Heavyweight: 2015, Mar 2-8

Last week’s action:
Odlanier Solis apparently didn’t get the memo that his career was on the line against Tony Thompson.  He came in at the heaviest weight of his career: 271.75.  He’s always been somewhat of a chubby lump, let’s be honest.  Even at his career-best weight of 246+, he was well overweight, as he’s under 6’2″.  At 271, he’s practically useless.  He probably averaged about 5 punches per round, and many of those were cursory slaps.  In the meantime, he basically just covered up and gave Thompson a light cardio workout, which is probably more than Solis himself managed to get at any point during his training camp.  And that was while he was still fighting.  He quit in his corner after the 8th, having never really done anything to try to win.  


I mean don’t get me wrong- I like Tony Thompson, and he’s clearly got plenty of power.  But Solis allowed him to just casually maul him without any worry or care in the world.  For a guy of Solis’s immense talent, this was an absolutely embarrassing performance.  And don’t just take my word for it.  The Cuban showed more fire in a post-fight confrontation with his own chief second (who was understandably furious at Solis’s effort and helped Thompson celebrate after the bout) than he ever did against Tony the Tiger.  According to Boxingscene.com, Solis’s trainer- who was not in his corner due to schedule conflicts- said that Solis only spent 18 days total in serious training for the fight, despite the fact that it was originally signed in mid-September and was postponed 3 times.  Ahmet Oner, Solis’s promoter, was as candid as I’ve ever heard any promoter be about his fighter’s shortcomings.  He essentially said that while he’s still obligated to promote Solis, he’s now going to treat him as a journeyman and try and feed him to any prospect willing to pay for a name on his record.  This was one of the most embarrassing performances I’ve ever witnessed, all things considered.

In other action lower down the ranks, two borderline top-50 prospects in Arnold Gjergjaj and Zoltan Csala hooked up in an 8-rounder in Basel, Switzerland.  The official tallies were 79-72 (x2) and 78-74, all for Gjergjaj.  I’ve only been able to find a two-minute highlight film and a cellphone video of round one online.  Based on that, I’d say I’m just slightly suspicious that Csala may have done better than that, although I’m far from being able to say that Gjergjaj didn’t deserve to win legitimately.  The suspicion comes from the fact that the Swiss crowd was losing their minds every time a Gjergjaj right hand hit Csala’s gloves, and consistent crowd overreaction like that can sometimes influence judges.  But more importantly, the highlight film showed what appeared to be a light but legit knockdown by Csala ruled a slip by ref Beat Hausamann, which obviously would mean he at least likely did better than the 79-72 cards.  In any case, I can’t remotely argue with the overall result on the little footage I have, so it is what it is.  

London played host to a one-sided scrap between #1 Tyson Fury and gatekeeper Christian Hammer, who made a good effort in roughly the first three rounds, but smothered his work a bit too much before fading thereafter.  Fury fought as a boxer, and dominated the fight behind the jab until he was able to catch Hammer with a southpaw right hook to put Hammer down in the 5th.  Fury went back to dominating thereafter, until Hammer decided to call it a night in his corner after round 8.  I always viewed Hammer- whom Boxrec had at #11- as significantly overrated, and I think it showed.


In non-televised action from Phoenix, undefeated prospect Charles Martin knocked out Brazilian journeyman Raphael Zumbano in the 10th and final round, making it two knockout losses for Zumbano in the first two months of the year.

Rankings Analysis
Fury has no rungs left to climb, short of taking on Wlad, so the dominant win over Hammer amounts to a stay-busy fight of little consequence, in retrospect.
Thompson returns to the top 10 after 6 weeks on the outside, but stalls at #9, with Chisora’s stolen win over 4th-ranked Helenius still serving as the difference.  This forces Stiverne to #10 and Cunningham to #11 (the latter exiting the top 10 after 114 consecutive weeks within it).


Gjergjaj has started to build a resume, but is still working his way into the mid-30s for my money, while Martin still hasn’t beaten anybody in the top 50.

