Junior Middleweight: 2014, Mar 10-16

#4 Canelo Alvarez was too crisp, too heavy-handed, and too good for #10 Alfredo Angulo in the Saturday main event of Showtime’s PPV show from Las Vegas.  Canelo had a lot of zip on his punches, and stayed uncharacteristically active throughout the fight.  Angulo was ready-made for him.  He kept walking into the shots, but just couldn’t get anything behind his own shots.  I narrowly gave Angulo round 8, but that was it.  Canelo was pretty dominant, and Tony Weeks mercifully stopped it in the 10th after Canelo landed yet another hard, flush uppercut to El Perro’s chin.  


The overzealous fans and to some extent the Showtime broadcast team created what in my opinion was a fake controversy by acting like the stoppage might in some way be tantamount to a robbery.  Look.  Everybody with eyes or ears knew that Angulo wasn’t going to win the fight, and he was taking a legitimately horrific beating on his way to the loss.  Tony Weeks is there to enforce the rules and ensure a fair fight, but above all, he’s there to protect the safety of the fighters.  Was two rounds of a foregone conclusion really worth risking the life or long-term health of a family man (with no defense) like Angulo?  Not by a long shot.  Angulo is a fighter, so he is naturally going to disagree and maybe even believe irrationally in his ability to win.  But that doesn’t change the unequivocal fact that Weeks did exactly the right thing.


The chief support bout for the fight was to be #1 Carlos Molina vs. Jermall Charlo, a highly-touted undefeated prospect.  Unfortunately (and surprisingly to many, including me), it turns out Molina has a checkered past.  I won’t get into it here, but if you want to know the details it’s readily available online.  Apparently he was deported on the basis of these “checkers” several years ago, and so when he was picked up on a warrant from Wisconsin, ICE detained him essentially as an illegal immigrant, and the fight was cancelled.  Molina loses out on a reasonably big fight- and perhaps deservedly so.  Charlo does too, and that is unfortunate for any measure.  Despite being unranked currently, Charlo is legitimately a top prospect, and was far from a no-hoper in this one.


It may be due to incompetent googling on my part, but am frequently unable to find video on the many close decisions at the Japanese Championship level, and this Tuesday’s upset of gatekeeper Tadashi Yuba by Takayuki Hosokawa in Tokyo (by close majority decision, no less) was unfortunately no exception.  I’ve been saying this too much lately, but I have to simply take the result at face value.  Scores were 95-95, 96-94, and 97-93.


Canelo actually pulled some shenanigans and paid Angulo to raise the contract weight to 155 shortly before the weigh-in.  In this case, I’m still not going to treat it as a middleweight fight.  Neither guy has ever met a serious opponent as a middleweight until now, and I have little doubt that Canelo would have made weight if a title had been at stake, since he only missed it (at the first try) by a pound and came into the ring as the smaller man unofficially.  If I eventually have to remove Canelo from these rankings for moving up, I’ll consider ranking him at 160 based on this fight, but I think it would be rewarding bad behavior to give him a dual ranking just because he’d rather pay a small portion of his large purse than burn off an extra pound.  That being the case, I’m treating it for all intents and purposes as a standard light middleweight contest.


This is a messy division to rate.  The easy thing to do would be to leave both Canelo and Angulo where they are.  Angulo, after all, has still been proven on a higher level than Rabchenko, and Floyd got a win over Canelo in their recent fight.  No brainer, right?  Well here’s the thing.  I thought there was truly nothing to separate Floyd and Canelo in the fight, except Floyd’s reputation.  I’m one of a small minority of probably 2 people (the other being unjustly pilloried judge CJ Ross) that believe that, but I believe it just the same.  I’ve never made it a practice to make what other people will think part of my scoring or rankings criteria, and I won’t start now.  Canelo’s win is the small spur he needs, in my book, to overcome the deference I gave to the judges’ decision in the Mayweather fight, especially when coupled with the fact that Floyd’s only other outing at 154 was another close one- and another debatable decision, as I saw it- against Cotto.  Absent an absolute requirement that Floyd be ranked ahead of him, Canelo’s deep resume at 154 completely overwhelms Floyd’s work at that weight, no questions asked.  


