Archive for Ryota Murata

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.

Super Middleweight: 2014, May 19-25

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2014 by danboxing
Both Smith brothers were in action Saturday in Cardiff.

 

In an 8-rounder, older brother Paul displayed a vicious 2-handed attack in dispatching low-level journeyman David Sarabia of Spain inside of two rounds.  Sarabia didn’t have a chance to do anything, and was completely overwhelmed, as one might have expected.

 

Younger brother Callum followed that with a bit tougher test against one-loss prospect Tobias Webb.  Webb actually took the fight to Smith in the first round and pretty clearly took that frame, as the longer-armed Smith was getting beaten to the punch consistently.  Webb’s jab, in particular, looked like it might be a major problem for the highly-touted prospect.  But what a difference a minute makes.  Having made whatever adjustment needed to be made and then some, Smith came out an obliterated Webb to the body, dropping him an incredible 4 times from body shots in that one round.  Webb was game enough to obviously get up from what were legitimately crippling blows, but the 4th blast kept him on his hands and knees for the count.  It’s hard to say just how good a measuring stick Webb is.  He certainly looked more than capable, and his only loss was forgivable in the sense that it came to a legitimate prospect in Rocky Fielding, and was in part a product of the quirky format that is Prizefighter.  He’s certainly the only opponent who has ever given Smith any kind of trouble so far, and that means he at least could be better in fact that Ruben Acosta, the only actual top 50 fighter Smith has mixed it up with.  In any case, the resume wasn’t there yet, and so this won’t help Smith ascend to the top 20.  

 

No changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (127-261-261)
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 (104-414-414)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #8 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 (12-239-239)
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 (12-247-247)
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) Mikkel Kessler (12-493-493)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler says he won’t retire, but he hasn’t expressed anything but a wishlist when it comes to upcoming fights.  He’ll have to get a lot more concrete than that in a hurry, as he’s scheduled for removal next week if he doesn’t have something signed.
5) Brandon Gonzales (47-47-47)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #11 James DeGale
Gonzales’ elminator with DeGale is finally set, for May 31 in London, on the Froch-Groves undercard.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (34-155-203)
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.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (28-28-73)
Last Fight: 4/25/2014- TKO3 Richard Vidal (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Maderna stayed busy in impressive fashion against Vidal.
8) George Groves (28-75-97)
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.
9) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (12-12-12)
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.
10) Bryan Vera (12-12-12)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- L (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera is calling out Peter Quillin.
11) James DeGale (12-136)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- TKO11 Gevorg Khatchikian (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #5 Brandon Gonzales
See Gonzales’ notes, above.
12) Christopher Rebrasse (12-50)
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.
13) Sakio Bika (12-372)
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.
14) Maxim Vlasov (12-80)
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.
15) Edwin Rodriguez (12-70)
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.
16) Gilberto Ramirez (6-16)
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.
17) Ryota Murata (6-39)
Last Fight: 2/22/2014- TKO4 Carlos Nascimento (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/22/2014- vs. Jesus Angel Nerio (UNR)
Murata will stay busy in Kyoto on May 22 with Mexican journeyman Jesus Angel Nerio.
18) Anthony Dirrell (6-24)
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).
19) Hadillah Mohoumadi (6-64)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Caleb Truax (6-6)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Thursday
#17 Ryota Murata vs. Jesus Angel Nerio; Kyoto, Japan; TV Unknown
I don’t actually know if this will be here or at 160.  Murata is clearly a middleweight when he wants to be, but so far he’s never fought below 160.5.  As you may know, Murata is a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, and he debuted as a pro with a win over a top 20 middleweight in Akio Shibata.  Nerio is a mid-level journeyman from Mexico, and hardly projects as any kind of threat.

 

Schiller Hyppolite vs. Rafael Sosa; Pointe Claire, Quebec; TV Unknown

Hyppolite is a Haitian living in Montreal.  He’s a one-loss prospect on the fringes of the top 50.  His only loss was a 2012 split decision against a fighter who remains undefeated to this day, though without having proven anything outside that fight.  As for his own credentials, Hyppolite’s best win was a knockout of mid-level journeyman Martin Avila almost exactly a year ago.  Sosa represents his best opponent, with the possible exception of Francy Ntetu, the man that beat him.  Sosa is a 34 year-old Uruguayan veteran of 56 contests.  He’s only an upper-mid-level journeyman, and a natural middleweight at most.  He is a serious fighter, though, and even found his way to the fringes of the top 50 at 154 around 2008-2009.  If Hyppolite is a mere pretender, Sosa may very well have what it takes to prove that.

