Middleweight: 2013, Apr 1-7

I’ve got two very notable fights to discuss.  On Friday, there were some very shady dealings going on in Verona, New York.  #17 Bryan Vera was getting more or less totally dominated by lowly Lithuanian journeyman Donatas Bondorovas (aka Bondas).  He was getting outboxed to the nth degree, and Bondas could not miss him, his defense was so lax.  Vera had only won either one or two of the first 7 rounds, when referee Charlie Fitch abruptly stopped the fight.  Fitch apparently asked Bondas if he could see, due to a bloody cut on the bridge of his nose that may have been an incompletely healed training injury, and got a negative response.  Bondas and his team later plead the case of a misunderstanding due to a language barrier.  I can’t say for sure what was in Bondas’ mind or his eye at that time, but what I can say for sure is that Fitch was REALLY quick to stop the fight under the circumstances.  As commentator Teddy Atlas said, you would think he might take a little time to make sure he understood correctly before waving it off.  It’s also worth noting that this question was asked shortly after the end of the round, before Bondas’ corner could remedy any issue their fighter was having.  Making things appear even more shady, all three of the judges incredibly had the fight scored for Vera.  Don Ackerman- who is perhaps the worst judge in America, to the point that I can’t even begin to list all of the completely unconscionable decisions that I’ve seen him turn in- had it 67-66, meaning he gave at least two clear Bondas rounds to Vera.  John McKaie, who is pretty consistently bad, himself, had the same score.  I’d come to expect better from Glen Feldman, but in this case he really botched it, having Vera up 68-65.  These guys should be embarrassed.

 

I’m honestly not even sure how I should treat this fight.  I see two options.  Either I accept that the TKO was legitimate despite the obvious flaws in the way the decision to stop the fight was reached, rending the fight completely irrelevant to the rankings, or I use the precedent established in Molina-Kirkland and treat the stoppage as an accidental foul by the referee, which would make me go to the cards.  Or in this case, to my card, since the actual cards were an even greater outrage than the stoppage, itself.  Generally I don’t like to overturn the decisions of officials unless those decisions were clearly wrong.  I can’t say for sure that the fight shouldn’t have been stopped, since it’s possible that Bondas’ protestations after the fact could have just been grandstanding.  A cuts stoppage of a fighter who’s clearly winning the fight is never a satisfying outcome, but unfortunately I’m going to have to accept it as just that, even while recognizing that Bondas may have been stopped as much for his command of English as for his cut.

 

In a less fascinating but much more significant battle, #3 Gennady Golovkin simply walked through a game but supremely over-matched #19 Nobuhiro Ishida in Monte Carlo on Saturday.  Golovkin showed better defense and punch selection than usual, and flashed a devastating jab that was often missing in the past.  This all reached a crescendo in the 3rd round, when Golovkin pasted Ishida with a shot so devastating that it sent him flying through the ropes and out cold.  This very well may be the end for Ishida, who is getting a bit long in the tooth at 37, and who has failed to meaningfully follow up on his upset TKO of James Kirkland.  He said before the fight that he’d retire if he lost, but allowing for pre-fight posturing, I’ll wait to remove him until I hear some post-fight confirmation of that intention.

 

Golovkin is unable to advance past Sturm.  This bears a bit of explanation.  Sturm gets credit here for beating Soliman since Soliman tested positive for a PED and still pretty clearly lost in my opinion, and he gets credit (more or less) for a draw with Geale, since that’s how I scored it despite the fact that the judges reasonably had it a loss.  A toss-up fight with the division’s clear #1 contender is still a bit better than Golovkin’s best win, in my opinion.  And that’s even assuming that Sturm’s very impressive prior resume is to some extent rendered irrelevant by his struggles against Macklin and Murray, which is certainly debatable.  Let’s be honest, Sturm’s place in the rankings is very much open to interpretation, since both his performances and the quality of the scoring have been inconsistent in recent years. 

 

Ishida slips to #20.  Now that both he and countryman Fuchigami have lost to Golovkin, Fuchigami’s superior volume of rateable wins at this weight is a bit more of a factor as compared to Ishida’s single slightly more prestigious victory, and Fuchigami therefore slips by him.

 

Since I’ve chosen to view Vera’s TKO win as legitimate, his fight with Bondas is more or less insignificant, since Bondas was by no means a top 50 middleweight at the outset.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (155-155-155)
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.  The fight will be revolutionary in that instant replay will be available to the referee.
1) Daniel Geale (93-198-198)
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 (5-498-498)
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 (5-31-94)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- KO3 #19 Nobuhiro Ishida

Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. #4 Matthew Macklin
Golovkin-Macklin appears to be on for June 29 on HBO, and that’s huge.
4) Matthew Macklin (5-93-184)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO1 Joachim Alcine (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Golovkin’s notes, above.
5) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (5-96-114)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: 6/22/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Lots of Chavez news breaking.  He’s staying with Freddie Roach after it looked like they were splitsville.  It looks likely that Darren Barker is likely his guy for 6/22, and he’s saying that Andre Ward and Gennady Golovkin are his top choices for a fall fight, rather than a rematch with Martinez.
6) Peter Quillin (5-24-45)
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 (5-140-140)
Last Fight: 5/1/2012- UD12 #20 Nobuhiro Ishida
Next Fight: Unknown
After bleak reports of his back injury situation surfaced over recent weeks, finally we get a bit of hopeful news, as Pirog’s US promoter Art Pelullo says that Pirog is hoping to return in late August if all goes well.
8) Grzegorz Proksa (5-103-103)
Last Fight: 2/9/2013- UD6 Norbert Szekeres (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/28/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Proksa will bounce back from a hand injury and return on June 28 in the US.  No further details yet.
9) Martin Murray (5-70-70)
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 (5-5-127)
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 (3-114)
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 (3-114)
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.
13) Osumanu Adama (3-106)
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 (4-77)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- RTD4 Simone Rotolo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Barker is the leading candidate for a 6/22 fight with Chavez.
15) Max Bursak (4-114)
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 (4-85)
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 (5-24)
Last Fight: 3/29/2013- TKO7* Donatas Bondorovas (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vera looked like absolute crap against ordinary journeyman Donatas Bondas, getting a potential gift from the referee in a highly questionable 7th round stoppage, which saved him from needing the robbery that the judges were cooking up on the scorecards.
18) Curtis Stevens (5-11)
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) Makoto Fuchigami (1-5)
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.
20) Nobuhiro Ishida (1-57)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- L (KO3) vs. #3 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Ishida said before the Golovkin fight that he’d retire if he lost.  But that could have just been posturing.  I won’t remove him as a retired fighter until I find some post-fight confirmation of his intentions.

 

The Week Ahead: One-loss Australian prospect Jarrod Fletcher fights significantly smaller Filipino journeyman Randy Suico in Altona, Australia on Friday.

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