Archive for Brian Minto

Heavyweight: 2014, Jul 7-13

Posted in Heavyweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on November 20, 2014 by danboxing
Joseph Parker, an absolute beast of an undefeated Kiwi prospect at 6’4,” 230, just walked through 5’11” veteran gatekeeper Brian Minto.  Minto is typically no shrinking violet, but he looked totally intimidated by Parker’s size and power, dancing around on the outside and scraping his back on the ropes constantly.  He was clearly only trying to survive, which is not his style.  Parker did have some trouble catching up with Minto’s quick feet (never thought I’d say that), but Minto wasn’t really trying to win the rounds, and the few times Parker did catch up to him, he punished him plenty.  Minto was dropped hard in the 5th, and again in the 7th, after which his corner pulled the plug between rounds.  It wasn’t always the prettiest fight to watch, and in fairness you do have to wonder how well the careful and somewhat plodding Parker would fare against a classy boxer, but for what he was up against, it was a plenty impressive performance for the Kiwi.

 

This is an edit, because I apparently forgot to check the schedule for Sunday and missed this rather significant fight initially, but top 30 contenders Ruslan Chagaev and Fres Oquendo met up in Chagaev’s adopted home of Grozny, Chechnya, and it was a very very close fight.  Chagaev came out hot, applying pressure at least with his feet, and occasionally landing something of minor note.  But Chagaev was visibly fat, and it showed in his conditioning as well as his gut.  The Uzbek native was never a super fit guy, but to put his current state in perspective, consider that when he was beating Nikolay Valuev to reach his highest level back in 2007, he was under 230 pounds.  For this fight, he was a shade over 246.  I had Boricua-American Oquendo winning each of the last 3 rounds, and 5 of the last 7 to earn a draw on my card, despite the fact that he looked totally uninterested in working until at least round 4.  Despite the heavily-partisan crowd in Grozny, the judges did an admirable and completely unbiased job.  Guillermo Perez Pineda had it exactly the same as I did at 114-114, while the other two, Gustavo Jarquin and Alexs Marin, both had it a very reasonable 115-113 for Chagaev.  I thought a reasonable person could have scored it as wide as 117-111 for Chagaev, and maybe you could stretch it to 115-113 for Oquendo if you really wanted to.  Oquendo must be kicking himself if he’s seen the tape, because he didn’t even try to win more than 6 or 7 rounds in any meaningful way.

 

The undercard featured busted prospect but still borderline-top-50 fighter Edmund Gerber getting an easy 2nd-round TKO over low-level Mexican journeyman Vicente Sandez in his first action since he was stopped by Dereck Chisora in September.

 

