Archive for George Groves

Super Middleweight: 2014, Jun 2-8

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2014 by danboxing
In Saturday’s headliner from London, #1 Carl Froch notched another win in the rematch with bitter rival #7 George Groves, and this time avoided any of the controversy from the first fight.  It was still a good, competitive affair, and Groves still had his share of success early, but he wasn’t able to put Froch through anything approaching the same level of adversity he dealt out the first time.  The rounds Groves may have won early on were also significantly less clear than the first iteration.  If you really want to boil it down to the most fundamental difference, Groves was still the sharper and faster guy at the outset, but he countered with much less abandon- that is to say more cautiously- than he did the first time around.  You might describe him, at least relative to the first fight, as tense.  This tension allowed Froch to catch up to him much more quickly in terms of speed and timing, and with Froch ahead 67-66 on my card, he knocked Groves out in the 8th.  The fact that Froch was not concussed early in the fight, as he clearly was the first time, couldn’t have hurt.

 

In an excellent co-feature match-up that could have headlined many a fine Saturday TV card in its own right, #10 James DeGale looked sensational at times against #4 Brandon Gonzales, including the entire first round, and especially the 4th in which he dropped Gonzales with a blistering combination.  Gonzales gamely rose to his feet, and seemed to retain a surprising amount of his faculties considering how heavily and often he had just been hit.  DeGale didn’t let up, and once again landed a heavy shot that had Gonzales hurt with about 30 seconds remaining in the round.  That’s when it all went South, though, as British referee Steve Gray pulled a pathetic hometown move and stopped the fight ridiculously prematurely, with Gonzales having his hands up, and with DeGale having just missed wildly with two swings from the heels.  Obviously Gonzales was hurt and struggling at that moment, but he had been competitive in the fight- winning the 2nd round on my card- and with that little time left and with no landed punch actually necessitating the stoppage at that moment, I think it’s impossible to reasonably conclude that Gonzales didn’t stand a chance to make it out of the 4th, and didn’t stand some chance to come back in the fight overall.  We’ll never know because of Steve Gray, who probably unintentionally robbed James DeGale of an unquestionable, complete, and sensational win in the biggest fight of his career to this point, all while trying subconsciously to rob the visiting fighter Gonzales of a chance- shrinking though it was- to win the fight.  For rankings purposes, I’ll have to view it as something along the lines of a clear 4-round decision, since the ref’s error prevented a legitimate stoppage from occurring, and since DeGale would certainly have been clearly up on the cards if the 4th had been allowed to complete.  Technically, my own precedent might demand that I treat this as a no contest since the fight was ended before the completion of 4 rounds by what amounts to a foul by the referee.  But that would be a bad result given the spirit of that precedent.  I can’t give DeGale full credit for a stoppage he hadn’t fully earned, but a badly hurt Gonzales needed two knockdowns in less than 30 seconds to avoid being behind on the scorecards if and when the 4th round ended, and that would have been practically impossible.

 

In one of the most heinous robberies I’ve ever seen, Mariano Hilario was gifted a unanimous decision victory over Italian journeyman Roberto Cocco.  The fight wasn’t even particularly competitive.  Cocco suffered a flash knockdown that appeared to be more from balance than anything else in the 12th, but clearly won the round apart from that.  He may have won every round other than that one, and certainly lost no more than three.  Cocco was clearly the much harder puncher, landed much more, was constantly the aggressor, and fought the entirety of the fight with his back to the ring, while Hilario fought it with his back to the ropes.  Hilario contantly grabbed and pulled Cocco’s head down, to the point that he probably should have lost about three points, but yet referee Jan Christensen warned Cocco more often for absolutely nothing than he did Hilario for this and other assorted fouls.  Even aside from the pernicious bias, Christensen was WAY too fussy.  He interrupted the fight for various verbose warnings so much that he may have actually been speaking more often than the fighters were fighting.  While he didn’t take needed points from Hilario, though, he at least was sensible enough to limit his undeserved sanctions against Cocco to constant fussing rather than actually taking a point.  The same can’t be said for the frankly disgusting and pathetic judges.  Erkki Meronen turned in maybe the worst single card I’ve ever personally witnessed, scoring it 117-110 for Hilario.  To reach that score, it means he gave Hilario an undeserved 10-8 round, scored both close rounds in favor of Hilario, and then scored SIX clear Cocco rounds for Hilario.  SIX!  Andre Pasquier was nearly as bad, but managed to only give five clear Cocco rounds to Hilario, in addition to the other conditions.  Beat Hausammann turned in a card that’s harder to pin down because it had some undetermined number of even rounds added in, but he was pretty horrible, as well, though he had it only 115-114 in favor of the dominated loser, Hilario.  Obviously I’m going to treat this as the dominant win for Cocco that it truly was.

 

Groves and Froch merely confirmed their earlier result, and the fight has no material effect on either man’s ranking.  DeGale moves up to #4, while former #4 Gonzales falls back to #8 behind Groves, who arguably beat DeGale when those two met in 2011.  Cocco has a very poor overall record, and thus only moves to the borderline top 50 level, despite beating a borderline top 50 guy.  Hilario is just below that now.  With the movement of DeGale and Gonzales, Chavez and Vera each backtrack one spot.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (129-263-263)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward lost an arbitration with his promoter, but it sounds like the rift between the two is far from solved.  Kessler is the latest guy to renew a stated desire to fight him.
1) Carl Froch (106-416-416)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- KO8 #7 George Groves
Next Fight: Unknown
Froch dispelled any doubts with a more conclusive stoppage of Groves.
2) Arthur Abraham (14-241-241)
Last Fight: 5/3/2014- UD12 Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
While he recovers from a broken hand, Abraham’s promoter is working on a fall bout with English gatekeeper Paul Smith.
3) Robert Stieglitz (14-249-249)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (SD12) vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
Sauerland prospect Tyron Zeuge has expressed interest in a fight with Stieglitz.
4) James DeGale (1-2-138)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- TKO4* #4 Brandon Gonzales
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale is now set up for a shot at Froch’s title, in a fight that would no doubt do huge numbers in the UK again.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (2-157-205)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. Doudou Ngumbu (UNR) (at LHW)
Oosthuizen and promoter Rodney Berman have patched things up, and the lanky South African will make effective his move to 175 on June 21 against fringe contender Doudou Ngumbu.  He’ll keep his ranking here until after November 9, or until he schedules a clearly light heavyweight fight for after that date.
6) Ezequiel Maderna (2-30-75)
Last Fight: 4/25/2014- TKO3 Richard Vidal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna stayed busy in impressive fashion against Vidal.
7) George Groves (2-77-99)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #1 Carl Froch
Some unconfirmed theories suggest Groves might finally rematch DeGale soon, though DeGale is already in line for a shot at Froch.
8) Brandon Gonzales (1-49-49)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- L (TKO4*) vs. #10 James DeGale
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales deserved a shot to continue, but he certainly didn’t look like an eventual winner under the best of circumstances against DeGale.
9) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (1-14-14)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- UD10 #5 MW Bryan Vera
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite Froch’s #1 contender being DeGale now, Chavez is getting buzz as a possible next opponent for the world-beating Brit.
10) Bryan Vera (1-14-14)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera is calling out Peter Quillin.
11) Christopher Rebrasse (2-52)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- TKO4 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse now has two dominant wins over what was a top 10 contender the first time around.  He didn’t need the judges to notice the second time.
12) Sakio Bika (2-374)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bika is interested in a fight with Froch.
13) Maxim Vlasov (2-82)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD8 Derrick Findley (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vlasov looked very good against Findley, but he’ll need to schedule a fight at Super Middleweight before May 5 and make weight in order to keep his ranking, since he hasn’t made the divisional limit since November 2012.
14) Edwin Rodriguez (2-72)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was briefly scheduled to fight Marcus Johnson on May 24, but Johnson withdrew.
15) Gilberto Ramirez (2-18)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- TKO5 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/19/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Ramirez will fight a TBA opponent in Macau on July 19.
16) Ryota Murata (2-41)
Last Fight: 5/22/2014- KO6 Jesus Angel Nerio (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Murata set the bar high for himself by beating a fringe contender in his pro debut.  Fights like the Nerio domination are just stay-busy efforts by comparison.
17) Anthony Dirrell (2-26)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. #11 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown
His hard-fought draw with Sakio Bika gained Dirrell a measure of redemption for what pretty clearly should have been a loss against Don Mouton, and has him back in the hot prospect category.  He’s called for a rematch (good idea) and a fight with Golovkin (bad idea).
18) Hadillah Mohoumadi (2-66)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Caleb Truax (2-8)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Derek Edwards (2-2)
Last Fight: 2/28/2014- TKO1 #20 Badou Jack
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Friday
Jorge Sebastian Heiland vs. Cesar Reynoso; Benavidez, Argentina; TyC Sports (Argentina)
Heiland is a gatekeeper at middleweight coming off the biggest win of his career- a very tight battle with Billi Godoy that ended controversially, in my view.  Reynoso is a mid-level journeyman from Mar del Plata, and not likely much of a threat

Super Middleweight: 2014, May 26- Jun 1

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2014 by danboxing
All of the action this week at 168 strangely took place on two separate Thursday cards in far-flung parts of the world.

 

Undefeated #17 Ryota Murata once again fought just a shade over 160, pummelling a game but overmatched Jesus Nerio of Mexico with increasing ferocity as the fight wore on, finally breaking his man down to a 6th-round TKO.  Murata still looks a little stiff and unimaginitive, and doesn’t seem to have great reflexes on defense, but he is a solid puncher who at least so far shows relentless aggression from bell to bell.  He might not be a future champ, but he’s probably always going to be a fun guy to watch, if nothing else.  Not to mention the fact that he does still have plenty of room to improve, considering he’s only had 4 fights now as a pro.

 

Later that night in Pointe Claire, Quebec, once-beaten Haitian Schiller Hyppolite knocked out mid-level Uruguayan journeyman Rafael Sosa with a body shot late in round 1, having only had maybe two punches thrown at him in the whole fight.  Sosa was simply covering up, and was pretty much just there to collect a check, it appeared.

