Welterweight: 2013, Oct 14-20

Undefeated fringe contender Jessie Vargas won a relatively comfortable 10-round decision over serviceable veteran “Sugar” Ray Narh on Friday in Vegas, but whether by design or failure, arrived for the weigh-in a half-pound over the divisional limit.  The fight was a rare non-televised outing for Vargas, so I can only report the scores of 97-92 and 98-91 (x2). 

 

The next night in the same building, no-doubt underrated #17 Tim Bradley pulled off what I see as a fairly substantial upset, edging out a close split decision over #1 Juan Manuel Marquez.  I agreed with the overall slant of the cards, and thought all were reasonable.  Marquez took the nod from one judge at 115-113, while Bradley got a mirrored verdict from another, as well as a 116-112 triumph on the third.  Bradley fought an extremely smart fight, utilizing effective movement to keep the Mexican legend just a bit off balance.  Marquez, as you might expect from a veteran of his caliber, remained composed despite the difficulty, but perhaps just a bit too much.   A bit of a wild charge here and there might have nicked him another round or two- especially seeing as how Provodnikov recently had success against Bradley with a slightly less disciplined and refined approach.  I honestly didn’t think that Bradley could possibly cope with Marquez’s mix of punching power and savvy.  It’s possible that Pacquiao’s true conqueror is finally starting to show his age, though.  Remember that experts were marveling at his longevity as a little man even more than three years ago when he was whipping younger men like Juan Diaz.

 

On the non-televised undercard, solid prospect Brad Solomon won via near-shutout in an 8-round decision over decent journeyman Kenny Abril.

 

Obviously we get a big shakeup this week.  Though he still carried substantial baggage in the form of his somewhat clear loss to Pacquiao and a win over Provodnikov that by all rights should have been a draw, Bradley’s close but fair win over the man that has twice clearly and once emphatically defeated Pacquiao in this division in recent years plainly establishes him as clearly the new #1 contender to Mayweather’s crown.  His sudden ascent forces everyone ranked #1-16 last week down a spot, including Marquez, who stays ahead of Pacquiao due to a clear head-to-head advantage.  Josesito Lopez exits the top 10 after 68 consecutive weeks in.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (181-213-213)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #2 JMW Saul Alvarez (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Floyd will likely be back on both May 3 and September 13, with Amir Khan being rumored as the May 3 opponent.
1) Timothy Bradley (1-1-71)
Last Fight: 10/12/2013- W (SD12) vs. #1 Juan Manuel Marquez
Next Fight: Unknown
In upsetting Marquez, Bradley has set himself up for a deserved shot against Mayweather or, more likely due to his HBO affiliation, a re-match with Pacquiao.
2) Juan Manuel Marquez (1-101-101)
Last Fight: 10/12/2013- L (SD12) vs. #17 Timothy Bradley
Next Fight: Unknown
Couldn’t quite solve Bradley’s movement, and might be getting a bit long in the tooth.
3) Manny Pacquiao (1-254-254)
Last Fight: 12/8/2012- L (KO6) vs. #1 Juan Manuel Marquez
Next Fight: 11/23/2013- vs. #4 JWW Brandon Rios (UNR)
Pac Man needs to prove he can still get it done when he tries to rebound from a devastating knockout against former top lightweight Brandon Rios in China.
4) Shane Mosley (1-22-22)
Last Fight: 5/18/2013- UD12 Pablo Cesar Cano (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/23/2013- vs. #11 MW Anthony Mundine (at JMW)
Mosley-Mundine now has a date of October 23.
5) Devon Alexander (1-86-86)
Last Fight: 5/18/2013- RTD7 Lee Purdy (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/30/2013- vs. Shawn Porter (UNR)
With Khan apparently hedging his bets in hopes of a Mayweather payday, Alexander will instead fight prospect Shawn Porter in San Antonio on November 30.
6) Marcos Maidana (1-19-19)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- TKO6 #4 Josesito Lopez
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Adrien Broner (UNR)
After much speculation, Maidana-Broner appears done for December 14 on Showtime PPV.
7) Jesus Soto Karass (1-12-38)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- TKO12 #7 Andre Berto
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. #13 Keith Thurman
Soto Karass’s fight with Thurman has been moved from the December 7 Malignaggi-Judah undercard in Brooklyn to the following week’s pay-per-view tilt between Broner and Maidana.
8) Robert Guerrero (1-47-64)
Last Fight: 5/4/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
Guerrero turned down Keith Thurman for a proposed November fight, according to both fighters’ promoter.  Dan Rafael reports that Guerrero might be waiting around to fight the winner of Maidana-Broner.
9) Kell Brook (1-129-129)
Last Fight: 7/13/2013- TKO8 Carson Jones (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Vyacheslav Senchenko (UNR)
Brook fights Senchenko in late October.  He’d better make 147 for the non-title fight if he wants to maintain his ranking here.
10) Randall Bailey (1-71-71)
Last Fight: 10/20/2012- L (UD12) vs. #? Devon Alexander
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Unknown Opponent
Bailey says he intends to tune-up on October 26 and is targeting Kevin Bizier after that.
11) Josesito Lopez (1-69)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (TKO6) vs. #11 Marcos Maidana
Next Fight: 11/?/2013- vs. Aaron Martinez (UNR)
The Ring’s website has Lopez returning sometime November against fringe prospect Aaron Martinez.
12) Andre Berto (1-47)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- L (TKO12) vs. #11 Jesus Soto Karass

