-16)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- W* (SD12) vs. Mike Perez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Reasonable minds can disagree on the correct result of Jennings-Perez.  What’s clear, though, is that Jennings is not nearly ready for Klitschko, a fight some of his supporters have been proposing for a while now.  He himself appears to want the Wilder-Stiverne winner, which might be more within his competency.
18) Artur Szpilka (1-1)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- W (UD10) vs. #11 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: Unknown
In the immediate aftermath of his victory over Adamek, Szpilka says he’d like to fight Andy Ruiz.

19) Mike Perez (10-16)

Last Fight: 7/26/2014- L* (SD12) vs. Bryant Jennings (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Perez was said to be planning a fight in Cork, Ireland in November, but I’m assuming that’s off since I’ve heard nothing about it in several weeks.
20) Alex Leapai (2-51)
Last Fight: 10/31/2014- L (UD10) vs. #20 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown
It looks pretty clear now that Leapai’s win over Boytsov was more about Boytsov’s shortcomings than Leapai’s quality.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD:
Wednesday
Lucas Browne vs. Chauncey Welliver; Melbourne, Australia; Main Event PPV (Australia)
A couple pudgy heavyweights meet up in this one from the undercard of Rabchenko-Mundine.  Welliver is a reasonably competent journeyman and a very nice fellow who I have met and spoken to, but as long as Browne puts forth something close to a par effort, Chauncy doesn’t have the tools to compete with the visibly much stronger Australian.  In recent years, Welliver, who legitimately loves paying sanctioning fees to compete for minor alphabet belts, has been outpointed by Kyotaro Fujimoto and Sherman Williams, though he did hold the latter to a majority decision that has to be considered somewhat impressive at that level.  He also owns wins over an ancient Bert Cooper and an extremely washed up Rob Calloway within the last five years.  The undefeated Browne dominated a rapidly declining James Toney over 12 rounds in 2013 and has since stopped two borderline top-50 gatekeepers and/or prospects in Richard Towers and Eric Martel Bahoeli, along with beating some lesser opponents.

 

Saturday
Champ Wladimir Klitschko vs. #5 Kubrat Pulev; Hamburg, Germany; HBO (US)
The Champ defends against one of the worthier contenders of his reign against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev.  Despite a solid resume including borderline top 10 victories over Tony Thompson and Alexander Dimitrenko along with a slew of gatekeepers, I don’t know that many people give Pulev a great shot to upend the Champion.  Still, he deserves his first shot about as much as anyone other than Tyson Fury at this point.
 
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