 

The only change on the week is that Mikkel Kessler, despite his recent announcement that he would not retire, is removed for failing to schedule a fight for over a year.  Everyone ranked #5 and below last week moves up, including James DeGale, who claims a top 10 spot just in time for his upcoming fight with newly-minted #4 Brandon Gonzales.  Claiming the vacancy at #20 is Derek Edwards, on the strength of his upset knockout win over Badou Jack.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (128-262-262)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward lost an arbitration with his promoter, but it sounds like the rift between the two is far from solved.  Kessler is the latest guy to renew a stated desire to fight him.
1) Carl Froch (105-415-415)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #7 George Groves
There is talk of a record gate when Froch meets Groves in a highly anticipated rematch in a London soccer stadium at the end of May.
2) Arthur Abraham (13-240-240)
Last Fight: 5/3/2014- UD12 Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
While he recovers from a broken hand, Abraham’s promoter is working on a fall bout with English gatekeeper Paul Smith.
3) Robert Stieglitz (13-248-248)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (SD12) vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
Sauerland prospect Tyron Zeuge has expressed interest in a fight with Stieglitz.
4) Brandon Gonzales (1-48-48)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #10 James DeGale
Gonzales’ elminator with DeGale is finally set, for May 31 in London, on the Froch-Groves undercard.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (1-156-204)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. Doudou Ngumbu (UNR) (at LHW)
Oosthuizen and promoter Rodney Berman have patched things up, and the lanky South African will make effective his move to 175 on June 21 against fringe contender Doudou Ngumbu.  He’ll keep his ranking here until after November 9, or until he schedules a clearly light heavyweight fight for after that date.
6) Ezequiel Maderna (1-29-74)
Last Fight: 4/25/2014- TKO3 Richard Vidal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna stayed busy in impressive fashion against Vidal.
7) George Groves (1-76-98)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #1 Carl Froch
See Froch’s notes, above.
8) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (1-13-13)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- UD10 #5 MW Bryan Vera
Next Fight: Unknown
Chavez is, at least for the time being, effectively a former Top Rank fighter, and he and Arum are at odds over who truly scuttled the now apparently unlikely Golovkin fight that appeared all but made at one point.
9) Bryan Vera (1-13-13)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera is calling out Peter Quillin.
10) James DeGale (1-1-137)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- TKO11 Gevorg Khatchikian (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #4 Brandon Gonzales
See Gonzales’ notes, above.
11) Christopher Rebrasse (1-51)
Last Fight: 3/22/2014- TKO4 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse now has two dominant wins over what was a top 10 contender the first time around.  He didn’t need the judges to notice the second time.
12) Sakio Bika (1-373)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After initially granting Julio Cesar Chavez the spot, the WBC has now made James DeGale the mandatory after it appeared Chavez would likely look at a different opportunity.  That may also have gone by the wayside by now, as DeGale is fighting Brandon Gonzales for a shot at the IBF title.  For Bika’s part, he wants Chavez.
13) Maxim Vlasov (1-81)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- UD8 Derrick Findley (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vlasov looked very good against Findley, but he’ll need to schedule a fight at Super Middleweight before May 5 and make weight in order to keep his ranking, since he hasn’t made the divisional limit since November 2012.
14) Edwin Rodriguez (1-71)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was briefly scheduled to fight Marcus Johnson on May 24, but Johnson withdrew.
15) Gilberto Ramirez (1-17)
Last Fight: 4/11/2014- TKO5 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ramirez was pencilled in to return on the Chavez-Golovkin card, but that fight now looks dead.
16) Ryota Murata (1-40)
Last Fight: 5/22/2014- KO6 Jesus Angel Nerio (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Murata set the bar high for himself by beating a fringe contender in his pro debut.  Fights like the Nerio domination are just stay-busy efforts by comparison.
17) Anthony Dirrell (1-25)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. #11 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown
His hard-fought draw with Sakio Bika gained Dirrell a measure of redemption for what pretty clearly should have been a loss against Don Mouton, and has him back in the hot prospect category.  He’s called for a rematch (good idea) and a fight with Golovkin (bad idea).
18) Hadillah Mohoumadi (1-65)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Caleb Truax (1-7)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Derek Edwards (1-1)
Last Fight: 2/28/2014- TKO1 #20 Badou Jack
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Saturday
Mariano Hilario vs. Roberto Cocco; Teguise, Spain; TV Unknown
Hilario is a Dominican living in Spain’s Canary Islands.  He comes off his career-best performance in a TKO win over prospect Samy Anouche, but is still on the borderline of the top 50 by reason of a couple really bad losses before that.  Cocco is a mid-level journeyman from Torino, Italy who should have a shot only if Hilario is less the man that beat Anouche and more the man that has the two bad losses.  That’s very much an open question.

 

#1 Carl Froch vs. #8 George Groves; London, England; Sky (UK)
There’s not a lot left to be said about this one, but just in case you don’t follow the division much, this is a rematch of the pair’s November meeting, in which Groves was leading Froch and had most likely concussed him early in the fight.  Froch had dramatically turned it around in the 9th, and had Groves reeling, turning around, and falling away, when referee Howard Foster stepped in to stop it.  The general consensus seems to be that it was a premature ending.  I personally differ on that point.  Groves had given Froch his back involuntarily, and was helpless at that moment against what was about to be an incoming Froch punch.  I wouldn’t have minded seeing a few more seconds to give Groves a chance to recover, but it also could have gone very bad very quickly.  Froch is by a mile the #1 contender to Ward’s crown, and Groves may just be the future of the division if he can build on his prior performance and avoid a similar letdown.

 

#5 Brandon Gonzales vs. #11 James DeGale; London, England; Sky (UK)
This is very much a toss-up fight.  DeGale is the more heralded prospect, really, but he’s had some fairly indifferent performances over the last few years.  Most of those have been explained away by a nagging injury, but I’m still not sure he’s fully dispelled the doubts.  Gonzales was at one point no great prospect, having needed a blatant robbery to survive a tough fight with Ossie Duran in October 2011.  But he bounced back a year ago with what should have been a win (it was declared a draw) against then-5th-ranked Thomas Oosthuizen.  He hasn’t had any significant action since then, so this will be a heck of a test for two guys that both need to be tested a little bit.  A likely top 5 berth in the rankings is on the line.

Year-End Awards: Super Middleweight, 2013

Posted in Super Middleweight, Yearly Awards and Wrap Up with tags , , , , , , , on April 2, 2014 by danboxing
Welcome to my 2nd Annual Super Middleweight Year-End Awards and Wrap-Up.  First, a list of awards for the division.  Then, a look at the 20 fighters that did the best work in 2013 specifically, followed by a rundown of the year’s rankings history.  Dig in!

 

It is a year dominated by Carl Froch.  He is the fighter of the year and won both the fight and match-up of the year against Kessler.

 

Super Middleweight Fighter of the Year: Carl Froch
Froch owns this category for a second year in a row.  The only other guy even close is Robert Stieglitz, who grabbed arguably the best single win of the year over #2 Arthur Abraham.  Now was Abraham really better than Froch’s win over #3 Kessler?  Nah, probably not…just a result of timing.  Still, whatever doubt there is as to the relative quality of Froch and Stieglitz’s best wins is rendered irrelevant by Froch’s additional win over #8 George Groves.  Even if you are among the many that question the timing of the stoppage, I think it’s hard to argue that the stoppage wasn’t likely to come at some point, considering Groves’ condition at the time.

 

Prospect of the Year: Ryota Murata
I know, I know.  He’s really a middleweight.  But he didn’t make middleweight for his huge win over Akio Shibata, and thus is ineligible for consideration at that weight, technically-speaking.  He’s certainly the prospect of the year at SOME weight, having proven himself the best fighter in Asia at or near his weight class, and having done so in his pro debut, no less.  Don’t like his winning this at 168 still?  Fine.  Feel free to substitute Caleb Truax, with his upset win over credible super middleweight Don George.  But that was at a catchweight.  Still too much of a middleweight for your tastes?  Fine.  Take Fedor Chudinov, the unbeaten Russian who destroyed a light heavyweight version of Francis Cheka while making 168, himself.

 

Most Important Knockout of the Year: #5 Robert Stieglitz TKO3 #2 Arthur Abraham
This would also probably qualify as most surprising knockout if I had such a category.  Stieglitz was known for his boxing and considered a fairly light hitter, especially by comparison to Abraham, whose power was- at least as a middleweight- considered rather legendary.  Abraham had won a 2012 meeting by competitive but clear decision, so while I don’t think a Stieglitz decision win would have been too much of an upset, the idea that the 2nd-ranked Abraham could be stopped by Stieglitz was unfathomable.  None of that really bears on the decision to recognize it as the most important of the year, however, since Abraham’s ranking alone makes this a no-brainer.

 

Most Sensational Knockout of the Year: #7 George Groves TKO5 Noe Gonzalez
This was a close call between Groves-Gonzalez and Caleb Truax’s destruction of Don George.  On one hand, Groves’ victim was able to get to his feet after a few seconds before the referee correctly deemed him unable to continue, which takes away from the sensational knockout credibility quite a bit, while George could only get to his hands and knees before the count of 10 was reached.  On the other hand, Truax put George down with a series of punches while George was trapped on the ropes.  There was no readily-apparent single punch that dropped him, as George appears to have succumbed to the overall onslaught.  As for Groves, he landed a beautiful shot in an exchange that dropped the Uruguayan fringe contender, making it quite picturesque.  

 

Match-Up of the Year: #1 Carl Froch vs. #3 Mikkel Kessler
By far the top rankings match-up of the year, with an average ranking of #2.  It wasn’t a half-bad fight, either.  The runner-up was #2 Arthur Abraham vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz, followed by #1 Froch vs. #8 Groves.

 

Fight of the Year: #1 Carl Froch UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
The rematch of the best super middleweight fight of 2010 didn’t truly live up to the great action of its predecessor, but although it was also less competitive than the first meeting, it was still the probably the best action fight and certainly the best match-up of the year.  There were no knockdowns and no stoppage, with Froch taking either 8 or 9 of the 12 rounds beyond much doubt, but even when not lighting the world on fire to the extent they’re capable of, Froch and Kessler still can hardly disappoint.  Froch-Groves very well may have been the runner-up.  If you don’t mind your action a little sloppy, the razor-thin all-out war between Sakio Bika and Marco Antonio Periban would be a worthy choice, as well.