Super Middleweight: 2014, Feb 24- Mar 2

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on June 26, 2014 by danboxing
#16 Ryota Murata again fought just a pound or two over the middleweight limit, and looked very good against competent but overmatched veteran journeyman Carlos Nascimento of Brazil, whom he stopped in four.  Murata showed big power, good timing, nice finishing skills, and even substantially improved defense as opposed to his last fight.  Not bad for a guy in his 3rd fight.  Even so, his best win by far was his pro debut, which got him ranked where he is.

 

No changes.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (115-249-249)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward says his manager is working on his next fight despite his lawsuit against promoter Dan Goossen.  He had indicated interest in Golovkin, but the Kazakh’s own trainer recently said his fighter is not ready for that fight.
1) Carl Froch (92-402-402)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #8 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) Robert Stieglitz (49-235-235)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
The Abraham-Stieglitz trilogy bout, originally announced for February 1, is now official for March 1, in Stieglitz’s home base of Magdeburg.
3) Mikkel Kessler (63-481-481)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler is reportedly discussing a return with Sauerland, but there is no obvious opponent available for him at present.
4) Arthur Abraham (41-227-227)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #2 Robert Stieglitz
See Stieglitz’s notes, above.
5) Brandon Gonzales (35-35-35)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Gonzales was said to have reached a deal to fight Vlasov, but Vlasov has scheduled another fight, and it’s been hard to find any mention of the match since it was reportedly made.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (22-143-191)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen was yanked from his intended January 18 fight with Eleider Alvarez and released by his promoter after a bicycle accident and reportedly being hopelessly out of shape about 2 weeks before the fight.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (16-16-61)
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 (16-63-85)
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.
9) James DeGale (15-38-124)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Gevorg Khatchikian (UNR)
DeGale has been ordered to face Badou Jack for a shot at Bika’s alphabet belt.  Before that, he’ll fight undefeated Dutchman Gevorg Khatchikian on March 1 in Bristol.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (15-15-38)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- UD6 George Kandelaki (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/22/2014- vs. Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Rebrasse will get a March 22 rematch against Ndiaye that is hardly needed, as Rebrasse dominated the first fight on his way to being robbed.
11) Sakio Bika (15-360)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dirrell wants a rematch, and that’s obviously a worthy endeavor given the legitimate draw the first time around.  In the meantime, machinations are underway for an eliminator between Jack and DeGale, with the winner to become his mandatory.  On Bika’s end, he’d like a unification with Froch.
12) Maxim Vlasov (16-68)
Last Fight: 12/5/2013- KO4 Maxell Taylor (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/15/2014- vs. Henry Buchanan (UNR)
An IBF eliminator with Brandon Gonzales appears to be on hold, as Vlasov will now fight lower-mid-level journeyman Henry Buchanan on March 15.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (16-58)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
According to his trainer Ronnie Shields, they might be looking to fight a top-15 level light heavyweight, and have absolutely no intention to ever try to make 168 again.  He’ll be on the shelf for a little while due to bone chip-removal surgery on his elbow in December.
 14) Andy Lee (22-41)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee is reportedly being considered for a shot at Gennady Golovkin on April 26.
15) Gilberto Ramirez (4-4)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO1 #19 Don Mouton
Next Fight: Unknown
Much like many of his peers in the 168 pound rankings, Ramirez might really be a middleweight, but nevertheless has a solid resume in this division.
16) Ryota Murata (4-27)
Last Fight: 2/22/2014- TKO4 Carlos Nascimento (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
17) Anthony Dirrell (4-12)
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 (4-52)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Caleb Truax (4-36)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD12) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax may have been a little lucky to escape with a draw against Duran.  I agree with the decision, but it could only have tilted the other way if it tilted at all.
 20) Badou Jack (4-32)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 Rogelio Medina (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/28/2014- vs. Derek Edwards (UNR)
Jack will be on ShoBox at the end of the month against journeyman Derek Edwards, in what amounts to a tune-up for his eliminator against DeGale.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Friday
J’Leon Love vs. Vladine Biosse; Verona, New York; Showtime (US)
Love is one of Floyd Mayweather’s top promotional prospects.  He’s got a long jab and some slick defensive skills, but in my opinion, he’s vastly overrated.  He deserved losses to both Derrick Findley and Gabriel Rosado, and I had him behind to Lajuan Simon when he scored the stoppage.  He also has been busted for banned diuretics- that in the Rosado fight.  Biosse is a busted prospect, having been stopped in upset fashion by Marcus Upshaw and an unknown version of Denis Grachev.  Even worse, he’s coming off a draw in his last fight against journeyman Richard Gingras.  This is a good scenario for Love- a fairly recognizable name that has little or no chance.

