Heavyweight: 2014, Dec 22-28

Sergei Liakhovich seemed like fodder for the rise of #17 Andy Ruiz, a blue chip prospect despite his ridiculous obesity, but that didn’t really play out on Saturday in Phoenix.  Ruiz was in terrible shape both in appearance and output.  Liakhovich is not anywhere near the contender he was years ago.  He was stopped by Helenius, then dominated and stopped by Bryant Jennings and knocked out in less than 2 minutes by Deontay Wilder in consecutive fights- his last three of any substance leading up to this.  He didn’t necessarily look very good in this one either, often barely throwing any punches, but even when that was the case, Ruiz was visibly having trouble keeping up.  Ruiz clearly won the first three rounds, and almost all of the rest of the fight was very close, but I scored it a draw personally.  The judges were predictably slanted, with Gonzalo Valenzuela having it reasonable at 96-94, Chris Flores giving Ruiz every benefit of the doubt at 98-92, and Derek Zazuetta selling his judging soul to Ruiz at 99-91.  Obviously it’s not a stretch to claim Ruiz won the fight, and it’s hard to feel too sorry for Liakhovich considering how little he did throughout the fight when just a simple consistent jab alone could have won it for him, but this is nevertheless the first dent in the Ruiz armor, and will seriously affect his standing here, if not elsewhere.  For the record, if you gave either fighter all the debatable rounds, I think you could reasonably have had it anywhere between 98-92 for Ruiz and 97-93 for Liakhovich.

 

Backtracking to Thursday in Tokyo, a 5-8-2 fighter took Japanese Champion Kyotaro Fujimoto the 8-round distance on Thursday.  That’s not a good look for a guy who theoretically is a prospect on the world stage, but it might not be that bad. First, he seems to have won every round.  Second, his French opponent, David Radeff, appears to be one of those reasonably durable guys that only gets stopped by real punchers.  Cruiserweight contender Youri Kalenga stopped him twice, and an unbeaten Armenian managed to get him out of there, as well.  He’s at least gone the distance against everyone else.
 

 

Ruiz falls from the top 20 for the time being due to his poor performance.  He’s still a real prospect in my eyes, but he’s just not as advanced as I once saw him.  It may be that a little extra training is the only thing he’s lacking, but he was lacking it a great deal on Saturday.  A clear win may have boosted Liakhovich back to prominence, but a debatable draw, not so much.  He’s probably a low-30s guy at this point.  Everyone ranked #18 and below last week advances (appropriately including Bryant Jennings, who himself easily handled Liakhovich), and Alex Leapai returns at #20 after only a one-week absence.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (287-500-500)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- KO5 #5 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: 4/25/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Klitschko is officially fighting on April 25, and while his opponent is not as official, it’s widely believed that it will be Bryant Jennings.
1) Tyson Fury (45-45-45)
Last Fight: 11/29/2014- RTD10 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: 2/28/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Fury wants Klitschko and has a mandatory position for that fight at some point.  He’ll be likely just staying busy on February 28 in London.
2) Alexander Povetkin (30-374-374)
Last Fight: 10/24/2014- KO10 #7 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
Nothing has been signed yet, but the WBC has given approval for Povetkin to fight an eliminator with Mike Perez.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (30-41-105)
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 (38-38-38)
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 (45-138-215)
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 (4-29-49)
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 (4-160-223)
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.  He is also said to be splitting from trainer Don Charles.
8) Bermane Stiverne (29-33-95)
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 (29-105-105)
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 (29-40-239)
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 (7-239)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
See Thompson’s notes, above.
12) Deontay Wilder (7-87)
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 (7-68)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola advised Boxingscene.com that he’s likely back in late January or February, and called out Antonio Tarver, as well.
14) Malik Scott (7-16)
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 (7-69)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight:Unknown
16) Antonio Tarver (2-2)
Last Fight: 12/11/2014- TKO7 Johnathon Banks (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Tarver has recently challenged a comebacking David Haye.
 17) Bryant Jennings (1-22)
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 (1-7)
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 (1-22)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- L* (SD12) vs. Bryant Jennings (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Perez looks like he’s on his way to a fight with Povetkin.
20) Alex Leapai (1-1)

Last Fight: 10/31/2014- L (UD10) vs. #20 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown
 
 
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 Merry Christmas!
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