 

Upset of the Year: Don Mouton Robbery Loss vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Technically, the #10 contender here got the win over a journeyman, which makes this an unlikely upset, indeed.  Yet as my long-time readers know, I pay no attention to clear robbery decisions except two categories below.  This was such a robbery.  Dirrell, first of all, showed up as a full-sized light heavyweight at the weigh-in, dwarfing his super middleweight opponent.  This could be seen in one of two ways: either Dirrell had an even greater advantage than his rank and apparent skill alone, or else he was woefully under-prepared.  The course of the fight would suggest the latter.  Dirrell looked lackadaisical throughout much of the fight, and seemed to believe that he could win the fight by hanging out on the ropes and absorbing thudding body shots from an aggressive Mouton.  The fact that he was technically right is of no consequence to any but those that would take the word of a corrupt or incompetent judge, as Dirrell won at most 3 of the 8 rounds.  I gave him only the 2nd, for a score of 79-73 in Mouton’s favor.  It’s not as if Mouton hadn’t done anything of consequence before.  His overall record features a 2009 win over prospect Jerson Ravelo that was of some consequence, for example.  But he had been treated as an opponent of late, losing fights as an underdog, often on short notice.  He had the boxrec rating of a mid-level journeyman coming into this fight, and had no business clearly beating the #10 contender as he did.  Brandon Gonzales’ should-be win over #5 Thomas Oosthuizen would be the runner up, while Christopher Rebrasse’s shocking domination of #10 Mohammed Ali Ndiaye would be the first and second runners-up.  All, sadly, were robbed from the rightful winner.

 

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Don Mouton
I alluded to some of this in the last category.  Mouton had shown himself a more than capable gatekeeper during 2009.  After a close 2008 loss to top prospect Maxim Vlasov, Mouton outpointed gatkeeper Walid Smichet, stopped Ravelo, and went life and death in a debatable losing effort against Curtis Stevens.  But then he went to prison for possession of stolen mail, and didn’t fight at all for well over 3 years.  Upon coming back, he beat 3 unproven guys (one an undefeated prospect) before dropping close decisions to Badou Jack and Brandon Gonzales, leaving him at an apparently low level before his great performance against Dirrell.  Unfortunately, the boxing world largely will not recognize this comeback, because he got saddled with the official loss and wasn’t televised all that widely due to local FSN blackouts all over the place.

 

Robbery of the Year: #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye Draw (SD12) vs. Christopher Rebrasse
As a boxing fan, this is the one category in which you certainly don’t want a lot of options to choose from.  Unfortunately, we’ve got ’em.  Gonzales beat Oosthuizen alllmost beyond all doubt, but received only a draw, which was reasonably possible only if you happen to have given Oosthuizen all of the toss-up rounds.  Ezequiel Maderna was the victim of a loss against Oosthuizen that probably should have been a draw, and a loss to Edwin Rodriguez that, while close, I had as a win.  Don George was saddled with a loss against David Lopez despite being in his hometown and winning anywhere between 5 and 10 of the 10 rounds.  And as mentioned before, Anthony Dirrell clearly lost to Don Mouton by at least a one-round margin, and probably more, but got the win anyway.  The sad fact is, however, that none of these bad to atrocious decisions were even close to eclipsing the winner.  Ndiaye won no rounds on my card…an absolute shutout…and there were only two rounds that were even arguable- the 4th and 11th.  There was only one additional round- the 3rd- that was even kinda close.  The rest were clear-cut Rebrasse rounds, and beyond even an unreasonable doubt.  Now to the clown show known as the judging.  First of all, kudos to Finland’s Anssi Perajoki for his 119-111 scorecard.  He’s a bit enamored with even rounds, it would seem, but otherwise escapes serious criticism by recognizing Ndiaye as the winner of only 1 round.  The others are not so fortunate.  Manuel Oliver Palomo of Spain, it seems, does have the ability to judge competently.  He had a perfect scorecard in a very difficult fight to score between Braehmer and Gutknecht early this year.  But he’s also responsible for the 2011 outrage that was Helenius-Chisora.  This scorecard was maybe even worse.  Even.  114-114.  Yep.  Even worse, if you can believe it, was the other Spanish judge, Francisco Vazquez Marcos, who had it 115-114 FOR NDIAYE (!!!!).  I can’t say I’ve ever scored a fight along with Vazquez, so I have no book on him before this.  What this does seem to suggest is that Spanish judges are a little cheaper to buy than Finnish ones.  Or maybe it was a buy one, get one situation.  I don’t like to jump to conclusions, but this scoring- when combined with Palomo’s prior record- is just too out of bounds to be chalked up to simple incompetence or a bad night.  I would bet a fair amount of money that these guys were paid off, or something of that nature.

 

Now, for anyone that cares, I will rank the division based solely on the fighters’ 2012 accomplishments.  I will use the same criteria that I use to rank them overall (with victories, draws, or should-be victories and draws over top 50 opposition making one eligible), but will completely ignore all fights prior to 2013.

 

1) Carl Froch
Significant Results: May 25- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler.  Nov 23- TKO9 #8 George Groves.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: #1.
2) Robert Stieglitz
Significant Results: Mar 23- TKO3 #2 Arthur Abraham
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Mar 24: #5. Mar 25- Dec 31: #2.
3) Brandon Gonzales
Significant Results: Jun 29- Draw (should be win) vs. #5 Thomas Oosthuizen.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jun 30: Unranked. Jul 1- Dec 31: #5.
4) Ezequiel Maderna
Significant Results: Mar 30- UD10 L (should be win) vs. #17 Edwin Rodriguez. Nov 9- MD12 L (should be draw) vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #18. Jan 21- Mar 3: #17. Mar 4-10: #16. Mar 11-31: #15. Apr 1- May 5: #17. May 6-19: #16. May 20- Jun 30: #14. Jul 1-7: #15. Jul 8- Sep 29: #14. Sep 30- Nov 10: #13. Nov 11- Dec 31: #7.
5) Christopher Rebrasse
Significant Results: Jun 8- Robbery SD12 Draw (should be win) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Jun 9: Unranked. Jun 10-30: #10. Jul 1- Sep 29: #11. Sep 30- Nov 10: #10. Nov 11-17: #11. Nov 18- Dec 31: #10.
6) Andre Ward
Significant Results: Nov 16- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Champion.
 7) Thomas Oosthuizen
Significant Results: Jun 29- SD10 Draw (should be loss) vs. Prospect Brandon Gonzales. Nov 9- MD12 W (should be draw) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- May 19: #6. May 20- Jun 30: #5. Jul 1- Sep 29: #7. Sep 30- Dec 31: #6.
8) James DeGale
Significant Results: Jun 8- RTD4 Gatekeeper Stjepan Bozic. Nov 16- UD12 Fringe Contender Dyah Davis.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #17. Jan 21- Mar 3: #16. Mar 4-10: #15. Mar 11- May 5: #14. May 6-19: #13. May 20- Jun 9: #11. Jun 10-30: #9. Jul 1- Sep 29: #10. Sep 30- Nov 10: #9. Nov 11-17: #10. Nov 18- Dec 30: #9.
9) Sakio Bika
Significant Results: Feb 16- UD12 Gatekeeper Nikola Sjekloca.  Jun 22- W (MD12) vs. Undefeated Prospect Marco Antonio Periban.  Dec 7- Draw (SD12) vs. Prospect Anthony Dirrell.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #12. Jan 21- Feb 17: #11. Feb 18- Mar 3: #10. Mar 4- May 19: #9. May 20- Jun 30: #8. Jul 1- Sep 29: #9. Sep 30- Nov 10: #8. Nov 11-17: #9. Nov 18- Dec 31: #11.
10) Ryota Murata
Significant Results: Aug 25- TKO2 #14 Middleweight Akio Shibata.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Aug 25: Unranked (Amateur). Aug 26- Sep 29: #16. Sep 30- Dec 31: #15.
11) Edwin Rodriguez
Significant Results: Mar 30- UD10 W (should be L) vs. #15 Ezequiel Maderna.  Jul 13- TKO1 #16 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW). Nov 16- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: Unranked. Jan 21- Feb 24: #20. Feb 25-Mar 3: #19. Mar 4-10: #18. Mar 11-31: #17. Apr 1- May 5: #16. May 6-19: #15. May 20-Jun 30: #13. Jul 1-7: #14. Jul 8- Sep 29: #13. Sep 30- Nov 10: #12. Nov 11- Dec 31: #13.
12) Caleb Truax
Significant Results: Jun 21- TKO6 #15 Don George. Sep 21- TKO4 Prospect Ceresso Fort (at 160).
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Jun 23: Unranked.  Jun 24-30: #16. Jul 1-7: #17. Jul 8- Aug 25: #16. Aug 26- Sep 29: #17. Sep 30- Dec 31: #16.
13) George Groves
Significant Results: May 25- TKO5 Prospect/Gatekeeper Noe Gonzalez. Nov 23- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #9.  Jan 21- May 19: #8. May 20- Jun 30: #7. Jul 1- Sep 29: #8. Sep 30- Nov 10: #7. Nov 11- Dec 31: #8.
14) Fedor Chudinov
Significant Results: Dec 21: RTD3 Gatekeeper Francis Cheka.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Unranked.
15) Callum Smith
Significant Results: Oct 26- KO6 Gatekeeper Ruben Acosta.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Unranked.
16) Badou Jack

Significant Results: Feb 23- UD8 Quality Journeyman Don Mouton. Jul 19- UD10 Prospect Farah Ennis. Sep 12- MD10 Draw (should be loss) vs. Prospect Marco Antonio Periban.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 21: Unranked. Jul 22- Aug 25: #19. Aug 26- Sep 29: #20. Sep 30- Dec 8: #19. Dec 9-31: #18.
17) Don Mouton
Significant Results: Jan 11- L (UD8) vs. Prospect Brandon Gonzales. Feb 23- L (UD8) vs. Undefeated Prospect Badou Jack. May 3- Robbery L (should be win) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- May 19: Unranked. May 20- Jun 2: #20. Jun 3-30: #19. Jul 1-7: #20. Jul 8-21: #19. Jul 22- Aug 25: #20. Aug 26- Sep 29: Unranked. Sep 30- Dec 8: #20. Dec 9-31: #19.
18) Anthony Dirrell
Significant Results: May 3- Robbery W (should be loss) vs. Journeyman Don Mouton. Dec 7- Draw (SD12) vs. #11 Sakio Bika.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #13. Jan 21- Mar 3: #12. Mar 4-10: #11. Mar 11- May 5: #10. May 6- Dec 8: Unranked. Dec 9-31: #20.
19) Marco Antonio Periban

Significant Results: Jun 22- L (MD12) vs. #8 Sakio Bika. Sep 12- MD10 Draw (should be win) vs. #20 Badou Jack.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
20) Gilberto Ramirez

Significant Results: Aug 24- UD10 Gatekeeper Derrick Findley.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

The following fighters could be found in the top 20 at various parts of the year, but did nothing at this weight to help their ranking.  Nearly half are no longer around:

 

Arthur Abraham– Jan 1- Mar 24: #2. Mar 25- May 19: #5. May 20- Dec 31: #4.