 

#20 Badou Jack vs. Derek Edwards; Verona, New York; Showtime (US)
Jack is another Mayweather prospect, and so far the more impressive of the two I’ve mentioned.  He will be in against veteran journeyman Derek Edwards, who you might describe as mid-level and no great threat.  Edwards was an undefeated prospect at one point, but has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5.

 

Luis Arias vs. Dashon Johnson; Verona, New York; Off TV
This fight won’t make the TV card, but is not the least of the match-ups in terms of competition.  Johnson is deservedly the big underdog, but he made a name for himself- at least for me- with a shocking upset of Canadian prospect Adam Trupish in 2013.  He followed that up later in the year by outpointing once-impressive middleweight Craig McEwan.  He’s got more than his share of losses at that level, too, though.  If nothing else, it’s a good measuring stick for Arias, who has been steadily stepping up his competition.

 

Saturday
#2 Robert Stieglitz vs. #4 Arthur Abraham; Magdeburg, Germany; SAT1 (Germany)
There’s not a lot left to say about this match-up, as this is the third meeting for the two fighters.  Abraham won a close but clear decision in the first iteration, and was shockingly dominated and stopped early in the second.  Stieglitz comes in as the favorite, and the winner will most likely be the number 2 contender next week.

 

#9 James DeGale vs. Gevorg Khatchikian; Bristol, England; Channel 5 (UK)
Khatchikian is an unbeaten Armenian who has made his home in the Netherlands since age 13.  He’s the best super middleweight in Holland, though that’s not saying much.  He’s quite untested, and is the huge underdog against top-10 DeGale.  The Englishman might even be better than that.  He probably deserved the decision against George Groves when the pair fought, and has been struggling with a groin injury possibly ever since.  He finally had surgery to correct the issue, and so the suggestion, at least, is that we’ll see a fully functional DeGale for the first time in a while. 

 

#15 MW Bryan Vera vs. Julio Cesar Chavez; San Antonio, Texas; HBO (US)
Another intriguing re-match.  Vera almost certainly deserved a win in the first fight, but was borderline robbed.  Chavez came in extremely heavy for that fight, and looked sluggish.  If he can motivate himself, this might be a good one.  Vera is no slouch, despite being the naturally much smaller man, and always comes to fight.

Super Middleweight: 2014, Feb 17-23

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , on May 31, 2014 by danboxing
Paris played host on Saturday to a pretty major upset.  One-loss French prospect Samy Anouche was probably leading by 1-3 points going into the 8th round of a 12-round fight with Dominican journeyman Mariano Hilario.  Hilario came in at 9-2, having never beaten anyone remotely established, and having lost to two complete nobodies back-to-back in 2012.  Through most of the fight, Hilario looked like he wanted to peck and poke while boxing on the outside, while Anouche looked to apply pressure.  Both guys had success in spots.  In the aforementioned 8th round, right after Anouche had his best round of the fight by beating Hilario from pillar to post in the 7th, southpaw Anouche threw a soft lead left hand which glanced off the hairline of Hilario, and was intended to set up what appeared to be a follow up right hook.  Hilario had other ideas.  He crouched down and leaned into a short right hand that connected with devastating precision as the Frenchman was still in the early stages of his own shot.  Anouche landed hard on his back, after having his head spun around exorcist-style.  A little wobbly at first, he managed to gain his feet by about the count of seven, and at least from the over the shoulder shot I saw, seemed to be reasonably steady and able to hold his hands up as instructed.  Unfortunately for him, veteran Italian referee Guido Cavalleri saw something in the eyes he didn’t like, and waved the bout off for a shocking TKO victory for the Spanish-based Domincan.

 

