Junior Middleweight: 2013-2014, Dec 30- Jan 5

One-loss Belgian prospect Sasha Yengoyan said Merry Christmas to Ukraine-based Armenian journeyman Igor Fanian in his own special way, knocking him out in the 7th round of a scheduled 8, on Christmas Day, no less.  So much for Christmas cheer!


A few days later, on Saturday, an unexpected fight occurred in the division, and it was unexpectedly important.  Cesar Barrionuevo of Argentina came in as a top-50 welterweight, while his opponent, Ramon de la Cruz Sena, was a journeyman at that weight.  As it turned out, the fight was contested as a clear light middleweight affair, and de la Cruz Sena- who had been soundly outpointed by Barrionuevo in their October first meeting- sprung an upset on the favorite, outpointing the favorite in a very close fight.  By the Argentine scoring system that was in effect (which uses half-points for close rounds), I had de la Cruz Sena winning 97.5-97- just a half-point difference.  The official judges all had it a bit wider, with 1 point, 1.5 point, and 4 point margins- the latter of which is rather inexplicable.


Despite the significant upset, Sena’s 9 prior losses to almost exclusively low-level opposition completely precludes his getting anywhere near a ranking.  Yengoyan needs to step up his competition if he’s to claim one, as well.  There is one change this week, however.  I actually should have noticed this a couple weeks ago, but Yuri Foreman’s 2nd-best win of the last 5 years is, well, no longer within the last 5 years- that being his December 2008 win over James Moore.  As a result, Foreman loses his overall edge over guys like Guido Pitto, Kell Brook, and Jermall Charlo.  That being the case, Foreman falls from the top 20, as Pitto moves up to #19 and Kell Brook reclaims a spot at #20.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1Carlos Molina (48-130-145)
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 (4-130-152)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD12 #4 Austin Trout
Next Fight: Unknown
Lara wants Canelo next, but has reportedly been ruled out by the Mexican superstar.
3) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (4-16-16)
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.  The new kid on the block is Maidana, who it has been said has moved to the front of the line after his win over Broner.
4) Saul Alvarez (4-148-163)
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. 
5) Austin Trout (4-83-152)
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 (16-45-45)
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 (5-5-5)
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 (5-187-187)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO3 #11 Delvin Rodriguez
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. MW Champ Sergio Martinez (at MW)
Cotto is said to be all but signed for a June 7 superfight with Sergio.
9) Cornelius Bundrage (5-178-178)
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 (5-223-223)
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 (5-81)
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 (5-10)
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 (5-8)
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 (5-129)
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 (5-135)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (SD12) vs. Demetrius Andrade (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Vanes recently challenged Austin Trout, which seems like a good but unlikely matchup considering their ties to rival promoters.  
16) Willie Nelson (5-44)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- UD10 Luciano Cuello (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Nelson’s promoter tells me that he’s recovered from the elbow injury that nixed his fight with Matthew Macklin, and that he might be in line for an alphabet title against Sergey Rabchenko if Mayweather chooses to vacate.
17) Brian Rose (5-41)
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 (5-30)
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) Guido Pitto (1-3)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- L* (UD12) vs. #20 Jack Culcay
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Kell Brook (1-1)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. Vyacheslav Senchenko (UNR) (at WW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Brook is the subject of speculation for a Khan fight, which might materialize, theoretically, if Khan doesn’t secure Mayweather.


The Week Ahead: No fights of note to ring in the new year at 154.

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