Next Fight: Unknown
Berto’s shoulder surgery will keep him out until sometime in 2014.
13) Keith Thurman (1-32)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO10 Diego Chaves (UNR)

Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. #7 Jesus Soto Karass
See Soto Karass’s notes, above.
14) Chris van Heerden (1-70)
Last Fight: 3/2/2013- UD12 Matthew Hatton (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Van Heerden recently moved his home base to Southern California from his native South Africa in search of better sparring and bigger fights.  He is likley to work with Brandon Rios in the coming months, and hopes to make his US debut in October.  Apparently an effort was made to get him on the Froch-Groves undercard against Lee Purdy, but that appears to be a no-go.
15) Luis Carlos Abregu (1-25)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD10 Antonin Decarie (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abregu’s plans for an October fight have been scrapped, as he recently had 2013-ending hand surgery.  The WBC is looking to match him with Antonin Decarie when he returns.
16) Jan Zaveck (1-201)
Last Fight: 3/9/2013- L (UD12) vs. #15 JMW Keith Thurman
Next Fight: 10/19/2013- vs. Sebastien Allais (UNR)
Zaveck is back in action on the undercard of Stieglitz-Ekpo in Leipzig, against French journeyman Sebastien Allais.
17) Selcuk Aydin (1-235)
Last Fight: 9/27/2013- W (RTD4) vs. Demarcus Corley (UNR) (at JWW)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Ruslan Provodnikov (12-31)
Last Fight: 3/16/2013- L* (UD12) vs. #11? Timothy Bradley (should be draw)
Next Fight: 10/19/2013- vs. JWW #3 Mike Alvarado (at JWW)
Alvarado-Provodnikov is done for 10/19 in Denver, at 140, with HBO to televise. 
19) Pablo Cesar Cano (5-5)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD10*) vs. Ashley Theophane (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Cano said after the 143-pound catchweight win against Theophane that he intends to seek title contention at 140 now.  I must say I’m surprised by the move, considering he failed to make weight for one of his biggest fights at 147 against Malignaggi.
20) Leonard Bundu (5-17)
Last Fight: 4/6/2013- KO11 Rafal Jackiewicz (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Lee Purdy (UNR)
Bundu will fight British gatekeeper Lee Purdy December 14 in London.

 

The Week Ahead: Saturday in Leipzig, #16 Jan Zaveck meets lower-mid-level French journeyman Sebastien Allais on the undercard of Robert Stieglitz’s showcase.

 

#18 Ruslan Provodnikov is in much deeper in Denver against top-5 junior welterweight Mike Alvarado, but that will be for a belt at 140.

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