Hilario has put himself on the map, but given his history he’ll need at least another similar win or two to advance much past a mid-level gatekeeper.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (114-248-248)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 #13 Edwin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown
Ward says his manager is working on his next fight despite his lawsuit against promoter Dan Goossen.  He had indicated interest in Golovkin, but the Kazakh’s own trainer recently said his fighter is not ready for that fight.
1) Carl Froch (91-401-401)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- TKO9 #8 George Groves
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #8 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) Robert Stieglitz (48-234-234)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
The Abraham-Stieglitz trilogy bout, originally announced for February 1, is now official for March 1, in Stieglitz’s home base of Magdeburg.
3) Mikkel Kessler (62-480-480)
Last Fight: 5/25/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Carl Froch
Next Fight: Unknown
Kessler is reportedly discussing a return with Sauerland, but there is no obvious opponent available for him at present.
4) Arthur Abraham (40-226-226)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #2 Robert Stieglitz
See Stieglitz’s notes, above.
5) Brandon Gonzales (34-34-34)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD10 Jonathan Nelson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #12 Maxim Vlasov
Gonzales and Vlasov have reached a deal for an eliminator to become Froch’s mandatory, but I haven’t been able to find a date yet.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen (21-142-190)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: Unknown
Oosthuizen was yanked from his intended January 18 fight with Eleider Alvarez and released by his promoter after a bicycle accident and reportedly being hopelessly out of shape about 2 weeks before the fight.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (15-15-60)
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 (15-62-84)
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.
9) James DeGale (14-37-123)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Dyah Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Gevorg Khatchikian (UNR)
DeGale has been ordered to face Badou Jack for a shot at Bika’s alphabet belt.  Before that, he’ll fight undefeated Dutchman Gevorg Khatchikian on March 1 in Bristol.
10) Christopher Rebrasse (14-14-37)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- UD6 George Kandelaki (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/22/2014- vs. Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (UNR)
Rebrasse will get a March 22 rematch against Ndiaye that is hardly needed, as Rebrasse dominated the first fight on his way to being robbed.
11) Sakio Bika (14-359)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dirrell wants a rematch, and that’s obviously a worthy endeavor given the legitimate draw the first time around.  In the meantime, machinations are underway for an eliminator between Jack and DeGale, with the winner to become his mandatory.  On Bika’s end, he’d like a unification with Froch.
12) Maxim Vlasov (15-67)
Last Fight: 12/5/2013- KO4 Maxell Taylor (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #5 Brandon Gonzales
Vlasov appears set for an IBF eliminator against Brandon Gonzales.  A deal has been reached, but no date has been reported.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (15-57)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
According to his trainer Ronnie Shields, they might be looking to fight a top-15 level light heavyweight, and have absolutely no intention to ever try to make 168 again.  He’ll be on the shelf for a little while due to bone chip-removal surgery on his elbow in December.
 14) Andy Lee (21-40)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee is reportedly being considered for a shot at Gennady Golovkin on April 26.
15) Gilberto Ramirez (3-3)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO1 #19 Don Mouton
Next Fight: Unknown
Much like many of his peers in the 168 pound rankings, Ramirez might really be a middleweight, but nevertheless has a solid resume in this division.
16) Ryota Murata (3-26)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO8 Dave Peterson (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/22/2014- vs. Carlos Nascimento (UNR)
Murata is slated for a February 22 card in Macau against mediocre Brazilian journeyman Carlos Nascimento.
17) Anthony Dirrell (3-11)
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 (3-51)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Caleb Truax (3-35)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (MD12) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax may have been a little lucky to escape with a draw against Duran.  I agree with the decision, but it could only have tilted the other way if it tilted at all.
 20) Badou Jack (3-31)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 Rogelio Medina (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/28/2014- vs. Derek Edwards (UNR)
Jack will be on ShoBox at the end of the month against journeyman Derek Edwards, in what amounts to a tune-up for his eliminator against DeGale.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Saturday
#16 Ryota Murata vs. Carlos Nascimento; Macau, China; UniMas (US)
Nascimento is a 36 year-old Brazilian who was at one point a 16-0 prospect, but has been a low-to-mid level journeyman ever since he started getting tested.  Murata is a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, and made waves in his first pro fight by beating Asia’s best middleweight.  Both guys should really be fighting at middleweight, and as I understand it, this fight will follow the pattern that Murata’s established by being contested just a pound or two over the middleweight limit.

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

Middleweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2014 by danboxing
I’ll take the week’s action in order of importance this week.

 

Saturday in Stuttgart, #3 Darren Barker saw his body betray him, as a lingering hip injury flared up and saw him unable to keep his feet after originally getting caught for a knockdown in the 2nd round.  His opponent, #4 Felix Sturm, showed no visible signs of pity, dropping the wobbly Englishman again a few seconds later, before the corner mercifully threw in the towel and ended it.  

 

Later that night in Atlantic City, former junior middleweight contender James Kirkland returned after about 21 months off, and put a frightful- if initially competitive- beating on unbeaten junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia, stopping the game Tapia in 6, after Steve Smoger let it go maybe just a little too long.  The fight was contested at a contract weight of 156, which makes it relevant here.

 

On that undercard, #6 Matthew Macklin didn’t look all that spectacular against undefeated prospect Lamar Russ, but still did plenty to win the fight.  I had Macklin winning comfortably at 98-92, but there were a lot of close rounds.  The judges had it 96-94, 98-92, and 97-93, all for Macklin, and all reasonable.

 

On the non-televised portion of the card, undefeated Russian prospect Matt Korobov stopped Derek Edwards in the 9th of a scheduled 10, at a contract weight a few pounds over the limit.  No big deal there, as Edwards was a low-level journeyman.

