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Braehmer faces Gutknecht tonight

Jurgen BrahmerBy Scott Gilfoid: WBA World light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (47-2, 35 KOs) defends his title tonight against a super middleweight rather than a fighter from the 175lb division when he faces former opponent Eduard Gutknecht (29-3-1, 12 KOs) in a rematch at the Jahnsportforum, Neubrandenburg, Germany.

It’s fights like this that calls for a boxing commission that will restore order to the sport. Gutknecht, 33, isn’t ranked in the top 15 at light heavyweight division. He was picked out from the super middleweight division for Braehmer to fight.

While it may seem like no issue for the average fan to see fights like this going on, it’s not a great deal if you’re one of the contenders waiting for your title shot against a champion like Braehmer.

You work hard for years to get in position for a shot at a world title only to see the champion skip over you to hand-pick an opponent from the weight division below you. In this case, super middleweight. It’s a good deal for Gutknecht, because he gets a world title shot that he doesn’t rate, but it’s a bad deal for the 15 contenders ranked by the WBA at 175.

Surprisingly, the World Boxing Association sanctioned the Braehmer-Gutknecht fight rather than telling Braehmer to go back to the drawing board and select someone from the 175lb division for him to defend his WBA strap against.

“There was a lot of uncertainty before our first fight,” said Brahmer. “I was returning after almost a year out of the ring and I didn’t know how much I still had in the tank. A lot of people wanted to write me off and there was a lot of pressure on me to perform, but that night I proved my potential, and not only did the win lead me to a shot at the World title, it also allowed me to prove, to myself and to the fans, that I still had a lot to give.”

Brahemer beat Gutknecht three years ago by a 12 round decision victory in 2013. It was a one-sided fight for the most part with Braehmer dominating the light hitting Gutknecht. There was absolutely no controversy whatsoever in that fight, and no need at all for a rematch to occur. The fact that the two fighters are facing each other again is more of a case of it being a match-up that the German boxing public is knowledgeable about.

They know who Gutknecht is, so it’s a logical fight to make for Braehmer. It’s also a fight that brings little in the way of danger to Braehmer because Gutknecht is a weak puncher with a mediocre record and not someone capable of beating Braehmer even on his worst day. Gutknecht isn’t even a factor in the super middleweight division. He’s ranked #6 by the WBO, but not at all by the other three sanctioning bodies.

That makes sense because Gutknecht hasn’t beaten anyone that you can call a good fighter. He has lost some fights though. Gutknecht was stopped by Dmitry Sukhotsky in the 5th round in 2013. Boxing fans might remember that Sukhotsky was the guy that WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson recently blew out in five rounds in 2014. Sukhotsky was recently beaten by Dilmurod Satybaldiev by a 12 round decision in September 2015.

That kind of puts things in perspective a little bit, doesn’t it? If Gutknecht can’t even beat Suhotsky, then what in the heck is he doing fighting Braehmer? Like I said, the sport of boxing needs a commission to keep champions defending their titles in their own weight classes rather than them being able to handpick their challengers from weight classes below them.

“Juergen Braehmer didn’t beat me, the belt was taken from me by the judges, but this time, I will leave the decision in no doubt,” said Gutknecht. “This opportunity has come at the perfect time for me and I couldn’t be more motivated. I don’t believe Braehmer has improved since our last fight. He’s 37-years-old so I can’t see how this is possible. Of course, he’s a good fighter but he’s on the decline and his stamina is gone.”

I hate to break this to Gutknecht, but Braehmer DID beat him, and he beat him pretty easily. I remember that fight, and I remember how bored I was watching it. Both guys looked like mediocre fighters, but Braehmer was clearly the better of the two.

This will be Braehmer’s sixth defense of his WBA title he won in 2013. He’s already beaten the following less than dangerous contenders: Konni Konrad, Pawel Glazewski, Roberto Feliciano Bolonti, Enzo Maccarinelli and Robin Krasniqi. After Braehmer beats Gutknecht tonight, Braehmer will have a mandatory defense due against #1 WBA Felix Valera for his next fight. I don’t agree with the WBA’s ranking in putting Valera as their No.1 contender, but it’s also a predictable move on their part. The WBA’s previous #1 contender was Krasniqi, despite the fact that there were arguably much better contenders in the division like Artur Beterbiev, Andrzej Fonfara, Sullivan Barrera and Eleider Alvarez. I rate Valera as well below those guys, but I’m so not surprised that the WBA has him ranked above them. It’s all so predictable.

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