Heavyweight: 2015, Feb 16-22

Saturday in Queens, credible journeyman Derric Rossy pulled out a unanimous decision over Uzbekisatan’s Akhror Muralimov in a see-saw fight that frankly could have gone either way.  I personally had it a draw, with Rossy winning the last two rounds to even it up on my card.  Rossy was the more active of the two fighters, and kept the jab going enough to nick some close rounds, for me.  Muralimov missed many an opportunity by not jabbing his way in, as Rossy tended to back straight up anytime Muralimov threw.   Muralimov appeared to hurt Rossy multiple times in the fight, but never really doubled down on his advantage.

In the end, judges Perez and Roldan had it 96-94, while Pasquale saw it 97-93.  I thought there was room for a couple toss-up rounds to be flipped in both directions on my card, so I have no particular complaints about the individual scores, though honestly I thought Muralimov deserved better than to lose unanimously, at the very least.

It’s a tricky result to unpack.  Boxrec, I think, had Rossy ranked about #49 going in, with Muralimov at around #47.  Muralimov hadn’t fought any top-50 opposition yet, so he wasn’t eligible.  Rossy had a long resume, though, and I have to say that for me, he was pretty clearly outside the top 50 going in.  I personally had him at #57 in my unofficial background rankings, which doesn’t include any rising prospects who might legitimately be ranked higher, but who do not yet qualify by having had success against the top 50 as Rossy has done.  The disparity may be due to Rossy’s prizefighter outing against Ian Lewison in particular- a fight I had him clearly losing, though he was the official winner.   
In any case, both guys showed themselves to be competitive on the fringe of the top 50, and as the official winner Rossy probably creeps his way barely into my unofficial top 50, while Muralimov still needs to do something against a bona fide top 50 fighter to get his name on my ledger at all.
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 (295-508-508)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- KO5 #5 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: 4/25/2015- vs. #17 Bryant Jennings
Klitschko-Jennings is on, and figures to be a fairly average defense for the Champ.
1) Tyson Fury (53-53-53)
Last Fight: 11/29/2014- RTD10 #6 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: 2/28/2015- vs. Christian Hammer (UNR)
Christian Hammer is a very beatable gatekeeper, but did look good in his last fight, and is probably about a class better than you’d expect a guy with a mandatory championship shot coming his way to stay busy against.
2) Alexander Povetkin (38-382-382)
Last Fight: 10/24/2014- KO10 #7 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
Negotiations are underway for a potential May 22 clash with Mike Perez in Moscow, with the winner to get a mandatory shot at Wilder’s belt.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (38-49-113)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- TKO7 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/14/2015- vs. #10 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 (46-46-46)
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 (53-146-223)
Last Fight: 11/15/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite his knockout loss to the Champ, Pulev and Sauerland have recently extended their promotional contract, and Pulev is set to begin working with Uli Wegner, who is essentially Sauerland’s house trainer.
6) Carlos Takam (12-37-57)
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) Deontay Wilder (5-5-95)
Last Fight: 1/17/2015- UD12 #8 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
With an alphabet belt under his…um…belt….Wilder will have plenty of suitors.
8) Dereck Chisora (5-168-231)
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.
9) Bermane Stiverne (5-41-103)
Last Fight: 1/17/2015- L (UD12) vs. #12 Deontay Wilder
Next Fight: Unknown
No word just yet on what’s next for now former beltholder Stiverne.
10) Steve Cunningham (5-113-113)
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.
11) Tony Thompson (5-247)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: 2/27/2015 – vs. #12 Odlanier Solis
It looked for a couple days that the Solis fight was going to be postponed for a 4th time due to problems with the local Hungarian promotion, but Solis’s promotional team appears to have rescued the February 27 date by moving the fight to Turkey.
12) Odlanier Solis (5-247)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: 2/27/2015- vs. #11 Tony Thompson
See Thompson’s notes, above.
13) Chris Arreola (15-76)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: 3/13/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Arreola’s return has now been set for March 13 in Ontario, CA.  No opponent yet.
14) Malik Scott (15-24)
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 (15-77)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/14/2015- vs. Johann Duhaupas (UNR)
Teper-Duhaupas has a new date: March 14 in Stuttgart.
16) Antonio Tarver (10-10)
Last Fight: 12/11/2014- TKO7 Johnathon Banks (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Tarver has recently challenged a comebacking David Haye.
17) Bryant Jennings (9-30)
Last Fight: 7/26/2014- W* (SD12) vs. Mike Perez (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/25/2015- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Jennings has got his shot at Klitschko for April 25.  Almost certanily too soon for him, given his mediocre last performance against Perez.
18) Artur Szpilka (9-15)
Last Fight: 11/8/2014- W (UD10) vs. #11 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: 4/24/2015- vs. Unknown Opponent
Now advised by Al Haymon and trained by Ronnie Shields, Szpilka will debut his new team against an opponent to be announced on an April 24 Showtime card in Chicago.
19) Mike Perez (9-30)
Last Fight: 2/5/2015- TKO2 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Povetkin’s notes, above.
20) Alex Leapai (9-9)
Last Fight: 10/31/2014- L (UD10) vs. #20 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown 
On the Abraham-Smith undercard in Berlin, 31 year-old David Price looks to keep his comeback on track against decent Brazilian journeyman Irineu Beato Costa Junior.  I would call it a step up from recent opposition, except I think he’s on a similar level to Ondrej Pala, who was Price’s opponent two fights ago.

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