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Home Boxing LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT?
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LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT?

light_heavyweight_tournamentAhhh, yes… more wishful thinking.  This division has experienced many recent shake-ups.  While the usual goal of recent tournaments has been to crown one champion, neither the Bantamweight nor Super Middleweights will do so.  They are still worth doing, for all the action, and high quality match-ups they provide.  Even a division with a clear champion still often has a mess of talent that need to face each other.  The Light Heavies are one such example.  Here is my idea for an eight-man single elimination tournament, which can be completed by December, provided no injuries or postponements take place.  This may seem like overkill, as Pascal, Cloud, Hopkins, and Dawson may decide the best without adding four more names.  However, I would remind everyone that Andre Ward was nowhere near the front runner he is now in the Super Six.  I feel the efforts being made by the other Light Heavies to call each other out, and actually fight each other, warrant their inclusion.
 
Beibut Shumenov vs. Jurgen Brahmer – This fight is happening already, and is a tough one to call.  Shumenov’s weaknesses are noticeable, but he is developing well in his young career, and beat a legit top-ten fighter in Vyechslav Uzelkov, his last time out.  Brahmer has fought exclusively in Germany (except one trip to Hungary ) over his 11 year career.  That, combined with losses to limited Mario Veit and Hugo Garay, suggest he simply lucked into the belt that Zsolt Erdei vacated.  Add to that, Shumenov’s home ring advantage, and it should be enough to seal a win for the Kazakh fighter.  Not to mention, is his last trip home, Shumenov was beaten in a close fight with Campillo.  Therefore he has extra motivation to succeed.  Shumenov by wide unanimous decision.
 
Jean Pascal vs. Chad Dawson 2 – If seeding were appropriate, this fight would not be made.  However, given the results of recent matches, it is either this or Hopkins again, for legit champion Pascal.  Dawson will have the confidence of a new trainer, and Pascal will have the motivation to prove something, after the draw with Hopkins .  This is the toughest fight to call, but instinct tells me there is not much Dawson can do differently, other than do it at a higher volume.  Pascal wins again, but by a closer decision.
 
Bernard Hopkins vs. Nathan Cleverly – Cleverly barely enters this discussion, but he does enter it, and against Hopkins , he would have absolutely nothing to lose.  With B-Hop, this is probably the least amount of risk he can take on, while still remaining in the tournament.  I don’t know enough about Cleverly to make an intelligent prediction, but the moment, combined with a huge leap up, would be too much for almost any fighter.  Hopkins by unanimous decision.
 
Gabriel Campillo vs. Tavoris Cloud – Cloud is looking for a quality opponent, and Campillo is looking for a big fight, after being screwed out of his title.  Pretty much everyone who watched Campillo-Shumenov 2 believes Campillo deserved the win.  He showed a good chin, and great counterpunching ability.  Cloud is another stern test for those capabilities.  The Spaniard also will test Cloud’s ability to maintain a high-work rate.  After rocking Shumenov, and winning his last bout by 1 round KO, Campillo has even found new power.  Not sure it will impress Cloud, however, who will maintain that necessary work rate, and pound Campillo for 12 rounds.  Cloud by wide decision.
 
I will pick the upset, and think Hopkins would drop a decision to Cloud.  He is durable, heavy-handed, and active, and I think if he gets Hopkins hurt, he will finish him.  Hopkins will likely use all of his guile to stay on his feet, and persevere, given that Cloud’s finishing ability is not as impressive at the higher levels.  I also believe Pascal would easily outbox Shumenov.  As for who to pick in a Cloud vs. Pascal match-up, I can see Cloud making the same style mistakes Dawson made, and dropping a decision to Pascal.  It’s odd, because he’s not the best fighter in that tournament.  Style-wise, however, if this seeding were followed, his title would be safe.  A Canadian super-fight with Lucien Bute (provided Andre Ward hasn’t beaten him in the interim) would be next.  As for Karo Murat, Erdei, Chris Henry, and Ismail Sillakh… I would use this time to dazzle us.  There are always new challengers.

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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