Middleweight: 2012, Apr 16-22

 Sturm Warning!  Felix Sturm may not have slipped as far as I thought, judging from his performance on Friday in Cologne.  After losing the first 3 rounds on my card (including a big round for his opponent in the 2nd), Sturm came back and dominated the rest of the fight.  He threw with volume and a great deal of accuracy with both hands.  His jab was sharp and set up his right hand to perfection.  His opponent, fringe contender Sebasian Zbik, started out with both of those attributes plus an excellent body attack, but quickly settled in to trying to peck away at Sturm’s effective high guard.  His left hook- which he used way too much- appeared to be targeted specifically for Sturm’s right glove.  Indeed, very few of his punches appeared to have much intention of getting through after about 3 rounds.  Sturm was at his vintage best, and has now regained at least some of the luster he lost in his gift victories over Macklin and Murray.


The following night, #19 Billi Godoy won a close and sloppy fight in his home province of Neuquen against crude journeyman and former welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir.  Godoy didn’t really impress, essentially getting dragged into a bar room brawl far too often and looking vulnerable in the process.  But he was in noticeably better shape than the thick-bodied, 40-year-old Baldomir, and managed to come on strong late in rounds often enough to win 96-94 on my card.  The judges were a bit more kind, giving Godoy the win by margins of 4, 5, and 8 points.  All but the latter were reasonable.


Here’s a run-down of the also-rans from a busy week: On Monday, Japanese fringe contender Makoto Fuchigami stopped Korean journeyman Kyung-Suk Kwak in Tokyo.


Saturday: Fringe prospect Craig McEwan won an easy 8-round decision in Edinburg, Scotland over the very weak Paul Morby.  Prospect Joey Hernandez came in heavy and stopped Shakir Ashanti in just under a round in Miami.  In two fights in Mexico, gatekeeper Saul Roman won an average decision over journeyman Richard Gutierrez in Mexico City, while undefeated Gilberto Ramirez easily outpointed another journeyman named Jaime Barboza in Arandas.


Now, to Sturm’s ranking.  It’s not that a win over Zbik in itself is that spectacular.  But Sturm had slumped to #5 based largely on his severely disappointing draw against unproven Murray.  Now that Sturm has conclusively beaten an opponent more accomplished than Murray was at the time, it allows us to believe that Sturm is still viable at the top 10 level, and it lets us begin to consider his overall record, which was kind of cut off from consideration by the poor performances in his last 2 fights.  That being the case, he definitely passes Chavez.  When compared to Macklin, you have to consider their fight a wash.  Sturm technically won it, but most considered it a massive robbery.  I had it a draw, and thought that was about the most generous possible score for Sturm.  When the overall resumes of both men are compared, there is no comparison.  Proksa’s resume is short, but he has what Macklin lacks- a dominant win over a top 5 contender.  Lacking any losses (aside from being robbed against Kerry Hope last month), I still give the Polish contender the nod, since the Murray draw still leads me to believe that Sturm isn’t likely to win against a #4 contender like Proksa did.  No easy solution to the puzzle, but that’s the best I’ve got.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (105-105-105)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- RTD11 #3 Matthew Macklin
Next Fight: 9/15/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Sergio has signed a contract to fight the Chavez-Lee winner, with 9/15 being the tentative date.
1) Daniel Geale (43-148-148)
Last Fight: 3/7/2012- UD12 #11 Osumanu Adama
Next Fight: Unknown
2) Grzegorz Proksa (29-53-53)
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.  Kerry Hope has audaciously suggested that Proksa (who clearly beat him in reality) might need to build to the rematch.
3) Felix Sturm (1-448-448)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- RTD9 Sebastian Zbik (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With new life in his career, Sturm says now that he’d be open to fighting Pirog next, and that he’s looking to fight again in August.
4) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (1-46-64)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- UD12 #10 Marco Antonio Rubio
Next Fight: 6/16/2012- vs. SMW #11 Andy Lee
Chavez signed 2 deals in one week.  He will fight Andy Lee on June 16 and, if he wins, will progress to challenge for the title, likely on September 15.
5) Matthew Macklin (1-43-134)
Last Fight: 3/17/2012- L(RTD11) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: Unknown
Macklin deserves a break after a taxing effort against Martinez.
6) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (11-77-77)
Last Fight: 4/2/2011- UD12 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/4/2012- vs. #15 Max Bursak
Originally rumored for April 20 in Equatorial Guinea, N’Dam will now fight Bursak in France two weeks later, instead.
7) Martin Murray (11-20-20)
Last Fight: 12/2/2011- Draw(SD12) vs. #3 Felix Sturm
Next Fight: 6/16/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Murray is scheduled for a June 16 return in Manchester.  He was originally scheduled to fight on that very date against Chavez before visa issues scuttled that one.
8) Dmitry Pirog (20-90-90)
Last Fight: 9/25/2011- RTD10 Gennady Martirosyan (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/1/2012- vs. #20 Nobuhiro Ishida
Pirog will settle for Ishida on May 1 after several other potential opponents fell through.
9) Anthony Mundine (7-11-64)
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 (7-7-9)
Last Fight: 2/19/2012- UD12 #15 Garth Wood
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (6-64)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- L(UD12) vs. #7 Julio Cesar Chavez
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio is reportedly looking at a July fight with Ricardo Mayorga.
12) Osumanu Adama (6-56)
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 (7-9)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12 #17 Nobuhiro Ishida (as JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Williams is likely to fight on Showtime on June 30, with Joachim Alcine reportedly interested.
14) Avtandil Khurtsidze (7-64)
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 (7-64)
Last Fight: 12/17/2012- TKO3 Laatekwei Hammond (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/4/2012- vs. #6 Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam
Bursak will be fighting N’Dam in France on May 4.
16) Gennady Golovkin (7-44)
Last Fight: 12/9/2011- KO1 Lajuan Simon (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golovkin can’t get anyone to fight him, but Sturm has been ordered to defend his belt against him by September.  There are rumors that the fight might take place in August.
17) Demetrius Andrade (7-35)
Last Fight: 2/10/2012- KO2 Angel Hernandez (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Darren Barker (7-27)
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 (7-26)
Last Fight: 4/13/2012- UD10 Carlos Baldomir (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Godoy needs a lot of improvement if he’s going to fight his relative peers in the rankings.  He had more than a little trouble with crude and old Carlos Baldomir.
20) Nobuhiro Ishida (7-7)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- L(UD12) vs. JMW #? Paul Williams
Next Fight: 5/1/2012- vs. #8 Dmitry Pirog
Ishida will look to play spoiler again on May 1 in Moscow.


The Week Ahead: We’ve got another busy week on our hands.


Tuesday: In Toronto, undefeated Canadian junior middleweight prospect Adam Trupish battles journeyman Darryl Cunningham.


Friday: Three fights in Biloxi, Mississippi:  Former Champion Jermain Taylor fights undefeated prospect Caleb Truax in the ShoBox main event.  Erislandy Lara, a top contender at 154, takes a bit of a water break and fights at middleweight against journeyman Ronald Hearns, also televised by Showtime.  On the non-televised undercard, prospect Fernando Guerrero will fight journeyman Chris Fitzpatrick.


Saturday: Fringe contender Bryan Vera returns to the ring in his native Fort Worth, Texas, when he takes on sub-par journeyman Taronze Washington.  If he makes 160, it will be the first time since September 2010, and might get him back in the rankings despite the weak opponent.

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