Advertisement
Boxingscene.com
Advertisement

The Cruiserweight Tournament: The Only Complaint is the Wait

By Cliff Rold

Can it start tomorrow?

The answer is no. If one is looking for something to complain about, the wait for this thing to start would be it. Like Christmas presents just sitting there waiting to be opened, the possibilities for the World Boxing Super Series are thrilling.

Beginning in the fall, there will also be a super middleweight tournament. The lighter class is interesting but nowhere near as stacked relative to its division. The cruiserweight field features six of the top ten in the current TBRB ratings and beltholders from each of the four major sanctioning bodies.

Most importantly, the men rated #1 and #2 by this site, TBRB, Ring, and ESPN make up the top two seeds in the field. Ukrainian WBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk (12-0, 10 KO) and Russian IBF titlist Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KO) could be on a collision course.

Or not.

Assuming they are joined in the semi-finals by the Latvian #3 seed, WBC titlist Mairis Briedis (22-0, 18 KO) and the Cuban #4 seed, WBA regular titlist Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KO), we could have a dramatic setup. That’s a combined record of 79-0. At least three of them will feel the sting of defeat for the first time, barring a draw.

world-boxing-super-series (1)

The organizers would probably be happier if it wasn’t all four of them. The chance for one man to emerge from this field a genuine star, with a shiny “0” still intact, is the best case scenario.

The field isn’t perfect but that’s still not worthy of complaint. WBA super titlist Denis Lebedev (29-2, 27 KO) was absurdly allowed to keep, not even defend, that belt in a losing effort to Gassiev last year. The first alternate, Krzysztof Glowacki (27-1, 17 KO), holds a 2015 knockout win over field entrant Marco Huck (40-4-1, 27 KO). Huck also lost his last fight, and looked old and shopworn doing so, to Breidis.

No need to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Glowacki lost his title to Usyk. Gassiev holds the win over Lebedev. Consider them pre-conception eliminators. The most important thing is we have all four of the undefeated beltholders and a clear path to a rare four-belt coronation.

It’s the sort of thing boxing fans propose all the time and almost never see happen. The biggest question mark is whether they can hold this thing together to the end. In recent vintage, the only major tournaments able to unfold as designed came at middleweight and bantamweight. In 2001, Bernard Hopkins unified the middleweight division in a field with Keith Holmes, William Joppy, and Felix Trinidad. In 2010 and 11, Abner Mares topped a field featuring Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko, and Yonnhy Perez.

More than four combatants has had issues in the past. The heavyweight tournament in the 1980s saw the lineal champion of the class, Michael Spinks, exit early and cash in against a winning Mike Tyson later. It was good business but left the tournament incomplete. The Super Six super middleweight tournament a few years back ultimately featured eight official entrants and an unofficial ninth (Sakio Bika). Only three men (Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and Arthur Abraham) made each designed date.

A bad injury or other impediment to any of the winners in the quarter or semifinal rounds would prevent this Cruiserweight configuration from hitting the heights in reach. We can only hope for the best.

The best is everybody has something to lose and a few guys have more to gain than they could have expected a year ago. Along with Huck, who was wisely selected by Usyk, all of the unseeded fighters are intriguing stories in the quarterfinals.

For Huck, who once tied the record for consecutive title defenses in the class, this feels like a last stop. Another defeat would be hard to rebound from. Mike Perez (22-2-1, 14 KO) was almost a serious contender at heavyweight and the Cuban has whipped himself into fantastic shape to get to 200 lbs. Briedis selected him for the first round and the fight is an opening for relevance.

The only one of the top four seeds who didn’t select his foe was Gassiev. He will fulfill a mandatory against two-time former titlist Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KO) of Poland. Wlodarcyzk has won four straight after not fighting for over a year between 2014 and 2016. The challenger has never been stopped and Gassiev has the sort of power to fell anyone.

Perhaps the most fun fight of the opening stanza is the one left to Dorticos. He will face Russian Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1, 21 KO). Both men can punch and aren’t shy about getting their face in the way of punches. Dorticos hasn’t fought since a blistering war with Youri Kalenga in May 2016. Kudryashov has won three straight since a second round loss to Olanrewaju Durodola in 2015. He avenged that loss in five rounds last month.

