Heavyweight: 2014, Nov 17-23

The highlight of the week was another defense of the Heavyweight Championship by Wladimir Klitschko.  This one was more entertaining than most, though.  His challenger, #5 Kubrat Pulev, actually landed a hard shot here and there, a few of which weren’t to the back of the head (though many were), which is something we haven’t seen in a while.  This was likely due to Klitschko’s uncharacteristic willingness to mix it up with the Bulgarian.  Still, even in more of an action fight than he’s used to, Klitschko dominated, knocking Pulev down 4 times while winning every round, including a clean knockout in the 5th.  As a side note, the normally excellent referee Tony Weeks let Pulev get away with a ton of rabbit punches, essentially without incident. 

 

In my preview last week, I mentioned two chubby heavyweights in Lucas Browne and Chauncy Welliver.  Browne actually came in looking relatively fit this time around, having shed 7 pounds since his outing against Andriy Rudenko in August, and 17 pounds since he fought Eric Martel Bahoeli in April.  He even looked quicker this time around, and was able to let loose with combinations when called for, something we didn’t really see in the Rudenko fight.  The same couldn’t be said for Welliver.  I saw the often flabby but affable Spokane native when he fought in Kansas City in 2011.  Back then, I was actually impressed that a fighter noted more for his excessive flab than his actually decent skills was able to come to the ring looking like a semi-plausible fighter at a pudgy but capable 238.  At 304, as he weighed for this fight, he frankly makes a joke out of himself, making Chris Arreola at his absolute worst look like Charles Atlas.  Even at that weight, he flashed skills for a round or two, but by round 5 he was looking for a way out, even turning his back at one time as his left eye closed completely.  The fight was stopped in the corner after that round- a round that Browne dominated, primarily with right hands.

 

Losing even dominantly/painfully to the Champ really doesn’t hurt even as high as a #5 contender.  He’s been entrenched as the unquestionable best in the division so deeply, that really no loss to him would likely affect one’s standing with respect to anyone else.  As for Browne, his opposition simply wasn’t good enough to affect his ranking, either.  No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (282-495-495)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- KO5 #5 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Klitschko plans to make his next defense in the Spring.
1) Tyson Fury (40-40-40)
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 (25-369-369)
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 (25-36-100)
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 (33-33-33)
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 (40-133-210)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Back to the drawing board for the Bulgarian.  He at least mounted an attack.  That’s more than some challengers can say.
6) Dereck Chisora (40-155-218)
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 (24-24-44)
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 (24-28-90)
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 (24-100-100)
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 (24-35-234)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
The Thompson-Solis rematch set for November 22 has apparently been postponed again, or perhaps canceled, due to another Solis ankle injury.
11) Odlanier Solis (2-234)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
See Thompson’s notes, above.
12) Deontay Wilder (2-82)
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 (2-63)
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 (2-11)
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 (2-64)
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 (2-52)
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 (2-17)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- W* (SD12) vs. Mike Perez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jennings is once again said to be in the running for a Klitschko shot.  After barely and perhaps undeservedly getting by Mike Perez, I’m not sure that’s a natural fit at this stage.
18) Artur Szpilka (2-2)
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 (11-17)
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 (3-52)
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:
Saturday
Kali Meehan vs. Shane Cameron; Auckland, New Zealand; Sky Arena (New Zealand)
Meehan is 44, but recently rejuvenated his essentially finished career with a surprise victory in the Super 8 Heavyweight tournament (New Zealand’s version of Prizefighter) that included a knockout of Michael Sprott.  Cameron is practically a pup at only 37, but he’s in need of a similar rejuvenation, himself, having been dominated and stopped by Brian Minto in his last fight.  The prize is the privilege of joining or remaining in the top 50.

 

Anthony Joshua vs. Michael Sprott; Liverpool, England; Sky (UK)
Having been mentioned in the paragraph above as a recent Kali Meehan knockout victim, you know Michael Sprott is not necessarily in a good place right now.  A year ago around this time, he was winning Prizefighter and roughly a top 25 fighter.  At the moment, he’s just fodder for the rise of Anthony Joshua.  Barring an historic upset, the question isn’t who will win, but in what round Joshua will stop Sprott.

 

Franklin Lawrence vs. Daniel Adotey Allotey; Indianapolis, Indiana; Off TV
Lawrence was ranked in the top 20 as recently as last September, but hasn’t fought since January of that year, and hadn’t fought anybody remotely notable since 2011.  Allotey will not change that.  An 11-year veteran, he has nevertheless never beaten anyone good whatsoever, and turned pro at light middleweight.
 
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