Middleweight: 2013, Apr 22-28

Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, #18 Curtis Stevens was the beneficiary of a judging debacle on the Cunningham-Fury undercard.  You could probably have seen it coming, sadly, when the judges were announced.  John McKaie is, I feel confident in saying, the single worst judge in America, if not the world.  You can generally pick the true winner of the fight by choosing the guy that McKaie had losing.  It’s like the guy is testing the New York commission to see how many fights a judge can blatantly ruin before they stop hiring him.  Don Trella is very hit and miss, but at least he’s avoided embarrassing himself since his ludicrous Quillin-N’Dam card in October.  I was not particularly familiar with Robin Taylor’s work going into the fight, as he seldom works TV fights.  Naturally NBC’s commentary crew of BJ Flores, Kenny Rice, and silent partner Larry “Rubber Stamp” Hazzard tried to sell the public on the idea that Stevens was winning.  But for those of you that bought their ludicrous commentary, here’s what really happened:

 

Journeyman Derrick Findley came forward, consistently backing Stevens up and landing the better shots- particularly to the body.  Simply put, he was more aggressive, controlled the ring, and landed more and more telling shots.  Round-by-round, he clearly won the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 7th.  He clearly lost the 1st, 4th, and 6th.  The only difficult round to score was the 8th and final, which I narrowly gave to Findley to earn him a 77-75 edge.  Obviously if you were generous to Stevens, he may have eked out a draw.  But this is where the ringside crooks stepped in.  McKaie and Taylor each had it 78-74 for Stevens, meaning that in a short 8 round fight, they both gave Stevens the lone toss-up, as well as two clear Findley rounds.  That’s just another day at the office for McKaie, at least.  But Don Trella returned to Quillin-N’Dam form, throroughly embarrassing himself by giving Stevens all but one round.  Trella and Taylor need some major intervention and rehabilitation, and in my opinion should not work high-profile fights until they’ve proven themselves competent.  McKaie is a different matter.  He’s a consistent and flagrant offender, and should without any question never be allowed to judge a fight again under any circumstances. 

 

A few hours later in Mexico City, undefeated prospect Gilberto Ramirez knocked out inexperienced low-level journeyman and late replacement Juan De Angel with a body shot in the latter half of the 3rd round.  Ramirez had been scheduled to fight comparatively top-notch journeyman Dionisio Miranda until that fight fell through.
 
Stevens tumbles from the top 20 with the awful performance, allowing the rather unworthy Jose Miguel Torres to claim the #20 spot on the strength of his upset win over undefeated prospect and fringe contender Patrick Majewski from November 2011.  He’s been slumming since then, and has a spotty prior record at lower weights, both factors which make me regret having to rank him at this stage.  What about Findley, you ask?  Well, two things.  He has a poor record prior to Saturday as a traveling opponent to often unproven or mediocre prospects and other fighters.  Also, he came in at 161 to Stevens’ 159, making it hard to give him full credit for a close win in the middleweight division.  He’s made me want to watch his fights going forward, but I can’t in good conscience consider ranking him.  The Japanese duo of Fuchigami and Ishida move up to 18 and 19, respectively.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (158-158-158)
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 (96-201-201)
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.  Sergio has also expressed interest in a fight with him after Murray.
2) Felix Sturm (8-501-501)
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 (8-34-97)
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 (8-96-187)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO1 Joachim Alcine (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. #3 Gennady Golovkin
See Golovkin’s notes, above.
5) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (8-99-117)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. #17 Bryan Vera
Chavez has apparently settled on Bryan Vera for his next outing, which has been delayed to July 13.
6) Peter Quillin (8-27-48)
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 (8-143-143)
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 (8-106-106)
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 (8-73-73)
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 (8-8-130)
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 (6-117)
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 (6-117)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: Unknown
Mundine expects to fight again in late June or July, but doesn’t know against whom or in what division yet.  He has hinted he may be moving back down to 154.
13) Osumanu Adama (6-109)
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 (7-80)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- RTD4 Simone Rotolo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It appears that Barker has lost out to Bryan Vera for an opportunity to fight Chavez.
15) Max Bursak (7-117)
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 (7-88)
Last Fight: 1/25/2013- UD10 Freddy Hernandez (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: 7/6/2013- vs. Zaurbek Baysangurov (UNR) (at JMW)
Andrade will finally have a significant fight at the 154 pound limit, as he challenges for the ridiculous title of Russia’s Zaurbek Baysangurov in either Kiev or Odessa in the Ukraine.
17) Bryan Vera (8-27)
Last Fight: 3/29/2013- TKO7* Donatas Bondorovas (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/13/2013- vs. #5 Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
After an absolutely abysmal performance from which he was lucky to escape without a loss against journeyman Donatas Bondas, Vera appears to be the choice to fight JCC on July 13.
18) Makoto Fuchigami (1-8)
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.
19) Nobuhiro Ishida (1-60)
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.
20) Jose Miguel Torres (1-1)
Last Fight: 3/16/2013- TKO4 Javier Gonzalez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Torres sneaks into the rankings based on a nearly 18 month old upset win over Patrick Majewski, but considering the awful opposition he has faced since, I’m not particularly happy about it.

 

The Week Ahead: Five notable middleweights are in action this week in 3 separate fights.  The big one is the Championship fight between reigning Champ Sergio Martinez and promising Englishman Martin Murray (#9), who is best known for a draw with Felix Sturm that he easily could have won.  That fight will be televised on HBO in the US, and takes place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Murray is hardly the most daunting opponent Sergio has fought since beating Pavlik for the title, but there’s always a bit of added intrigue when a guy is coming off major knee surgery, especially a fighter that relies on mobility as much as Sergio.

 

In a competing card on Showtime from Brooklyn, #6 Peter Quillin takes on prospect/fringe contender Fernando Guerrero.  Guerrero has won 4 straight against limited opposition since his ill-fated foray into the junior middleweight division that saw him being stopped by Grady Brewer back in 2011.  Quillin fights for the first time since he dropped Hassan N’Dam 6 times and still barely eked out a win last year.

 

On that undercard, prospect Danny Jacobs looks to continue his comeback from cancer, still taking it easy in terms of his competition level.  His opponent is mediocre journeyman Keenan Collins.

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