Junior Middleweight: 2014, Apr 14-20

Former top 5 welterweight Joshua Clottey more or less shocked the world on Wednesday, coming back from virtual retirement to brutalize #7 Anthony Mundine in unrelenting fashion for 12 cringe-worthy rounds in Newcastle, Australia.  I guess in retrospect it wasn’t completely shocking that Clottey might win the fight.  After all, he did go the distance with Pacquiao at a time when Pacquiao was knocking everyone out, and came close to defeating Cotto, who even as of last week was viewed as probably equal to or better than Mundine.  But that was a long time ago, and it was naturally assumed that Clottey’s competitive edge had likely abated a bit, considering he’d fought just two journeymen in the four years since the one-sided Pacquiao loss.  There’s absolutely no way anyone could have predicted the comprehensive and brutal beating he put on Mundine at this point in his career.  Mundine went down a total of five times by my count, and there’s absolutely no way he lost by any less than 13 points, despite the fact that all of the pathetic judges had it way too close: Pat O’Connor (116-108), Alex Fraser (117-108), and Justin Kennedy at an incredible 115-109.  Honestly, it would bother me not one little bit if none of these guys were ever allowed to work again.

 

Gatekeeper Zaurbek Baysangurov finally looked as good as his alphabet rankings would suggest he is.  He dominated a rather amateurish-looking #20 Guido Pitto for very nearly a full 12 rounds, before finally putting him down and leaving him flopping around like a fish with just seconds to go.  In the first round, it looked like it was well on the way to evolving into a close and competitive affair.  I thought Pitto clearly won that round, and I thought he was just edged out in the 2nd.  But from there, it was total dominance by the Russian, whose calm jab and counterpunch strategy allowed him to conserve energy as compared to the frantic, lunging, volume arm-punching style of Pitto.  As that might suggest, Pitto’s movement and the steam on his punches lessened as the fight went on, allowing Baysangurov to punish him with increasing frequency and ferocity as the fight progressed.  Someone should certainly have stopped it in the 11th, when the Russian had Pitto bouncing from one set of ropes to the other like a pinball, but he was allowed to take a sustained beating with absolutely no hope of victory for at least 3 minutes too long.

 

Clottey makes his debut in the rankings at 154, taking over Mundine’s #7 berth.  Mundine, despite looking like a man several levels below Clottey, still makes enough hay from the Mosley win to remain in the top 10 at #9.  This degrades the standing of everyone ranked #9 to #17 last week, including Alfredo Angulo, who drops from the top 10 after 237 consecutive weeks in.  Baysangurov, despite needing gifts from the judges to achieve victory in consecutive fights with unheralded prospect Michel Soro and fringe contender Lukas Konecny, now has the resume of a top 20 contender, debuting at #19.  This, coupled with Clottey’s debut, forces last week’s #18 Willie nelson down to #20, and kicks out Brian Rose after 55 weeks in the rankings.  Pitto, of course, exits as well, though he didn’t need any help to do so.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: None
1) Saul Alvarez (6-163-178)
Last Fight: 3/8/2014- TKO10 #10 Alfredo Angulo
Next Fight: 7/12/2014- vs. #3 Erislandy Lara
Canelo came knocking, and Lara answered the door.
2) Carlos Molina (6-145-160)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W (SD12) vs. #5 Ishe Smith
Next Fight: Unknown
At last check, Molina remained in a Las Vegas jail.
3) Erislandy Lara (6-145-167)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD12 #4 Austin Trout
Next Fight: 7/12/2014- vs. #1 Saul Alvarez
Lara traded an intended fight with Ishe Smith for a more lucrative and important showdown with Canelo.  The fight might not determine a legitimate champion, but it should at least crown a preeminent top contender.
4) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (6-31-31)
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 (19-98-167)
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 (31-60-60)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- L (SD12) vs. #1 Carlos Molina
Next Fight: Unknown
Smith was left without an opponent after Lara jumped ship on their May 2 fight to battle Canelo.  Smith had an offer to replace Lara with Gabe Rosado, but passed.  Mundine is reportedly interested, as well.
7) Joshua Clottey (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 4/9/2014- UD12 #7 Anthony Mundine
Next Fight: Unknown
For those looking for a good way to revitalize a practically evaporated career, you couldn’t do much better than the example Clottey just provided.
8) Miguel Cotto (20-202-202)
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) Anthony Mundine (1-20-20)
Last Fight: 4/9/2014- L (UD12) vs. Joshua Clottey (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Not one to be kept down for long, Mundine has offered to substitute for Erislandy Lara for Ishe Smith’s May 2 date.
10) Cornelius Bundrage (1-193-193)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- UD12 Joey Hernandez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It appears that Bundrage has jumped to the front of the line to challenge for Molina’s belt, though there is uncertainty regarding that bout and Molina’s availability for it.
11Alfredo Angulo (1-238)
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.
12) Sergey Rabchenko (1-96)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- UD12 Bradley Pryce (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/17/2014- vs. Emanuele Della Rosa (UNR)
Rabchenko will defend his European belt in Rome on May 17 against a local prospect, and is hoping for a shot at a vacant alphabet belt after that.
13) Javier Maciel (1-25)