 

Mikkel Kessler– Jan 1- Dec 31: #3.

 

Lucian Bute– Jan 1-May 19: #4. May 20- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Up).

 

Adonis Stevenson– Jan 1- May 19: #7. May 20- Sep 29: #6. Sep 30- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Up).

 

Kelly Pavlik– Jan 1-20: #8. Jan 21- Dec 31: Unranked (Retired).

 

Karoly Balzsay– Jan 1-20: #10. Jan 21- Mar 3: #9. Mar 4- Dec 31: Unranked (Retired).

 

Andy Lee– Jan 1-20: #11. Jan 21- Feb 17: #10. Feb 18- Mar 3: #11. Mar 4-10: #10. Mar 11- May 19: Unranked (Moved Down). May 20- Jun 2: #17. Jun 3-23: #16. Jun 24-30: #15. Jul 1-7: #16. Jul 8- Sep 29: #15. Sep 30- Dec 31: #14.

 

Will Rosinsky– Jan 1-20: #14. Jan 21- Mar 3: #13. Mar 4-10: #12. Mar 11- May 5: #11. May 6-19: #10. May 20- Jun 9: #9. Jun 10-30: #11. Jul 1-7: #12. Jul 8- Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye– Jan 1-20: #15. Jan 21- Mar 3: #14. Mar 4-10: #13. Mar 11- May 5: #12. May 6-19: #11. May 20- Jun 9: #10. Jun 10- Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Dimitri Sartison– Jan 1-20: #16. Jan 21- Mar 3: #15. Mar 4-10: #14. Mar 11- May 5: #13. May 6-19: #12. May 20- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Up).

 

Jesus Gonzales– Jan 1-20: #19. Jan 21- Feb 24: #18. Feb 25- Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Maxim Vlasov– Jan 1-20: #20. Jan 21- Feb 24: #19. Feb 25- Mar 3: #18. Mar 4-10: #17. Mar 11-31: #16. Apr 1- May 5: #15. May 6-19: #14. May 20- Jun 30: #12. Jul 1-7: #13. Jul 8- Sep 29: #12. Sep 30- Nov 10: #11. Nov 11- Dec 31: #12.

 

Dyah Davis– Jan 1- Feb 24: Unranked. Feb 25- Mar 3: #20. Mar 4-10: #19. Mar 11- May 5: #18. May 6-19: #17. May 20- Jun 2: #15. Jun 3- Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Hadillah Mohoumadi– Jan 1- Mar 3: Unranked. Mar 4-10: #20. Mar 11-24: #19. Mar 25- May 5: #20. May 6-19: #19. May 20- Jun 2: #18. Jun 3-30: #17. Jul 1-7: #18. Jul 8- Aug 25: #17. Aug 26- Sep 29: #18. Sep 30- Dec 31: #17.

 

Glen Johnson– Jan 1- Mar 10: Unranked.  Mar 11-24: #20. Mar 25- May 5: Unranked. May 6-19: #20. May 20- Jun 2: #19. Jun 3-30: #18. Jul 1-7: #19. Jul 8- Aug 25: #18. Aug 26- Sep 29: #19. Sep 30- Dec 8: #18. Dec 9-31: Unranked (Moved Up).

 

Don George– Jan 1- Mar 24: Unranked. Mar 25- May 5: #19. May 6-19: #18. May 20- Jun 2: #16. Jun 3-23: #15. Jun 24-30: #20. Jul 1-7: Unranked. Jul 8-21: #20. Jul 22- Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Brian Magee– Jan 1- Jun 2: Unranked. Jun 3-23: #20. Jun 24- Dec 31: Unranked

Super Middleweight: 2013, Nov 25- Dec 1

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by danboxing
Saturday’s Froch-Groves fight in Manchester, England could hardly have been more intriguing.  Groves blitzed Froch in the first round, dropping the top contender heavily with a vicious right hand, and generally overwhelming the Nottingham superstar.  Froch wasn’t particularly sharp at this stage, and perhaps expected Groves to try and outbox him, rather than press the action.  Based on the clear contrast between his trademark pithy wit and the meandering ramble-fest that characterized his post-fight comments this time, it’s pretty clear that Froch was concussed, and that almost certainly was a result of the beating he took in the first round.  With that being the case, perhaps it’s not as surprising as it may have seemed in the moment that Froch lost probably 5 of the next 6 rounds (my original scorecard was lost to computer issues, but that’s my best recollection of it), as Groves got back to his boxing, and was nothing short of masterful in beating Froch to the punch and frustrating the heavy favorite.  The British broadcasters had Froch essentially needing a knockout or multiple knockdowns by the 9th, at which point I had him well behind, but still redeemable at either 77-74 or 78-73.  But by the end of the 8th, Froch had begun to take over as he attacked with more urgency and Groves began to visibly tire.  In the 9th, Groves got lit up with a barrage of punches, and badly hurt, began to stagger away with his hands down as Froch pressed forward.  Referee Howard Foster stepped in at that point, and controversially stopped the fight.

 

I did think the stoppage was a little quick, since Groves had little or no time to regain his composure and demonstrate whether or not he could continue to defend himself.  That being said, I think the answer to that issue is probably that he could not have, and most likely the fight would have been legitimately stopped a few seconds later after Groves ate a few more devastating punches.  Froch also made a good-point post fight when he opined that the referee could not allow Groves to take what would essentially have been a free shot from a puncher of Froch’s caliber.  In any case, it’s hard for me to imagine the fight ending as anything but a stoppage win for Froch, though I suppose stranger things have happened in the sport.  In the end, there was really no loser.  Froch got the “W,” while Groves pretty clearly established himself as elite, even in defeat.  He may also have set up a big money rematch, though that remains to be seen.

 

Andy Lee saw fairly unimportant action on the undercard, dropping Hungarian journeyman Ferenc Hafner 3 times en route to a TKO in the first half of the 2nd round in a fight contested in the low 160s.

 

In terms of the rankings, it’s a wash.  I don’t give fighters credit for losing unless they earned the win.  For all of Groves’ success, he fell short of that.  As for Froch, he can’t be punished for a gutsy TKO win, and even if I were to do so, he’s so far ahead of #2 Robert Stieglitz that it wouldn’t make a difference.  No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (102-236-236)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward says he would fight Golovkin or Hopkins, but seems to doubt that either of them wants to fight him.
1) Carl Froch (79-389-389)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: Unknown
After a grueling fight that showed Froch returning to his pre-Super 6 ways by pulling one out of the fire late, Froch has a very credible and vehement rematch challenge in his lap, courtesy of George Groves. 
2) Robert Stieglitz (36-222-222)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
Abraham has announced a date of February 1 for his trilogy bout with Stieglitz.
3) Mikkel Kessler (50-468-468)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
After meeting with Kessler, his promoter says he won’t be fighting anytime soon, and Kessler hinted at possible retirement immediately after the Froch fight.  It’s not looking good for Kessler fans.
4) Arthur Abraham (28-214-214)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stieglitz’s notes, above.
5) Brandon Gonzales (22-22-22)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales says he is planning to fight again in early 2014, but nothing too specific right now.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (9-130-178)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. LHW #18 Eleider Alvarez (at LHW)
Oosthuizen barely survived an upset for the second fight in a row.  His promoter says it’s clear that he’s outgrown 168, so it’s very unlikely we’ll see him here again.  He had a pre-arranged fight set up with Eleider Alvarez at 175 at last check.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (3-3-48)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: Unknown
I doubt he’ll get much love from the alphabets for his effort, but I think you could make a better case for him winning than losing against Oosthuizen, though I had it a draw personally.
8) George Groves (3-50-72)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
While I think the result of a TKO loss was an inevitable one, I also don’t fault Groves for the ultimatum he recently issued to Froch: rematch or retire.  Obviously he can’t make Froch do that, but I think he earned the rematch, and I think there’s a lot of money in it for both guys.
9) James DeGale (2-25-111)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale is agitating for a title fight after beating Davis, and thinks Froch and Groves are ducking him.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (2-2-25)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse’s unnecessary rematch with Ndiaye appears to have been cancelled. 
11) Sakio Bika (2-347)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- MD12 Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Bika will be fighting Anthony Dirrell on the Malignaggi-Judah undercard on December 7.
12) Maxim Vlasov (3-55)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- TKO6 Artem Redko (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/5/2013- vs. Maxell Taylor (UNR)
Fresh off his win over Redko, Vlasov will go stateside and fight Baltimore journeyman Maxell Taylor in Orange County, California on Thursday, December 5.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (3-45)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was overweight, dirty, and outclassed.  Not a good night.  He’s probably done with 168, at any rate.
 14) Andy Lee (9-28)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
15) Ryoto Murata (9-14)
Last Fight: 8/25/2013- TKO2 #14 MW Akio Shibata
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. Dave Peterson (UNR)
Murata is back in action on December 6 in Tokyo against unproven Minnesota prospect Dave Peterson.  He also recently signed with Top Rank, which gives hardcore US fans hope that we might see him eventually.  The next step after Peterson is probably a February fight in Macau.
16) Caleb Truax (9-23)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Derek Ennis (UNR)
Truax’s January 3 kickoff to 2014 will be on Friday Night Fights against Derek Ennis.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (9-39)
Last Fight: 10/17/2013- TKO1 Raimonds Sniedze (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Glen Johnson (9-30)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson needs to schedule a fight at 168 before mid-December to keep his ranking.
19) Badou Jack (9-19)
Last Fight: 9/12/2013- Draw (MD12) vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Jack will be back in action against an opponent to be announced on a December 6 ShoBox telecast.
20) Don Mouton (9-9)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: Despite a pretty busy week in the sport as a whole, Super Middleweight doesn’t have anything significant scheduled.

