Middleweight: 2013, May 6-12

Another week of significant fights and significant controversy, though less momentous on both counts.

 

In the week’s most significant fight, the Japanese 154 champion Akio Shibata moved up to challenge #18 Makoto Fuchigami at 160.  Fuchigami, though stripped of the title for fighting international competition, came in as the Japanese champion at 160 for all intents and purposes.  Unfortunately I can’t find a video of the fight so far, nor any decent news report about it in English.  All I can say is that Shibata seems to have beaten Fuchigami pretty convincingly, though by the ever-unsatisfactory way of technical decision.  The fight ended about a minute into the 9th round, with Shibata victorious by scores of 89-81, 89-82, and 87-83.  The scores would indicate the likelihood that either a knockdown or point deduction was scored, though my only real source- Boxrec- doesn’t give any such details at this point.

 

Here’s where the controversy comes in.  On the Mayweather-Guerrero undercard in Vegas, junior middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado took a big risk (with not a lot of possible reward) in fighting relatively unproven prospect J’Leon Love on a card promoted by Love’s promoter.  It didn’t pay off.  Rosado dropped Love in the closing seconds of round 6, and while about half the fight was composed of toss-up rounds, and was definitely very close overall, I felt that Rosado’s obviously superior power and aggression earned him the win.  I scored it 96-93, and thought anything between 97-92 Rosado and 97-93 Love would be reasonable (since Love was winning round 6 aside from the knockdown, and may have had an argument for only a 10-9).  Two of the judges had scores well within that range, one in each direction.  The third, Herb Santos, didn’t watch the fight.  He had it 97-92 for Love, meaning that he did give Rosado the 10-8, but then gave every other close round and one clear Rosado round to Love.  For the purposes of my rankings, the fight will be treated as something like a draw, with a bare edge to Love in deference to the wrong but mostly reasonable official verdict.

 

Speaking of the rankings, there are some changes.  Shibata debuts at #14 with the win, and he could potentially have gone as high as 12, with Mundine’s difficult resume- which includes a swapping of wins and losses with a contender and a gatekeeper- and Adama’s- which includes a very shaky win over a declining smaller man in Grady Brewer and a couple wins that are comparable to Fuchigami, but are significantly older than Shibata’s triumph.  Fuchigami drops just out of the rankings due to the loss and Shibata’s resulting debut, while everyone ranked #14-17 last week falls back a space.

 

Given both the dubious nature of the result and the fact that Rosado has met with mixed success, at best, while venturing north of 154 in the past, both he and Love remain unranked by a significant margin.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (160-160-160)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: Unknown
In addition to rightfully doing no better than a draw while beating Murray by way of robbery, Martinez has apparently re-injured his hand and possibly his knee, and is expected to be out of action until 2014.  His mandatory for now is Marco Antonio Rubio, though it’s likely the WBC will pull an Andre Ward and take the full title from him before he returns.  He may take that as an opportunity to go for a much more lucrative Chavez rematch, instead.
1) Martin Murray (2-75-75)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- L* (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez (Robbery- draw at worst)
Next Fight: Unknown
Murray absolutely deserves to be Champion, but there is an argument that Sergio deserved a draw, and thus he retains the Championship by the slimmest margin possible.  There’s absolutely no way Murray lost the fight.  I hope (but doubt) that he’ll get a rematch.  Chavez is also trying to get Murray to replace Vera as his August 3 opponent.
2) Daniel Geale (2-203-203)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- UD12 #11 Anthony Mundine
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale hopes to have a “keep busy” fight while the IBF (slowly) sorts out his mandatory situation complicated by Soliman’s PED result.  There appear to be talks underway for him to fight Barker, which rather goes against the “keep busy” proposition.
3) Felix Sturm (2-503-503)
Last Fight: 2/1/2013- L* (UD12) vs. #12 Sam Soliman (on PEDs)
Next Fight: Unknown
The IBF has suspended Sam Soliman for 9 months, and will put Sturm in another eliminator for a shot at Geale.
4) Gennady Golovkin (2-36-99)
Last Fight: 3/30/2013- KO3 #19 Nobuhiro Ishida
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. #5 Matthew Macklin
Golovkin-Macklin appears to be on for June 29 on HBO, and that’s huge.
5) Matthew Macklin (2-98-189)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- TKO1 Joachim Alcine (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/29/2013- vs. #4 Gennady Golovkin
See Golovkin’s notes, above.
6) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (2-101-119)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: 8/3/2013- vs. #18 Bryan Vera
Chavez has apparently settled on Bryan Vera for his next outing, which has been delayed to August 3He’s also trying to replace Bryan Vera with Martin Murray.
7) Peter Quillin (2-29-50)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- TKO7 Fernando Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Quillin looked pretty darned good and as powerful as ever against Guerrero, scoring 4 knockdowns and getting his man out of there.
8) Dmitry Pirog (2-145-145)
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.
9) Grzegorz Proksa (2-108-108)
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.
10) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (10-10-132)
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 (8-119)
Last Fight: 3/23/2013- UD12 Marcus Upshaw (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With Martinez (for whom he is the mandatory) sidelined until 2014, Rubio may get a shot at Sergio’s alphabet belt against someone else in the interim.  Alternatively, I think he is also in line for Quillin’s belt, as well.
12) Anthony Mundine (8-119)
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 (8-111)
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) Akio Shibata (1-1)
Last Fight: W (TD9) vs. #18 Makoto Fuchigami
Next Fight: Unranked
Shibata made good on his move up to 160, becoming the clear Japanese champion and the best middleweight in Asia.
15) Darren Barker (1-82)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- RTD4 Simone Rotolo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After apparently losing out to Vera and maybe also to Murray for a shot at Chavez, Barker is now setting his sites on Daniel Geale.
16) Max Bursak (1-119)
Last Fight: 2/2/2013- TKO3 Julien Marie Sainte (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bursak will likely fight Italian gatekeeper Domenico Spada next, as Spada is the mandatory for his European belt.
17) Demetrius Andrade (1-90)
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 Kiev.
18) Bryan Vera (1-29)
Last Fight: 3/29/2013- TKO7* Donatas Bondorovas (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/3/2013- vs. #6 Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Vera’s fight with Chavez has abeen delayed to August 3, and Chavez appears willing to jump ship for Martin Murray if the opportunity arises.
19) Nobuhiro Ishida (3-62)
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 (3-3)
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: One-loss Australian prospect Jarrod Fletcher gets a soft touch in low-level Ghanaian journeyman Philip Kotey in Brisbane.
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