Will there be any upsets in the early going? Dorticos-Kudryashov feels the ripest place to look. If there are no upsets, then the round of eight is a hell of a beak wetting for what would then be an 83-0 final four.

Go ahead. Look for a reason to complain. It’s hard, even in a sport whose fans can always find a gripe, to feel anything but positive heading into this one.

The cruiserweight tournament would be better if it could start tomorrow. Everything about the wait looks worth it.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by TinAgeOfBoxing on 07-09-2017

Glowacki should be in over Perez and Huck. Perez is the weakest link.

Comment by Bronx2245 on 07-09-2017

I won't complain! I simply want to say to Richard Schaefer: THANK YOU!

Comment by Andrij on 07-09-2017

Gassiev will definitely fight Wlodarczyk in the 2nd half of September in the US. 5 venues being considered by Gassiev´s manager [url]http://xsport.ua/boxing_s/news/boy-gassiev-volodarchik-sostoitsya-v-sentyabre-v-ssha_312939/[/url]

ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (3)
Advertisement
Top Headlines
Charlo: Everybody Say Same Sh-t Until They Get In With Me BoxingScene.com's Television Pick of The Week - December 6 Alantez Fox Vows To Beat Down Liam Williams at Copper Box Jermell Charlo: I’m Gonna Knock Tony Harrison's Ass Out! Andy Ruiz, Anthony Joshua Hit Gala Dinner in Saudi Arabia UFC's White Aims To Meet With Haymon, Finalize Mayweather Deal McKenna, McCullagh Leave Danny Vaughan, Join Pete Taylor Whyte: I'm Getting Screwed Over; Wilder Don't Wanna Fight Me! Ismael Barroso Outworks, Shocks Yves Ulysse For Decision Ruiz: I'll Weigh In The Same I Did For First Joshua Fight D'Mitrius Ballard, Yamaguchi Falcao Fight To 10-Round Draw Whyte: If Joshua Loses His Next 10 Fights - I'll Still Fight Him! DAZN LIVE Results: Jason Quigley, George Rincon Pick Up Wins Hearn: No Journalist, Media Outlet Can Tell a Fighter Where To Earn Navarrete vs. Horta, Ancajas vs. Gonzalez - Final Presser Eubank: I'll Do What Charlo Couldn't Do, Stop Korobov! Ruiz's Trainer: This is Round Eight - We Have To Seek and Destroy! Joshua Rejects Ruiz's Claim of Never Being Hurt in First Fight Ryosuke Iwasa, Marlon Tapales - Face To Face at Presser Chris Eubank Jr, Matt Korobov - Face To Face Jermall Charlo, Dennis Hogan - Face To Face, Final Presser D'Mitrius Ballard Ready To Put Middleweight Division On Notice Rob Brant vs. Habib Ahmed Finalized For Hart-Smith Card Callum Smith Officially in Line For Benavidez-Yildirim Winner DeeJay Kriel Stays Busy in Mexico With First Round KO Win Rahman Breaks Down Ruiz-Joshua, Reflects on Lewis Rematch Sauerland: Tough Task To Find Opponents For Filip Hrgovic Adam Lopez Warns: I'm Gonna Be a Problem at Featherweight! O'Shaquie Foster: Nobody is Trying To Take Chances With Me Anymore Julian Williams: Rosario Overlooked Because They Don't Know Name Jermall Charlo: Jermell's Hungrier, Trains Harder After Loss Joshua: 'Punch From Gods' Doesn’t Mean Ruiz Landed Lucky Punch Team Castano Thrilled With Mandatory Ruling For WBO Title Andrade vs. Keeler Voluntary Title Fight Approved By WBO Anthony Cacace: There's Plenty More To Come From Me Whyte Believes Chisora is Fully Capable of Beating Usyk Canelo-Saunders: WBO Ruling Clears Path For Potential 2020 Clash Glowacki-Okolie: WBO To Order Vacant Cruiserweight Title Fight Marco McCullough Announces Retirement Anthony Joshua - What Happens If It Happens Again?
Advertisement
Advertisement
Latest Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement