Middleweight: 2014, Feb 17-23

Saturday featured 3 fights worth a mention.

 

In Albertslund, Denmark, hot Danish prospect Patrick Nielsen thoroughly dominated lower-mid-level Maryland journeyman Tony Jeter.  Nielsen set the tone from the very start, dropping his outclassed opponent about 5 seconds into the contest with a well-timed counter jab.  Southpaw Nielsen followed up on that early success a couple minutes later with a second knockdown, this time by following up on a missed combination with a straight left that landed flush near the ropes.  Early in the second round, Nielsen mauled Jeter with a combination along the ropes that sent the American to his knees.  Jeter appeared to be clear-headed, but chose not to get up, resulting in a 2nd round KO win for Nielsen, who appears more than ready for bigger and better things.

 

Dublin, Ireland hosted a geographically unlikely matchup between #7 Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam of France and high-level Argentine journeyman Ricardo Ramallo.  Ramallo was ranked in the top 50 not long ago by Boxrec, but lost that status by way of a TKO loss to countryman Mateo Veron in November.  I must say that he didn’t look to me like a guy that could ever hang with a true top 50 fighter.  Granted, N’Dam ought to outclass even a legitimate lower-level top 50 guy under the best of circumstances, but this was kinda extreme.  N’Dam was, by a wide margin, faster, quicker, stronger, more aggressive, harder-hitting, more confident, and even appeared to be a full weight class or two larger.  It was a total domination, and it built to the point where, in round 4, Ramallo couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep on his feet anymore.  Frankly the two knockdowns that led to a TKO looked like they were inflicted upon a guy looking for a way out.  The second time in particular, Ramallo fell so slowly and dramatically that he looked like he was trying to sell it.

 

Speaking of Mateo Veron, he made the trip to Dublin, too, and fared only somewhat better against unheralded unbeaten Englishman Mark Heffron.  It was a huge step-up for Heffron, whose undefeated record didn’t come with the kind of amateur background or promotional backing that would indicate his being anything special.  But against a significant veteran fighter with just 8 pro fights behind him, Heffron did enough to get the job done, and then some.  He was cautious, but from an aggressive posture, and he kept Veron uncomfortable by cutting off the ring well.  The hallmark of his game appears to be some very crisp body shots that he landed almost at will.  Several of the rounds were fairly close, but Heffron got my nod in all but one round, largely because he controlled the pace and geography of the fight with an iron fist.  Referee Emile Tiedt- the sole judge- went a bit further, and rather reasonably gave Heffron every round.

 

Heffron hasn’t quite proven enough to crack the top 20 in this competitive division, but he’s now at home at the fringe contender level.  Not bad for 9 fights.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (201-201-201)
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 (10-77-140)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO7 Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golovkin wants a shot at the Championship against Martinez– a fight Sergio appears to be interested in after Cotto- and there are rumors that Andy Lee is being considered for an April fight, as well.
2) Felix Sturm (10-544-544)
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 all trying to get rematches with him, as well.
3) Martin Murray (10-116-116)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- W* (PTS8) vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR) (at SMW)
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 (5-244-244)
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 (5-139-230)
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 (5-70-91)
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 (5-10-10)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- TKO4 Ricardo Ramallo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
N’Dam totally dominated journeyman Ramallo.  Here’s hoping he gets another worthwhile fight at something near championship-level soon.
8) Sam Soliman (5-10-10)
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 (5-34-34)
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 (3-3-3)
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 (3-160)
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 (3-160)
Last Fight: 1/29/2014- UD10 Gunnar Jackson (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/2/2014- vs. Joshua Clottey (UNR)
Mundine confirms that he will be fighting, of all people, the long-forgotten Joshua Clottey on April 2, and then perhaps Erislandy Lara in July if that works out for him.
13) Jarrod Fletcher (3-3)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: Unknown
Fletcher is said to have received 7 serious fight offers after he was given the nod against Bursak.  The team behind Dmitry Chudinov, who presumably made one of those offers, says a fight is being discussed, possibly for March or April.
14) Max Bursak (3-160)
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 (3-70)
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 (3-149)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa is likely to fight again on April 19 according to Polish news reports.
17) Caleb Truax (3-22)
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 (3-29)
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 (3-15)
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 (3-26)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: No significant action at 160 this week.
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