Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Top 25 Heavyweights (As of February 1, 2006)

As expected there aren’t many changes this month due to the low number of bouts in January.

One troubling development is the proposed Nicolay Valuez – Owen Beck WBA title bout. Beck is a good prospect but he went 0-2 in 2005 and only recently scored a ho-hum 8-round decision over a relative unknown. Can’t the new titlist do better than this? Don’t get me wrong, Beck may actually win. Valuev, is not King Kong even though he can stand eye-to-eye with the mythical character. There are just too many other possibilities that should be explored first.

March may prove the big month this year. Rahman – Toney will stir some interest because both are talented fighters actually deserving of top ten ratings. It is rare nowadays to see two real top ten heavyweights in the ring at the same time.

Key names in action this month, Calvin Brock against Zuri Lawrence, Shannon Briggs continuing his club tour, and former top ten campaigner Fres Oquendo.
* * *

1. Hasim Rahman, USA– WBC Champion (Last Month #1) His March showdown with James Toney will provide some clarity for the division. Toney is now widely seen as the great guru of the sport. Toney’s campaign as a heavyweight, however, is not all that special. We’ll find out if he can really take the big man punch of a true heavyweight hitter in the form of Rahman.

2. Lamon Brewster, USA– WBO Champion (Last month #2) No name has emerged as Brewster’s next victim. Obviously the money fight would be with Wladimir Klitschko but it would also mean a return to Germany. This guy would be huge if he fought on US network TV. Huge.

3. Wladimir Klitschko, Ukraine (Last month #3) The boxing blogs are filled with rumors of an April date with Chris Byrd. Klitschko is the so-called mandatory to Byrd. The contest is undoubtedly Team Klitschko’s best hope for another belt. There’s no reason to think Klitschko won’t whack Byrd around again and take his belt.

4. James Toney, USA (Last month #4) No one can say that Toney is taking the easy route to heavyweight riches. He clearly fears no one. Rahman has power that Toney has never seen so this will prove a major test. If only the other contenders had Toney’s desire to meet the best in the business…

5. Chris Byrd, USA– IBF Champion (Last month #5) The clock is running on the boxing career of Chris Byrd. He wants money and respect. Meeting and beating Klitschko would accomplish both. It’s a tall order.

6. Calvin Brock, USA (Last month #6) Brock figures to race past Zuri Lawrence in February and move quickly into a title situation. The “Banker” has talent but he hasn’t yet faced the big hitters. It has to happen soon.

7. Samuel Peter, Nigeria (Last month #7) After a less-than-impressive victory over Robert Hawkins, Peter needs a big bout to showcase his considerable power. He can get back into real contention just by keeping busy.

8. Nicolay Valuev, Russia – WBA Champion (Last month #8) Okay, he captured a title, he picked up some public interest (due mostly to his enormous stature), and had a chance to get some big paydays. Instead there are reports that his considering a defense against Jamaican Owen “What the Heck” Beck. Who? Beck, a prospect at best, was 0-2 in 2005. Last month he climbed back into the win column with an 8-round decision over Darnell Wilson. Not exactly inspiring stuff, huh? Alright Nick, what’s it going to be? Are you going to go for the brass ring or are you going to simply ride the merry-go-round of “mandatories” and also-rans. He can probably fight second and third tier types in Germany forever. It's time to put up or shut up big guy.

9. Danny Williams, England (Last month #9) He is making the most of his resurrecting win over Audley Harrison by facing Matt Skelton in February. Lots of British intrigue. More importantly, lots of paying British fans. A win here and he’ll get another title go.

10. John Ruiz, USA (Last month #10) Something tells me that he will get another chance at a belt. Look, I’m not all that excited about such a prospect but he has a way of hanging around and getting some wins. I suspect Rahman would like to gain some revenge down the line. Please, no hate mail for suggesting this.

11. Monte Barrett, USA (Last month #11) He seems to have dropped off the planet following his August loss to Rahman. Where are you Monte?

12. Audley Harrison, England (Last month #12) He’s in negotiations to face Scott Gammer on the Skelton-Williams undercard. Gammer is undefeated but he hasn’t beaten anyone you’ve heard except former fringe also-ran Julian Frances (who is only one fight above .500).

13. David Tua, New Zealand (Last month #13This month he’ll take on Javier Mora in Florida. It is amazing what stay-busy fights can do for a former top contender. He’s being given a lot of credit for these victories but his performances have been lackluster.