Parker…ahem…parks himself in the top 30, but hasn’t done quite enough yet to earn a real ranking.  Chagaev and Oquendo both benefit substantially from the close fight, with both now ranked unofficially in my top 25, but with neither quite being able to quite sneak into the top 20.  If the result had been more emphatic, it might have been a different story.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (263-476-476)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- TKO5 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: 9/6/2014- vs. #5 Kubrat Pulev
It’s looking all but certain that Wlad will fight Pulev on September 6.
1) Tyson Fury (21-21-21)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- TKO4 Joey Abell (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #6 Dereck Chisora
Fury-Chisora has been made.  July 26, in Manchester.  The winner will become one of Wlad’s mandatories.
2) Alexander Povetkin (6-350-350)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- TKO7 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin wants to return in late October, and wants to rematch the Champ when he’s gotten at least 3 fights in with his new trainer.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (6-17-81)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD12 #4 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: 8/9/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Glazkov returns in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on August 9, in a fight with an undetermined opponent to be televised on NBC Sports.
4) Amir Mansour (14-14-14)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery L (UD10) vs. #4 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham had the more sympathetic story and a legitimately great comeback attempt, but Mansour had the better collection of rounds legitimately won.  Mansour was robbed even though the fight was close, and deserves Cunningham’s former position in the rankings for his effort.
5) Kubrat Pulev (21-114-191)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/6/2014- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
See Klitschko’s notes, above.
6) Dereck Chisora (21-136-199)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #1 Tyson Fury
See Fury’s notes, above.
7) Carlos Takam (5-5-25)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- UD12 #9 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
Takam’s potential appears nearly boundless after he handled Tony Thompson more easily than anyone not named Wladimir Klitschko.
8) Bermane Stiverne (5-9-71)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- TKO6 #13 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Stiverne is hoping to fight Wilder sometime in November in either Montreal or Las Vegas, while Don King wants to stage it in Mexico for some reason.
9) Steve Cunningham (5-81-81)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery W (UD10) vs. Amir Mansour (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I hope you’ll all pray for his daughter to recover from her life-threatening health condition, and the guy had guts to come back from the 2 knockdowns.  But he didn’t win the fight.
10) Tony Thompson (5-16-215)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
Not that there’s any shame in being beaten by Takam necessarily, but Thompson’s performance was poor enough that you have to start wondering how much he has left.
11) Tomasz Adamek (5-220)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- L (UD12) vs. #18 Vyacheslav Glazkov
Next Fight: 10/18/2014- vs. Artur Szpilka (UNR)
Adamek is back on October 18 against all-action gatekeeper Artur Szpilka, in what should be a cash cow for the promoters in Lodz, Poland.
12) Odlanier Solis (5-215)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
The Solis haters are out in force, claiming a clear loss in a fight that Solis deserved to win.  You might not like his physique or his training habits or his style, but if he outfights the other guy, he still deserves to be respected as a winner at least as much as a disappointment.  A loss to Thompson is not that embarrassing, especially when you ought to have won it.
13) Deontay Wilder (9-63)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 #19 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
14) Chris Arreola (9-44)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola just had elbow surgery, but is expected back in the ring in October.
15) Erkan Teper (14-45)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Teper’s effort in his last fight- and perhaps especially in the gym leading up to it- was awful, and he got lucky when his opponent turned out to be almost as out of shape as him, in addition to being an apparent quitter.
16) Alex Leapai (14-33)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Leapai is reportedly interested in fighting Shannon Briggs in the wake of his total non-performance against the Champ.
17) Andy Ruiz (14-33)
Last Fight: 5/17/2014- TKO2 Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/9/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Ruiz will return in a Unimas-televised fight on August 9.  No opponent yet.
18) Seth Mitchell (14-57)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- L (TKO1) vs. Chris Arreola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mitchell’s chin is so fragile that he might want to consider calling it a career.  Golden Boy’s CEO says he’s advised Mitchell to do just that, though he reports that Mitchell seems to have no such intention.
19) Francesco Pianeta (3-17)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- KO1 Mickael Vieira (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pianeta says he wants to give Vieira a rematch due to the flukey broken arm that KO’d the Frenchman.  The fight was a waste of time the first time, honestly, so I’m not sure we need a second helping, regardless of the reason.
20) Malik Scott (3-3)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- L (KO1) vs. #13 Deontay Wilder
Next Fight: Unknown

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: No significant action among the heavies this week.

Heavyweight: 2014, Jun 30- Jul 6

Posted in Heavyweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on November 19, 2014 by danboxing
Argentine gatekeeper Matias Vidondo knocked out mid-level journeyman Miguel Morales in 2 in Capitan Bermudez, Argentina on Friday.

 

Undefeated California prospect Gerald Washington destroyed veteran journeyman Travis Walker in a similar amount of time that same night on the non-televised ShoBox undercard, stopping Walker 31 seconds into the second round in what has to be seen as an impressive performance, though “seen” is a strong word, since I never was able to see it.

 

The following night in Kinshasa, Congo, cruiserweight gatekeeper Zack Mwekassa moved up to heavyweight to win a regional title over very very unproven 11-1 prospect Bernard Adie, whom he stopped in 7.

 