Super Middleweight: 2013, Nov 18-24

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by danboxing
Champ Andre Ward successfully defended his title in dominant fashion on Saturday against #13 Edwin Rodriguez, who came in 2 pounds overweight, but failed to turn his size advantage into any kind of tangible results.  After a close first round, Ward reeled off 11 straight.  His jab, which he shot like a piston while darting in from angles, was consistently landing as if it was a lead right hand, instead.  The biggest single story of the fight, however, was an ugly episode in the fourth, in which Ward hit Rodriguez low, Rodriguez jerked his head down, got caught over the top in that clinch, and then threw about 5 punches after referee Jack Reiss had wrestled Ward away, one of which hit Reiss himself.  Reiss recommended fines for both fighters to the commission, and then deducted two points from each for intentional fouls.  Honestly, that may have been a bit harsh against Ward, whose foul or fouls was/were pretty ordinary in character.  But it did send a strong message, and the fight was much cleaner thereafter.  It had been extremely grabby and otherwise dirty before that.

 

A bit earlier in the night, #10 James DeGale mostly had his way with inactive fringe contender Dyah Davis in Bluewater, Kent.  DeGale- whose career has mostly been stalled in neutral while he wins in underwhelming fashion during recent fights- did have one lull mid-fight, but generally controlled it in every way for the majority of the duration.  Davis fell behind early, and didn’t really have the power to seriously challenge from that position.  I scored it 117-111, while all of the official judges had it a resaonable 118-110.

 

On the non-televised Ward-Rodriguez undercard, #5 Brandon Gonzales did little more than keep busy against undefeated but untested Arkansas prospect Jonathan Nelson, winning a comfortable 10-round decision.

 

Undefeated Russian Fedor Chudinov- brother of notable middleweight Dmitry- dominated light middleweight gatekeeper Jimmy Colas to a 10-round shutout in Podolsk, Russia on Friday.  Both guys were just short of top-50 status in this division going in, but I figure I should mention it since I teased it last week.  Chudinov will be a definite notable going forward.

 

Returning to Saturday, Argentine 154-pound gatekeeper Mateo Veron moved up all the way to 168 to defeat gatekeeper Ricardo Ramallo.  Well, not quite.  Veron weighed in at just 162, while Ramallo scaled 164.5.  It was a pretty wild, entertaining fight.  Veron’s technique has the relative length of Thomas Hearns, but wings punches from crazy angles with everything he has.  Ramallo likes to potshot from the outside, as well, but was more careful about picking his shots.  Nevertheless, Veron’s relentless motor allowed him to grind down the bigger man, even after absorbing a significant knockdown in the opening round.  Veron most likely evened things up with a dominant and punishing second round that didn’t feature a knockdown, but was probably 10-8 anyway.  He went on to win every round after that, and caught a fatigued-looking Ramallo with a crazy uppercut from way on the outside that landed right on the button.  This had to be one of the best fights in the division this year.

 

DeGale’s win gets him a promotion to #9, though he probably would have landed there anyway, since Sakio Bika’s best win in the previous five years exceeded that 5-year threshold this week and is thus no longer considered.  Accordingly, Bika falls from #9 to #11- his first time out of the top 10 in 40 weeks.  This allows Christopher Rebrasse to reprise his role as a top-10 fighter after just one week away.  None of the other fights leads to any change that shows up in the top 20.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (101-235-235)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward says he would fight Golovkin or Hopkins, but seems to doubt that either of them wants to fight him.
1) Carl Froch (78-388-388)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #8 George Groves
Froch-Groves is set for November 23 in Manchester.
2) Robert Stieglitz (35-221-221)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stieglitz and Abraham’s recent wins over mediocre competition sets them up for a likely trilogy battle in early 2014, which the WBO has now ordered.
3) Mikkel Kessler (49-467-467)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
After meeting with Kessler, his promoter says he won’t be fighting anytime soon, and Kessler hinted at possible retirement immediately after the Froch fight.  It’s not looking good for Kessler fans.
4) Arthur Abraham (27-213-213)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abraham-Stieglitz III is being negotiated.
5) Brandon Gonzales (21-21-21)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales will fight undefeated but untested prospect Jonathan Nelson on the Ward-Rodriguez undercard.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (8-129-177)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. LHW #18 Eleider Alvarez (at LHW)
Oosthuizen barely survived an upset for the second fight in a row.  His promoter says it’s clear that he’s outgrown 168, so it’s very unlikely we’ll see him here again.  He had a pre-arranged fight set up with Eleider Alvarez at 175 at last check.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (2-2-47)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (MD12) vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: Unknown
I doubt he’ll get much love from the alphabets for his effort, but I think you could make a better case for him winning than losing against Oosthuizen, though I had it a draw personally.
8) George Groves (2-49-71)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- TKO5 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
Groves and Froch will face off on November 23 in Manchester.
9) James DeGale (1-24-110)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale is agitating for a title fight after beating Davis, and thinks Froch and Groves are ducking him.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (1-1-24)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Next Fight: Unknown
Rebrasse’s unnecessary rematch with Ndiaye appears to have been cancelled. 
11) Sakio Bika (1-346)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- MD12 Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Bika will be fighting Anthony Dirrell on the Malignaggi-Judah undercard on December 7.
12) Maxim Vlasov (2-54)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- TKO6 Artem Redko (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/5/2013- vs. Maxell Taylor (UNR)
Fresh off his win over Redko, Vlasov will go stateside and fight Baltimore journeyman Maxell Taylor in Orange County, California on Thursday, December 5.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (2-44)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez was overweight, dirty, and outclassed.  Not a good night.
 14) Andy Lee (8-27)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Lee now says he’s in talks to fight Macklin in March.
15) Ryoto Murata (8-13)
Last Fight: 8/25/2013- TKO2 #14 MW Akio Shibata
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. Dave Peterson (UNR)
Murata is back in action on December 6 in Tokyo against unproven Minnesota prospect Dave Peterson.  He also recently signed with Top Rank, which gives hardcore US fans hope that we might see him eventually.  The next step after Peterson is probably a February fight in Macau.
16) Caleb Truax (8-22)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Derek Ennis (UNR)
Truax’s January 3 kickoff to 2014 will be on Friday Night Fights against Derek Ennis.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (8-38)
Last Fight: 10/17/2013- TKO1 Raimonds Sniedze (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Glen Johnson (8-29)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson needs to schedule a fight at 168 before mid-December to keep his ranking.
19) Badou Jack (8-18)
Last Fight: 9/12/2013- Draw (MD12) vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/6/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Jack will be back in action against an opponent to be announced on a December 6 ShoBox telecast.
20) Don Mouton (8-8)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: #1 Carl Froch takes on #8 George Groves in what will be a huge event in England on Saturday.

 

On the undercard, Andy Lee gets a stay-busy outing against low-level Hungarian journeyman Ferenc Hafner.

Super Middleweight: 2013, Oct 14-20

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2013 by danboxing
Not a peep in the division last week.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (96-230-230)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. #12 Edwin Rodriguez
Ward has finally secured an opponent for his November 16 return: two-division fringe contender Edwin Rodriguez.
1) Carl Froch (73-383-383)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #7 George Groves
Froch-Groves is set for November 23 in Manchester.
2) Robert Stieglitz (30-216-216)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO10 Yuzo Kiyota (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/19/2013- vs. Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Stieglitz and Abraham seem to be competing on who can fight the more mediocre opponents before rematching.  Ekpo is the worst yet- a low-level Nigerian prospect.
3) Mikkel Kessler (44-462-462)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Froch is interested in a trilogy on neutral ground, perhaps even more so than a Ward rematch.  But it’s not even clear that Kessler will fight again, after saying pre-fight he might retire.
4) Arthur Abraham (22-208-208)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- UD12 Wilbeforce Shihepo (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Abraham continues to pursue a trilogy with Stieglitz, with both men fighting inferior opposition in the interim.  Abraham is in a little tougher this time around than is Stieglitz, at least on paper.  He faces borderline top 50 Italian Giovanni De Carolis.  It’s a little sad that that looks good by comparison to Stieglitz’s opponent.
5) Brandon Gonzales (16-16-16)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- D* vs. #5 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales says that his team is working on a fight for the Ward-Rodriguez card on November 16.  He wants an eliminator against Vlasov, if possible.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (3-124-172)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- D* vs. Brandon Gonzales (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/9/2013- vs. #14 Ezequiel Maderna
Oosthuizen has a significant- albeit risky- opportunity to redeem himself against credible Argentine fringe contender Ezequiel Maderna in South Africa on November 9.
7) George Groves (3-44-66)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- TKO5 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
Groves and Froch will face off on November 23 in Manchester.
8) Sakio Bika (3-35-341)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- MD12 Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bika might be fighting Anthony Dirrell on the Malignaggi-Judah undercard on December 7.
9) James DeGale (3-19-105)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- RTD4 Stjepan Bozic (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
DeGale will return to action in Bluewater, Kent on November 16, with an opponent to be named.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (3-3-19)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Next Fight: 11/30/2013- vs. Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Rebrasse should have no reason to rematch Ndiaye, having beaten him decisively in June, but the judges’ completely corrupt ripoff has somehow conspired to make Rebrasse waste time and take a risk to confirm a very clear result.
11) Maxim Vlasov (3-49)
Last Fight: 7/12/2013- UD8 Mark Suarez (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/4/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Vlasov will fight in Krasnodar, Russia this November, on the undercard of a rather silly heavyweight fight between 44 year-old has-been Oleg Maskaev and Corey Sanders (not to be confused with the late Corrie Sanders, who has actually fought more recently).  I don’t have the exact date or opponent yet.
12) Edwin Rodriguez (3-39)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO1 #16 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. Champ Andre Ward
Rodriguez will get a shot at reigning two-division Champion Andre Ward in mid-November, after a drama-filled negotiation.
13) Ezequiel Maderna (3-42)
Last Fight: 9/6/2013- UD10 Arnaldo Alcides Benitez (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/9/2013- vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen
Maderna will get a big opportunity in South Africa against Oosthuizen, who showed a great deal of vulnerability in his last fight.  That being said, from what I’ve seen of Maderna, his style is night and day different from Brandon Gonzales.
14) Andy Lee (3-22)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee now says he’s in talks to fight Macklin in March.
15) Ryoto Murata (3-8)
Last Fight: 8/25/2013- TKO2 #14 MW Akio Shibata
Next Fight: Unknown
Murata joins Lee and Truax as Middleweights who can claim a ranking in this very shallow division by beating an opponent a few pounds or less over 160.  But he comes with a twist…he’s done so in his very first fight.
16) Caleb Truax (3-17)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax has made good on his move back down to 160, knocking out a halfway decent prospect in Ceresso Fort.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (3-33)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- TKO7 #20 CW Pawel Glazewski (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mohoumadi-De Carolis was cancelled on short notice, and I’ve heard nothing of his next move.
18) Glen Johnson (3-24)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson needs to schedule a fight at 168 before mid-December to keep his ranking.
19) Badou Jack (3-13)
Last Fight: 9/12/2013- Draw (MD12) vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jack would like a shot at Sakio Bika next, though Bika appears to be tied up with Dirrell at present.
20) Don Mouton (3-3)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: Robert Stieglitz headlines a card on Saturday in Leipzig with a complete farce against totally unproven one-loss Nigerian prospect Isaac Ekpo.

