Middleweight: 2012, Mar 19-25

#3 Matthew Macklin gave Sergio his toughest test since he won the Championship from Kelly Pavlik.  Macklin managed to win some rounds in the middle of the fight, and definitely disrupted Sergio’s rhythm for stretches.  The moment of truth came in the 7th, when Macklin dropped Martinez.  Martinez wasn’t having that, though.  He bounced back to win the rest of the round.  Then he started breaking Macklin down, winning 8, 9, and 10 clearly, and dropping a flagging Macklin twice in the 11.  He survived the round, but his trainer Buddy McGirt had seen enough, and called a halt to the bout prior to the 12th.

 

In what turned out to be a more notable fight than I thought, #2 Grzegorz Proksa had his hands full with unheralded Welsh journeyman Kerry Hope in Sheffield, England a bit earlier in the night.  Proksa suffered a bad cut from a clash of heads in the closing seconds of round 2, but somehow it didn’t get much worse over the rest of the fight.  It clearly did bother the Polish contender, however.  Hope hung tough, often backing Proksa to the ropes and landing straight shots.  But Proksa chose his punches carefully and very frequently bounced Hope’s head around.  The fight was fairly close and very hotly contested.  But Proksa clearly won it.  I had it 116-111 (Hope lost a point for using his head to try and widen the cut after the bell ending the 8th), and to my eyes there was only really room for one more round to give Hope.  Unfortunately, none of the judges made sure to be fair to the visiting European Champion.  They saw another Rocky movie more or less taking place in front of them, and they couldn’t wait to buy tickets.  It’s a great story, but in this case as in that, it is merely a work of fiction.  Equal fault probably lies with the British Boxing Board of Control and/or the EBU (which sanctions European title fights).  Realizing in their infinite wisdom that Hope had no chance of going the distance, much less being competitive, they allowed 3 British judges to judge a fight between a British fighter and a foreigner on British soil.  Those judges did what we’ve sadly come to expect in such situations and robbed the #2 Middleweight contender of a hard-fought but well-deserved win over a complete non-entity, and perhaps irreparably damaged his reputation in the process.  After all- the Brits are all going to be so happy with the result that few are likely to question it.  Even the Sky broadcasting team (which to their credit had the fight for Proksa on their main card) quickly forgot any hint of controversy once the scores were read. 

 

Martinez obviously has no where to go and retains his Championship.  Normally there would be no reason to demote Macklin, but in this case he was in such a toss-up with last week’s #4 Julio Cesar Chavez,  Jr., all it took was the narrowest excuse for Chavez’ superior quantity of good wins to prevail.

 

Now for Proksa and Hope.  Proksa didn’t look that great, but I’ve never demoted anyone for cosmetic purposes after a clear win before, and I’m not going to start now, regardless of the opinions of biased judges.  This was a closer than expected win for a #2 contender over a hungry but unaccomplished journeyman.  Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (101-101-101)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- RTD11 #3 Matthew Macklin
Next Fight: 9/15/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
The Champ already has September 15 set aside for his next fight.  He’s hoping for Chavez, but is also cultivating Geale as a backup plan.
1) Daniel Geale (39-144-144)
Last Fight: 3/7/2012- UD12 #11 Osumanu Adama
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale is looking at possibly fighting Martinez or Pirog next.
2) Grzegorz Proksa (25-49-49)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- L*(MD12) vs. Kerry Hope (UNR) (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa wants a rematch in the worst kind of way, but his cut may keep him out 5-6 months.
3) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (1-42-60)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #10 Marco Antonio Rubio
Next Fight: 6/2/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Chavez’s next fight now appears set for June 2, with Martin Murray being the leading candidate.  He also may have a fight with Martinez in the works already for September 15.
4) Matthew Macklin (1-39-130)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- L(RTD11) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: Unknown
Macklin deserves a break after a taxing effort against Martinez.
5) Felix Sturm (7-444-444)
Last Fight: 12/2/2012- Draw (SD12) vs. Martin Murray (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/13/2012- vs. Sebastian Zbik (UNR)
A few weeks ago, it looked like Sturm would be promoting Zbik’s fight with Proksa.  Now he’s fighting Zbik instead, after Zbik showed his disgust for Sturm by pulling out.
6) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (7-73-73)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- UD12 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
N’Dam will probably fight Bursak on April 20 in Equatorial Guinea.
7) Martin Murray (7-16-16)
Last Fight: 12/2/2011- Draw(SD12) vs. #3 Felix Sturm
Next Fight: Unknown
After discussing fights with domestic rivals Lee and Barker, it now looks like Murray is a good bet to fight Chavez in June.
8) Dmitry Pirog (16-86-86)
Last Fight: 9/25/2011- RTD10 Gennady Martirosyan (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/1/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Bouncing back relatively quickly from a shoulder injury, Pirog has now reserved a May 1 date in Moscow.  Bursak was rumored, but it appears Darren Barker really was the guy, until it was revealed that Barker’s been injured all along.
9) Anthony Mundine (3-7-60)
Last Fight: 10/19/2011- UD12 Rigoberto Alvarez (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mundine wants Chavez foremost, but would settle for Trout or Geale.
10) Sam Soliman (3-3-5)
Last Fight: 2/19/2012- UD12 #15 Garth Wood
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (2-60)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #7 Julio Cesar Chavez
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio renewed his relevance with what was officially an upset over Lemieux, but the more proven Chavez proved to be a prospect too far.
12) Osumanu Adama (2-52)
Last Fight: 3/7/2012- L(UD12) vs. #1 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: Unknown
Adama came up short against Geale, but has nothing to be ashamed of.  He frequently took the #1 contender out of his game plan and looked entirely in his league at that lofty level.
13) Paul Williams (3-5)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12 #17 Nobuhiro Ishida (as JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Avtandil Khurtsidze (3-60)
Last Fight: 12/18/2011- W(MD12) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC has ordered Khurtsidze to defend his new goofy color-coded belt against gatekeeper Domenico Spada.
15) Max Bursak (3-60)
Last Fight: 12/17/2012- TKO3 Laatekwei Hammond (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It appears that Pirog and N’Dam are competing for a chance to fight him next.  It now looks like N’Dam might be winning those sweepstakes, as a fight with N’Dam is now heavily rumored for April 20 in Equatorial Guinea.
16) Gennady Golovkin (3-40)
Last Fight: 12/9/2011- KO1 Lajuan Simon (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golovkin can’t get anyone to fight him.
17) Demetrius Andrade (3-31)
Last Fight: 2/10/2012- KO2 Angel Hernandez (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Darren Barker (3-23)
Last Fight: 10/1/2011- L(KO11) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: Unknown
Barker bowed out of opportunities to fight Murray and Pirog, and now we have a possible reason as he has apparently been injured for a while, needs surgery, and is done until the fall.
19) Billi Godoy (3-22)
Last Fight: 11/12/2011- TKO1 Luciano Silva (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/13/2012- vs. Carlos Baldomir (UNR)
Godoy is now set to fight former welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir in Neuquen, Argentina on April 13.
20) Nobuhiro Ishida (3-3)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(UD12) vs. JMW #? Paul Williams
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: Nothing of note going on this week.
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