Middleweight: 2011, Mar 7-13

In a shocking upset, #12 Derek Ennis was stopped in the 2nd round by former welterweight contender Giorbis Barthelemy.  In fairness to Ennis, the fight was contested at 154 but Barthelemy came in over the limit (something he routinely has done in his career), but Ennis is used to fighting middleweights bigger and better than the Cuban.  With a fresh loss to a complete non-entity this fresh on his resume- even in a different weight class- I can’t help but drop Pooh from the rankings.


Gatekeeper Tarvis Simms had only a tad bit of trouble outpointing solid journeyman John Mackey Saturday in Newark, while once-beaten prospect Danny Jacobs needed just over half a round to knock out sub-.500 journeyman Robert Kliewer on the Hatton-Alvarez undercard in Anaheim.


#2 Kelly Pavlik drops from the ratings this week, as he has scheduled a fight at 168 with Alfonso Lopez for May, which will be over a year since his last Middleweight fight.  I let him keep his ranking until now despite his strong statements that he was moving up, but now that there’s a concrete commitment for him to go inactive at 160, it doesn’t make sense to keep him in until April just to take up space.


Marcus Upshaw, whose lone significant win at middleweight was a split decision that was actually much wider over Renan St. Juste, debuts at #19 due to Ennis’ and Pavlik’s departure, as does Peter Manfredo, Jr. at #20 on the strength of his May stoppage of gatekeeper Angel Hernandez.


For Comparision, here are the current Ring ratings for the division:
Champ: Sergio Martinez
1) Felix Sturm
2) Sebastian Sylvester
3) Paul Williams
4) Daniel Geale
5) Matthew Macklin
6) Sebastian Zbik
7) Dmitry Pirog
8) David Lopez
9) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam
10) David Lemieux


