Junior Middleweight: 2012, Mar 26- Apr 1

In the week’s most important and outrageous fight, #6 Carlos Molina dominated the first 8 rounds against a very ponderous James Kirkland with brilliant Hopkinsesque tactical boxing.  In round 9, Kirkland came back and probably nicked it.  Round 10 was a see-saw battle.  Kirkland was apparently dropped in the middle of the round, but it was ruled a slip by referee Jon Schorle.  In the closing seconds, however, Molina got his head stuck underneath the top rope and came off those ropes off-balance and with his hands out of position.  As the action continued, Kirkland landed a clean jab and a glancing right hand, and then leaned on Molina’s back as the bell rang.  About a half-second after the bell, Molina went down from a combination of these factors.  He rose by the count of 4, and as the 8-count continued, one of Molina’s cornermen entered the ring at the count of about 6.  Schorle continued the count and then decided to talk to everyone at ringside, some of whom apparently convinced him to DQ Molina.  It was an atrocious call.  I’m not sure of the rules that apply personally, but I do know that under the local Texas rules, the count would have stopped at 4 when Molina was up.  In any case, the bell had rung, Molina was up, and the idea that he would be disqualified while he was justly ahead by 5 points with 2 rounds to go is simply disgusting.   Even if his call was technically acceptable, he should have used his discretion to ensure justice.  Just as bad, notoriously bad judge Gale Van Hoy had the fight scored for Kirkland by a point after 9. 


The simple fact is that the fight was stopped prematurely.  Bad call aside, this has negative aspects for both fighters.  Molina was robbed of the essentially insurmountable lead he deserved on the scorecards, while Kirkland was robbed of the opportunity to go for a stoppage in the last 2 rounds.  But these unfortunate premature stoppages do happen in the sport- often due to an accidental headbutt or some such thing.  I will not accept an unjust outcome in my rankings, especially when this outcome blatantly contravenes what the two fighters proved in the ring.  Instead, I will treat this fight as being halted after 10 due to an accidental foul by the referee.  This gives Molina a clear decision.


In Pharr, Texas the night before, gatekeepers Antwone Smith and Roberto Garcia clashed on Friday Night Fights, with Garcia using his rhythm and timing to get inside, tenderize the body, and then wear Smith down to the head.  It was a fine performance by any measure, and ended in a clear decision for the Mexican.  Garcia now finds himself in the top 25, though he falls short of an actual ranking.


In less important action, undefeated Belorussian Sergei Rabchenko knocked out Ronny Gabel with a body shot about 10 seconds into the fight, which was originally supposed to pit him against Ryan Rhodes.  Grady Brewer’s scheduled fight with Frank Haroche Horta didn’t come off.