So then it’s Alvarez vs. Lara.  Lara just dominated a guy that I thought Alvarez all but certainly lost to in Austin Trout.  The stoppage wins over Angulo cancel out, and beyond that, Alvarez’s sheer volume of good wins just crushes Lara’s, especially when you give him some degree of credit for the Mayweather effort, as I do.  So although I see logical problems with it due to Trout, Alvarez wins that head-to-head, as well.  


Now it’s Alvarez vs. Molina for the #1 spot.  The Angulo and Spinks wins were roughly equivalent.  Rhodes and Cintron were both ranked #7, and only a month apart.  Canelo vs. #3 Trout was roughly a draw as I treat it, and that roughly cancels out with Molina’s legit but very close and debatable win over #5 Smith.  The Mayweather fight cancels out with Molina’s should-be win over (admittedly overrated) #3 James Kirkland.  Molina’s 2009 win over Danny Perez, let’s say, cancels out with Alvarez’s destruction of Cintron (even though that’s really advantage Alvarez).  That just leaves Molina with a draw against then-#20 Lara.  Canelo answers with dominant wins over welterweight contenders or fringe contenders Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, Alfonso Gomez, and Matthew Hatton, as well as fringe contender Lovemore N’Dou and gatekeeper Carlos Baldomir.  I think between all of them, they easily overwhelm the Lara draw, especially as unproven as Lara was at the time relative to today.  


So Canelo is the new #1, as Molina, Lara, and Mayweather each drop a place.  Angulo does stay put.  Hosokawa assumes Yuba’s former position as a gatekeeper.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1) Saul Alvarez (1-158-173)
Last Fight: 3/8/2014- TKO10 #10 Alfredo Angulo
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s a very soupy division, with a lot of action at the top, but a few paradoxes, especially with the way I saw some close fights.  You could make an argument, I think, for Alvarez to be ranked anywhere between #1 and #5.
2) Carlos Molina (1-140-155)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD12) vs. #5 Ishe Smith
Next Fight: Unknown
We found out some pretty bad info about Molina’s past when he was arrested on past warrants and detained for illegal immigration following an apparent deportation from several years ago.  His fight with Jermall Charlo was cancelled, and Molina’s immediate future in the sport is up in the air.
3) Erislandy Lara (1-140-162)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD12 #4 Austin Trout
Next Fight: 5/2/2014- vs. #6 Ishe Smith
Mayweather says that his protege Smith will be fighting Lara on May 2, the day before Mayweather-Maidana.
4) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (1-26-26)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #2 Saul Alvarez
Next Fight: 5/3/2014- vs. #4 WW Marcos Maidana (at WW)
Floyd will fight Maidana rather than Khan.  Thank goodness.
5) Austin Trout (14-93-162)
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 (26-55-55)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L (SD12) vs. #1 Carlos Molina
Next Fight: 5/2/2014- vs. #3 Erislandy Lara
See Lara’s notes, above.
7) Anthony Mundine (15-15-15)
Last Fight: 1/29/2014- UD10 Gunnar Jackson (UNR) (at MW)
Next Fight: 4/2/2014- vs. Joshua Clottey (UNR)
Mundine will be fighting Joshua Clottey on April 2, and wants a fight with Lara after that.
8) Miguel Cotto (15-197-197)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- TKO3 #11 Delvin Rodriguez
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. MW Champ Sergio Martinez (at MW)
Cotto and Martinez have now officially agreed to a Middleweight Championship fight on June 7 at MSG.
9) Cornelius Bundrage (15-188-188)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD12 Joey Hernandez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
K9 was the mandatory for the Molina-Charlo winner.  With that fight at least postponed, it’s unclear what will happen next.
10Alfredo Angulo (15-233-233)
Last Fight: 3/8/2014- L (TKO10) vs. #4 Saul Alvarez
Next Fight: Unknown
Angulo could probably use a fight with a gatekeeper or low level fringe contender just to get his career momentum going.
11) Sergey Rabchenko (15-91)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Bradley Pryce (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Apparently reports that Rabchenko had dumped his Euro belt were premature.  His promoter, Ricky Hatton, is saying that he is waiting on a date to fight Italy’s Emanuele Della Rosa for that title.  He’s also ranked #1 by the WBC, so with Mayweather apparently going back down to 147, he hopes to fight for a vacant alphabet belt after that.