14. Oleg Maskaev, Uzbekistan (Last month #15) Now here is a puzzler. The WBC recently mandated a title shot for James Toney. Interestingly, however, if you look at the WBC today you’ll see the name Oleg Maskaev as the number one contender but he is the one waiting for the shot. Figure that one out and get back to me. He’s supposedly next in line to take on the winner of the Rahman-Toney bout. Keep your fingers crossed Oleg.

15. Sultan Ibragimov, Russia (Last month #16) Last month I caught a lot of grief by not listing him higher than number 16. Recent wins over Lance Whitaker and Zuri Lawrence are enough for all of us to take notice, Whitaker and Lawrence are hardly the stuff of legend. Nevertheless this man is a red-hot prospect. A couple of key wins and he’ll contest for a belt.

16. Shannon Briggs, USA (Last month #17) The former lineal champion is now on a 9-fight win streak. He last fought in December and he’s climbing in again in February. He has the right idea. He’s forcing his way into the title picture through sheer volume of fights. I sure would like to seem him against top guy --- but in the mean time business is brisk.

17. DaVarryl Williamson, USA (Last month #14) He’s apparently fit to fight and is openly calling out Valuev. Who isn’t? My advice to “Touch of Sleep” is to get back in the ring soon. The model he should follow is that of Shannon Briggs: fight often, fight everywhere, fight anyone.

18. Ray Austin, USA (Last month #19) It must feel strange for Ray. In his last bout he beat Owen Beck, but it now appears Beck may get a shot at a belt. What the heck?

19. Matt Skelton, England (Last month #20) Danny Williams represents a giant hurdle. If Matt can clear it he will be in the big money.

20. Ruslan Chagaev, Uzbekistan (Last month #21) Following a clear win over club king Rob Calloway in January, he scheduled to take on fellow undefeated Vladimir Virchis in March.

21. Serguei Lyakhovich, Belarus (Last month #18) Injuries have plagued him – he had no fights in 2005. He’ll fall by the wayside if he doesn’t back in soon.

22. Luan Krasniqi, Germany (Last month #23) Strangely, he can get right back into title contention with a win in March.

23. Zuri Lawrence, USA (Last month #24) He’ll take his light-touch style in against a legit top-ten Brock. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a heavyweight with 35 fights under his belts with ZERO knockouts.

24. Jameel McCline, USA (Last month #25) He stopped 42 year-old Dan Ward in January. Obviously he’s attended the Shannon Briggs school of staying active. But come on, Ward has now dropped 11 of his last 12 fights. You can do a little better than that Jameel.

25. Juan Carlos Gomez, Cuba (living in Germany) (Last month #22) Banned in Germany for a positive drug test, rumors are that he’ll move to another country to resume his nearly broken career.

Others on the fringes in no particular order:

Malik Scott, USA – Scott moved to 25-0, defeating Kendrick Releford on the Gatti-Damgaard undercard. He’s not known as an exciting fighter, but sometimes that speaks more about his level of opposition than his talent. If he continues to win and steps up his opposition he’ll make his own excitement.

Owen Beck, Jamaica – Who could’ve known that a win over Darnell Wilson would propel him into the title picture. I guess going 0-2 in 2005 wasn’t such a hindrance to his career prospects after all.

Fres Oquendo, USA – After a very long layoff, he’s scheduled to return February 16th in Chicago against Courage Tshabalala. With Lou DiBella now as his promoter he’ll get attention from a proven backer.

Alexander Dimitrenko, Ukraine – Scheduled for an April date against a yet to be named opponent. He’s going in the right direction. If his next opponent is in Vaughn Bean’s league we will know they are serious about moving him along.

24 Comments:

Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

I was just gonna get on you about this JE.Okay,let's take a look...

7:46 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hmm,well...Not much too complain about.Not a whole lot of movement,but that should change in the next few months.when it comes to the top-5,I probably would have had it as follows; #1.Brewster #2.Klitschko #3.Byrd #4.Toney #5.Rahman.

Also--Roman Greenberg (a kid who I'm a bit high on) should probably be on the fringes.Last month I made a comment that he needs to start stepping it up a bit.Well,get this;they are/were talking about a possible Sam Peter fight this spring or summer! I didn't mean to step it up THAT much THIS soon! Greenberg is talented,and with his extremely speedy hands and feet--I could possibly see him boxing rings around Peter.And if they know what they are doing,the move will look brilliant as it will immediatly make him a top contender and put him on the fast track.But on the flip side--his chin is untested,and I could see him getting his head knocked off.A loss like that could really hurt him psychologically.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Oh,also Valuev damn well better step-it-up after this Beck fight.Yes,Beck does have a slight chance,but the fight is just ridiculous.At this rate JE--Marciano's 49-0 hvy record may soon be in jeopardy!

