Junior Middleweight: 2013, Sep 16-22

Okay so this is where some of you begin to think I’m crazy or don’t know what I’m talking about.  But I’d just ask you- if you saw the fight- to watch it again without the commentary, and really keep track of the action in some objective physical way.  For those of you that thought Floyd Mayweather dominated or schooled Saul Alvarez on Saturday- or that it was not a close fight in general- I think you were giving Floyd at least 3 or 4 rounds just for showing up.

 

Point 1: Ring generalship doesn’t mean “backing up.”  I’m not saying Floyd was running- though he had his moments in the last couple rounds when he thought he had it wrapped up- but he was, by and large, taking a defensive posture and backing up.  It’s only ring generalship if he’s using that motion to walk Canelo into punches or using distance to his advantage offensively.  He was doing that sometimes, sure, but Canelo was also being effectively aggressive with pressure at least as often.  Even by Compubox’s cockeyed estimation, Canelo threw more punches than did Floyd.  Ask yourself this: was Canelo throwing wildly?  Was he out of range when he threw punches?  Off balance?  No.  He wasn’t.  So if Floyd was in command of the distance, how did he get reasonably outpunched by his opponent?  This is what I think happened: in a close fight with few dramatic moments or punches, Floyd got credit from commentators and media for being dominant merely by a) being Floyd Mayweather and b) looking confident, and sheep (and folks that weren’t actualy scoring the fight closely) ate it up, especially since it fit the narrative they imagined might play out pre-fight.

 

Point 2: Canelo was landing roughly an equal number of punches, and was doing so with more inherent power.  Compubox was way out of line. Don’t be fooled by the name.  It’s just a couple guys with essentially a clicker.  It’s not a computer being objective.  It’s two guys with their own human biases and error-prone nature.  If Floyd significantly out-landed Canelo at all, it was disproportionately a jab which, while sharp, was by no means heavy.  It was basically a really snappy arm punch.  Canelo clearly had the heavier hands as I saw it, and went to the body in particular with some hard, clean shots, particularly in the early going.

 

So get your outrage ready.  I scored it 115-113 Canelo, while thinking it could easily have gone either way.  I think C.J. Ross’s much-vilified card was by far the best and most objective of the three, and infinitely better than her ignorant critics that had it as wide as 119-109.  I’m not saying she’s a saint.  She did botch the Pacquiao-Bradley fight (though so did the supposedly infallible Duane Ford).  But she’s now being crucified for doing a great job, and a job that none of her critics- or at least none that I’ve heard or read- have ever sought or received any training to do. 

 

For those of you that have been living under a rock, Mayweather prevailed on the cards by majority decision.

 

 In the division’s other earth-shattering battle, #1 Carlos Molina scratched out a very awkward, close, and very difficult split decision over #5 Ishe Smith.  I had it 116-112 Molina (agreeing with judge Barry Druxman), though it could have easily been a draw or even a narrow win for Smith.  Judge Adelaide Byrd went way too far in giving it to Smith 116-112, the only judge to rule in his favor.  Bert Clements had it a round wider for Molina.

 

Smith took a page from Molina’s tactical playbook by smothering and frustrating his fellow veteran’s offense, and probably even landed the cleaner shots, but Molina’s workrate was significantly higher, and he managed to scratch out enough rounds to take it.

 

In Thursday’s appetizer from Golden Boy, undefeated Philly prospect Julian Williams was well on his way to a dominant win over fellow undefeated Hugo Centeno, Jr., but Centeno rather conveniently turned out to be unable to continue with a (mutual) cut formed from a head clash, just a minute or two before the fight became official, leading to a very unsatisfying no contest, and immediate calls for a rematch that Ceneteno appeared to accept verbally.

 

