Middleweight: 2014, Feb 3-9

In last week’s headlining fight on Saturday in Monte Carlo, #1 Gennady Golovkin did about what you’d expect, coming forward and breaking down his outgunned opponent, Osumanu Adama.  Adama did manage to get the 1-2 working here and there, but couldn’t consistently keep the seek-and-destroy Kazakh off of him.  The only surprise may have been that it took until the 7th round- three knockdowns deep- for the fight to be called off.

 

On the undercard, #12 Max Bursak took on one-loss Aussie prospect Jarrod Fletcher, and found himself in the no-doubt unfamiliar position of a late replacement, as Fletcher had initially been scheduled to fight Martin Murray.  The short notice- less than a month- may have been a factor, as he didn’t look that great.  The fight was difficult to watch due to constant holding and various other fouls.  Bursak was the main culprit, throwing the kitchen sink of illegal tactics at his opponent.  He held, he pushed down on the neck, he rabbit punched, and he hit after the bell.  Fletcher was no saint either, but it was Bursak that- still correctly, I think- lost a point for rabbit punches and a point for pushing down on Fletcher’s back.  The fight, in addition to being ugly, was extremely close and competitive.  Bursak, as I saw it, earned himself a fairly clear nod in rounds 1, 4, 6, 11 (even due to point deduction), and 12, while Fletcher clearly captured 5 and 7.  Rounds 2, 3, 9, and 10 were too close to call with confidence, I thought, with round 2 either even or a 10-8 Fletcher due to the first point deduction.  I had it 114-112 for Bursak, meaning I backed him as the winner of 8 rounds to Fletcher’s 4 before deductions are factored in.  Fletcher might legitimately have won as many as 6, and thus could have won by as much as a 114-112 margin, while I thought Bursak could have won as many as 10 rounds, or 116-110.  Surprisingly, Fletcher didn’t just win, but did so unanimously.  Phillippe Verbeke had it 114-112, a reasonable, if slightly pro-Fletcher card.  Luis Pabon proved that you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself as a bad referee if you can also be a bad judge, turning in a clearly unfair 115-111 card for Fletcher, a score in which he was joined by Poland’s Leszek Jankowiak.  That’s no surprise, as Jankowiak is a notorious fight thief.  In fights I’ve seen that he’s judged, he’s now turned in at least 4 completely unreasonable cards (Kolodziej-Crenz, this one, Rodriguez-Maderna and, to his everlasting infamy, Chisora-Helenius).  He also turned in a pretty borderline card recently, giving Roy Jones way too much credit in a wide decision over Zine Benmakhlouf.  I don’t see every mid-level European fight, and so I don’t see Jankowiak nearly as often as I would if he were a comparably busy American judge.  The volume of terrible cards he’s perpetrated relative to the number of fights I’ve actually seen him judge leads me to suspect that he may just be one of the worst judges in the whole wide world.

 

In the also-ran category, #11 Anthony Mundine won a unanimous shutout over 10 rounds against lower-mid-level Kiwi journeyman Gunnar Jackson, in what can only be described as a stay busy fight.

 

But that’s not to say that the fight wasn’t significant at all.  Far from it.  Mundine made 160, which allows him to stay ranked here.  He would have been removed this week if he’d come in as heavy as his opponent, who was above 163.

 

Speaking of indifferent results helping you out: Adama technically sees more benefit from his beatdown loss than Golovkin does from the win.  There’s nowhere for the #1 contender to go unless he fights the Champion, so he stays put.  Adama, who was removed from the #13 spot in September for inactivity at 160, returns at an even higher position of #10.  This has nothing to do with his performance on Saturday.  For someone of borderline top-10 rank, a loss to a #1 contender proves nothing.  His prior resume has about the same impact it otherwise might.  You might expect that to put him in the #15 range or something like that, considering the inactivity.  But not so.  He returns at #10.  I had to do my research on this, but that’s the first time he’s been in the top 10 since April 2011.  How does one move up 3 spots without doing anything?  Well, Barker and Pirog have departed since then, and I simply re-thought his placement as against Rubio and Mundine who, incidentally, are forced down to #11 and #12, respectively.

 

Bursak at least arguably won the fight, and his opponent was reasonably credible in his own right.  For those reasons, I won’t drop Bursak any more than I have to, and so he is displaced two spots to #14- one for Adama’s return, and one to accommodate the required debut of Fletcher, who debuts at #13.  Even if I were of a mind to drop Bursak further, that would be problematic due to his 2010 win over Vera, who also falls two places to #15, along with everyone ranked below him.  Dmitry Chudinov is forced from the rankings after 23 weeks, and Ishida after just 2.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (199-199-199)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. # 8 JMW Miguel Cotto
If there was any lingering doubt, Martinez-Cotto is now on for June 7 at Madison Square Garden.
1) Gennady Golovkin (8-75-138)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO7 Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golovkin wants a shot at the Championship against Martinez, and there are rumors that Andy Lee is being considered for an April fight, as well.
2) Felix Sturm (8-542-542)
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 (8-114-114)
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 (3-242-242)
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 (3-137-228)
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 and has expressed interest in Quillin.
6) Peter Quillin (3-68-89)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Macklin’s notes, above.  Stevens is also looking for a fight with him.
7) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (3-8-8)
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 (3-8-8)
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 (3-32-32)
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) Osumanu Adama (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- L (TKO7) vs. #1 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Not the most pleasant entry into the rankings we’ve ever seen, but his resume stacks up pretty well as long as he’s active and on weight.
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (1-158)
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.
12) Anthony Mundine (1-158)
Last Fight: 1/29/2014- UD10 Gunnar Jackson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mundine continues to make noise about wanting to fight Mayweather as if he thinks it’s remotely possible it might happen.  He sounds like a lunatic when he does that.
13) Jarrod Fletcher (1-1)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: Unknown
I don’t agree with the verdict, but Fletcher legitimately fought on more-or-less even terms with a pretty good fringe contender in Bursak.  His only loss was a TKO that was stopped for very little reason against Billy Joe Saunders, so he’s one to watch.
14) Max Bursak (1-158)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- L* (UD12) vs. Jarrod Fletcher (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
He didn’t get robbed, and it’s hard to feel sorry for him considering how dirty he fought, but I did think Bursak deserved better than a loss against Fletcher.
15) Bryan Vera (1-68)
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 is on for March 1 on HBO.
16) Grzegorz Proksa (1-147)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
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.
17) Caleb Truax (1-20)
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.
18) Curtis Stevens (1-27)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- TKO1 Patrick Majewski (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens has his sites set on Peter Quillin.
19) Andrey Meryasev (1-13)
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.
20) Danny Jacobs (1-24)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Friday
Roberto Garcia vs. Norberto Gonzalez; Chicago, IL; ESPN2 (US)
Garcia, a Texas-based Mexican, is a legitimate fringe contender at 154, and the fight is expected to be contested somewhere between 154 and 160.  Gonzalez is a 2-loss Mexican journeyman.  I’d classify him as mid-level, but he probably has the potential to be better than that, since his only two losses were to decent opponents in Mark Melligen and Antwone Smith.  This will be the Friday Night Fights main event.
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