As we move down the list of the Super Official Boxing Rankings No Seriously Guys Rankings (SOBRNSGR), here is the list of the lineal champs, beltholders and top contenders from the light heavyweight and super middleweight divisions. For an explanation of what this is and to check out the writeup on the heavyweights, check out the earlier article here.
|LINEAL CHAMP||WBC CHAMP||WBA CHAMP||IBF CHAMP||WBO CHAMP|
|Adonis Stevenson||Adonis Stevenson||Bernard Hopkins||Bernard Hopkins||Sergey Kovalev|
Champ: Adonis Stevenson, Canada (24-1, 20 KO)
Stevenson is the lineal champ here, with an impressive run over the past three years where he’s used his power and skill to destroy most of his opponents, including a brutal first round KO of a faded Chad Dawson to filch Dawson’s lineal title from him. All three beltholders in this division–Stevenson, Hopkins and Kovalev–are good enough to be the lineal champ and have an argument to be ranked #1 in the division. The division is very top heavy, with three world-class guys at the top followed by a lot of mediocraty below them.
Stevenson has turned fans off as he’s seemingly avoided a fight with Kovalev by leaving HBO to go fight on Showtime, in theory to pursue a fight with Hopkins–only to see Hopkins agree to fight Kovalev. He’s also a controversial figure with a really sordid past, which I will not get into here. Stevenson is a beast in the ring, but unless he fights one of the other top guys there’s really nowhere for him to go from here as he’s already fought and beaten the mid-tier guys in the division.
The Other Beltholders:
Bernard Hopkins, USA (55-6-2, 32 KO)
Bernard Hopkins is 49 years old. I’ll say that again: Bernard Hopkins is turning 50 in a few months. He is, truly, an athletic freak of nature, and though his reflexes have slowed a bit he gets by and beats guys on guile, smarts, dirty tactics and just generally being Bernard Hopkins. In a sea of fake titleists, Hopkins has earned both his belts, and deserves to be commended for pursuing a fight with Kovalev and looking to add yet another belt to his collection.
He had his first fight in 1988 and is still a champion–I don’t know how many times to repeat that, as that is absolutely insane. Who knows how long he has left–a big knockout loss to Kovalev will almost certainly retire him–but any boxing fans knows better than to ever bet against Bernard Hopkins.
Sergey Kovalev, Russia (25-0-1, 23 KO)
Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev is a terror, a machine with knockout power in both hands who seemingly hurts guys with every touch. He stalks his opponents down and leaves them, more often then not, crumpled on the floor clutching their sides or splayed on the ground unconscious. He has, tragically, had an opponent die following a match with him in Europe, but it hasn’t seemed to temper his viciousness in the ring at all. This is a bad, bad man.
The Russian has not been truly tested at the top level yet and his resume is light, with wins over Nathan Cleverly, Ismayl Sillakh, and Gabriel Campillo as his biggest wins to date, but he’s getting a real test against Hopkins in November. Is he the destroyer we all think he is? Or will Hopkins expose him? Either way, a fascinating fight.
Other Contenders and People of Interest:
- Andrzej Fonfara, USA (25-3, 15 KO) — Fonfara continues a long line of Polish people with names that are impossible to spell. He’s a tall, smart fighter who has found success on the mid-tier of the division, with wins over an old Glen Johnson, Gabriel Campillo and Tommy Karpency and a solid following in his adopted hometown of Chicago. When he stepped up to fight Stevenson earlier this year, fans were initially dismissive, but Fonfara acquitted himself well and gave Stevenson trouble before Stevenson rallied to take a unanimous decision. Regardless, Fonfara has earned the respect of boxing fans in the division and is a solid fighter, if not necessarily a first class one.
- Jean Pascal, Canada (29-2-1, 17 KO) — Pascal is an immensely talented Canadian fighter who is an incredibly frustrating fighter to follow, as he seems to only fight once a year (his last fight was in January and as of writing this in mid-September he still does not have a fight scheduled), fights in short spurts when he’s in the ring and never seems to fulfill his potential. With a solid resume that includes wins over a prime Chad Dawson, a draw and a competitive loss against Hopkins and recently an outclassing of the probably overrated Luican Bute, Pascal just in’t active enough or passionate enough to be a serious threat to the throne. He’s talented, but at this point he’s a part-time fighter.