With the full understanding that most of my readers will believe that I’m being far too tough on Mayweather, and that he should be either #1 or Champion, I must conclude that his resume of two indecisive fights at this weight against contenders ranked #2 and #4 cannot by itself justify his promotion over Carlos Molina, given Molina’s close but clean victories over #3 Kirkland and #5 Smith, plus #7 Cintron and #11 Spinks thrown in for good measure.  Either way, a contest between Molina and Mayweather would be required to crown a champion at this point.  Alvarez, having arguably achieved his greatest triumph as I saw it, backtracks only as far as is necessary to accommodate Mayweather’s return, settling in at #3.  The same can be said for Smith who, despite a rather tedious viewing experience, far from embarrassed himself against the top man in the division.  Last week’s #9 Gabriel Rosado is removed a week earlier than he otherwise would have been due to his scheduling a middleweight fight with Peter Quillin for more than a year after this week’s anniversary of his last fight at 154.  Therefore, everyone ranked #2-8 last week and below last week sags one place.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1) Carlos Molina (33-115-130)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD12) vs. #5 Ishe Smith
Next Fight: Unknown
Molina’s team wants to match him against Canelo, a proposition that Mayweather himself blessed in the aftermath of his own fight with Alvarez.
2) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #2 Saul Alvarez
Next Fight: Unknown
Mayweather intends to fight twice in 2014: on May 3 and September 13, if all goes to plan.  Danny Garcia and a potential Alexander-Khan winner seem like possibilities.  Bernard Hopkins pledges to make 160 for May 3 if Floyd is interested, as well.
3) Saul Alvarez (1-133-148)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L* (MD12) vs. WW Champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
See Molina’s notes, above.
4) Austin Trout (1-68-137)
Last Fight: 4/20/2013- L* (UD12) vs. #2 Saul Alvarez
Next Fight: Unknown
Trout is suing his former promoter over allegations that the promoter threatened to sue Showtime if they put his ex-fighter on the Mayweather-Canelo undercard, something he had no authority to do since their contract had already expired.
5) Erislandy Lara (1-115-137)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO10 #8 Alfredo Angulo
Next Fight: Unknown
See Trout’s notes, above.
6) Ishe Smith (1-30-30)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L (SD12) vs. #1 Carlos Molina
Next Fight: Unknown
No word on Ishe’s next move after losing his alphabet belt in a close fight.
7) Miguel Cotto (1-172-172)
Last Fight: 12/1/2012- L (UD12) vs. #8 Austin Trout
Next Fight: 10/5/2013- vs. #11 Delvin Rodriguez
After a proposed fight with Bundrage was scrapped by the networks, and a brief flirtation with Carlos Molina, Cotto will now be fighting Delvin Rodriguez on HBO on October 5.
8) Cornelius Bundrage (1-163-163)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ishe Smith (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bundrage might be fighting a re-match with gatekeeper Zaurbek Baysangurov on November 9 in Russia.
9) Alfredo Angulo (1-208-208)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (TKO10) vs. #4 Erislandy Lara
Next Fight: Unknown
Angulo has shared the good news that there are no broken bones in his face after the devastating Lara combination that forced him to submit.  On one hand, it demystifies Angulo’s warrior image, but it does give him a better outlook for his career going forward, as well.
10) Sergey Rabchenko (20-20-66)

Last Fight: 7/16/2013- TKO3 Gari Abajian (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rabchenko is already in camp for his re-match with Cedric Vitu, though the date has yet to be announced.
11) Delvin Rodriguez (20-114)
Last Fight: 5/24/2013- TKO8 Freddy Hernandez (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/5/2013- vs. #7 Miguel Cotto
See Cotto’s notes, above.
12) Lukas Konecny (20-110)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- UD12 Moez Fhima (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Konecny took care of business against Fhima at 160.  We’ll have to see whether he stays at that weight or not.  My guess would be yes, since he’s fighting for minor titles up there at this point.
13) Keith Thurman (20-43)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO10 Diego Chaves (UNR) (at WW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Thurman and Guerrero appeared destined to fight in November, but according to Golden Boy- which promotes both fighters- Guerrero turned it down.
14) Vanes Martirosyan (20-120)
Last Fight: 6/15/2013- TKO2 Ryan Davis (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 11/9/2013- vs. Demetrius Andrade (UNR)
Martirosyan-Andrade has been moved up a week to November 9.
15) Yuri Foreman (20-34)
Last Fight: 7/24/2013- UD8 Jamaal Davis (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Foreman is very slowly stepping up his level of opposition as his comeback gradually picks up steam.
16) Willie Nelson (16-29)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- UD10 Luciano Cuello (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. Dante Moore (UNR)
When it comes to Nelson’s September 28 opponent, a Cleveland hometown and one-loss record is about all they have in common.  Moore has lost to and drawn with absolute scrubs, and shouldn’t be much of a challenge for Nelson despite a decent-looking 8-1 record.
17) Brian Rose (16-26)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- W (PTS10) vs. Alexey Ribchev (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Javier Maciel (UNR)
Rose will be back on the Brook-Senchenko undercard in Sheffield, and will be fighting Argentine prospect Javier Maciel- certainly his toughest opponent since capturing the British title.
18) Jermell Charlo (15-15)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- UD12 Demetrius Hopkins (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Charlo didn’t exactly build his fan base with the Hopkins snoozer, but he satisfied the “win today, look good tomorrow” equation, and earned a ranking for his trouble.
19) Guido Pitto (15-21)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- W* (SD12) vs. Jack Culcay (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
A Culcay-Pitto rematch was postponed due to headliner Marco Huck’s elbow injury.  I’m assuming it’ll go down on the rescheduled card in early winter, if not before.
20) Kell Brook (10-10)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO8 Carson Jones (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Vyacheslav Senchenko (UNR) (at WW?)
Brook gets Senchenko in late October in Sheffield.  Since it’s a non-title fight, there’s always the chance it could creep up over 147 and thus affect his ranking here.

 

The Week Ahead:  French gatekeeper Frank Haroche Horta stays busy with his countryman, the aptly named Kevin Bertogal, on Thursday in Lyon, France.  I say aptly named because he’s probably got about as much business boxing a top 50 male junior middleweight as some of the less talented women in Andre Berto’s family.

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