Super Middleweight: 2013, Oct 7-13

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by danboxing
No meaningful action to report from last week.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (95-229-229)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. #12 Edwin Rodriguez
Ward has finally secured an opponent for his November 16 return: two-division fringe contender Edwin Rodriguez.
1) Carl Froch (72-382-382)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #7 George Groves
Froch-Groves is set for November 23 in Manchester.
2) Robert Stieglitz (29-215-215)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO10 Yuzo Kiyota (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/19/2013- vs. Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Stieglitz and Abraham seem to be competing on who can fight the more mediocre opponents before rematching.  Ekpo is the worst yet- a low-level Nigerian prospect.
3) Mikkel Kessler (43-461-461)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Froch is interested in a trilogy on neutral ground, perhaps even more so than a Ward rematch.  But it’s not even clear that Kessler will fight again, after saying pre-fight he might retire.
4) Arthur Abraham (21-207-207)
Last Fight: 8/24/2013- UD12 Wilbeforce Shihepo (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Abraham continues to pursue a trilogy with Stieglitz, with both men fighting inferior opposition in the interim.  Abraham is in a little tougher this time around than is Stieglitz, at least on paper.  He faces borderline top 50 Italian Giovanni De Carolis.  It’s a little sad that that looks good by comparison to Stieglitz’s opponent.
5) Brandon Gonzales (15-15-15)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- D* vs. #5 Thomas Oosthuizen
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales says that his team is working on a fight for the Ward-Rodriguez card on November 16.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (2-123-171)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- D* vs. Brandon Gonzales (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/9/2013- vs. #14 Ezequiel Maderna
Oosthuizen has a significant- albeit risky- opportunity to redeem himself against credible Argentine fringe contender Ezequiel Maderna in South Africa on November 9.
7) George Groves (2-43-65)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- TKO5 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
Groves and Froch will face off on November 23 in Manchester.
8) Sakio Bika (2-34-340)
Last Fight: 6/22/2013- MD12 Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bika apparently is dealing with a shoulder injury.  He was evidently planning to fight Anthony Dirrell on October 26, but will instead fight him at some undetermined later date.  He’s looking to return in December.
9) James DeGale (2-18-104)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- RTD4 Stjepan Bozic (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
DeGale will return to action in Bluewater, Kent on November 16, with an opponent to be named.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (2-2-18)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- Robbery Draw (W) vs. #10 Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye
Next Fight: 11/30/2013- vs. Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Rebrasse should have no reason to rematch Ndiaye, having beaten him decisively in June, but the judges’ completely corrupt ripoff has somehow conspired to make Rebrasse waste time and take a risk to confirm a very clear result.
11) Maxim Vlasov (2-48)
Last Fight: 7/12/2013- UD8 Mark Suarez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vlasov will fight in Krasnodar, Russia this November, on the undercard of a rather silly heavyweight fight between 44 year-old has-been Oleg Maskaev and Corey Sanders (not to be confused with the late Corrie Sanders, who has actually fought more recently).  I don’t have the exact date or opponent yet.
12) Edwin Rodriguez (2-38)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO1 #16 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: 11/16/2013- vs. Champ Andre Ward
Rodriguez will get a shot at reigning two-division Champion Andre Ward in mid-November, after a drama-filled negotiation.
13) Ezequiel Maderna (2-41)
Last Fight: 9/6/2013- UD10 Arnaldo Alcides Benitez (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/9/2013- vs. #6 Thomas Oosthuizen
Maderna will get a big opportunity in South Africa against Oosthuizen, who showed a great deal of vulnerability in his last fight.  That being said, from what I’ve seen of Maderna, his style is night and day different from Brandon Gonzales.
14) Andy Lee (2-21)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee is pushing hard for an interim title fight with Rubio, which he hopes would lead to a shot at the full title against Martinez.
15) Ryoto Murata (2-7)
Last Fight: 8/25/2013- TKO2 #14 MW Akio Shibata
Next Fight: Unknown
Murata joins Lee and Truax as Middleweights who can claim a ranking in this very shallow division by beating an opponent a few pounds or less over 160.  But he comes with a twist…he’s done so in his very first fight.
16) Caleb Truax (2-16)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax has made good on his move back down to 160, knocking out a halfway decent prospect in Ceresso Fort.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi (2-32)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- TKO7 #20 CW Pawel Glazewski (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mohoumadi-De Carolis was cancelled on short notice, and I’ve heard nothing of his next move.
18) Glen Johnson (2-23)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson needs to schedule a fight at 168 before mid-December to keep his ranking.
19) Badou Jack (2-12)
Last Fight: 9/12/2013- Draw (MD12) vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jack would like a shot at Sakio Bika next, though Bika appears to be tied up with Dirrell at present.
20) Don Mouton (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: This is to be a second consecutive quiet week in the division.

Super Middleweight: 2013, May 27- Jun 2

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on May 30, 2013 by danboxing
#1 Carl Froch removed pretty much any doubt that he’s the best 168 pounder not named Andre Ward by beating the only other man to ever beat him.  He did so a lot more clearly than had been done to him, as well.  The margin of the first fight was so razor thin that it could have easily gone the other way had it not been in Kessler’s back yard.  Kessler certainly had his moments this time, and it was a compelling fight, but Froch was a clear winner, with reasonable scores ranging from 116-112 to 117-111.  Naturally, two of the judges couldn’t handle being reasonable.  Adelaide Byrd, who tends to score fights on the extreme edges of reason and occasionally steps over the line, did so a gain, scoring it 118-110.  Jean-Francois Toupin  went the other direction, scoring it 115-113.  Toupin has turned in unreasonable cards in 2 of the 5 distance fights I’ve seen him judge (this one and Gutknecht-Uzelkoff) and a barely reasonable one in Sturm-Murray.  It seems like it’s not a good thing to be an English fighter going up against this French judge.  But I’m splitting hairs.  The right man won, and the cards averaged out to a reasonable outcome, particularly with the help of Carlos Sucre’s solid 116-112 score.

 

Froch and Kessler essentially traded rounds (and hard shots) over the last half of the fight, but Froch had built up a healthy lead in the first 5 rounds that allowed him to easily win on the cards.  Froch’s best moments came in the 8th, when he hurt Kessler repeatedly, and was so dominant it looked very unlikely that the fight would go more than about another round.  Instead, he won the next round, and in the 11th rocked Froch badly, himself.  A great fight, though I’ll still take the first installment for consistent action and competitiveness.

 

On the undercard, George Groves continued his streak of impressive victories by thoroughly dominating Uruguayan gatekeeper Noe Gonzalez.  I was originally skeptical of Groves, having seen him get what I thought was an undeserved decision over James DeGale.  In that fight, he boxed and moved expertly, but seemed to lack the ability to sit down on his punches enough to cause much harm.  I saw him as a super middleweight Ivan Calderon- an expert boxer who needs to be nearly perfect to succeed.  But since that fight, he’s shown that he does have a more punishing dimension.  This fight was no exception.  Groves showed early that he was capable of controlling the fight with the jab, but not in the sense that he moved behind it and kept Gonzalez off balance like many jabbers do.  Rather, Groves flashed a penetrating jab that snapped with concussive force and was capable of punching through Gonzalez’s defense.  It was also hard enough (coupled with right hands occasionally) to keep Gonzalez’s hands at home and render him essentially a punching bag.  It appeared that Groves was working on things even as he dominated.  For instance, he would back to the ropes repeatedly for no apparent reason.  Gonzalez would walk him down, but was still too tentative to usually let many punches go, and Groves would turn the tables with ease.  It was during a rare bout of bravery by Gonzalez that the end came.  The South American dipped to throw a wide right to the body, but was beaten to the punch by a short right hand from Groves right on the chin that dropped him hard.  Gonzalez got up, but looked to be in a fair amount of distress as he paced around with his back to the ref.  When Terry O’Connor called a halt to proceedings, he protested and looked much more with it, but based on the information that O’Connor had at the time (and the general direction of the bout), it was well-stopped.