 

Japanese undefeated prospect and Olympic Champion Ryota Murata was in action this weekend in Tokyo against Dave Peterson of Minnesota, but you’ll have to read my very detailed report on the Super Middleweight update to find out what happened, as Murata (who is ranked there) came in a half-pound over the limit.

 

Barker is very likely to retire, given his chronic catastrophic injuries, but for now we can only take the fight on its own merits.  It doesn’t prove that Sturm is dominant over a #3 contender, though you do have to give him full credit for the first knockdown.  But even if he had absolutely destroyed a healthy Barker, I’m not sure it would have made much difference in his actual ranking.  As for Barker, I am unable to assume that he’ll never fight again, or that he will be compromised if he does.  He’ll maintain his ranking until he proves unworthy of it, or until he retires.  Therefore, Sturm moves up to #3, while Barker swaps with him to #4.  For those that wonder how much pause I was given by the fact that #5 Geale beat Sturm, I can tell you that it wasn’t much.  Geale’s win over Sturm was one of the closest all-around fights I’ve ever seen, and the verdict was debatable.

 

As for Kirkland, he is held back a bit by his loss to Ishida from a couple years ago- especially as compared to undefeated prospects like Meryasev and Chudinov who have succeeeded at a slightly lower level than Tapia, but who have never suffered the appearance of limitation that comes from a loss at essentially the same level as Tapia that Ishida represented.  If there was any doubt as to where to place him in relation to a guy like Chudinov, it was dispelled by the fact that Tapia isn’t a true middleweight and that the fight was only at middleweight because there was not a title on the line.  Accordingly, Kirkland makes his debut in the middleweight rankings at #19, which once again forces out Akio Shibata after a 9-week stint.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (191-191-191)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. # 8 JMW Miguel Cotto
According to fighthype.com, citing anonymous sources close to Cotto, there is now no doubt that Cotto-Martinez will happen on June 7 in New York. 
1) Martin Murray (33-106-106)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- L* (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez (Robbery- D at worst)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR)
Murray’s fight with Khomitsky for the Froch-Groves undercard was cancelled on 3 days’ notice on account of a virus, but has been rescheduled for December 14.
2) Gennady Golovkin (24-67-130)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Golovkin returns February 1 in Monte Carlo.  Originally it looked like Murray was the opponent, but he will instead fight former borderline top 10 contender Osumanu Adama, who was removed from a #13 berth in September for failing to make 160 for 18 months.
3) Felix Sturm (1-534-534)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Sturm got a little help from Barker’s trick hip, but it’s gotta count for something, and he did score the first knockdown on his own.
4) Darren Barker (1-17-113)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (TKO2) vs. #4 Felix Sturm
Next Fight: Unknown
Barker’s body failed him against Sturm, and it’s led to heavy speculation that we may have seen the last of him.  His team has only fueled this speculation further.
5) Daniel Geale (17-234-234)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
In the wake of Sturm’s victory over the man that beat him, Geale has renewed calls for what would be a very interesting rematch with the German.
6) Matthew Macklin (17-129-220)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Lamar Russ (UNR)
After a legitimate but very unspectacular win over only moderately proven prospect Lamar Russ, Macklin has joined the chorus of quality middleweights looking for a rematch with Sturm.
7) Peter Quillin (33-60-81)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is looking to match Quillin with Danny Jacobs in Brooklyn on February 1.  A recent interview indicates he might prefer to fight some of the top contenders, instead.  Unfortunately most of them fight on HBO in this division, while Quillin’s promoter is tied to Showtime.
8) Sergio Mora (8-24-24)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora had hoped to fight Golovkin on February 1, but says he was never offered the fight.
9) Marco Antonio Rubio (8-10-150)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio looks poised to take on Sergio if Maravilla’s intended fight with Cotto falls through, though that possibility has begun to look increasingly unlikely.
10) Anthony Mundine (8-8-150)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- TKO7 #4 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
In a quick turnaround, Mundine announced that he will headline a January 29 show in Brisbane.  Most likely this will be nothing more than a quick payday, as I’m sure he won’t want to prepare for two big fights that close together.
11) Max Bursak (8-150)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- UD12 Nick Blackwell (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Gari Abajian (UNR)
Bursak will fight a low-level Georgian journeyman this weekend in a short-notice stay-busy contest.
12) Caleb Truax (8-12)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Derek Ennis (UNR)
Truax’s January 3 fight will likely be the first notable fight of the New Year.  He’ll face Derek Ennis.
13) Bryan Vera (8-60)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L* (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (UNR)
Vera-Chavez II now looks likely for March 1 in either Vegas or Texas, after a proposed February date was abandoned over concerns related to Olympic conflicts.
14) Grzegorz Proksa (8-139)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa had another hand operation in August, but thinks he’ll be ready to go for a proposed February fight in Poland with undefeated prospect Maciej Suleckim.
15) Curtis Stevens (8-19)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L (RTD8) vs. #2 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: 1/24/2014- vs. Patrick Majewski (UNR)
Stevens will make a surprisingly quick return from a grueling battle with Golovkin.  His January 24 opponent will be one-loss Polish fringe prospect Patrick Majewski.
16) Andrey Meryasev (5-5)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve still yet to see Meryasev in action, but his win over Sanders at this point in his career proves that he’s a real prospect.
17) Danny Jacobs (2-16)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is apparently looking to match Jacobs and Quillin on February 1 in Brooklyn.
18) Dmitry Chudinov (2-16)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- W (PTS8) vs. Max Maxwell (UNR) (at SMW/LHW)
Next Fight: 12/21/2013- vs. Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Chudinov makes his return in Moscow on December 21, taking on mid-level Colombian journeyman Juan Camilo Novoa.
19) James Kirkland (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO6 Glen Tapia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Only time will tell whether Kirkland does any serious campaigning at middleweight in the near future, but even though both men are typically junior middleweights, Tapia was a credible enough opponent at 160 (or 156, as it were) to earn Kirkland a ranking here.
20) Jorge Heiland (1-2)
Last Fight: 11/29/2013- TKO*12 #17 Billi Godoy
Next Fight: Unknown
After two closely-contested battles, there’s already talk of a trilogy with Godoy.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Wednesday
Sam Soliman vs. Les Sherrington; Flemington, Australia; Off TV
Soliman returns from a PED suspension against fellow Australian Les Sherrington, who has been able to rebuild himself to gatekeeper level after breaking his leg in a fight with the awful Kashif Mumtaz.  Soliman might reclaim a ranking with a win, simply by virtue of ending his forced inactivity.

