Middleweight: 2014, Jan 27- Feb 2

In a fight that was expected to be quick and easy, Curtis Stevens made it look even easier and quicker than expected.  In the very first round, Stevens knocked Polish journeyman Patrick Majewski down hard with a jab, and then went into full windmill mode to knock him down twice more and finish him off.  Majewski never showed any resistance whatsoever at any point in the spectacle.

 

On the Huck-Arslan undercard in Stuttgart, we had a near miss on what was almost another in a long line of German robberies.  Technically undefeated prospect Marcos Nader brought his tenuous resume- which consisted of a draw against Roberto Santos that should have been a loss (I scored it 115-113), followed by a win in the rematch that again should have been a loss (I again had it 115-113)- into a European Union title defense against untested but also undefeated 34 year old Italian Emmanuele Blandamura.  Blandamura rose to the occasion, while Nader shrunk from it.  The Italian wasn’t particularly precise, but worked almost constantly, and peppered the Spanish-born Austrian with little scoring shots almost non-stop.  Nader laid back, looking to land single punches, which he did about once every two rounds.  He fought as if he were Randall Bailey and therefore capable of winning the fight at any moment he chose with a huge shot.  That’s most likely some combination of awful strategy and extreme laziness.  Nader only has 3 stoppage victories, at least one of which was due to injury.  He’s not the kind of guy that can turn around a fight with one punch, and that was the only chance he was allowing himself for a win, based on his effort.  But it turns out he had another chance, as two of the three judges were going out of their ways to hand it to him.  Luckily, Blandamura won it by a clear enough margin that one of the two- Denmark’s Soren Saugmann- apparently decided it was not close enough to sign his name to a robbery.  Richard Davies of England, a veteran crook, had no such compunction.  He gave Nader at least 3 rounds that were clearly won by Blandamura, in addition to two close ones I scored for the Italian, to give Nader the nod at 115-113.  Only Spanish judge Francisco Vazquez had it reasonably scored at 117-111.  My score was 118-110, and I could see giving Nader as many as 2 additional rounds.  It’s a measure of redemption for Vazquez, who was the worst perpetrator of one of 2013’s worst robberies when he scored Ndiaye-Rebrasse in favor of Ndiaye, who was comprehensively dominated in the fight.

 