12) Javier Maciel (15-20)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- Robbery L (SD12) vs. #14 Brian Rose
Next Fight: Unknown
After the blog “A Puro Boxeo” reported that Maciel would be fighting Baysangurov on March 15, there’s been no mention of that fight anywhere else, and it doesn’t appear on Boxrec’s schedule.  I have to assume it’s off, or that the reporting was incorrect to begin with.
13) Demetrius Andrade (15-18)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (SD12) vs. #13 Vanes Martirosyan
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. #19 Brian Rose
Andrade and Rose have agreed to fight in the US, with June 14 now likely.
14) Delvin Rodriguez (15-139)
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 (15-145)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- L* (SD12) vs. Demetrius Andrade (UNR)
Next Fight: 3/21/2014- vs. Mario Lozano (UNR)
Vanes has signed with a new promoter, and will debut under the Goossen-Tutor banner on March 21st’s Friday Night Fights broadcast.  He was initially slated to fight the solid Luciano Cuello, but he’ll settle for mid-level journeyman Mario Lozano after Cuello pulled out over money.
16) Jermell Charlo (7-40)
Last Fight: 1/25/2014- UD10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Charlo let Rosado back into the fight late, but overall was very impressive against a battle-tested opponent.
17) Gabriel Rosado (7-7)
Last Fight: 1/25/2014- L (UD10) vs. #18 Jermell Charlo
Next Fight: Unknown
Atrocious judges and a fragile eyelid have helped put Rosado’s career more or less in tatters.
18) Willie Nelson (7-54)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- UD10 Luciano Cuello (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. James Kirkland (UNR)
Nelson’s camp says there’s a deal in place to fight Kirkland.  The fight will likely take place on April 26 at MSG.
19) Brian Rose (7-51)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- Robbery W (Draw at best) vs. Javier Maciel (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Andrade’s notes, above.
20) Guido Pitto (7-13)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- L* (UD12) vs. #20 Jack Culcay
Next Fight: Unknown


The Week Ahead: 
Kell Brook vs. Alvaro Robles; Liverpool, England; Sky Sports 2 (UK)
Brook is mostly a welterweight, but this fight will be fought well above that limit.  I’ve got the unbeaten British prospect ranked just outside the top 20 at the moment, and since Mexico’s Robles is a legit gatekeeper, there’s a good chance the winner could be ranked next week.  


Ed Paredes vs. George Sosa; Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Off TV
Paredes is an American gatekeeper who can’t seem to get significant fights, having had his last one in 2010 against Antonio Pitalua.  This will be no exception, as Sosa is a low-level New Jersey journeyman who always destroys abysmal competition, but always loses decisively against those with a pulse.  This will be on the Garcia-Herrera undercard, but no TV for this particular fight.


Patrick Teixeira vs. Ignacio Lucero; Sao Paolo, Brazil; TV Unknown
Teixeira is an undefeated Brazilian prospect who was lucky to get the decision the one time I’ve seen him fight on Friday Night Fights against Marcus Willis (I had it a draw).  He’s ridiculously easy to hit- a face-first pressure fighter who never lifts his hands.  Lucero is probably not the guy to expose him, though.  He’s basically a lower-mid-level journeyman from Argentina, though he is coming off a decision win in his last fight against a less advanced undefeated prospect.

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