 

Saturday
Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs. Anthony Fitzgerald; Barcelona, Spain; Off TV
This is another matchup that has the potential to get an inactive contender back into the rankings.  N’Dam is a shoe-in for a spot, assuming he wins and makes 160.

 

Max Bursak vs. Gari Abajian; Brovari, Ukraine; Off TV
Just a stay-busy fight for Bursak.  Abajian is a l0w-level Georgian journeyman.

 

Martin Murray vs. Sergey Khomitsky; London, England; Sky (UK)
This fight is expected to take place a few pounds over 160, and will likely be treated in more detail at 168.

 

Jermain Taylor vs. J.C. Candelo; San Antonio, Texas; Off TV
Another fight that is basically a middleweight fight, but which is expected to take place at super middle technically.  I haven’t decided which division I will discuss it in next week.

Super Middleweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Rankings, Super Middleweight with tags , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2014 by danboxing
Friday
#15 Ryota Murata was in action for just the second time as a pro on Friday in Tokyo, and didn’t disappoint, stopping Dave Peterson in the final stanza of the 8-rounder.  This is the first time I’ve actually gotten to see him, and since I imagine very few in the western world can say the same, I thought it might be worth giving a scouting report.  I rarely do this, in part because most guys have well-known skill sets by the time they break the top 20, and in part because I’m really not an expert at evaluating technique, style, or potential.  But I’ll take a stab at it anyway.  From what I saw of him, I would say the following about Murata: 

 

Pro: He is very aggressive.  I’ve been told by someone who ought to know that the Japanese fight culture is at least the equal of Mexico in the value it places on coming forward and attacking the opponent.  If this is not true, you wouldn’t know it from seeing Murata.  Even in his worst moments, taking a backward step wasn’t even remotely on his mind.  He is heavy-handed.  His opponent, Minnesota fringe prospect Dave Peterson, was not looking to go away, but you could tell that Murata’s shots were making a dent.  He is a finisher.  When he hurt Peterson in the 8th round, he stepped up the pressure even more, and used well-selected and frequent punches to put him away.  He cuts off the ring relatively well.  Peterson was actually a respectable boxer in terms of style.  He used lateral movement and punched strategically, but Murata was still able to get to him almost at will.  He is very accurate.  Peterson, while no Pernell Whitaker by any stretch of the imagination, was defensively responsible, with a lot of movement of both head and feet, and yet I would bet money that Murata was landing well over 50% of his shots, both jab and power.

 

Con: No defense.  Murata is like a statue from the waist up.  He didn’t move his head once in the fight, I don’t think, even to roll with a punch.  His hand defense, to use the kindest possible description, is passive.  The only reason that a punch wouldn’t land on him would be if it was thrown with wild inaccuracy, or if it was aimed at a place that Murata’s gloves or arms were already stationed.  He does not pick off shots at all.  Speaking of his arms and gloves, his hands are also fairly slow.  Granted, what he gives up in speed, he more than gains in accuracy, but just don’t expect him to be putting them together like Roy Jones.  His one-two is just fine if he doesn’t have something coming back to trump it, but against better competition I fear he might not be hard to time with a big counter.