Molina, after getting credit for the win, has scored the highest-rated win of any currently ranked contender aside from Paul Williams’ fairly old victory over a 2nd-ranked Verno Phillips.  He moves all the way to the top, wresting the #1 post from Saul Alvarez, who has beaten several fringe contenders but never anyone ranked higher than #7.  Kirkland retreats back to Molina’s former #6 position.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1) Carlos Molina (1-38-53)
Last Fight: 3/23/2012- L*(DQ10) vs. #3 James Kirkland (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Molina has said he’ll appeal his DQ against Kirkland.  I wish him luck, but of course he doesn’t have to appeal to me.  He’s #1.
2) Saul Alvarez (1-56-71)
Last Fight: 11/26/2011- TKO5 Kermit Cintron (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/5/2012- vs. Shane Mosley (UNR)
Canelo will look to retire an over the hill Shane Mosley on the Mayweather-Cotto undercard on May 5, with the winner reportedly to get a shot at the main event’s winner.  He’s already planning his return for September, too.
3) Cornelius Bundrage (1-86-86)
Last Fight: 6/25/2011- UD12 #11 Sechew Powell
Next Fight: Unknown
K9 is interested in Kirkland and Sergio Martinez.
4) Miguel Cotto (17-95-95)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- RTD10 #20 Antonio Margarito
Next Fight: 5/5/2012- vs. WW #1 Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
After being heavily rumored for a unnecessary rematch with Pacquiao, Cotto has gone the other way, fighting Floyd at 154 instead.
5) Erislandy Lara (17-38-60)
Last Fight: 7/9/2011- L*(MD12) vs. #6 Paul Williams
Next Fight: 4/20/2012- vs. Ronald Hearns (UNR)
The Hearns fight has been rescehduled for April 20.  Molina would like a rematch, too.
6) James Kirkland (1-21-21)
Last Fight: 3/24/2012- W*(DQ10) vs. #6 Carlos Molina (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Even after his unimpressive performance against Molina (or perhaps in part because of it), Lara still wants to fight him.
7) Paul Williams (6-6-60)
Last Fight: 2/18/2012- UD12 #17 MW Nobuhiro Ishida
Next Fight: Unknown
After Williams beat Ishida, he said he does not want a Lara rematch, but instead wants one with Sergio.
8) Alfredo Angulo (6-131-131)
Last Fight: 11/5/2011- L (TKO6) vs. James Kirkland (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Angulo had no shortage of guts, but appeared a bit physically overmatched against a beastly incarnation of Kirkland.
9) Ryan Rhodes (6-127-127)
Last Fight: 11/26/2011- W (PTS8) vs. Sergei Khomitski (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rhodes pulled out of his fight with Rabchenko, citing a back injury.
10) Gabriel Rosado (6-10-60)
Last Fight: 1/21/2012- TKO5 Jesus Soto Karass (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/1/2013- vs. Joel Julio (UNR)
Rosado will again fight on NBC Sports Network, fighting fringe contender Joel Julio in Bethlehem, PA.
11) Cory Spinks (6-9)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- UD12 #11 Sechew Powell
Next Fight: Unknown
I cannot confirm that the close unanimous decision verdict over Powell was accurate due to lack of video.  So whether for skill or lack of sunlight, Spinks is very much back in the mix.
12) Austin Trout (6-60)
Last Fight: 11/11/2011- TKO6 Frank LoPorto (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Trout wants Cotto, Rodriguez, Mundine, and Kirkland, and also has apparently mutual interest in fighting Lara.  A purse bid has been scheduled on 3/29 for the Mundine fight.
13) Delvin Rodriguez (6-37)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- UD10* #9 Pawel Wolak
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez has confirmed that he’ll be staying at 154.
14) Brian Rose (16-17)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- W (SD12) vs. #8 Prince Arron
Next Fight: 3/31/2012- vs. Max Maxwell (UNR)
Rose’s first defense of his British title will come in his hometown of Blackpool  against Max Maxwell.  Maxwell is a very mediocre journeyman who just so happens to be the only man to ever beat Rose.
15) Vanes Martirosyan (16-43)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- TKO3 Troy Lowry (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vanes is one of two choices (along with Andy Lee) to fight JCC, Jr. on June 16.
16) Lukas Konecny (2-33)
Last Fight: 5/27/2011- UD12 Hussein Bayram (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/5/2012- vs. Salim Larbi (UNR)
After Baysangurov withdrew with injury, Konecny will go home to the Czech Republic to fight French journeyman Salim Larbi for what is incredibly an interim alphabet title.
17) Sechew Powell (2-106)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- L(UD12) vs. Cory Spinks (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Antonio Margarito (2-20)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- L (RTD10) vs. #5 Miguel Cotto
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Prince Arron (2-5)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- L (SD12) vs. Brian Rose (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
When we last saw Arron in the rankings, it appeared that he was going to fight an 8 rounder on February 24.  That didn’t happen.  No word on his next move.
20) Anthony Mundine (2-2)
Last Fight: 10/19/2011- UD12* Rigoberto Alvarez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
A purse bid for a proposed fight with Austin Trout is scheduled for 3/29.


The Week Ahead: In the only reasonably significant action of the week, #14 Brian Rose defends his British title against the only man to ever beat him, mediocre but upset-minded journeyman Max Maxwell.  That fight takes place in Blackpool, England on Saturday.

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