Middleweight: 2013, Aug 5-11

Saturday in Tokyo represented the first test for Tomohiro Ebisu since he upset my 2012 middleweight prospect of the year (Sanosuke Sasaki) in February.  Ebisu is notable because- coming in with a record of 11-2- he has won all of his wins by stoppage, and lost all of his losses in the same way.  His opponent, Daiske Nakagawa, was essentially a gatekeeper who had recently moved up from 154.  The fight ended with a knockout, as you might expect, but not the way Ebisu was hoping, as Nakagawa put him out for the count in the closing seconds of round 7.


Several hours later in Uncasville, Connecticut, Curtis Stevens set the social networks to buzzing with talk of a Gennady Golovkin fight by prevailing in spectacular fashion in a short-lived firefight with Mexican gatekeeper Saul Roman.  Roman was really at exactly the same level as Stevens’ last first round KO victim, Elvin Ayala, but I guess he gets more credit for this one because Roman is seen as a more durable blood and guts kind of fighter.  There’s no denying Stevens’ power, but the result was a foregone conclusion in my view.  Roman clearly had much less power and technique than his opponent, and yet chose to participate in undisciplined trading with Stevens.


The week was capped off with a gross mismatch in Osaka, as fringe contender Nobuhiro Ishida assumed the role played by Gennady Golovkin in their recent fight by knocking out the hopelessly outgunned and comically inexperienced Elly Pangaribuan in the second round.


Stevens ascends to the #20 position in a very close call over Billi Godoy.  This is despite the dismal performance he put forth against Derrick Findley in his previous fight.  That fight could have been a close loss or a draw, but certainly not the comfortable win he was gifted by the house judges.  That performance is offset by a debatable but still unacceptable loss on Godoy’s ledger to a comparable journeyman in Sergio Sanders, with the main difference being that Stevens’ wins have been more emphatic, and especially that he’s crammed them both in to 2013, while Godoy’s best win is over 2 years old.  Nakagawa’s win gets him to the verge of the top 25 roughly.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (173-173-173)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: Unknown
Martinez is now making noise to the effect that he intends to fight Gennady Golovkin in 2014, but more recently stated that he wants the Mayweather-Canelo winner.
1) Martin Murray (15-88-88)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- L* (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez (Robbery- D at worst)
Next Fight: Unknown
Murray looks like a good bet to fight Golovkin on November 2, in what would be the best matchup at 160 of 2013.
2) Gennady Golovkin (6-49-112)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- KO3 #5 Matthew Macklin
Next Fight: Unknown
See Murray’s notes above.
3) Daniel Geale (6-216-216)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- UD12 #11 Anthony Mundine
Next Fight: 8/17/2013- vs. #15 Darren Barker
Geale will get back to action on August 17, making his US debut in just his 3rd fight outside Australia when he takes on Darren Barker at the Turning Stone in New York state.
4) Felix Sturm (6-516-516)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- TKO4 Predrag Radosevic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Sturm wants to fight Geale by the end of the year if the Australian gets by Barker.
5) Matthew Macklin (15-111-202)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- L (KO3) vs. #4 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Macklin has now suffered his 2nd knockout loss at the top level, but still has plenty of cred against anyone not in the top 5.
6) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (15-114-132)
Last Fight: 9/15/2012- L (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: 9/7/2013- vs. #18 Bryan Vera (at SMW)
Bob Arum confirms Chavez-Vera, but on a new date of September 7, at Staples Center.  Apparently it will be at a contract weight “a few pounds” over the middleweight limit.  This is potentially problematic for Chavez’s continued ranking here- especially since he has stated interest in fighting Sakio Bika next at 168.
7) Peter Quillin (15-42-63)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- TKO7 Fernando Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy intends to put Quillin on an October card in Brooklyn.  There are signs that his opponent might be Danny Jacobs.  If so, that’s a ridiculous match-up.  Jacobs has fought only ham-and-eggers since being knocked out by Pirog in 2010 and winning a fight with cancer.  A fight with Golovkin has been discussed, but that is complicated by the opposing network loyalties of the two fighters.
8) Dmitry Pirog (15-158-158)
Last Fight: 5/1/2012- UD12 #20 Nobuhiro Ishida
Next Fight: Unknown
A recent interview with Pirog seemed to reveal underlying doubts as to his ability to return in August as planned and/or hoped for, but he says that return is still possible.  He says he won’t know until he puts a “heavy load” (ie fight camp) on his back if it will respond adequately or not.  If we don’t have positive news, at least, by the end of August, I’ll remove him, as it’s really been too long to keep hoping for a return.
9) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (6-23-145)
Last Fight: 10/20/2012- L (UD12) vs. #20 Peter Quillin
Next Fight: Unknown
10) Sergio Mora (6-6-6)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- UD10 #9 Grzegorz Proksa
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora is hoping for a shot at Golovkin off the Proksa win, and has signed with a solid promoter in Lou DiBella.
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (21-132)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio is theoretically set up for a alphabet title fight with Chavez, but Chavez has to beat Vera and decide to continue campaigning at 160, which seems increasingly unlikely.
12) Anthony Mundine (21-132)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: Unknown
There is serious discussion of a fight with Shane Mosley in Australia, likely in October.
13) Osumanu Adama (21-124)
Last Fight: 7/26/2013- RTD7 Doel Carasquillo (UNR) (as SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Adama has until September 7 to schedule a middleweight fight to avoid removal, having missed 160 in his last two fights.
14) Akio Shibata (14-14)
Last Fight: W (TD9) vs. #18 Makoto Fuchigami
Next Fight: 8/25/2013- vs. Ryota Murata (UNR)
This is a bit stunning.  After proving himself the best Asian middleweight against Fuchigami, Shibata will follow up with a high-risk, no reward fight against Ryota Murata, a fighter making his pro debut, but an Olympic Gold Medalist, as well.
15) Darren Barker (14-95)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- RTD4 Simone Rotolo (UNR)
Next Fight: 8/17/2013- vs. #3 Daniel Geale
Barker will get his second big opportunity to rise to the top, as he takes on #2 Daniel Geale in New York state August 17.
16) Max Bursak (14-132)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- UD12 Prince Arron (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bursak may be back in September, and his EBU-mandated opponent will likely be Domenico Spada.
17) Demetrius Andrade (14-103)
Last Fight: 1/25/2013- UD10 Freddy Hernandez (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: 9/7/2013- vs. #14 JMW Vanes Martirosyan (at JMW)
The last time Andrade fought an opponent over 154 was just 2 weeks less than a year before his upcoming alphabet title fight with Vanes.  Very unlikely he’ll still be ranked at this weight by the end of September.
18) Bryan Vera (14-42)
Last Fight: 3/29/2013- TKO7* Donatas Bondorovas (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/7/2013- vs. #6 Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (at SMW)
Vera’s fight with Chavez has been delayed to September 7.
19) Grzegorz Proksa (6-121)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa is an enigma.  He looked like the next big thing against Sylvester, but did practically nothing against Mora. 
20) Curtis Stevens (1-1)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- KO1 Saul Roman (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens certainly gets style points for the quick and devastating way he dispatched 2 of this last 3 opponents, but I’m not sure he should really be in the running for Golovkin right now as the hype would suggest.


The Week Ahead: No significant fight to report for the division this week.

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