Heavyweight: 2014, Dec 8-14

Kiwi prospect Joseph Parker took care of business in Auckland Saturday, pulling off a highlight-reel knockout of Brazil’s Irinea Beato Costa, Jr.   I only saw the highlights, but it looked like Costa was similarly passive and defensive as when he fought Christian Hammer 5 weeks ago.  The difference is that Parker has put-away power and Hammer does not.  The fight ended in the 4th round after Parker put Costa on his back.

 

Fringe contender Francesco Pianeta escaped with a too close for comfort decision win over cruiserweight journeyman Ivica Bacurin.  Considering there is no video of the fight available online, you could look at the 116-112 (x2), 115-113 cards a few different ways.  Either a) Pianeta, as the huge favorite, got the benefit of the doubt and escaped from a fight he potentially lost, b) Bacurin got the the benefit of the doubt from the hometown judges in an underwhelming performance that Pianeta still clearly deserved to win, or c) the judges called it right, and Pianeta had a bad night that wasn’t bad enough to actually see him lose.  In any case, it obviously doesn’t do much for Pianeta’s career at this stage, at least not in the eyes of a reasonable observer.

 

No changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (285-498-498)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- KO5 #5 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Klitschko plans to make his next defense on April 25.  Bryant Jennings appears likely.  That sounds undeserved, until you hear the other name that was being mentioned- Shannon Briggs.  Fury now has a mandatory position at some point, as well.
1) Tyson Fury (43-43-43)
Last Fight: 11/29/2014- RTD10 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Fury’s win over Chisora was stunningly easy.  Frankly he dominated by a lot more than did Vitali Klitschko when he met Chisora, and so the now eventually mandatory match-up with Wlad is looking more and more intriguing.  Anthony Joshua is also being discussed, though Fury himself seems to strongly prefer the former.
2) Alexander Povetkin (28-372-372)
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 (28-39-103)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- TKO7 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/14/2015- vs. #9 Steve Cunningham
With Main Events behind both fighters, you could almost see this one coming.  Glazkov will take on Steve Cunningham, likely on NBC Sports, in March.
4) Amir Mansour (36-36-36)
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 (43-136-213)
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) Carlos Takam (2-27-47)
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.
7) Dereck Chisora (2-158-221)
Last Fight: 11/29/2014- L (RTD10) vs. #1 Tyson Fury
Next Fight: Unknown
Chisora apparently doesn’t want to leave the bad taste in his mouth from his last performance, as he is reportedly planning to fight again on February 28.
8) Bermane Stiverne (27-31-93)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- TKO6 #13 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: 1/17/2015- vs. #12 Deontay Wilder
Stiverne-Wilder is finally set for January 17 at the MGM Grand in Vegas, it would appear.
9) Steve Cunningham (27-103-103)
Last Fight: 10/18/2014- W (RTD7) vs. Natu Visinia (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/14/2015- vs. #3 Vyacheslav Glazkov
See Glazkov’s notes, above.
10) Tony Thompson (27-38-237)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: 1/24/2015 – vs. #11 Odlanier Solis
Maybe the third time will be the charm.  Thompson-Solis II gets its 3rd intended date on January 24.
11) Odlanier Solis (5-237)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
See Thompson’s notes, above.
12) Deontay Wilder (5-85)
Last Fight: 8/16/2014- W(RTD4) vs. Jason Gavern (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/17/2015 – vs. #8 Bermane Stiverne 
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
13) Chris Arreola (5-66)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
Bad news for Arreola fans- he’s reportedly pulled out of a planned December 11 return due to an elbow injury.  Elbow surgery is what he was trying to come back from in the first place.
14) Malik Scott (5-14)
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 (5-67)
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 (5-55)
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 (5-20)
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 (5-5)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- W (UD10) vs. #11 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: 1/31/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Szpilka returned to camp just a week after the Adamek fight, as he is planning a return for January 31 in Torun, Poland.
19) Mike Perez (14-20)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- L* (SD12) vs. Bryant Jennings (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Perez is reportedly working with famed trainer Robert Garcia.
20) Alex Leapai (6-55)
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:
Thursday
Alexander Ustinov vs. Chauncey Welliver; Moscow, Russia; TV Unknown
We saw what Welliver is bringing to the table these days just a matter of weeks ago against Lucas Browne.  I guess for those of you interested in comparing Browne to Ustinov (a hobby that’s all the rage these days, I’m sure), you’ll get a treat in this one.

 

Johnathan Banks vs. Antonio Tarver; Temecula, California; ESPN2 (US)
Tarver has been out of the ring a little over a year, and hasn’t been in the ring against anyone half-decent in over 2 1/2.  He looked kinda stiff-legged and old the last time around.  Not only that, but it’s kind of an open question as to when the last time he was in against someone half-decent without the help of steroids.  The last time he was in against a half-decent heavyweight was, at best, 4 years ago, assuming you count Nagy Aguilera.  These facts don’t bode well for him against Banks who, while he did lose his last fight almost 18 months ago to a guy that was later stopped in one by Chris Arreola, is at least something like a fringe contender at or around his prime in his early 30s.  On the bright side, Banks could probably still make cruiserweight, so he may give Tarver one of his better shots as among notable heavyweights.

 

Gerald Washington vs. Mike Sheppard; Temecula, California; ESPN2 (US)
Remember when I mentioned Tarver’s last fight and implied it wasn’t against a half-decent opponent?  Washington is fighting that same guy on the undercard.  Not sure if this will make TV on a deep card.

 

Dominic Breazeale vs. Epifanio Mendoza; Temecula, CA; ESPN2 (US)
In another fight that might not make the telecast, former Olympian Breazeale looks to showcase his power against a 39 year-old Colombian journeyman who could last have been called anything better than that, if you’re being charitable, about 5 years ago at light heavyweight.  His glory days as a low-level gatekeeper were really at middleweight and 168, though.

 

Friday
Mariusz Wach vs. Travis Walker; Radom, Poland; TV Unknown 
Wach takes a step towards getting back in contention.  His last opponent in October was a durable but unskilled journeyman.  Walker is 35 and clearly past his prime after 5 straight losses, but he was a top 50 fighter less than 2 years ago and is a halfway decent name for Wach to build upon, if nothing else.
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