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (47-47-47)
Last Fight: 11/20/2010- KO2 #2 Paul Williams
Next Fight: 3/12/2011- vs. JMW #9 Sergei Dzinziruk
Sergio Martinez is the unquestioned king of the division.  Dzinziruk is an interesting challenge, but certainly not an adequate test ratings-wise.
1) Felix Sturm (87-390-390)
Last Fight: 2/19/2011- TKO7 Ronald Hearns (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There are enough real challenges in  this division for a #1 contender to fight someone better than Ronald Hearns.  He should be trying to fight Martinez.  That’s what it’s all about- the World Championship.
2) Paul Williams (1-100-100)
Last Fight: 11/20/2010- L(KO2) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC is talking about a four-man tournament at 154 to create a mandatory challenger for Saul Alvarez’ irrelevant title.  But irrelevant or not, the tournament (which also seeks the participation of Alfredo Angulo, Ryan Rhodes, Saul Roman, and Vanes Martirosyan) would create some nice match-ups and be great for the sport, which feels strange to say when referring to the WBC.  Williams would reportedly start by fighting the Roman-Vanes winner.
3) Sebastian Sylvester (1-291-291)
Last Fight: 10/30/2010- UD12 Mahir Oral (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sylvester’s last scheduled fight on January 22 was canceled along with its entire card due to a virus contracted by Sylvester.  He was supposed to fight Mehdi Bouadla, a French gatekeeper.  No word yet on whether that fight will be rescheduled.
4) Daniel Geale (1-90-90)
Last Fight: 10/31/2010- TKO12 #8 Roman Karmazin
Next Fight: Unknown
5) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (1-19-19)
Last Fight: 10/30/2010- UD12 Avtandil Khurtsidze
Next Fight: 4/2/2011- vs. Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
N’jikam fights fringe contender Giovanni Lorenzo on April 2.
6) Dmitry Pirog (1-32-32)
Last Fight: 7/31/2010- TKO5 Danny Jacobs
Next Fight: 3/26/2011- vs. Javier Maciel (UNR)
Pirog could have done a better job of capitalizing on his thrilling knockout of Jacobs.  Instead, he will be 8 months inactive when he fights a mediocre prospect in Maciel.  Of course this might just be a tune-up before he tries to get a Martinez or Sturm in the ring, but he can still do better.
7) Garth Wood (1-6-6)
Last Fight: 12/8/2010- KO5 Anthony Mundine
Next Fight: 4/13/2011- vs. #18 Anthony Mundine
We’ll see if Wood’s the real deal when he re-matches Anthony Mundine in April.
8) Matthew Macklin (1-76-76)
Last Fight: 12/11/2010- UD12 Ruben Varon (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/9/2011- vs. Winky Wright (UNR)
Macklin had a very slow 2010 after a big 2009, but he looks to go back to business in 2011 with an intriguing matchup against former junior middleweight champion Winky Wright, who has been inactive since dropping a convincing decision to Paul Williams in the Spring of 2009.  The winner of the fight will be firmly entrenched in the top 10.  If Macklin wins, it’s probably the end of the line for Wright.
9) Maxim Bursak (1-6-6)
Last Fight: 9/4/2010- UD12 Bryan Vera
Next Fight: Unknown
Bursak said in early February he was hoping for a tune-up on the Vitali-Solis card, and was hoping to fight Peter Manfredo after that.  No word on whether either of those wishes are approaching fruition today.
10) Marco Antonio Rubio (1-1-6)
Last Fight: 1/1/2011- TKO8 Wilson Santana (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/8/2011- vs. David Lemieux (UNR)
Rubio’s advancement into the top 10 makes the stakes that much higher for the veteran and his opponent, fast-rising prospect Lemiuex.
11) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (1-6)
Last Fight: 1/29/2011- UD10 Billy Lyell
Next Fight: 6/4/2011- vs. #16 Sebastian Zbik
Chavez will take on one of the biggest challenges of his career in undefeated but thus-far overrated alphabet titlist Sebastian Zbik.
12) Billy Lyell (1-6)
Last Fight: 1/29/2011- L(UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Now we know he’s not as good as Chavez, but he owns a win over a better version of John Duddy, which keeps him ranked.
13) Darren Barker (1-6)
Last Fight: 4/9/2010- UD12 Affif Belghecham
Next Fight: 4/30/2011- vs. Domenico Spada (UNR)
Barker is over some injuries that plagued him in 2010, and has a new promoter.  He is now scheduled to fight quality journeyman Domenico Spada for the EBU title on April 30.
14) Pablo Navascues (1-6)
Last Fight: 11/26/2010- MD10 Luis Rodriguez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Time is running out for the 35-year-old Navascues.  His draw with then-#7 Javier Castillejo should have led to another good fight, but instead he’s fought just twice in the 22 months since, and never against anyone good.  Maybe all the decent fighters are scared off by his near-upset of Castillejo, but he’s got to find someone to fight him soon.
15) Avtandil Khurtsidze (1-6)
Last Fight: 10/30/2010- L(UD12) vs. Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam
Next Fight: 3/12/2011- vs. Mariusz Cendrowski (UNR)
Georgian Khurtsidze recently came up on the wrong side of his fight with Hassan N’Jikam, but he has beaten a pretty decent gatekeeper once a year since 2008.  If he can keep that up in 2011, his place in the rankings will be secure.
16) Sebastian Zbik (1-87)
Last Fight: 7/31/2010- UD12 Jorge Heiland (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/4/2011- vs. #11 Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Undefeated Zbik will finally step up to the fringe contender level of competition, fighting Mexican star Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in June.
17) Fernando Guerrero (1-6)
Last Fight: 2/18/2011- UD10 Derrick Findley (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Anthony Mundine (1-6)
Last Fight: 12/8/2010- L(KO5) vs. Garth Wood
Next Fight: 4/13/2011- vs. #7 Garth Wood
Possible redemption on tap for April 13.
19) Marcus Upshaw (1-1)
Last Fight: 5/28/2010- SD10 Renan St. Juste
Next Fight: 3/25/2011- vs. Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Has a pretty tough fight on tap with Osumanu Adama, a solid gatekeeper.
20) Peter Manfredo, Jr. (1-1)
Last Fight: 1/14/2011- UD10 Daniel Edouard (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
So far, so good on the comeback trail for Manfredo.  #9 Maxim Bursak is interested in fighting him, but no idea if that will happen or not.

The Week Ahead: The World Championship is on the line this week, as the #9 Junior Middleweight Sergei Dzinziruk moves up to challenge Champion Sergio Martinez in Connecticut.  On the HBO-televised undercard of that fight, Andy Lee and Craig McEwan- two fringe contenders who hover between 160 and 168- will meet up in a fight that should jump-start the winner’s career significantly.


David Lopez, who is maybe something like #21 right now, will have a pretty easy night Friday against Francisco Villanueva, who probably has roughly average journeyman skill despite a very poor 10-23-2 record.


On the Cotto-Mayorga PPV undercard in Vegas Saturday, Russian prospect Matt Korobov fights ubiquitous journeyman Michael Walker, and then #15 Avtandil Khurtsidze takes on very good Polish journeyman Mariusz Cendrowski in Tblisi, Georgia on Sunday.

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