Jurgen Braehmer faces Eduard Gutknecht on Saturday
(Photo Credit: Photo Wende) By Scott Gilfoid: WBA World light heavyweight champion Juerge Braehmer (47-2, 35 KOs) will be pooling from the 168lb division in defending his title next on Saturday night against super middleweight contender Eduard Gutknecht (29-3-1, 12 KOs) on March 12 at the Jahnsportforum, Neubrandenburg, Germany.
The World Boxing Association has sanctioned the fight despite the fact that the 33-year-old Gutknecht isn’t ranked in the top 15 in the 175lb division. Gutknecht is ranked #6 by the WBO in the super middleweight division. Just why Braehmer had to get an opponent from the 168lb division for his next fight is unknown. He’s been doing quite nicely in defending against little known fringe contenders in the 175lb division.
One reason why Gutknecht was likely selected for Braehmer is because the two of them fought each other in 2013 with Braehmer winning a dull 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 114-113. The more score of the three was the 117-110 score. It wasn’t a close fight at all. The judge that scored it 114-113 must have been watching a different fight on that night because Braehmer dominated the hapless Gutknecht.
Since their fight in 2013, Gutknecht was blasted out in five rounds by Dmitry Sukhotsky in November of that year. However, Gutknecht has won his last four opponents, but all of them were lesser known 2nd tier fighters with less than spectacular records. Here are the fighters that Gutknecht has beaten recently: Arman Torosyan, Slavisa Simeunovic, Steve Kroekel and Christian Pawlak.
Those are not good enough names for Gutknecht to be getting a world title shot. The WBA should have rejected the Braehmer vs. Gutknecht fight for a world title because he’s not ranked in the top 15 at 175, and it’s hardly fair to the contenders in the light heavyweight division that have been waiting for a shot at the WBA title.
It’s hard to believe that this is the 37-year-old Braehmer’s sixth defense of his WBA title since winning the belt in December 2013 against Marcus Oliveira. But when you look at the opposition that Braehmer has been matched against in his five title defenses, it’s immediately clear why he still has his WBA title. Braehmer has faced weak opposition. I mean, he’s faced dreadful opposition in my view.
Instead of Braehmer taking on contenders like Artur Beterbiev, Andrzej Fonfara, Sullivan Barrera and Eleider Alvarez, we’ve watched Braehmer face these guys: Konni Konrad, Robin Krasniqi, Pawel Glazewski, Roberto Feliciano Bolonti and Enzo Maccarinelli. Those weak are fighters in my view. I think the WBA needs to separate their WBA “regular” titles and call it “minor league WBA champions” because I see a lot of soft match-making with the WBA’s “regular” champions in different divisions. What Braehmer is doing in facing weak opposition is being done by other WBA “regular” champions like Daniel Jacobs.
“There was a lot of uncertainty before our first fight,” Braehmer said via ESPN.com. “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. This time I will be going into the ring full of confidence. I know what I’m capable of and I believe I’m a better fighter now than I was three years ago, but I’m not sure the same can be said of Gutknecht. He’s a good fighter and he deserves his shot, but I’m the world champion and no one is going to take my title from me.”
It’s interesting that Braehmer says Gutknecht “deserves his shots” because I don’t see any wins on Gutknecht’s resume in the last three years that would suggest that he deserves a world title shot. I listed the guys that he’s faced since his loss to Braehmer in 2013, and as far as I can tell, they are all obscure lesser fighters and not talents or contenders. I think Gutknecht shouldn’t even be ranked in the top 15 at 168, and of course I don’t think he deserves to be fighting for a world title in the light heavyweight division. That just seems wrong to me.
“I know I didn’t lose out first fight,” said Gutknecht. “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. This opportunity has come at the perfect time for me and I couldn’t be more motivated.”
Gutknecht can say that Braehmer didn’t beat him, but there’s no way that Gutknecht deserved to win that fight. I just hope that after Braehmer beats him again, Gutknecht doesn’t start denying that he lost the fight and then Braehmer uses that as an excuse to fight him a third time. That would be so sad. Braehmer would be able to hold onto his WBA title indefinitely if all he has to do is to keep fighting Gutknecht over and over again.