As for Solis, I tried bending my mind into position to really savage his ranking, but although his performance was shameful and I doubt he could have beaten the #100 heavyweight in the world on the night, he still has a pretty worthy resume, objectively speaking.  Thompson was ranked #13 and #11, respectively, in the two recent fights, and honestly I thought Solis may have nicked the first one.  I considered swapping him with Arreola, but the big knock on the Nightmare is that he lost twice to Stiverne, who I now have ranked below Thompson, and who was ranked #19 and #12 when he decisioned and knocked out Arreola, respectively.  Arreola does have a 1st-round KO over then-#12 Seth Mitchell, but Solis can answer with the debateable loss to Thompson, a win over #14 Ray Austin a few years ago, and some decent gatekeeper/fringe contender level wins.  Based on results, Solis appears to hit his ceiling somewhere between #9 and #13-ranked opposition, while Arreola does so in the same general region.  Ultimately the longer resume of Solis won out, as counter-intuitive as it might seem on the surface.
Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (297-510-510)
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 (55-55-55)
Last Fight: 2/28/2015- W (RTD8) vs. Christian Hammer (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Fury is now in a well-earned position as Klitschko’s mandatory, and says he wants exactly that fight.  
2) Alexander Povetkin (40-384-384)
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 (40-51-115)
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 (48-48-48)
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 (55-148-225)
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 (14-39-59)
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 (7-7-97)
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 (7-170-233)
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) Tony Thompson (1-1-249)
Last Fight: 2/27/2015- W (RTD8) vs. #12 Odlanier Solis
Next Fight: Unknown
Thompson cleared up any doubt as to who the better fighter is with an easy night’s work against the badly out of shape Odlanier Solis.
10) Bermane Stiverne (1-43-105)
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.
11) Steve Cunningham (1-115)
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.
12) Odlanier Solis (7-249)
Last Fight: 2/27/2015- L (RTD8) vs. #11 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
If the Thompson rematch is an indication of his current ability, Solis would be overrated even at #100, and his promoter seems to be publicly of the same mind, saying essentiallly that Solis is now a journeyman, and that he’s going to feed him to anybody willing to pay for a fight.
13) Chris Arreola (17-78)
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 (17-26)
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 (17-79)
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 (12-12)
Last Fight: 12/11/2014- TKO7 Johnathon Banks (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After being shelved by Showtime due to steroids a few years back, Tarver has landed another commentary gig for Premiere Boxing Champions.
17) Bryant Jennings (11-32)
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 (11-17)
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 (11-32)
Last Fight: 2/5/2015- TKO2 Darnell Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Povetkin’s notes, above.
20) Alex Leapai (11-11)
Last Fight: 10/31/2014- L (UD10) vs. #20 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown 
Joseph Parker vs. Jason Pettaway; Manukau City, New Zealand; Sky Arena (NZ), Main Event (AUS)
Pettaway comes a long way from West Virginia, and this does look a lot like a stay-busy fight for undefeated top-level prospect Parker.  If you’re looking for some hope for Pettaway or for a competitive fight, the American does have only one loss.  It was a 4th-round stoppage, but it did come against a credible prospect in Magomed Abdusalamov.  On the downside, he’s yet to beat anyone anywhere near the level of Abdusalamov or Parker, so it’s a stretch for him by any measure.  Pettaway is also already nearly 35.
Joey Dawejko vs. Enobong Umohette; Philadelpha, Pennsylvania; gofightlive.tv
Dawejko is an exciting brawler who has made a bit of a name for himself with a close win over Derric Rossy and an early-career draw with prospect Jarrell Miller.  Umohette hails from Nigeria.  He’s coming off a stoppage loss to a complete non-entity, so you can’t like his chances of the upset.  If you’re looking for a silver lining, it would be that with Dawejko not being extremely difficult to hit, Umohette does have 8 knockouts in 12 fights, albeit against rather basic opposition.
Dominic Breazeale vs. Victor Bisbal; Las Vegas, Nevada; Off-TV
Breazeale, the former Olympian, is a rising prospect still waiting to step up to competition against which he can seriously be measured.  At 21-2, Bisbal isn’t necessarily a pushover, having probably been in the hunt for a top-50 ranking about 4 years ago.  But he’s never been a world-beater by any means, and is coming off a stoppage loss to Magomed Abdusalamov and an accompanying 2-year layoff.  Bisbal actually started pretty solidly in that fight, but seemed to burn out after about 2 rounds.  If Breazeale is a legitimate prospect, Bisbal doesn’t look like a serious threat at this point.


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