7:59 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I think they may very well keep Valuev nicely nestled in Germany fighting Beck after Beck.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hey JE...I wouldn't mind being 'nestled' in Germany drinking Beck-after-Beck,but that ain't the point! (LOL)

11:29 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- Maybe Owen can do a series of commercials in Germany for his namesake beer. :)

9:42 AM  
Blogger orltroy said...

As you probably know that Byrd/Klitschko is a definate by now. How about the rumors about Brewster fighting on April 1st against Sergei Lyakhovic. I'm still waiting for him or Sam Simon his manager to get back to me on that one. David Tua needs to be removed from this list entirely. He isn't fighting Mora, Mora is fighting Kirk Johnson instead. Tua has pulled out of two big fights schelduled for this year, first Calvin Brock and now Shannon Briggs. Speaking of Briggs, he is stepping in with Chris Koval in March I believe in Arkansas. I still think Peter should tumble down your list of the 25. I am most interested in the Virchis/Chageav fight. Virchis got a gift decision against Michael Sprott, and needs to impress against Chagaev. However, Chagaev isn't an easy southpaw to defeat. He has tremdous power and boxing ability isn't the best, but was good enough to beat both Audley Harrison and Felix Savon in the amateurs. Virchis can bang though, and bangs much harder than any opponent Chagaev has had to date. i think the winner of that fight should take on Sultan Ibragimov, oh hell what a fight that would be. Malik Scott is boring to watch, he has more skill than any other young heavyweight out there in America, he is even better than Eddie CHambers; who just scored another 8rd UD this past weekend. However, Minto was in attendance when Scott fought last and told me the crowd was boo'ing Scott. Oh and Gammar will be a tough test for Harrison, I have Gammar third right now out of British Heavyweights, with Harrison being 4 and Skleton and Williams being 2 and 1 respectively. I think I have babled as much as possible, oh and Brewster is number one not Rahman, taht's just me though.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hmm,informative stuff Orltroy (Yes,seriously.I'm not being a smaert-ass!) Chageav-Virchis? Haven't heard that,and that IS an interesting fight.Virchis isn't garbage,but if Ruslan-at 27 or 28- can't get past him,let's face it;he's not going to be any kind of 'world-beater'.As for the Lyakovich-Brewster fight,I have a bit of inside info folks.I somewhat know Lyakovich's trainer Kenny Weldon.He's a bit of an ornery ol fart,but he has a good heart,is knowledgeable,and once you get too know him--downright likeable.Anyways,I spoke/msg'd to him just today,and he DID NOT confirm that it was 100% official,'reading between the lines'--it's damn close and more than just rumour.I don't like the layoff with Sergei,but I've said for months that he could be the spoiler/dark horse in the division.I think he will give Brewster a good-go.Will he win? I don't know,but given that he will (I'm sure) be a sizable underdog--I will probably lay a little 'action' on him.*There is a difference between 'betting to win',and seeing value in a live underdog folks.Anyways,it wouldn't surprise me to see LB lose.I think this might be a good one...:-)

11:32 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

P.S-Peter is perfect where he's at Orltroy.Is he legit undisputed world champ material? Probably not.But he's formidable.He gave a (legit) top-5 guy in Vlad a few scares in their fight to be certain!

As for Brock,I'm disappointed.As I predicted,he's been treading water since the Mccline victory.They are obviously trying to jockey him in position-with the least amount of risk-but I don't like it.Brock is good and skilled all-the-way-round,but I don't see 'special' written over him.Plus,he's over 30.He's not a 'young hvy' anymore.

Speaking of which...Don't you guys think it's time for HBO or SHO to do another (Under-30) "Night of The Young Hvy's?" (I DO!)

:-)

