Middleweight: 2013, Sep 23-29

Australian gatekeeper Les Sherrington dominated low-level Japanese gatekeeper Shigetaka Yonezawa in Southport, Queensland on Friday, taking a 12-round decision by losing just one round among the three cards.


Saturday nearly saw a major upset in Kharkov, Ukraine.  After a fairly strong and aggressive first three rounds, #13 Max Bursak was badly hurt and nearly stopped in the 4th by 2-loss British prospect Nick Blackwell.  Bursak came back to hang in there for the next 4 rounds, though he lost the majority of them.  But he closed very strong, winning the last 4 on my card.  Blackwell may have gotten a bit tired down the stretch, probably in part due to his tendency to bounce and waste energy in between engagements.  All in all, though, it was a fairly impressive showing for the rather unheralded Blackwell.  While he now has three losses, they have all been to strong opposition- close affairs against Billy Joe Saunders and now Bursak, and one rather forgivable stoppage against no less than Martin Murray.  Bursak didn’t necessarily do himself any favors in winning (my score of 115-112 agreed with 2 of the judges), but did dodge a bullet, which of course is better than getting hit by same.


Speaking of Billy Joe Saunders, he had a close competitive fight of his own on his hands in London, as he ran into a fellow well-schooled, hungry, and undefeated prospect in John Ryder for the British and Commonwealth titles.  Saunders was the more experienced of the two, and more tested at a higher level, and that may have made all the difference in the fight.  It was a very interesting style match-up.  Saunders was the athletic boxer, looking to maintain distance and potshot.  Ryder was the pressure fighter, although he was much more defensively responsible than you would picture from that style.  He would come in with head movement and a shoulder roll as often as with a jab, and it was effective at times.  The only defensive lapse he showed was that even with his head movement, he was mainly coming in the front door, and in doing so squared himself up for Saunders to throw a looping right hand, which found the mark to some effect at various times.  The moderate but constant pressure from Ryder seemed to be getting to Saunders in the end, as Ryder seized the last two rounds- including a very clear 12th.  But in the end, it was a bit too little, too late.  I scored the fight 115-113, and the official judges were essentially in agreement.  I think the fight could reasonably have gone narrowly in Ryder’s favor, but Saunders definitely had the edge.


On the Saunders-Ryder undercard, #19 Dmitry Chudinov won 79-73 on the ref’s scorecard against mid-level and sub-.500 British journeyman Max Maxwell, but came in nearly at the light heavyweight limit (174) , while his already overmatched opponent scaled just 162.  I would hope this doesn’t indicate a gross lack of discipline on the part of the young contender, but it’s hard to escape that suspicion.


Finally, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 17th-ranked super middleweight Caleb Truax returned to his natural division against Ceresso Fort, a fellow Minnesota prospect who rebounded from his sole loss recently with a win over credible measuring stick Marcus Upshaw.  Truax proved to be at a higher level- as you might suspect after he brutalized Don George- stopping Fort a bit over halfway into round 4. 


None of the losers this weekend were proven at quite high enough a level to help the winners advance in these rankings, save for Fort, who had recently acquired suitable status.  Combined with his successes a couple pounds over the limit, as well as his past resume at 160 itself, this win transforms Truax into a two-division ranked contender.  He checks in between Bursak and Vera at #14, forcing last week’s #20 Akio Shibata out after a brief two-week return.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (180-180-180)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: Unknown
Martinez should be back in March or April of 2014.  Golovkin has been mentioned, but that would be a bit too much for his first fight back, I would think.  He also said recently that he wants to defend in Argentina.  I would too, if I’d gotten the gift he got last time around.
1) Martin Murray (22-95-95)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- L* (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez (Robbery- D at worst)
Next Fight: 11/30/2013- vs. Garth Wood (UNR)
Murray is the mandatory challenger for the Golovkin-Stevens winner, and will be fighting Garth Wood in Sydney on November 30 if he can obtain a visa in time.
2) Gennady Golovkin (13-56-119)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- KO3 #5 Matthew Macklin
Next Fight: 11/2/2013- vs. #17 Curtis Stevens
Apparently 2 gatekeeper-level knockouts, a gift decision over a journeyman, and a ton of undeserved hype will get you a shot at getting demolished by Golovkin.  Curtis Stevens will get just that on November 2.
3) Darren Barker (6-6-102)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- W (SD12) vs. #3 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale wants a rematch, and Martin Murray is knocking, as well.  But more than likely, a mandatory against Sturm is the next move, probably in December.
4) Felix Sturm (13-523-523)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- TKO4 Predrag Radosevic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Barker’s notes, above.
5) Daniel Geale (6-223-223)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale wants a rematch, but will probably have to wait until at least 2014, since it appears likely Barker will make a mandatory defense in December against Sturm, instead.  Geale wants to be back in December in any event.
6) Matthew Macklin (6-118-209)
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.
7) Peter Quillin (22-49-70)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- TKO7 Fernando Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. JMW #9 Gabriel Rosado
Quillin will fight the very solid Rosado on the Hopkins-Murat undercard, though his opponent is clearly much better at 154.
8) Dmitry Pirog (22-165-165)
Last Fight: 5/1/2012- UD12 #20 Nobuhiro Ishida
Next Fight: Unknown
Pirog says his back injuries have fully healed, and will be meeting with his people in the US soon to determine his next fight.  I’ll probably give him until the end of September to calendar that fight before removing him.
9) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (13-29-152)
Last Fight: 10/20/2012- L (UD12) vs. #20 Peter Quillin
Next Fight: Unknown
10) Sergio Mora (13-13-13)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- UD10 #9 Grzegorz Proksa
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (28-139)
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 (28-139)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: 10/23/2013- vs. #3 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Mosley-Mundine is October 23 in Australia.
13) Max Bursak (3-139)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- UD12 Nick Blackwell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bursak got a bit of a scare from underdog Blackwell, and it will be important for him to look strong in his next fight.
14) Caleb Truax (1-1)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax is targeting the big names in the division as he continues to build his resume at the lower levels.
15) Bryan Vera (1-49)
Last Fight: 3/29/2013- TKO7* Donatas Bondorovas (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at SMW)
Vera’s fight with Chavez has been delayed again, this time to 9/28.
16) Grzegorz Proksa (1-128)
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. 
17) Curtis Stevens (1-8)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- KO1 Saul Roman (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/2/2013- vs. #2 Gennady Golovkin
Stevens needed a gift to beat journeyman Derrick Findley, and has never beat anything better than a gatekeeper at this weight.  My opinion is that his fight with Golovkin will be akin to an execution.
18) Billi Godoy (1-6)
Last Fight: 7/19/2013- UD12 Mateo Veron (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/29/2013- vs. Jorge Heiland (UNR)
Godoy will fight high-level domestic journeyman Jorge Heiland in Neuquen, Argentina on November 29, in a rematch of their July 2012 fight.
19) Danny Jacobs (1-5)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Dmitry Chudinov (1-5)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- W (PTS8) vs. Max Maxwell (UNR) (at SMW/LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chudinov weighed in at 174 to fight his already hopeless 162-pound opponent on September 21.  He’s invited a great deal of scrutiny over his weight and discipline in doing so.


The Week Ahead: On a very deep card in Montreal, 2-loss prospect David Lemieux takes on high-level American journeyman Marcus Upshaw, who is accustomed to busting prospects.


#15 Bryan Vera is also in action, but a division to the north against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

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