 

For what it’s worth, Peterson was under 159, while Murata missed 160 by just a half-pound.

 

In other action in Windhoek, Namibia, local gatekeeper Wilbeforce Shihepo knocked out mid-level Kenyan journeyman Daniel Wanyonyi to capture an alphabet-sponsored African title, and in doing so solidified his tenuous position as a top-50 fighter.

 

On the Chicago undercard of Wlodarczyk-Fragomeni, undefeated Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez carved up low-level Colombian journeyman Jaison Palomeque in 5 rounds to win by TKO, and frankly appears much more at home in this division than at 154, where he gained a reputation for badly missing weight before comfortably making it in his last fight, only to win a debatable decision over Derek Ennis.

 

Later that night on the ShoBox card from Shelton, Washington, #19 Badou Jack frankly continued his disturbing trend of apparently fighting down to his competition.  I had him behind by a point after 5 rounds with high-level Mexican journeyman Rogelio Medina, but to Jack’s credit, he was able to call on what looked to be an extra gear at that point, and since it appeared to be taking all of Medina’s effort to hang in there, Jack was able to dispatch his flagging opponent with three knockdowns in a brutal 6th before referee Bobby Howard- far too late- called an end to proceedings.  

 

Thursday
#12 Maxim Vlasov won the first three rounds against lower-mid-level journeyman Maxell Taylor, and knocked him out in the fourth.  The fight was not quite at 168.  Taylor weighed in at a hefty 176, while Vlasov at least stayed in the ballpark at 170.  This is worth bringing up mainly because Vlasov last made 168 on November 5, 2012.  He’s been within 2 pounds of it 3 times, but by my rules that still only buys him until May 5, 2014 to fight at 168 in order to maintain his ranking.

 

Saturday
#11 Sakio Bika retained his alphabet title with a fairly clear-cut draw against Anthony Dirrell on the Maidana-Broner undercard in Brooklyn.  Bika won rounds 4, 6, 7, 8, and 12 clearly.  Dirrell could say the same for 1, 3, 5, and 9.  He added a knockdown in 5.  Bika also would have won round 11 if it weren’t for a point deduction for a low blow.  I might have made it just a hard warning, to be honest, if I were the ref.  Rounds 2 and 10 were swing rounds, and I gave one to each guy.  113-113 Draw, with 114-112 either way being reasonable.  Judge Glenn Feldman was great at 113-113.  Don Trella was reasonable at 114-112 Bika.  Joseph Pasquale was out of his freaking mind at 116-110 Dirrell.  I mean this guy gave Dirrell all the toss-ups, one kind of close round that Bika clearly won, and one round that was 100% clear cut for Bika.  Even with a good result, there’s bad judging on the menu.

 

Conclusion
The Bika-Dirrell result is the only thing that might affect the rankings this week.  It’s an odd bit of data, I must say.  Dirrell was in the neighborhood of the low 30s in terms of unofficial rank, having needed a blatant robbery to notch a W against Don Mouton.  Mouton thereby gained, in effect, a win over a top 10 contender with the performance.  Both due to the head-to-head and the fact that Mouton got a win over #10 and Dirrell a draw against #11, Dirrell cannot reasonably surpass Mouton in the rankings, and is therefore frozen out, narrowly, from the top 20.  Very often in the case of a draw, the two fighters end up back-to-back in the rankings, or nearly so.  Not here.  Bika, despite the draw, must be compared to those that seek to surpass him.  Even against #12 Maxim Vlasov, Bika comes out looking like the better candidate for #11.  Vlasov’s best win was a dominant decision over Khoren Gevor, which itself was not all that significantly better than Bika’s stoppage win the same year over the roughly comparable Dyah Davis.  Bika then adds more recent wins over top 50 prospects Sjekloca and Periban, while Vlasov can only answer with an aging 2010 stoppage of Jerson Ravelo.  Vlasov’s loss to Chilemba supports the idea that his potential is that of a borderline top 10 fighter at best.  While Bika’s draw with Dirrell might say something similar (Dirrell once having occupied that lofty station himself), the greater and more recent volume of ratable wins demands that Bika stay right where he is.  On the merits of the fight alone, there would have very surprisingly been no movement in the top 20, but last week’s #18 Glen Johnson was kind enough to clear a space for Dirrell by signing a fight at Cruiserweight for December 18, which is a year and 3 days after his last fight at 168, and thus makes him officially inactive at this weight a couple weeks early.  Dirrell is among the beneficiaries, returning to the rankings at #20.