Last Fight: 10/26/2013- Robbery L (SD12) vs. #14 Brian Rose
Next Fight: 4/19/2014- vs. Cesar Sastre Silva (UNR)
Maciel will stay busy with a mid-level journeyman on April 19 in Argentina.
14) Demetrius Andrade (1-23)
Last Fight: 11/9/2013- W* (SD12) vs. #13 Vanes Martirosyan
Next Fight: 6/14/2014- vs. Brian Rose (UNR)
Andrade and Rose have agreed to fight in the US, with a date of June 14.
15) Delvin Rodriguez (1-144)
Last Fight: 10/5/2013- L (TKO3) vs. #7 Miguel Cotto
Next Fight: 5/16/2014- vs. Joachim Alcine (UNR)
Rodriguez looks to get back on track on May 16 against veteran Alcine on Friday Night Fights.
16) Vanes Martirosyan (1-150)
Last Fight: 3/21/2014- UD10 Mario Lozano (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/10/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Vanes successfully stayed busy against Lozano.  I’m not sure what his endgame is, but he’ll be back in action again on May 10 on the Stiverne-Arreola undercard in LA.
17) Jermell Charlo (1-45)
Last Fight: 1/25/2014- UD10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/2/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
With the cancellation of Smith-Lara, Charlo’s undercard fight may be in doubt, as well.
18) Gabriel Rosado (1-12)
Last Fight: 1/25/2014- L (UD10) vs. #18 Jermell Charlo
Next Fight: Unknown
Rosado was offered to Ishe Smith as a May 2 replacement, but Smith turned him down.
19) Zaurbek Baysangurov (1-1)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- TKO12 #20 Guido Pitto
Next Fight: Unknown
Baysangurov looked the best I’ve seen him, by far, against Pitto.
20) Willie Nelson (1-59)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- UD10 Luciano Cuello (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The once-delayed fight with Kirkland is apparently in the works to headline a May 24 HBO card.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Saturday
#13 Javier Maciel vs. Cesar Sastre Silva; Malvinas Argentinas, Argentina; TyC Sports (ARG)
This is a rematch of a 2008 fight that resulted in a close 6-round decision.  At that time, Maciel was a green 8-0 prospect.  Now he’s at a different level.  Sastre Silva, from Uruguay, is roughly a mid-level journeyman.  He’s coming off a close upset win at middleweight over undefeated prospect Carlos Ozan in February.  That was his first fight in over 3 years.  Maciel comes off what should have been a career-best win over 14th-ranked Brian Rose back in October, but he was blatantly robbed in that fight.
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