11:39 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

Cruiserweight, Peter still isn't a top ten guy, just lack of skills and no qaulity defeats. Would you give Williamson the same respect because he too gave Wlad a scare, nope. That is just my opinion though. I am very disappointed in Brewster for fighting Lyakhovic. Sergei hasn't fought in over a year and isn't even ranked in the WBO top 15. Yes he is more dangerous than Beck, but if Brewster wants to solidify himelf as the true champ, a fight with Ibragimov would be perfect, and let me tell you whhy. Sultan is a hot talent out there. People are excited about the way he beat WHitaker, and is ranked in the top 10 in the WBO. Sultan still needs another victory over a fighter like Brock or Peter or Dimitrenko, to put himself as a true contender. Brewster can take advantage of his hype and open style for an impressive victory. Brewster could weather his blows and let Sultan tire himself out, and then pressure him until he caves. he will beat Ibragimov while he is still relatively young and hassn't gotten the right experience. Brewster will get credit for beating another talented European fighter, this time with adequate hype surrounding him. I do think Sultan is taylor made for Brewster. And on HBO or Showtime doing another under 30 night of the young Heavys, ABSOLUTELY it's needed. I can easily off the top of my head give them an exciting card, with style created matches. It is damn time for some of the "young" guys to fight each other.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hmm,well...I still disagree with you a bit on Peter,but well said on the other.And yes,I was pretty impressed with Sultan Orltroy.

BTW-Where is JE?

:-)

12:42 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I'm still around. I moved houses and was off-line for more than a week. Still catching up.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Good to see you JE. (JE doesn't move furniture folks--he moves houses.)

:-)

Did you see Ibragimov-Whitaker JE,and if so,what did you think? (And if not,I can send it to you.)

Reply at your conv....

2:12 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

ALright I have some rumors to spread. Supposedly Sinan Samil Sam is in negotiations to fight Sultan Ibragimov in April, that is a quality fight, one in which Ibragimov can learn a lot from a cagy veteran who will bring it to prove he isn't done, but yet isn't too dangerous for Sultan to garner a loss. And apparently Sultan's cousin Timor is schelduled to fight Calvin Brock in June, I just left a message on Calvin's phone about it, hopefully he will get back to me and verify it or not.

2:17 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

It will be interesting to watch as heavyweights from the former Soviet Union begin to challenge regularly for titles and rankings for the first time since the Berlin Wall fell. Some have real talent, with the Klitschkos serving as the first wave. Sultan may be the real thing.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Orltroy-Hmm,interesting.Although-quite honestly-I think it is the proverbial 'lateral step' with both.Sam,'cagey'? I have to disagree,and you know that from way back.But he is a solid journeymen with a good chin.As for Timor--I don't really know jack-spit about him,but from what I hear...He is the lesser of the two brothers.(A shame,but doesn't that always seem the case?) Anyways,easier said than done (With all the 'jockeying for position',and so forth) but both of these guys are on the 'wrong side of 30',and need to get a bit of a move on it.But interesting nevertheless...

12:22 AM  
Blogger orltroy said...

Sinan Samil Sam is cagier than Lance WHitaker. And Timor, Sultan's cousin, is the purer boxer out of the two. Sultan obviously is the puncher. Timor has some pop too, he isn't as impressive in victory.

3:35 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I also would not describe Sam as "cagey". Tough? Yes. Skilled? No.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hey Orltroy,I've met and seen telephone polls that are 'cagier' than Whitaker! (LOL!) Yeah,Sam has very modest hand-speed,is a bit ponderous of foot,but does have SOME level of skill,and a decent punch and a good chin.Basically-a good journeymen.Nothing more,nothing less...

Oh,I spoke to Kenny and the Brewster-Lyakovich fight is 100% official.I can now go on record as saying such.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-I haven't seen much of Dimentrinko guys,but I really like the way they are moving him.Not too fast,not too slow IMO.Just a nice stedy pace and progression--and they are exposing him to a myriad of different styles.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Also...

Particuarly good comments in regards to the rankings this month IMO.Yes folks,I plead guilty...90 (or 99%?) of the time,I find myself in agreement with JE...(Thank goodness for Orltroy! But I fear that I am in agreement with him WELL over 50% of the time as well! LOL)

12:02 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

JE-

As I stated before,there isn't really a #1 hvy right now.But upon further reflection,Rahman--should CLEARLY not be #1.Perhaps you could make a case for putting the winner of Toney-Rahman there,but until then--it would have to be the following;Lamon Brewster,or Chris Byrd.Yup.Even though I think that WK is the best hvy out there right now-flaws and all-and holds a victory over Byrd,I think you would have to put him at #3.(At least until he pastes the 35-yr old cruiserweight Byrd,in April.) Rahman should be #4 or #5.

(I expect this to be corrected and reflected in the March ratings JE.*Smile*)

9:49 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

I don't really disagree with JE cruiser. I just don't agree with a couple of fighters being where they ar at. It is hard to argue with JE even if I do not like his ratings. I know there is always logic behind his post, except for Peter, he really shouldn't be rated anywhere near where he is. He just hasn't beaten anybody. anyways, that is my useless knowledge.

3:21 AM  
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9:43 AM  

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