No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (262-475-475)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- TKO5 #16 Alex Leapai
Next Fight: 9/6/2014- vs. #5 Kubrat Pulev
It’s looking all but certain that Wlad will fight Pulev on September 6.
1) Tyson Fury (20-20-20)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- TKO4 Joey Abell (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #6 Dereck Chisora
Fury-Chisora has been made.  July 26, in Manchester.  The winner will become one of Wlad’s mandatories.
2) Alexander Povetkin (5-349-349)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- TKO7 Manuel Charr (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin wants to return in late October, and wants to rematch the Champ when he’s gotten at least 3 fights in with his new trainer.
3) Vyacheslav Glazkov (5-16-80)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD12 #4 Tomasz Adamek
Next Fight: 8/9/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Glazkov returns in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on August 9, in a fight with an undetermined opponent to be televised on NBC Sports.
4) Amir Mansour (13-13-13)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery L (UD10) vs. #4 Steve Cunningham
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham had the more sympathetic story and a legitimately great comeback attempt, but Mansour had the better collection of rounds legitimately won.  Mansour was robbed even though the fight was close, and deserves Cunningham’s former position in the rankings for his effort.
5) Kubrat Pulev (20-113-190)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- RTD3 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/6/2014- vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
See Klitschko’s notes, above.
6) Dereck Chisora (20-135-198)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- UD12 Kevin Johnson (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #1 Tyson Fury
See Fury’s notes, above.
7) Carlos Takam (4-4-24)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- UD12 #9 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
Takam’s potential appears nearly boundless after he handled Tony Thompson more easily than anyone not named Wladimir Klitschko.
8) Bermane Stiverne (4-8-70)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- TKO6 #13 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
Stiverne is hoping to fight Wilder sometime in November in either Montreal or Las Vegas, while Don King wants to stage it in Mexico for some reason.
9) Steve Cunningham (4-80-80)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- Robbery W (UD10) vs. Amir Mansour (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I hope you’ll all pray for his daughter to recover from her life-threatening health condition, and the guy had guts to come back from the 2 knockdowns.  But he didn’t win the fight.
10) Tony Thompson (4-15-214)
Last Fight: 6/6/2014- L (UD12) vs. #12 Carlos Takam
Next Fight: Unknown
Not that there’s any shame in being beaten by Takam necessarily, but Thompson’s performance was poor enough that you have to start wondering how much he has left.
11) Tomasz Adamek (4-219)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- L (UD12) vs. #18 Vyacheslav Glazkov
Next Fight: 10/18/2014- vs. Artur Szpilka (UNR)
Adamek is back on October 18 against all-action gatekeeper Artur Szpilka, in what should be a cash cow for the promoters in Lodz, Poland.
12) Odlanier Solis (4-214)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- L* (SD12) vs. #13 Tony Thompson
Next Fight: Unknown
The Solis haters are out in force, claiming a clear loss in a fight that Solis deserved to win.  You might not like his physique or his training habits or his style, but if he outfights the other guy, he still deserves to be respected as a winner at least as much as a disappointment.  A loss to Thompson is not that embarrassing, especially when you ought to have won it.
13) Deontay Wilder (8-62)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- KO1 #19 Malik Scott
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stiverne’s notes, above.
14) Chris Arreola (8-43)
Last Fight: 5/10/2014- L (TKO6) vs. #12 Bermane Stiverne
Next Fight: Unknown
Having spent the better part of the last 5 years losing or fighting nobodies, Arreola’s resume now depends entirely on the Mitchell win.
15) Erkan Teper (13-44)
Last Fight: 6/13/2014- RTD6 Newfel Ouatah (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Teper’s effort in his last fight- and perhaps especially in the gym leading up to it- was awful, and he got lucky when his opponent turned out to be almost as out of shape as him, in addition to being an apparent quitter.
16) Alex Leapai (13-32)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- L (KO5) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Leapai is reportedly interested in fighting Shannon Briggs in the wake of his total non-performance against the Champ.
17) Andy Ruiz (13-32)
Last Fight: 5/17/2014- TKO2 Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/9/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Ruiz will return in a Unimas-televised fight on August 9.  No opponent yet.
18) Seth Mitchell (13-56)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- L (TKO1) vs. Chris Arreola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mitchell’s chin is so fragile that he might want to consider calling it a career.  Golden Boy’s CEO says he’s advised Mitchell to do just that, though he reports that Mitchell seems to have no such intention.
19) Francesco Pianeta (2-16)
Last Fight: 5/30/2014- KO1 Mickael Vieira (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pianeta says he wants to give Vieira a rematch due to the flukey broken arm that KO’d the Frenchman.  The fight was a waste of time the first time, honestly, so I’m not sure we need a second helping, regardless of the reason.
20) Malik Scott (2-2)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- L (KO1) vs. #13 Deontay Wilder
Next Fight: Unknown

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: 
Saturday
Brian Minto vs. Joseph Parker; Manukau, New Zealand; Sky Arena (NZ)
Butler, Pennsylvania native Minto went from journeyman to gatekeeper by smacking down the comeback attempt of Kiwi Shane Cameron in December.  Now he’s back in New Zealand, looking to derail the rise of extremely talented undefeated prospect Joseph Parker, who so far has had little trouble cutting through the rather soft competition he’s encountered.  Minto is his toughest test by a wide margin.