- Juergen Braehmer, Germany (44-2, 34 KO) — Braehmer is a veteran fighter with solid boxing skills who has won consistently on the European level but never has and likely never will step up to the top level. He’s had a long and successful career fighting Euro-level guys and basically never leaving Germany, where he has a solid following and makes good money doing his thing. He’s a good fighter who won’t ever step up to prove himself great. He’s just a guy.
- Other names of interest: Meh
|LINEAL CHAMP||WBC CHAMP||WBA CHAMP||IBF CHAMP||WBO CHAMP|
|Andre Ward||Anthony Dirrell||Andre Ward||Carl Froch||Arthur Abraham|
Champ: Andre Ward, USA (27-0, 14 KO)
It’s a pretty big joke that Ward only has one of the belts in this division, as he is clearly the alpha here and it’s not close. He holds easy decision wins over Abraham and Froch, won the flawed but interesting Super Six Middleweight Tournament a couple of years ago and to date has not really come close to losing to anybody.
He’s an incredible boxer, able to do just about anything in the ring with the exception of ‘being entertaining’. He frustrates opponents through smart positioning, holding, working them down and not getting hit. Ward’s style doesn’t make him many fans, and his brand is further hurt by how inactive he is–he’s only fought twice in the last two years due to injuries and legal issues with his promoter, and those two fights were against a weight-drained Chad Dawson and a middling Edwin Rodriguez. His appeal is also hurt by the fact that he seems like a bit of a douche–he has given himself the nickname ‘Son of God’ and carries himself with an abrasive arrogance.
Prior to his periods of inactivity, he was skyrocketing up the pound for pound rankings, but will likely never be a big-time star due to the way he fights and conducts himself. Regardless, I do not see anybody else in this division who can beat him.
Other Beltholders and Contenders:
- Carl Froch, UK (33-2, 24 KO) — The fan-favorite Froch has fought one of the toughest schedules in boxing over the last few years, taken on all comers and shown himself to be a top-level fighter. An awkward fighter not blessed with world-class speed or skill, Froch gets by on a granite chin, balls made out of pure cement and deceptive power. His resume contains scalps almost unmatched–in the last few years he’s beaten George Groves twice, Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell (when that meant something), Jean Pascal and Glen Johnson, and lost to the aforementioned Ward via clear decision. He’s made the most of what he has and has built up a heavy following in the UK, with his rematch with Groves selling out Wembley Stadium. He also has a blisteringly hot wife, and I’ve posted a lot of pictures of dudes with their shirts off in these posts and she’s way more attractive than Carl Froch so I’ll throw you guys a bone here.
- Arthur Abraham, Germany (40-4, 28 KO) — The plodding, notoriously slow starting Abraham is still staying relevant somehow at age 34 and is a top-level European fighter who is a step below world class. He fights slowly, behind a high guard shell, seems to always drop the first few rounds of every fight before warming up and hurting guys late. He may have a title but at this point in his career he’ll be content to fight Euro-level guys for big money in Germany and not be that relevant.
- Anthony Dirrell, USA (27-0-1, 22 KO) — The less talented Dirrell brother is the one holding a belt right now (as brother Andre has barely fought over the last few years), after taking the WBC trinket from Sakio Bika in one of the most horrendous fights of the last five years. Dirrell is a solid fighter who has talent but is not a world-beater at this point in his career, and who is just making the step up in competition now. Bika is by far his best win and while he is a contender the fact that he is a titleholder is a farce.
- George Groves, UK (20-2, 15 KO) — Groves is a fun fighter, a skilled boxer who start fights quickly and with game-changing power but who appears to lose that power as the fight gets to the later rounds, as evidenced by his two fights with Froch, where Groves got out to early leads only to see Froch turn the tide late. Their first fight ended in a bad referee stoppage, where Groves was hurt but not out of it, but their rematch was ended decisively with Groves getting knocked out hard by Froch. Still, the 26 year old Groves made a lot of fans, built his name up and introduced himself as a player in the division with how competitive he stayed with one of the top guys in the world. He has a bright future.
- Other names of interest: Robert Stieglitz, Germany (47-7, 27 KO); James DeGale, UK (19-1, 13 KO); Thomas Oosthuizen, South Africa (22-0-2, 13 KO); Andre Dirrell, USA (21-1, 14 KO)
Coming up next as we continue to go smaller: Middleweights and Junior Middleweights. If you made it this far–thanks for reading.