 

Dan’s Top 20
Champ: Andre Ward (104-238-238)
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.  In the meantime, he has maybe another fight to deal with that could do more damage to his career than any he has yet met in the ring- a lawsuit against his promoter.
1) Carl Froch (81-391-391)
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.  Rumor has it that he intends to refuse, and has also resisted suggestions that he move up to 175 to fight Stevenson.  His current focus seems to be on trying to make a Ward rematch.
2) Robert Stieglitz (38-224-224)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD12 Isaac Ekpo (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #4 Arthur Abraham
The Abraham-Stieglitz trilogy bout, originally announced for February 1, is now official for March 1, in Stieglitz’s home base of Magdeburg.
3) Mikkel Kessler (52-470-470)
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, though the Viking Warrior recently said, rather vaguely, that he still wants a big fight.
4) Arthur Abraham (30-216-216)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- UD12 Giovanni De Carolis (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. #2 Robert Stieglitz
See Stieglitz’s notes, above.
5) Brandon Gonzales (24-24-24)
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 (11-132-180)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #13 Ezequiel Maderna
Next Fight: 1/18/2014- vs. LHW #18 Eleider Alvarez (at LHW)
Oosthuizen’s scheduled January fight has been denied title sanctioning by an alphabet organization.  It’s not clear whether that will pose a problem for the fight coming off.
7) Ezequiel Maderna (5-5-50)
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 (5-52-74)
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.  He’s having to resort to personal attacks to try and get a reluctant Froch to agree, however.
9) James DeGale (4-27-113)
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 (4-4-27)
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 (4-349)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- Draw (SD12) vs. Anthony Dirrell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Dirrell wants a rematch, and that’s obviously a worthy endeavor given the legitimate draw the first time around.
12) Maxim Vlasov (5-57)
Last Fight: 12/5/2013- KO4 Maxell Taylor (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vlasov has until May to make 168 to remain in the rankings.
13) Edwin Rodriguez (5-47)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Andre Ward
Next Fight: Unknown
According to his trainer Ronnie Shields, they might be looking to fight a top-15 level light heavyweight, and have absolutely no intention to ever try to make 168 again.
 14) Andy Lee (11-30)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013-TKO2 Ferenc Hafner (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lee seems to be focused on a Macklin clash for the Spring.
15) Ryota Murata (11-16)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO8 Dave Peterson (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/22/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Murata is slated for a February 22 card in Macau.
16) Caleb Truax (11-25)
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 (11-41)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- TKO5 Bartlomiej Grafka (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
 18) Badou Jack (1-21)
Last Fight: 12/6/2013- TKO6 Rogelio Medina (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Jack called out the winner of Bika vs. Dirrell after his win over Medina, but might want to restate, since the fight ended in a draw the following night.
19) Don Mouton (1-11)
Last Fight: 5/13/2013- L* (UD8) vs. #10 Anthony Dirrell
Next Fight: Unknown
Mouton was set to fight Gilberto Ramirez on December 7, but that whole show has evidently been postponed or cancelled.
20) Anthony Dirrell (1-1)
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.

 

The Week Ahead:
Friday
Jake Carr vs. Zac Awad; Flemington, Australia; Off TV
Precocious undefeated prospect Carr has only 5 fights under his belt, but he proved himself to be quite advanced by beating veteran gatekeeper Serge Yannick in his last fight.  Awad is something of a veteran, himself, but at 32 his best days might already be behind him.  Since edging out prospect Junior Talipeau in 2011, he has struggled against mediocre opposition.  Nevertheless, I wouldn’t rule him out as a threat, especially if Carr’s performance against Yannick was a bit of a lucky night.  That being said, I don’t think it was.  Carr really did look impressive.

 

Saturday
Martin Murray vs. Sergey Khomitsky; London, England; Sky (UK)
This is basically a middleweight fight without as much dehydration.  I’m only mentioning it now as a formality, and probably won’t discuss it in my update for this weight next week at all, except in the highly unlikely event that it has some significance to the rankings (which would pretty much require a huge upset by Khomitsky).

 

Jermain Taylor vs. J.C. Candelo; San Antonio, Texas; Off TV
Another fight that’s basically intended as a middleweight contest, but since neither fighter is ranked at 160, I’ll probably mention it here if, as expected, one or both fighters don’t make 160.  Candelo is a fully used-up journeyman at this point, and Taylor is a shadow of his former self, teetering  between maybe getting a good enough win to try and scratch out a legitimate role as a fringe contender, and laboring in total obscurity.  A loss here would certainly put him squarely in the latter category.