Heavyweight: 2013, Dec 16-22

Posted in Heavyweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on March 5, 2014 by danboxing
Friday in Flemington, Australia, aging Australian prospect Lucas Browne destroyed low-level journeyman Clarence Tillman in the second round of  a fairly inexplicable and pointless stay-busy outing.  

 

The following night, another aging prospect- Amir Mansour- dominated a fun fight with tall, skinny one-loss prospect Kelvin Price.  Mansour won every round, and dropped Price one each in rounds five and seven before the doctor stopped the fight in the eighth.  

 

Rugged American journeyman Brian Minto sprung a minor upset on Kiwi gatekeeper Shane Cameron in the latter’s hometown of Auckland earlier that night, returning to the form he found in his recent impressive Prizefighter outing and punishing Cameron for seven rounds before the corner called a stop to it.  Minto was subtly dirty, using his elbow and head liberally, but never to the extent that he was at risk of a DQ, despite losing two points.  Partially due to this, and partially due to the work he did with his hands, Cameron was a bit of a tattered man when he was stopped.

 

Meanwhile, in Neubrandenburg, Germany, #4 Kubrat Pulev was dropped for the 1st time in his career (not hard) by American brawler Joey Abell, but managed to throw in 4 knockdowns of his own, including three in the action-packed round in which he fell himself.  Pulev didn’t really seem prepared for a tough challenge, having lost the first two rounds on my card.  He nevertheless had secured an advantage by the time he stopped his man at the start of the 5th, and was particularly impressive to the body.  He hurt Abell to the body almost every time he went there.

 

On the non-televised Mansour-Price undercard (don’t ask me why), #2 Steve Cunningham won a dominant 8-round decision over inactive former gatekeeper Manuel Quezada.

 

