Junior Middleweight: 2013, Dec 16-22

Friday in a FS1-televised showcase from Indio, California, fringe contending undefeated prospect Jermall Charlo looked sensational in dispatching journeyman Joseph de los Santos in the 5th of a scheduled 8.  He dropped his man 3 times- once in each of the last 3 rounds- along the way.  Charlo was wickedly accurate, and used his world-class jab to great effect.  He also showed a great deal of patience.  I personally think his skills are such that he wil only find his peers among the current top 5 contenders, though he has yet to prove that.

 

On the non-televised undercard, another Golden Boy prospect, the less advanced Hugo Centeno, Jr, stopped Mexican journeyman Angel Osuna in the final round of a scheduled 10, and according to one first-hand account I’ve read, he definitely needed to do so to keep his record intact.  Osuna had knocked Centeno down in the early stages of the bout, and reportedly appeared to be hopelessly up on points when Centeno knocked him out of the ring and sent him out on a stretcher.

 

Saturday in Paranaque City, Philippines, gatekeeper Dennis Laurente knocked out total novice Khomkaew Sithsaithong of Thailand with a body shot just 39 seconds in.

 

But the biggest deal of the week was later that night in Neubrandenburg, Germany, where another over-hyped Sauerland prospect came dangerously close to crashing and burning, as #20 Jack Culcay met French journeyman Dieudonne Belinga in what was to be a 12-round glorified stay-busy fight.  Culcay both started and ended the fight well enough, but struggled mightily in the middle rounds.  The key moment, as it turned out, was the moment that the commission appointed three corrupt or incompetent judges, but what might otherwise have been the key moment occurred in the 5th.  Belinga carried the round clearly, but at one point well into the action, Culcay went down from a kind of cuffing push.  As he went down his legs collided with those of Belinga, which had the effect of a leg sweep.  Belinga went down.  Somehow, the obviously biased ref Mikael Hook decided that Culcay- the only party that received contact anywhere above the knee in the transaction- had slipped, while Belinga had been hit by a punch that was never thrown.  This would have obligated even conscientious judges to score the round 10-9 or worse in favor of Culcay.  As called by the ref, I scored the bout 115-113 for Culcay.  If allowed to score round 5 accurately based on the action that actually occurred, I would certainly have had it even.  With decent refereeing factored in, the range of reasonable scoring would have been 115-113 either way.  If we are to credit Hook’s atrocious call, anything between a draw and 116-112 for Culcay would constitute reasonable scoring.   Spain’s Juan Manuel Garcia Reyes and Berlin’s Oliver Brien were close to reasonable in that sense, but made the all-t00-common mistake of scoring the 5th 10-8, which was not required even had a knockdown indeed occurred, since Belinga had otherwise carried the round clearly.  Of all people, though, the French judge was the most disgusting, as Jean-Louis Legland scored it an absolutely incredible 118-109, before an equally incredible 115-112 in the next fight between Braehmer and Oliveira.  Bottom line: if nothing had been done to obscure the best efforts of the fighters, themselves, it was a draw, give or take.  I will treat it as such.

 