 

Both Kessler and Froch maintain their original rankings, as the fight mainly proved that both men were ranked just about right.  Groves’ win is also not quite enough to get him past Adonis Stevenson, and thus there are no changes despite the high profile action.  Dimitri Sartison is removed, however, after having his mid-May fight canceled.  He hasn’t fought within 4 pounds of 168 since April 2012.  He should have been removed last week when it became 100% clear his scheduled fight hadn’t happened, but I missed it.  I am not going to go back and edit last week’s post, but will treat all the fighters rated below him (and new #20 Don Mouton) as if they had been ranked last week at their current spot.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (76-210-210)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
It sounds like both sides are interested in a Froch rematch.  There was no controversy the first time, but the Brit has definitely earned it since.
1) Carl Froch (53-363-363)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- UD12 #3 Mikkel Kessler
Next Fight: Unknown
See Ward’s notes, above.
2) Robert Stieglitz (10-196-196)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- TKO3 #2 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
After being blitzed by an uncharacteristically aggressive Stieglitz, Abraham has demanded a trilogy bout, which Stieglitz seems disposed to grant.  Sauerland also seems to be on board.
3) Mikkel Kessler (24-442-442)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO3 Brian Magee (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
Froch is interested in a trilogy on neutral ground, perhaps even more so than a Ward rematch.  But it’s not even clear that Kessler will fight again, after saying pre-fight he might retire.
4) Arthur Abraham (2-188-188)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stieglitz’s notes above.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (2-104-152)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. Brandon Gonzales (UNR)
Oosthuizen will be fighting highly overrated and nominally “undefeated ” prospect Brandon Gonzales on the Golovkin-Macklin undercard.
6) Adonis Stevenson (2-77-77)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO6 Darnell Boone (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. LHW #1 Chad Dawson (at LHW)
After tending to unfinished business with the lowly Boone, Stevenson will now set sites on #1 light heavyweight Chad Dawson, who most outlets still consider the Champ.
7) George Groves (2-24-46)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- TKO5 Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Groves is pressuring Froch to fight him.
8) Sakio Bika (2-15-321)
Last Fight: 2/16/2013- UD12 Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Bika will fight undefeated Mexican Marco Antonio Periban in California on June 22 for the WBC belt that that organization just heisted from Andre Ward.
9) Will Rosinsky (2-4-50)
Last Fight: 12/19/2012- UD10 Otis Griffin (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Rosinsky has been added to the Golovkin-Macklin undercard, but no opponent yet.
10) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (2-2-81)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W (PTS6) vs. Jevgenijs Andrejevs (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. Christopher Rebrasse (UNR)
Ndiaye battles French gatekeeper Christopher Rebrasse on June 8 in Italy.
11) James DeGale (2-85)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- KO2 Sebastian Demers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale turned in a solid performance against journeyman Sebastian Demers, a short-notice opponent who’s seen better days.
12) Maxim Vlasov (2-29)
Last Fight: 12/30/2012- RTD7 Geard Ajetovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
13) Edwin Rodriguez (2-19)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- W* (UD10) vs. #15 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. #15 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW)
After getting the benefit of yet another questionable but not totally out-of-bounds decision against Maderna, Rodriguez remains in the mix, but kinda on the periphery of the division’s contenders.  He gets a chance at a million bucks against Grachev, who also arguably deserved to lose his first round fight.
14) Ezequiel Maderna (2-22)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- L* (UD10) vs. #17 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna, despite arguably deserving a win against Rodriguez, did himself few favors in dropping the decision, especially considering how ugly the fight was.  I don’t imagine he’ll be getting too many international suitors anytime soon since he seems difficult to look good against.
15) Dyah Davis (2-14)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- L (TKO10) vs. #9 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown
Davis said on May 4 via Twitter that “a particular some(one)” called him on May 3 for a fight, and that based on “that performance” he’d better not call again.  That seems like a veiled reference to Anthony Dirrell to me.  He says he’s looking at a return date of July 19, which also fits reasonably well with Dirrell’s post-fight statement that he intends to fight at 168 in roughly two months.  If I’m reading the situation accurately, that would give both guys a good opportunity to prove they are for real after each has suffered significant setbacks in and/or out of the ring since their last significant success.
16) Don George (2-10)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. David Lopez (should be win)
Next Fight: 6/21/2013- vs. Caleb Truax (UNR)
Another reasonably decent challenge for George, as he travvels to Caleb Truax’s hometown of Minneapolis for their fight.
17) Andy Lee (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Yes, I know.  Andy Lee is not a Super Middleweight.  The only problem is he almost exclusively fights as one, if only barely.
18) Hadillah Mohoumadi (2-13)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- UD10 Cedric Bellais (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Mohoumadi gets a halfway decent outing on June 22 against borderline top 50 Italian Giovanni De Carolis, for the European Union title.
19) Glen Johnson (2-4)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson should be retired, but instead finds himself clinging to a ranking in a very shallow division.
20) Don Mouton (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/3/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mouton deserved to beat Dirrell, whom he also spotted nearly a full weight class.  Mouton was also a short-notice opponent.
 

 

The Week Ahead: No action to report for the upcoming week.

Super Middleweight: 2013, May 20-26

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on May 23, 2013 by danboxing
Last week’s #13 James DeGale had a good-looking performance in his North American debut, knocking out local journeyman Sebastian Demers in just 2 rounds in Quebec.

 

As for #19 Hadillah Mohoumadi, his scheduled fight with Giovanni De Carolis was pushed back until June 22.

 

Last week’s #4 Lucian Bute is removed this week, as he has rescheduled his light heavyweight fight with Pascal for a date after the 18-month anniversary of his last fight at 168 (and more than a year after his last fight near 168).  Bute had been in the top ten for 370 weeks straight.  Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye makes his top 10 debut.

 

Sometimes I think Andy Lee wakes up every morning trying to figure out ways to make my rankings difficult.  I spent hours on end choosing and then justifying in writing the guy that would take the #20 vacancy, which ultimately was Don Mouton.  But then when I was about to perform my middleweight update, I noticed that Andy Lee had, as he practically always does, fought slightly above the weight class that he claims.  His otherwise pointless stay-busy fight with Darryl Cunningham (which he won in less than 90 seconds) was contested at a contract weight of 162, it would appear.  While Lee is considered a middleweight contender, he’s never won a significant fight while weighing 160 or under.  But he’s also never done so weighing more than 163.  That’s very awkward, but the truth is they have to count for something somewhere.  Since he’s not technically rateable at 160 at all, that place has to be here.  Honestly, I bent my rules a bit back in February to remove him for inactivity at 168 when he beat a journeyman less than a pound over 160.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have done that, but in any case I can’t help but restore him to the rankings now.  Still, he can’t reasonably get full credit for beating a slew of middleweights a tiny amount over 160.  He therefore returns at #18, between Don George and Hadillah Mohoumadi.  Mouton’s 3-day tenure in the top 20 will have to go down in the books as unofficial.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (75-209-209)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward has tossed his “Emeritus” title from the WBC, ostensibly in protest of their laughable decision to pluck his belt and hand it to the winner of a fight between Sakio Bika (whom he beat) and Marco Antonio Periban (a prospect so unproven that he’s not even ranked in the top 20 of this pathetically shallow division).  The other convenient effect of the decision is that he has no reason to have to fight the winner if he doesn’t want to.
1) Carl Froch (52-362-362)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- KO3 LHW #11 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #3 Mikkel Kessler
The deal is done.  Froch will get a rematch with Kessler on May 25 in London.
2) Robert Stieglitz (9-195-195)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- TKO3 #2 Arthur Abraham
Next Fight: Unknown
After being blitzed by an uncharacteristically aggressive Stieglitz, Abraham has demanded a trilogy bout, which Stieglitz seems disposed to grant.  Sauerland also seems to be on board.
3) Mikkel Kessler (23-441-441)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO3 Brian Magee (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
See Froch’s notes, above.
4) Arthur Abraham (1-187-187)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stieglitz’s notes above.
5) Thomas Oosthuizen (1-103-151)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. Brandon Gonzales (UNR)
Oosthuizen will be fighting highly overrated and nominally “undefeated ” prospect Brandon Gonzales on the Golovkin-Macklin undercard.
6) Adonis Stevenson (1-76-76)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO6 Darnell Boone (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. LHW #1 Chad Dawson (at LHW)
After tending to unfinished business with the lowly Boone, Stevenson will now set sites on #1 light heavyweight Chad Dawson, who most outlets still consider the Champ.
7) George Groves (1-23-45)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- TKO2 Baker Barakat (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. Noe Gonzalez (UNR)
Groves will fight Uruguayan gatekeeper Noe Gonzalez on the Froch-Kessler undercard.
8) Sakio Bika (1-14-320)
Last Fight: 2/16/2013- UD12 Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Marco Antonio Periban (UNR)
Bika will fight undefeated Mexican Marco Antonio Periban in California on June 22 for the WBC belt that that organization just heisted from Andre Ward.
9) Will Rosinsky (1-3-49)
Last Fight: 12/19/2012- UD10 Otis Griffin (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Rosinsky has been added to the Golovkin-Macklin undercard, but no opponent yet.
10) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (1-1-80)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W (PTS6) vs. Jevgenijs Andrejevs (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. Christopher Rebrasse (UNR)
Ndiaye battles French gatekeeper Christopher Rebrasse on June 8 in Italy.
11) Dimitri Sartison (1-151)
Last Fight: 1/27/2013- UD6 Artem Solomko (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sartison’s fight in St. Petersburg, Russia this week appears to have been canceled.
12) James DeGale (1-84)
Last Fight: 5/17/2013- KO2 Sebastian Demers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
DeGale turned in a solid performance against journeyman Sebastian Demers, a short-notice opponent who’s seen better days.
13) Maxim Vlasov (1-28)
Last Fight: 12/30/2012- RTD7 Geard Ajetovic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Edwin Rodriguez (1-18)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- W* (UD10) vs. #15 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. #15 LHW Denis Grachev (at LHW)
After getting the benefit of yet another questionable but not totally out-of-bounds decision against Maderna, Rodriguez remains in the mix, but kinda on the periphery of the division’s contenders.  He gets a chance at a million bucks against Grachev, who also arguably deserved to lose his first round fight.
15) Ezequiel Maderna (1-21)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- L* (UD10) vs. #17 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna, despite arguably deserving a win against Rodriguez, did himself few favors in dropping the decision, especially considering how ugly the fight was.  I don’t imagine he’ll be getting too many international suitors anytime soon since he seems difficult to look good against.
16) Dyah Davis (1-13)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- L (TKO10) vs. #9 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown
Davis said on May 4 via Twitter that “a particular some(one)” called him on May 3 for a fight, and that based on “that performance” he’d better not call again.  That seems like a veiled reference to Anthony Dirrell to me.  He says he’s looking at a return date of July 19, which also fits reasonably well with Dirrell’s post-fight statement that he intends to fight at 168 in roughly two months.  If I’m reading the situation accurately, that would give both guys a good opportunity to prove they are for real after each has suffered significant setbacks in and/or out of the ring since their last significant success.
17) Don George (1-9)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. David Lopez (should be win)
Next Fight: 6/21/2013- vs. Caleb Truax (UNR)
Another reasonably decent challenge for George, as he travvels to Caleb Truax’s hometown of Minneapolis for their fight.
18) Andy Lee (1-1)
Last Fight: 5/15/2013- TKO1 Darryl Cunningham (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Yes, I know.  Andy Lee is not a Super Middleweight.  The only problem is he almost exclusively fights as one, if only barely.
18) Hadillah Mohoumadi (3-12)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- UD10 Cedric Bellais (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Mohoumadi gets a halfway decent outing on June 22 against borderline top 50 Italian Giovanni De Carolis, for the European Union title.
19) Glen Johnson (3-3)
Last Fight: 4/19/2013- TKO2 Junior Ramos (UNR) (at CW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Johnson should be retired, but instead finds himself clinging to a ranking in a very shallow division.

