Junior Middleweight: 2011, Mar 7-13

It was a very good weekend for junior middleweights released from prison in 2010.  Hard-hitting contender James Kirkland made his return to the ring a short one on Saturday when he disposed of journeyman Ahsandi Gibbs in just seconds, although the fight actually took place over the middleweight limit.  Also, former welterweight contender Giorbis Barthelemy continued the comeback he began in 2010 after being released from prison by shocking Derek “Pooh” Ennis- who I rated #12 at middleweight- slapping him around until referee Steve Smoger was forced to stop the fight on the ropes in round two on Friday.  Maybe I should rate Barthelemy- who came out of nowhere to become relevant again- but this seems fluky and Barthelemy failed to make weight for the fight, coming in at 155.  The Cuban defector unfortunately has made a habit of coming in heavy for his fights over his long career.  He’s effectively torpedoed Ennis’ career, but he probably needs another win and one or two fewer meals before I’ll be comfortable rating him.


Also on Friday, French prospect Cedric Vitu beat journeyman Mehdi Nekaies for the French title.  On Saturday, Saul Alvarez headlined a heavily-watched Boxing After Dark card on HBO and battered a game but outgunned Matthew Hatton for the full twelve round distance.  Canelo failed to make the 150 pound catchweight and was fighting a natural welterweight who had never before fought at junior middle, but Hatton was still a semi-credible opponent since he is pretty close to being a top-10 welterweight.  Alvarez’ dominant victory lands him squarely in the top 10, even passing Sergei Dzinziruk- who hasn’t had a really good win since 2008- to settle in at #8.  Gabriel Rosado falls out of the top 10 just a week after winning a meaningless fight.


For Comparision, here are the current Ring ratings for the division:
Champ: Vacant
1) Kermit Cintron
2) Alfredo Angulo
3) Miguel Cotto
4) Ryan Rhodes
5) Sechew Powell
6) Yuri Foreman
7) Vanes Martirosyan
8) Sergei Dzinziruk
9) Saul Alvarez
10) Cornelius Bundrage


