Middleweight: 2013, Mar 25-31

Thursday in London, undefeated Hertfordshire prospect Billy Joe Saunders won a dominant decision over rugged, solid, but unspectacular journeyman Matthew Hall, losing only a total of one point between the three cards. 


On the Abraham-Stieglitz undercard in Magdeburg, fringe contender Lukas Konecny moved up in weight and won a nondescript decision over high-level French journeyman Karim Achour on a technical decision, when the fight was halted in the final round with a Konecny cut suffered in a head clash rendering him unable to continue. 


In Uruapan, Mexico later that night, #11 Marco Antonio Rubio avoided an upset against upset specialist Marcus Upshaw, winning a 12-round decision by 7, 7, and 13 points on the three cards.  He somehow won the WBC’s United States title (which I didn’t know existed) despite the fact that he is neither from nor lives in he US, and despite the fight itself being south of the border. 


No changes to the rankings.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (154-154-154)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- UD12 #4 Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Next Fight: 4/27/2013- vs. #9 Martin Murray
Martinez will look to come back strong from knee surgery when he takes on Martin Murray in Argentina on April 27.
1) Daniel Geale (92-197-197)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- UD12 #11 Anthony Mundine
Next Fight: Unknown
With Soliman testing positive for a PED, his expected fight with Geale is probably out.  Perhaps a Sturm rematch is the most obvious follow-up.
2) Felix Sturm (4-497-497)
Last Fight: 2/1/2013- L* (UD12) vs. #12 Sam Soliman (on PEDs)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sturm says on Twitter that he’s resumed light training, and will soon announce his plans for his next fight, which he describes as a big event.
3) Gennady Golovkin (4-30-93)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- TKO7 JMW #? Gabriel Rosado

Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. #19 Nobuhiro Ishida
Golovkin will headline the Super 4 Light Heavyweight Tourney card in Monaco, fighting Nobuhiro Ishida, who is starting to lose all traces of the luster he gained by beating James Kirkland.
4) Matthew Macklin (4-92-183)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO1 Joachim Alcine (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After Andy Lee blatantly ducked him, Macklin is hoping to fight JCC, and might be looking at Golovkin for the fall.
5) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (4-95-113)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Chavez is looking to return on June 22, with Bryan Vera, Matthew Macklin, and Giovanni Lorenzo being considered.
6) Peter Quillin (4-23-44)
Last Fight: 10/20/2012- UD12 #6 Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam
Next Fight: 4/27/2013- vs. Fernando Guerrero (UNR)
Quillin’s fight with Guerrero has been postponed from February 9 to April 27 due to an injury to the card’s headliner, Danny Garcia.
7) Dmitry Pirog (4-139-139)
Last Fight: 5/1/2012- UD12 #20 Nobuhiro Ishida
Next Fight: Unknown
It sounds like Pirog has more than a run of the mill back injury.  His promoter calls his situation “spine trauma” he’s been nursing since the Maciel fight, and says that it “doesn’t look particularly good.”  It looks like a foregone conclusion that Pirog will be inactive for well over a year.  My mission between now and his May 1 anniversary will be to determine whether there’s a significant chance of a return in the foreseeable future.  There’s a fine line between giving an injured fighter time to recover and holding a spot for a guy that may not fight again for years, if ever.
8) Grzegorz Proksa (4-102-102)
Last Fight: 2/9/2013- UD6 Norbert Szekeres (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa’s worthless fight with Szekeres came at a steep price, as he hurt his hand badly enough to scuttle a proposed 3/23 appearance on Friday Night Fights.
9) Martin Murray (4-69-69)
Last Fight: 11/24/2012- TKO6 Jorge Navarro (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/27/2013- vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Murray will look to prove that he belongs at or above the level he achieved by drawing with Sturm when he fights the Champ in Argentina on April 27.
10) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (4-4-126)
Last Fight: 10/20/2012- L (UD12) vs. #20 Peter Quillin
Next Fight: Unknown

N’Dam was recently seen sparring at Mayweather’s gym with some of his top prospects.  This has fueled speculation of his possibly signing with Mayweather Promotions, himself.
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (2-113)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- UD12 Marcus Upshaw (UNR)

Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio seems to be the mandatory for both the Quillin-Guerrero and the Martinez-Murray winner unless I’ve missed something.
12) Anthony Mundine (2-113)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: Unknown
Mundine expects to fight again in June, but doesn’t know against whom or in what division yet.  He hopes to know by around the start of April, though.
13) Osumanu Adama (2-105)
Last Fight: 3/16/2012- W(SD10) vs. Grady Brewer (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Adama came in heavy and nearly lost to 42 year-old Grady Brewer.  The fact that he missed weight by only a half pound gives him the opportunity to schedule a middleweight fight by September 7 to maintain a ranking, though.
14) Darren Barker (3-76)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- RTD4 Simone Rotolo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Barker appears to be back from an injury-plagued spell. 
15) Max Bursak (3-113)
Last Fight: 2/2/2013- TKO3 Julien Marie Sainte (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bursak is now the EBU champion after destroying journeyman Sainte.
16) Demetrius Andrade (3-84)
Last Fight: 1/25/2013- UD10 Freddy Hernandez (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Andrade has impliedly called out Keith Thurman, Erislandy Lara, and explicitly challenged Ishe Smith.
17) Bryan Vera (4-23)
Last Fight: 1/25/2013- TKO10 Sergei Dzinziruk (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/29/2013- vs. Donatus Bondorovas (UNR)
Vera stays busy on March 29, when he fights Lithuanian journeyman Donatus Bondorovas in New York on a Friday Night Fights card.  He is also being considered for a June 15 fight with JCC, Jr.
18) Curtis Stevens (4-10)
Last Fight: 1/19/2013- KO1 Elvin Ayala (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/20/2013- vs. Derrick Findley (UNR)
Stevens will fight on the Fury-Cunningham undercard at MSG on 4/20 against veteran journeyman Derrick Findley.
19) Nobuhiro Ishida (4-56)
Last Fight: 5/1/2012- L(UD12) vs. #8 Dmitry Pirog
Next Fight: 3/30/2013- vs. #3 Gennady Golovkin
Ishida is probably about to spend his last remaining bit of currency from the Kirkland win.  He would need an even more shocking upset to survive- much less beat- the rampaging Gennady Golovkin.
20) Makoto Fuchigami (4-4)
Last Fight: 10/12/2012- RTD6 Marlon Alta (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/4/2013- vs. Akio Shibata (UNR)
Fuchigami has a good domestic-level opportunity on his hands, fighting essentially a peer in junior middleweight fringe contender Akio Shibata.


The Week Ahead: Bryan Vera headlines Friday Night Fights with a stay-busy fight against Lithuanian journeyman Donatas Bondorovas in Verona, New York.  


The following night in Monte Carlo, Monaco, #3 Gennady Golovkin gets back down to business against decent but relatively non-threatening #19 Nobuhiro Ishida

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