 

The Week Ahead: Two clashes with top-10 implications are on the docket this week, both on the same card in  London.  #1 Carl Froch takes on #3 Mikkel Kessler in an attempt to revenge his razor-thin 2010 loss to Mikkel Kessler (which I thought he maybe should have won).  A win would transform Froch from the clear best fighter in the division not named Andre Ward to the clear best fighter in the division not named Andre Ward by a mile.  For Kessler, it’s a chance obviously to resume his former spot as the #1 contender and possibly earn himself a rematch with Ward or a fight with another one of the top names at 168 or 175.

 

On the undercard, very busy #7 contender George Groves keeps up his impressive string of activity with a reasonably decent challenge against Uruguayan gatekeeper Noe Gonzalez.

Super Middleweight: 2013, Mar 25-31

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by danboxing
In the week’s most significant action, #2 Arthur Abraham battled #5 Robert Stieglitz in what I advertized last week as a rather unnecessary rematch in Magdeburg.  In the first meeting last summer, Abraham pounded out a competitive but clear decision.  Frankly, I thought Stieglitz had done about as much as he was capable of doing, and that Abraham had an average night.  But apparently Stieglitz didn’t realize that the rematch was unnecessary or that he was naturally outgunned.  He came out like a man with everything to prove, surprisingly putting a beating on the typically more powerful Abraham.  From the opening bell until the end of the third, when the fight was stopped due to gruesome and massive swelling to Abraham’s left eye.  The thorough drubbing of Abraham by a guy who is normally a stick-and-move boxer was expected by virtually nobody on the face of the Earth.

 

The previous night in Montreal, #7 Adonis Stevenson got his revenge, stopping journeyman Darnell Boone- who shockingly knocked him out a bit under 3 years ago- with a devastating combination in the 6th round. 

 

That same night in Chicago, local gatekeeper-type Don George strangely got more or less robbed in his own hometown.  His opponent, David Lopez, spent the majority of the fight with a complete lack of urgency, throwing completely non-threatening punches, and not landing much of anything.  George was the aggressor, and both threw and landed the cleaner and harder punches for all but a few rounds.  On my card, George swept the first 7 rounds before Lopez nicked the 8th and 9th.  Those are the only two rounds I gave Lopez, and they could have gone either way.  There were several close rounds, to be fair.  Although I had it 98-92 George, I will concede that if you gave Lopez all of those, you could stretch your way to a semi-reasonable draw.  Mike Fitzgerald gave Lopez every benefit of the doubt, scoring it even at 95-95.  John Epperson had it fairly reasonably 96-94 George.  But Mauro Di Fiore was out to rob George blind for some reason, turning in an astonishingly awful 97-94 score in favor of Lopez.  Di Fiore was born in Italy, further reinforcing an observation I made a few months ago- one I thought applied only to European fights- that the Italian judge typically turns in the worst card in a robbery.  This fight was fought at a 163-pound catchweight, since George is typically a full-sized super middleweight and Lopez tends to move between 154 and 160. 

 

Both George Groves and Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye snuck in stay-busy fights that weren’t even on the schedule a week before they happened.  Groves was on the Abraham-Stieglitz undercard, beating up on a very passive version of normally reasonably competent journeyman Baker Barakat to the tune of a second-round TKO.  Ndiaye was in Veneto, Italy, winning a points victory in a 6-rounder over very low-level journeyman Jevgenijs Andrejevs of Latvia.

 

Stieglitz and Abraham swap spots, with Stieglitz ending up at #2 and Abraham at #5.  My standing precedent is that when I score the fight for fighter A and the best result fighter B could hope for is a draw, and the judges score it a draw, I give fighter B credit for the draw in deference to the judges, while giving fighter A credit for the win.  With that being the case here, George checks in at #19, forcing Hadillah Mohoumadi down to #20 and bouncing last week’s #20 Glen Johnson from the ranks after 2 weeks.  Stevenson’s win is not significant enough to affect his standing.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (67-201-201)
Last Fight: 9/8/2012- TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward has said he’d move down to 160 to fight Floyd Mayweather, after Mayweather took some unsolicited shots at him.
1) Carl Froch (44-354-354)
Last Fight: 11/17/2012- KO3 LHW #11 Yusaf Mack
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #3 Mikkel Kessler
The deal is done.  Froch will get a rematch with Kessler on May 25 in London.
2) Robert Stieglitz (1-187-187)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- TKO3 #2 Arthur Abraham

Next Fight: Unknown
After being blitzed by an uncharacteristically aggressive Stieglitz, Abraham has demanded a trilogy bout, which Stieglitz seems disposed to grant.
3) Mikkel Kessler (15-433-433)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- TKO3 Brian Magee (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. #1 Carl Froch
See Froch’s notes, above.
4) Lucian Bute (31-363-363)
Last Fight: 11/3/2012- UD12 LHW #16 Denis Grachev (at LHW)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. LHW #3 Jean Pascal (at LHW)
Bute will be fighting Jean Pascal at light heavyweight in a huge Canadian event in May.  His super middleweight fight with Carl Froch was just a day shy of one year eariler, and thus Bute will probably be removed for inactivity at this weight the week after that fight unless he signs something immediately.
5) Arthur Abraham (1-179-179)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #5 Robert Stieglitz
Next Fight: Unknown
See Stieglitz’s notes above.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (31-95-143)
Last Fight: 11/10/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen was supposed to be fighting in February, but no opponent was ever named, and the fight seems to have quietly vacated the schedule.
7) Adonis Stevenson (24-68-68)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- TKO6 Darnell Boone (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 6/8/2013- vs. LHW #1 Chad Dawson (at LHW)
After tending to unfinished business with the lowly Boone, Stevenson will now set sites on #1 light heavyweight Chad Dawson, who most outlets still consider the Champ.
8) George Groves (10-15-37)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- TKO2 Baker Barakat (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 5/25/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Groves snuck in a short-notice walk in the park with journeyman Baker Barakat on the Abraham-Stieglitz undercard, and will return on the Froch-Kessler undercard on May 25.
9) Sakio Bika (4-6-312)
Last Fight: 2/16/2013- UD12 Nikola Sjekloca (UNR)

Next Fight: Unknown
Bika is the mandatory for Andre Ward, and has also expressed interest in Bernard Hopkins.
10) Anthony Dirrell (3-3-69)
Last Fight: 12/2/2011- TKO4 Renan St. Juste (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dirrell stated via Twitter on February 20 that he’d be fighting a tune-up in 2 months.  That means roughly mid-April.  It’ll be good to see him back in the ring after coming back from several orthopedic injuries due to a motorcycle crash.
11) Will Rosinsky (3-41)
Last Fight: 12/19/2012- UD10 Otis Griffin (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rosinsky was all but set to fight Brandon Gonzales on Friday Night Fights, but Gonzales withdrew with a bad hamstring.  The fight may or may not be rescheduled for May.
12) Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (3-72)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- W (PTS6) vs. Jevgenijs Andrejevs (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Ndiaye did nothing other than stay busy against low-level Latvian Andrejevs.  But in fairness, he needed to do that.
13) Dimitri Sartison (3-143)
Last Fight: 1/27/2013- UD6 Artem Solomko (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) James DeGale (3-76)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. Alexander Brand (UNR)
The DeGale-Brand fight has been postponed.  Not sure why.
15) Ezequiel Maderna (3-13)
Last Fight: 12/14/2012- RTD7 Claudio Abalos
Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. #17 Edwin Rodriguez
Maderna gets the first real international break of his career on March 30, when he fights fellow up-and-coming prospect Edwin Rodriguez of Massachusetts by way of the Dominican Republic, with the winner to fight the winner of Erdei-Grachev.  I actually can’t find it anywhere, but the fact that Grachev and especially Erdei are light heavyweights typically would seem to indicate that Maderna-Rodriguez might be at that weight, too.
16) Maxim Vlasov (3-20)
Last Fight: 12/30/2012- RTD7 Geard Ajetovic (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/6/2013- vs. Ruben Acosta (UNR)
Vlasov has been keeping busy against basically a good journeyman level of opposition, and continues that trend by taking on Argentina’s Ruben Acosta in Russia.
17) Edwin Rodriguez (3-10)
Last Fight: 9/29/2012- TKO8 Jason Escalera (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. #15 Ezequiel Maderna
See Maderna’s notes, above.
18) Dyah Davis (3-5)
Last Fight: 6/2/2012- L (TKO10) vs. #9 Sakio Bika
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Don George (1-1)
Last Fight: 3/22/2013- Draw* (SD10) vs. David Lopez (should have been win)
Next Fight: Unknown
George got robbed against Lopez, but gets credit for the win here (even if it was at a 163 catchweight).
20) Hadillah Mohoumadi (1-4)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- UD10 Cedric Bellais (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mohoumadi isn’t maybe the most obvious choice to be ranked, but he arguably beat DeGale (I thought he did better against him than Groves did) and by most accounts may have beaten Sjekloca, as well.

 

The Week Ahead: In Monte Carlo, Monaco, #15 Ezequiel Maderna takes on the toughest fighter of his career in #17 Edwin Rodriguez on Saturday.  The winner of this fight will get the winner of Grachev-Erdei at a 171-pound catchweight in July.