Junior Middleweight: 2012, May 14-20

Last week featured 3 very good and interesting fights in the 2nd tier of the division.  Leading off in Istres, France was Jimmy Colas vs. Frank Haroche Horta for the French title.  Horta came in as the deserved favorite.  On the international level, he translated to a gatekeeper- on the lower quarter of the top 50.  He is a former French welterweight champion who had been doing fairly well against top French prospects of late.  Haitian born Colas had previously held this very title, and at one point in 2005 and 2006 established himself as a legitimate fringe contender internationally.  But he’s been in steady decline since then, and was quite clearly a journeyman when the bell rang.  But a funny thing happened on the way to a victory for Haroche Horta.  The taller Horta did well in the first round, fighting in an athletic style and establishing an effective rhythm with movement and rather soft but picturesque jabs and straight rights.  But the wheels began to fall off in the 2nd.  Colas cut the distance and began to dig punishing shots to the body, one of which crumbled Horta to the canvas.  The third round was even worse, as Colas broke Horta’s will with two more debilitating left hooks to the body that each dropped him.  Seeing that Horta’s resistance had faded to nothing, the referee stopped the fight, giving Colas a fairly spectacular upset victory.


In the ShoBox main event in Vegas, heavily favored top Cuban prospect Yudel Jhonson suffered a major upset of his own.  His opponent was Willie Nelson, an 6′ 3.5″ Ohio based prospect who was best known for getting knocked down 3 times in his last televised fight against prospect Vincent Arroyo, but making a heck of a close fight out of it anyway.  The knocks on him were obviously his chin, as well as being a bit stingy with the jab for how tall he was.  Not on this night.  Nelson used the jab beautifully to control range, mixed in some effective movement to help keep his chin from becoming a concern, and did a great jab of countering to keep Jhonson’s respect.  The previously undefeated Jhonson behaved much like a typical Klitschko opponent, lingering on the outside and taking punishment rather than doing effective work to get in punching range.  For what it’s worth, the fighters traded knockdowns in the first half of the fight, and the scores were all slanted toward Jhonson to some degree, despite being unanimous for Nelson.


Finally, in Brovari, Ukraine on Saturday, Russian fringe contender Zaurbek Baysangurov who- for some reason way beyond my powers to comprehend- is the WBO titlist, defended his silly belt against undefeated French prospect Michel Soro in what turned out to be a close and interesting fight.  By my lights, Soro clearly won each of the first 5 rounds, including a second round knockdown.  Baysangurov, in turn, pretty much dominated the last 5 as Soro faded.  The fight, therefore, was properly decided by the two middle rounds of the fight, which I thought were pretty much toss-ups.  I did score both for Soro, though, and had him up 115-112 with the knockdown figured in (although in fairness he was knocked down himself by what was improperly ruled a low blow later in the fight).  But Baysangurov is a Klitschko-promoted beltholder on a Klitschko-promoted card in the Klitschkos’ home country.  Guess what?  Baysangurov won unanimously, by margins of 3, 5, and 6 points.  This isn’t a robbery, since Baysangurov had an argument to win.  It even feels about right that he should win, considering how much better he was performing down the stretch than Soro.  But it is a hometown decision, and the judges should not be excused, since not one of their cards was fair.  Their names are, from least to most atrocious: Mikael Hook (from Sweden- a country in which boxing is banned), Jose Ignacio Martinez (from Spain), and Zbigniew Lagosz (Poland). 