Blandamura falls just a couple spots short of the rankings with the win, and is now a bona fide fringe contender in addition to an undefeated prospect.  No changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (198-198-198)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. # 8 JMW Miguel Cotto
According to fighthype.com, citing anonymous sources close to Cotto, there is now no doubt that Cotto-Martinez will happen on June 7 in New York. 
1) Gennady Golovkin (7-74-137)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Golovkin returns February 1 in Monte Carlo.  Originally it looked like Murray was the opponent, but he will instead fight former borderline top 10 contender Osumanu Adama, who was removed from a #13 berth in September for failing to make 160 for 18 months.
2) Felix Sturm (7-541-541)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman is the #1 contender for Sturm’s alphabet title, and Murray, Macklin, and Geale are both trying to get rematches with him, as well.
3) Martin Murray (7-113-113)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- W* (PTS8) vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Initial reports had Murray’s withdrawal from his scheduled fight with Jarrod Fletcher as a result of an offer to fight Felix Sturm, but Murray says he doesn’t know if those negotiations are even underway or not, and says nagging injuries to both hands are to blame.
4) Daniel Geale (2-241-241)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: 2/19/2014- vs. Garth Wood (UNR)
Geale will face gatekeeper Garth Wood- his former sparring partner- on February 19 in Sydney.
5) Matthew Macklin (2-136-227)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After a legitimate but very unspectacular win over only moderately proven prospect Lamar Russ, Macklin has joined the chorus of quality middleweights looking for a rematch with Sturm.  He’s also pushing for a fight with Andy Lee.  He’s also expressed interest in Quillin.
6) Peter Quillin (2-67-88)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Macklin’s notes, above.
7) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (2-7-7)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD10 Anthony Fitzgerald (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/15/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
After Andy Lee turned down a proposed fight for March 1, N’Dam will be back on February 15 in Ireland against an opponent yet to be named.
8) Sam Soliman (2-7-7)
Last Fight: 12/11/2013- TKO9 Les Sherrington (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman has been re-installed as the #1 contender to Sturm’s alphabet strap, and will likely get another shot soon.
9) Sergio Mora (2-31-31)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora had hoped to fight Golovkin on February 1, but says he was never offered the fight.
10) Marco Antonio Rubio (2-2-157)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/5/2014- vs. Domenico Spada (UNR)
Rubio-Spada is now set for April 5 in Mexico.  It’s for an interim title, if such trifles mean anything to you.
11) Anthony Mundine (2-157)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- TKO7 #4 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Gunnar Jackson (UNR) (at JMW?)
After two halfway decent opponents in Carson Jones and Billy Lyell fell through, Mundine has stepped down in competition with late replacement Gunnar Jackson, a mere journeyman.
12) Max Bursak (2-157)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD8 Gari Abajian (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/1/2013- vs. Jarrod Fletcher (UNR)
Bursak has replaced Martin Murray against Aussie prospect Jarrod Fletcher on February 1.  He’ll be in the rare position of a favored fighter in a fairly high-profile fight becoming a short-notice opponent.
13) Bryan Vera (2-67)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L* (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (UNR) (at SMW)
Vera-Chavez II now looks likely for March 1 in either Vegas or Texas, after a proposed February date was abandoned over concerns related to Olympic conflicts.
14) Grzegorz Proksa (2-146)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Plans for a February fight have apparently been scrapped, and Proksa would like to fight in April or May.  Setting reports of hand problems to rest, he says there’s currently nothing wrong with him.
15) Caleb Truax (2-19)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (UD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax’s status as a promising prospect has been derailed somewhat by the very tough Ossie Duran.
16) Curtis Stevens (2-26)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- TKO1 Patrick Majewski (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens obliterated an overwhelmed Patrick Majewski, but that can legitimately do nothing for Stevens other than return his confidence.
17) Andrey Meryasev (2-12)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve still yet to see Meryasev in action, but his win over Sanders at this point in his career proves that he’s a real prospect.
18) Danny Jacobs (2-23)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Dmitry Chudinov (2-23)
Last Fight: 12/21/2013- TKO6 Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
A fight with Ricardo Mayorga had been discussed, but Mayorga is no longer interested.
20) Nobuhiro Ishida (2-2)
Last Fight: 8/4/2013- KO2 Elly Pangaribuan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
This sounds crazy, but the rather light-hitting middleweight is currently doing heavy weight training and has applied for clearance from the Japanese commission to compete as a heavyweight.  That’s a 4-division, 40 to, let’s say, 100 pound jump in weight.  If he’s approved, he will likely fight for the rather lightly-regarded Japanese Heavyweight title against Kyotaro Fujimoto.  As for his ranking here, that means he’ll most likely just hang around the rankings until he becomes ineligible on or about August 4.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Wednesday
#11 Anthony Mundine vs. Gunnar Jackson; Boondall, Australia; Main Event (Australia)
Jackson is a lower-mid-level Kiwi journeyman, and Mundine should have little trouble with him.

 

Saturday
#1 Gennady Golovkin vs. Osumanu Adama; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Main Event (Australia)
This may look like a walk in the park for the destructive and excellent Golovkin.  It may very well turn out that way.  That being said, it should be noted that Adama was ranked #13 before being removed for inactivity at 160 in September, and so it’s not like he’s a no-hope journeyman or anything like that.  That being said (part 2), Adama barely squeaked by against fading gatekeeper Grady Brewer after failing to make weight two fights ago.  He might be on the decline, himself, even at age 33.

 

#12Max Bursak vs. Jarrod Fletcher; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Main Event (Australia)
Australian prospect Fletcher was originally slated to fight Martin Murray, who withdrew.  Bursak was called in just a few weeks ahead of the fight date, and will therefore be in the rare position of a significantly favored fighter who took the fight on short notice.  Fletcher’s only loss was in the fall of 2012 in a fight with undefeated Brit Billy Joe Saunders, in a fight that was stopped ridiculously prematurely by a bad referee in Saunders’ home country.  On the other hand, he’s never beat anyone better than a upper-mid-level journeyman.  Bursak is a bona fide fringe contender, having beaten Bryan Vera in 2010.
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