Minto’s win is the most significant win of the week, but it doesn’t really come close to affecting the top 20.  No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in current position-weeks in top 10 (if applicable)-weeks in top 20)
Champ: Wladimir Klitschko (234-447-447)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- UD12 #3 Alexander Povetkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Klitschko is in talks to fight his mandatory, Alex Leapai.
1) Alexander Povetkin (4-321-321)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Wladimir Klitschko
Next Fight: Unknown
Povetkin is calling for a rematch.  He would probably need to become the WBA mandatory by winning an eliminator (possibly against Luis Ortiz) in order to get that shot.  His promotional ties expire at the end of the year, and he says he’ll announce his next move in early 2014.
2) Steve Cunningham (4-52-52)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD8 Manuel Quezada (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cunningham had little trouble dominating a fading former gatekeeper in Quezada.
3) Tomasz Adamek (4-191-191)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- UD10 Dominick Guinn (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kathy Duva, who promotes both fighters, says she will reschedule the cancelled Adamek-Glazkov fight.  Adamek shot down rumors that he wants to fight Bryant Jennings in January, saying he’s fighting Glazkov in March.
4) Kubrat Pulev (4-85-162)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- TKO5 Joey Abell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Pulev was dropped (lightly) for the first time in his career, and seems to have taken Abell lightly in general.  Nevertheless, he finished it off with an impressive stoppage.
5) Dereck Chisora (4-107-170)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO3 Ondrej Pala (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/15/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Chisora returns on February 15, with an opponent as yet unannounced.
6) Odlanier Solis (4-39-186)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- TKO7 Yakup Saglam (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/22/2014- vs. #9 Tony Thompson
Solis was first set to fight Kevin Johnson.  But he backed out because the IBF wanted him to fight Takam.  But now word from Tony Thompson is that Solis will fight Thompson, instead, on March 22.
7) Bermane Stiverne (4-26-42)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12 #15 Chris Arreola
Next Fight: Unknown
If Stiverne can get clear of his legal problems regarding his Don King contract, he figures to fight either Chris Arreola or Deontay Wilder for the alphabet title vacated by Vitali Klitschko.
8) Chris Arreola (4-15-15)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- TKO1 #12 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Arreola may be a candidate for Wilder, or could fight for a vacant title in a rematch with Stiverne.  Fury has also named him as someone he’d like to replace David Haye with for February 8.
9) Tony Thompson (4-5-186)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- L (UD12) vs. #8 Kubrat Pulev
Next Fight: Unknown
Thompson says he’s fighting Odlanier Solis on March 22.
10) Erkan Teper (4-4-16)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO1 Martin Rogan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Teper might have scored the heavyweight knockout of the year, and probably retired Martin Rogan in the process.
11) Mike Perez (4-7)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- UD10 Magomed Abdusalamov (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. Carlos Takam (UNR)
With Solis-Takam falling through, Takam will now be offered up to Perez, instead, on the Pascal-Bute undercard on January 18 in Montreal.
12) Deontay Wilder (4-34)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO4 Nicolai Firtha (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
In the immediate aftermath of the Haye-Fury fallout, Wilder apparently agreed verbally to fight Fury on February 8.  But a couple days later, Wilder’s promoter revealed that Fury’s management wasn’t returning phone calls, and Fury announced his retirement around that same time.  Now Wilder says his first choice would be to fight for Vitali’s vacated title.
13) Alex Leapai (4-4)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- UD10 #20 Denis Boytsov
Next Fight: Unknown
Leapai and Wlad are beginning negotiations for a mandatory fight.
14) Robert Helenius (5-186)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W*(UD10) vs. Michael Sprott (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
If there was a fatal rift between Helenius and Sauerland, it appears to have been quietly repaired, as Helenius’ team now claims there is no plan to buy out his contract.  Helenius is reportedly back in fighting condition after a wrist injury in his last fight, and intends to return in early 2014.
15) Andy Ruiz (4-4)
Last Fight: 11/24/2013- RTD3 Tor Hamer (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ruiz has called out Tyson Fury, whose team says he’s out until at least March.
16) Seth Mitchell (5-28)
Last Fight: 9/7/2013- L (TKO1) vs. Chris Arreola (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mitchell’s chin is so fragile that he might want to consider calling it a career.  Golden Boy’s CEO says he’s advised Mitchell to do just that, though he reports that Mitchell seems to have no such intention.
17) Alexander Dimitrenko (4-153)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- UD8 Ivica Perkovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dimitrenko is rumored at least to be fighting Sam Sexton in the first round of the WBC World Cup, but that tournament appears to be in limbo for the time being, at least.
18) Vyacheslav Glazkov (4-52)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Garrett Wilson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Adamek’s notes, above.
19) Malik Scott (4-43)
Last Fight: 7/20/2013- L (KO6*) vs. #8 Dereck Chisora
Next Fight: Unknown
Scott is getting serious buzz for a fight with Wilder.
20) Johnathon Banks (4-57)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- L (UD12) vs. #20 Seth Mitchell
Next Fight: Unknown
Banks apparently dinged his hands up pretty good in the Mitchell fight- an alternate explanation for those who, like me, thought his inexplicable failure to follow up on his early success was a bit suspicious.  He’s been doing physical therapy, and is about ready to get back in the ring.  He’d like a rematch with Mitchell, but unfortunately a trilogy probably isn’t of much benefit to the fragile young contender at this point.  He’s penciled-in for the second round of the WBC World Cup, against the winner of Sam Sexton and Alexander Dimitrenko, but as noted above, that whole tournament is delayed and in doubt.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: 
Friday
Christian Hammer vs. Kevin Johnson; Hamburg, Germany; Eurosport
Romania’s Hammer and American Kevin Johnson are both top 50 gatekeepers.  I’d rank Hammer a bit higher.  Nevertheless, this is anybody’s fight, except to the extent Hammer has a hometown advantage in a potential decision, since he now calls Hamburg home.

 

Carlos Takam vs. Jakov Gospic; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Off-TV
33 year-old one-loss prospect Takam takes a low-profile tune-up in the Caribbean this week.  He might be in it more as a vacation than a serious fight, as Jakov Gospic is a rather low-level Croatian journeyman that has virtually no chance to trouble a top 50 fighter like Takam.