Culcay’s struggles against an opponent that is far from credible at this level buy him a one-way ticket out of the rankings.  The beneficiary of this this is not Belinga, however, as several not-so-forgivable losses hold him back from anything higher than gatekeeper status.  Instead, it’s another recent Culcay foe, Guido Pitto, who takes over the #20 spot.  Pitto was involved in two razor thin fights- one win and then a loss- with Culcay, both of which I scored as draws.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1Carlos Molina (46-128-143)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD12) vs. #5 Ishe Smith
Next Fight: Unknown
I still have my doubts, but Steve Kim reports that Molina is being considered for a March 8 PPV headliner with Canelo.  Angulo is also in the mix as Canelo’s opponent.
2) Erislandy Lara (2-128-150)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD12 #4 Austin Trout
Next Fight: Unknown
Lara wants Canelo next.
3) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (2-14-14)
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.  Amir Khan is the rumored opponent for May 3.  Bradley is getting a bit of buzz lately, too, as is Bernard Hopkins, at middleweight- though Floyd Sr. has said the latter will never happen.
4) Saul Alvarez (2-146-161)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L* (MD12) vs. WW Champion Floyd Mayweather
Next Fight: 3/8/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Alvarez will be back on March 8.  He’s hoping for either Cotto or Sergio, though it sounds like those two might fight each other, instead.  Molina and Angulo have been mentioned as possible alternatives.  After that, he expects to fight two additional times in 2014.  Reports indicate the Cotto fight is now imminent.
5) Austin Trout (2-81-150)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (UD12) vs. #5 Erislandy Lara
Next Fight: Unknown
Trout might be getting to that unfortunate position of having a record underwhelming enough to be low-reward, while still being easily skilled enough to be high-risk.  He says essentially that he wants worthwhile fights in 2014, rather than a soft diet for rebuilding purposes.
6) Ishe Smith (14-43-43)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L (SD12) vs. #1 Carlos Molina
Next Fight: Unknown
Smith sounds like he’s open to a variety of options for his next fight.  Anything from a Molina rematch, to Trout, to Angulo or Lara.  And even more various than that- he says he wants one UFC fight.  More recently, he’s been rumored as Mundine’s January 29 opponent, though he’s denied this.
7) Anthony Mundine (3-3-3)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- vs. #4 WW Shane Mosley
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Mundine returns from a mere two months away on January 29 in Brisbane.
8) Miguel Cotto (3-185-185)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO3 #11 Delvin Rodriguez
Next Fight: Unknown 
Cotto reportedly has a $10 million offer to fight Canelo on the table, and $15 million from Sergio. 
9) Cornelius Bundrage (3-176-176)
Last Fight: 2/23/2013- L (MD12) vs. Ishe Smith (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/24/2014- vs. Joey Hernandez (UNR)
Bundrage has been approved to fight Joey Hernandez in an IBF eliminator.  Golden Boy won the purse bid at a paltry $11,000, meaning Bundrage will bank just $6,600.  The fight is set for Indio, California on January 24, but incredibly is not a slam dunk to be included on the card’s telecast.
10Alfredo Angulo (3-221-221)
Last Fight: 6/8/2013- L (TKO10) vs. #4 Erislandy Lara
Next Fight: Unknown
Angulo may be returning in January, and Carlos Molina has been discussed as a possible foe.  He’s also apparently a leading candidate for a March 8 PPV fight with Canelo.
11) Sergey Rabchenko (3-79)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Bradley Pryce (UNR)

Next Fight: Unknown
Rabchenko is in line for an alphabet eliminator at any time.  The EBU, meanwhile, has set a date of January 21 for purse bids for his mandatory European title defense against Emanuele Della Rosa.  
12) Javier Maciel (3-8)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- Robbery L (SD12) vs. #14 Brian Rose
Next Fight: 1/11/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Argentine media reports that Maciel will return in Mar del Plata on January 11.
13) Demetrius Andrade (3-6)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (SD12) vs. #13 Vanes Martirosyan
Next Fight: Unknown
Andrade wants to unify against Carlos Molina, but negotiations are underway for a Brian Rose fight.
14) Delvin Rodriguez (3-127)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #7 Miguel Cotto
Next Fight: Unknown
Rodriguez appears to be solid against borderline top-10 types (see Wolak), but completely out of his depth at just a tad higher level.
15) Vanes Martirosyan (3-133)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (SD12) vs. Demetrius Andrade (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
16) Willie Nelson (3-42)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- UD10 Luciano Cuello (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Nelson has injured his elbow, and his middleweight fight with Macklin has been cancelled as a result.
17) Brian Rose (3-39)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- Robbery W (Draw at best) vs. Javier Maciel (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rose will be fighting Andrade for his alphabet title at some point.  Totally undeserved, although the WBO title  at 154 is particularly meaningless already, having been handed to the very mediocre Zaurbek Baysangurov before being contested between two prospects.
18) Jermell Charlo (3-28)
Last Fight: 10/14/2013- TKO10 Jose Angel Rodriguez (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/25/2014- vs. Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Charlo gets likely his toughest test to date in former junior middleweight contender Gabe Rosado, who has recently been used as an opponent at 160, but with mixed results.
19) Yuri Foreman (3-47)
Last Fight: 11/12/2013- KO1 Javier Gomez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Guido Pitto (1-1)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- L* (UD12) vs. #20 Jack Culcay
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Saturday
Marcos Reyes vs. Isaac Mendez; Chihuahua, Mexico; Televisa (Mexico)
Reyes is a one-loss local prospect who is established at about the top 40 level of the division.  Mendez is a low-level journeyman from nearby San Buenaventura, and should pose little or no challenge.

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