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1) Alfredo Angulo (5-76-76)
Last Fight: 7/17/2010- TKO1 #8 Joachim Alcine
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC is pushing for a tournament that would include Angulo vs. Ryan Rhodes, with the winner to fight the winner of Paul Williams vs. either Saul Roman or Vanes Martirosyan.  The winner would earn the right to fight for a title held by a guy already less accomplished than 3 of the 5: Saul Alvarez.
2) Cornelius Bundrage (5-31-31)
Last Fight: 8/7/2010- TKO5 Cory Spinks (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bundrage was in talks for a fight with Erislandy Lara, but those negotiations appear to be at an impasse.
3) Miguel Cotto (16-40-40)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- TKO9 #6 Yuri Foreman
Next Fight: 3/12/2011- vs. Ricardo Mayorga (UNR)
Cotto could do a lot better than Ricardo Mayorga.  Nobody would even care about this fight if Mayorga didn’t run his mouth non-stop.
4) Paul Williams (5-5-5)
Last Fight: 11/20/2010- L (KO2) vs. MW Champ Sergio Martinez (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Williams has been medically cleared to fight again after being iced by Sergio Martinez.  For details on his possible next move, see Alfredo Angulo’s comments above.
5) Yuri Foreman (5-75-75)
Last Fight: 6/5/2010- L (TKO9) vs. WW #5 Miguel Cotto
Next Fight: 3/12/2011- vs. Pawel Wolak (UNR)
A ho-hum matchup looms for Foreman this weekend.  Wolak is not a bad opponent, but I doubt this fight will do anything for Foreman’s ranking.
6) Kermit Cintron (5-93-93)
Last Fight: 5/8/2010- L (TD4) vs. MW #2 Paul Williams
Next Fight: Unknown
Cintron said last week that he plans to move back to welterweight, and for some reason Jan Zaveck is at the top of his list.
7) Ryan Rhodes (5-72-72)
Last Fight: 12/4/2010- TKO2 Rocky Junior (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Angulo’s comments above.
8) Saul Alvarez (1-1-16)
Last Fight: 3/5/2011- UD12 Matthew Hatton (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/18/2011- vs. Unknown Opponent
Canelo looked like a beast for most of his fight with Matthew Hatton, but disappointingly failed to get his guy out of there.  Hatton’s credentials are questionable because he had never fought at junior middle before, but his basic quality was enough to get Alvarez comfortably within the top 10.  Canelo is already tentatively scheduled to fight on June 18 in Mexico.  Austin Trout may be the opponent, as Canelo hinted he wants to revenge his brother Rigoberto, who was beaten by Trout recently.
9) Sergei Dzinziruk (1-43-43)
Last Fight: 5/14/2010- TKO10 Daniel Dawson (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/12/2011- vs. MW Champ Sergio Martinez (at MW)
Inactivity has been the big killer for Dzinziruk.  He beat a decent prospect in Daniel Dawson on Showtime last spring after more than 18 months off, and then promptly took another 10 months off.  There’s a good chance he will be dropped once again from the rankings after fighting Sergio Martinez, since that fight is at middleweight and he is likely to lose and then not fight again until after May.  The win that, despite his ridiculous inactivity, gets him rated this high, was a November 2008 decision over Joel Julio, who was rated #10 at the time.
10) Sechew Powell (1-51-51)
Last Fight: 3/19/2010- W (MD12) vs. #4 Deandre Latimore
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s a bit hard to stomach rating Powell this high.  He basically took a prospect named Deandre Latimore and turned him into a star by getting knocked out by him in a competitive fight, and then edged the same guy to a decision a couple years later after Latimore had inflated himself to a #4 ranking from the Ring.  Still, Latimore’s rating wasn’t entirely Powell’s creation, as many people (including one judge) thought Latimore deserved the nod against Cory Spinks later on, and it’s hard to rate a guy who’s beaten a #4 contender in his last fight any lower than this, regardless of how inflated that rating might have been.
11) Gabriel Rosado (1-5)
Last Fight: 2/26/2011- TKO12 Jamaal Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
12) Manny Pacquiao (1-5)
Last Fight: 11/13/2010- UD12 Antonio Margarito
Next Fight: 5/7/2011- vs. #15 Shane Mosley (at WW)
Never actually weighed in over the welterweight limit, but he fought a guy at a 150 pound catchweight who had established himself as at least a credible fringe contender at 154 in Antonio Margarito, while giving up a whopping 17 pounds on fight night.  He might never fight another junior middleweight, and definitely will return to welter for his next fight, but there is still at least an outside possibility that he’ll fight somebody over 147 in the next year and thus will retain his ranking for now.  Pretty remarkable for a guy that could probably still fight at 135 if that’s where the money was.
13) Cory Spinks (5-5)
Last Fight: 8/7/2010- L (TKO5) vs. Cornelius Bundrage
Next Fight: Unknown
If Spinks doesn’t need the money, he should probably consider retirement.  He’s already exceeded the accomplishments of his Heavyweight Champion father Leon, and hopefully still has his health intact after being brutalized for a five rounds by the beastly Cornelius Bundrage in August.
14) Sam Webb (5-5)
Last Fight: 10/16/2010- KO11 Martin Concepcion (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Webb has had exactly one fight against good opposition- fringe contender Anthony Small last March- and he’s 1 for 1.  He does have one cuts loss against 0-3 welterweight Alexei Stoda from almost 5 years ago, but that was probably an aberration.
15) Shane Mosley (5-5)
Last Fight: 9/18/2010- Draw (SD12) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/7/2011- vs. #12 Manny Pacquiao (at WW)
Most 154-pound fighters wouldn’t mind having a draw with Sergio Mora on their record, but it was quite a disappointing result for Mosley, who was trying to rebound from a pathetically docile effort against Floyd Mayweather.  Still, perhaps most observers thought Mosley deserved the decision above his natural weight, and he’s got some good wins a few years back that would make him a clear top-10 fighter if they were more recent.  His next fight will be at Welterweight.
16) Austin Trout (5-5)
Last Fight: 2/5/2011- UD12 Rigoberto Alvarez
Next Fight: Unknown
Undefeated American prospect Trout first proved that he was one to watch in September 2009 by beating fellow prospect Nilson Tapia, and then finally stepped up again last week by earning a dominant points victory over fringe contender Rigoberto Alvarez.  Rigoberto’s much better brother Saul “Canelo” Alvarez reportedly wants to revenge his brother in June.
17) Joachim Alcine (5-5)
Last Fight: 7/17/2010- L (TKO1) vs. Alfredo Angulo
Next Fight: Unknown
Alcine appears to be on his way down the rankings after being blown out in the first round by Alfredo Angulo, but he’s still only lost to really good fighters like Angulo and Daniel Santos, and still has enough quality wins on the resume to keep him in the rankings.
18) Deandre Latimore (5-5)
Last Fight: 7/24/2010- TKO3 Darien Ford (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/16/2011- vs. Unknown Opponent
Latimore is hard to figure.  He knocked out Sechew Powell and then, in the estimation of some observers, beat Cory Spinks.  But then he looked awful against journeyman Sammy Sparkman in winning a wide decision that should have been within one point either way and lost a close decision to Powell.
19) Erislandy Lara (5-5)
Last Fight: 1/14/2011- KO1 Delray Raines (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/25/2011- vs. Carlos Molina (UNR)
Lara is now set to step up against Carlos Molina, a very solid fringe contender who has been inactive for over 18 months due to promotional problems with Don King.  This is an overdue tough test for Lara, who might be  setting himself up for a title shot later this year.
20) Rigoberto Alvarez (5-5)
Last Fight: 2/5/2011- L (UD12) vs. Austin Trout (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Alvarez had a couple losses against pretty good fighters at middleweight and 168, but until recently his only major test at 154 was close win over the very credible Nobuhiro Ishida.  The momentum generated by that win from October was halted when hot but previously untested prospect Austin Trout easily beat him to a 12-round decision.  Still, the Ishida win is a shade better than some of the guys left out (like Alejandro Falliga and Antonio Margarito) can claim.


The Week Ahead:

Friday: Gatekeeper Ulises Lopez should have an easy night against journeyman Carlos Vilches, who isn’t all that good and typically fights at 140 or 147.  The two Argentinians will be fighting for the South American title.


Saturday: On one overall underwhelming Pay-Per-View card from Vegas, #3 Miguel Cotto fights former legitimate welterweight champ Ricardo Mayorga, who is probably best viewed as a gatekeeper at this stage, while #5 Yuri Foreman meets fringe contending prospect Pawel Wolak of Poland.

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