Surprisingly, not one of these fights really comes all that close to affecting the rankings, which just goes to show how deep this division really is.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1) Saul Alvarez (2-63-78)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- UD12 Shane Mosley (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/15/2012- vs. Unknown Opponent
Canelo already has another fight lined up on September 15.  The PPV showdown is still in search of an opponent, though.  Kirkland is a possibility.
2) Carlos Molina (2-45-60)
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.
3) Cornelius Bundrage (8-93-93)
Last Fight: 6/25/2011- UD12 #11 Sechew Powell
Next Fight: 7/28/2012- vs. #12 Cory Spinks
K9 will give Cory Spinks a rematch on July 28.  K9 won by brutal beatdown last time.
4) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (2-2-2)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- UD12* #4 Miguel Cotto
Next Fight: Unknown
Floyd says he’s considering retirement after a tough fight with Cotto.  But more recently, future fights against Pacquiao, Canelo, Khan, Cotto, Guerrero, and Berto/Ortiz have been mentioned.
5) Miguel Cotto (2-102-102)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- L* (UD12) vs. WW #1 Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Cotto plans to return by the end of the year, and continue fighting for 2 or 3 more years.  Rematches with both Pacquiao and Mayweather appear to be possibilities at some point.
6) Erislandy Lara (2-45-67)
Last Fight: 4/20/2012- TKO1 Ronald Hearns (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBC ordered an eliminator between Lara and Vanes for a shot at Canelo, but Vanes- true to form- turned it down.  Lara hopes to return in June, and is considering Mundine and Quintana.
7) James Kirkland (2-28-28)
Last Fight: 3/24/2012- W*(DQ10) vs. #6 Carlos Molina (Robbery)
Next Fight: Unknown
Kirkland is reportedly in the running to fight Canelo on 9/15.
8) Paul Williams (2-13-67)
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.
9) Alfredo Angulo (2-138-138)
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.
10) Ryan Rhodes (2-134-134)
Last Fight: 11/26/2011- W (PTS8) vs. Sergei Khomitski (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 6/16/2012- vs. Sergei Rabchenko (UNR)
After suffering a back injury, Rhodes has rescheduled his fight with Rabchenko for June 16 in Manchester.
11) Gabriel Rosado (2-67)
Last Fight: 1/21/2012- TKO5 Jesus Soto Karass (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/1/2013- vs. #20 Sechew Powel
With just less than a month to go before the fight, Sechew Powell has replaced Joel Julio as Rosado’s opponent.
12) Cory Spinks (2-16)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- UD12 #11 Sechew Powell
Next Fight: 7/28/2012- vs. #3 Cornelius Bundrage
Spinks will have a rematch with #3 K9 Bundrage in San Jose on July 28.  He’s brave for taking it, considering the beating he took last time.
13) Austin Trout (2-67)
Last Fight: 11/11/2011- TKO6 Frank LoPorto (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/2/2012- vs. #14 Delvin Rodriguez
Trout-Rodriguez is now official for June 2 on Showtime.
14) Delvin Rodriguez (2-44)
Last Fight: 12/3/2011- UD10* #9 Pawel Wolak
Next Fight: 6/2/2012- vs. #13 Austin Trout
See Trout’s notes, above.
15) Brian Rose (2-24)
Last Fight: 3/31/2012- UD12 Max Maxwell (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/2/2012- vs. Kris Carslaw (UNR)
In fairness, the British light middleweight scene is extremely thin compared to other divisions, but I can’t say that Rose’s title reign is off to a great start.  He’s defending his title against a second consecutive journeyman that could be called mid-level at best.
16) Shane Mosley (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- L (UD12) vs. #2 Saul Alvarez
Next Fight: Unknown
Everybody but Mosley appears to know he’s done, but he still has the resume to hold a top 20 ranking.  Let’s hope he retires soon, though.
17) Vanes Martirosyan (2-50)
Last Fight: 2/4/2012- TKO3 Troy Lowry (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vanes has become extremely risk averse since his difficult fight with Roman last June, as he has now turned down an eliminator against Lara.
18) Lukas Konecny (2-40)
Last Fight: 4/5/2012- TKO7 Salim Larbi (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBO is looking to make Konecny-Baysangurov happen, and has set 6/4 as the deadline for an agreement to avoid purse bids.
19) Carlos Quintana (2-2)
Last Fight: 5/5/2012- TKO6 Deandre Latimore (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Quintana wants Canelo in the immediate aftermath of his upset TKO of Deandre Latimore.
20) Sechew Powell (2-113)
Last Fight: 1/28/2012- L(UD12) vs. Cory Spinks (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/1/2012- vs. #11 Gabriel Rosado
Powell is a semi-short notice replacement for Joel Julio in the NBC Sports-televised bout with Gabriel Rosado.


The Week Ahead: On Saturday, Argentine gatekeeper Mateo Veron gets a rematch with Guido Pitto- the still otherwise fairly unproven undefeated prospect that dominated and stopped him in 2010.


Earlier that night in Belgrade, Serbia, local one-loss prospect Nikola Stevanovic takes on Tunisian journeyman Ayoub Nefzi.

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