Middleweight: 2014, Apr 14-20

#16 Super Middleweight and long-time middleweight fringe contender Andy Lee turned in a pathetic excuse for a performance on the Skoglund-D’Agata undercard in Esbjerg, Denmark on Saturday against French light middleweight journeyman and occasional gatekeeper Frank Haroche Horta.  The smaller Horta bullied Lee around the ring for most of the fight.  When on the inside, his uppercuts in particular were really effective.  Lee, while he clearly won 3 of the first 4 rounds, just didn’t work hardly at all in the last half of the fight, and his defense was atrocious…almost non-existent.  The fight was pretty easy to score, and should pretty clearly have stood at 77-75 for Haroche Horta.  Lee, to put it simply, lost the fight.  It’s the latest and most stark examples of a theme in Lee’s career.  Actual middleweight fights are like kryptonite to him.  When he strays over the weight by even a fraction of a pound, he does fine, even against reasonably decent opposition.  But whether against Chavez or Vera or now against Haroche Horta, he always falls flat when he makes 160.


The same night in London, undefeated prospect Chris Eubank, Jr. came in more than 4 pounds heavy, and more than 8 pounds heavier than his opponent, journeyman Sandor Micsko.  It wasn’t much of a fight.  Despite clearly winning a very uneventful first round, Eubank had put in frightfully little work by the time he finally exploded on his overmatched and chinny opponent and knocked him out in the 2nd.  As if he were trying to be a larger British Adrien Broner, he did more talking and posing than he did fighting.  But at least he got the job done.


#12 Anthony Mundine lost badly at 154 to Joshua Clottey.  I will discuss that fight in detail at that weight, but the loss does affect Mundine’s standing here, as well.  His only middleweight win at above the gatekeeper level will become over 5 years old next month, so there’s very little left to arrest his nosedive, and at least at this weight class, he’s been zapped all the way down to the gatekeeper level.  Haroche Horta has a bit too checkered a resume to allow his debut here.  Therefore, the vacancy created by Mundine’s ouster is filled by Akio Shibata, who returns to the rankings for the first time since December 9.  Shibata’s status was damaged by his loss to Murata in Murata’s pro debut last year, but he bounced back to prove that it said more about Murata being good than his being bad when he outpointed gatekeeper Daisuke Nakagawa in March.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (209-209-209)
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 (18-85-148)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO7 Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
A fight between Golovkin and Julio Cesar Chavez appears to be nearly done for July 19 at 168.
2) Felix Sturm (18-552-552)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #8 Sam Soliman (UNR)
Soliman has obfuscated his clear banned stimulant violation to the point that he has perhaps most people thinking he was totally clean.  He wasn’t.  And he didn’t win that fight even if he had been.  Sturm got screwed all the way around, and now he’s forced to rematch the Australian, who deserves the opportunity much less than would Macklin, Murray, or Geale.  But that’s what we’ve got.  May 31 in Krefeld.
3) Daniel Geale (8-252-252)
Last Fight: 2/19/2014- RTD6 Garth Wood (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/24/2014- vs. #5 Matthew Macklin
Geale is apparently set to fight Macklin in an intriguing fight on May 24 in the US, on HBO.
4) Martin Murray (8-124-124)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- W* (PTS8) vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: 4/23/2014- vs. Ishmail Tetteh (UNR)
Murray will look to shake off some rust in Kempton Park, South Africa on April 23, fighting very low-level Ghanaian journeyman Ishmail Tetteh.
5) Matthew Macklin (13-147-238)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/24/2014- vs. #3 Daniel Geale
See Geale’s notes, above.
6) Peter Quillin (13-78-99)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/19/2014- vs. Lukas Konecny (UNR)
Quillin will fight former 154-pound fringe contender Lukas Konecny, who will be making his first appearance in a meaningful fight at 160 on the Hopkins-Shumenov undercard on April 19 in D.C.
7) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (13-18-18)
Last Fight: 2/15/2014- TKO4 Ricardo Ramallo (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/16/2014- vs. Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
N’Dam has an opponent for this week, and it’s Colombian journeyman Fulgencio Zuniga.
8) Sam Soliman (13-18-18)
Last Fight: 12/11/2013- TKO9 Les Sherrington (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. #2 Felix Sturm
Soliman cheated with a stimulant, won by ridiculous robbery before being stripped of the victory, and now he gets what I would argue is an undeserved chance at a do-over.
9) Sergio Mora (13-42-42)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/10/2014- vs. Samuel Rogers (UNR)
Mora will be back on the L.A. undercard of Stiverne-Arreola II against prospect Samuel Rogers who, in addition to being a natural junior middleweight and much less accomplished, is coming off his first career loss.
10) Osumanu Adama (11-11-11)
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 (11-168)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- KO10* Domenico Spada (UNR)
Next Fight:Unknown
Rubio finished a rigged fight against Domenico Spada in style, but he was losing the fight at the time, and may have lost it entirely if Jon Schorle hadn’t yelled “break” every time his opponent landed a punch or got close to Rubio.
12) Jarrod Fletcher (1-11)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: Unknown
Fletcher is said to be among those being considered for a June 1 fight with Dmitry Chudinov in Russia.
13) Max Bursak (1-168)
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.
14) Grzegorz Proksa (1-157)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I can’t find any information on why, but Proksa’s scheduled fight with Matthew Hall this weekend has disappeared from the schedule.
15) Caleb Truax (1-30)
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 (1-37)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- TKO10* Tureano Johnson (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens’ haplessness for all but the last few seconds of his prematurely-stopped bout with Tureano Johnson has got to raise questions about his ability to rise any higher than he finds himself now.  Johnson has respectfully pushed for a rematch.
17) Andrey Meryasev (1-23)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/26/2014- vs. Carlos Baldomir (UNR)
Meryasev is back in action on April 26- on apparently just over 2 weeks’ notice- against faded veteran Carlos Baldomir in Mexico.
18) Daniel Jacobs (1-34)
Last Fight: 3/15/2014- TKO1 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Easy work for Jacobs against Nunez.  He’s looking for a title fight- probably against Quillin- at the earliest opportunity.
19) Dmitry Chudinov (1-3)
Last Fight: 12/21/2013- TKO6 Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/1/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Chudinov will return on June 1, and Jarrod Fletcher and Patrick Nielsen- both excellent options- are being considered for the fight.
20) Akio Shibata (1-1)
Last Fight: 3/1/2014- UD12 Daisuke Nakagawa (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Shibata’s loss to Murata- an Olympic champion with no pro track record- was a significant setback, but he showed that he’s still viable internationally by beating domestic gatekeeper Daisuke Nakagawa.


The Week Ahead: 
#7 Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs. Fulgencio Zuniga; Santa Monica, California; Off TV
This is a pretty solid fight on a pretty solid card, but it sadly won’t be on TV.  N’Dam, from France by way of Cameroon, is the big favorite, obviously, and one of the better pure boxers in the sport.  Zuniga is a fairly competent journeyman from Colombia who typically fights at 168 or 175.


ESPN Boxcino Tournament Semi-Finals; Verona, New York; ESPN2
The first semi-final features two guys still looking to prove themselves.  Undefeated Brandon Adams got a nice-looking win against veteran journeyman Daniel Edouard in the first round, but Edouard was a mere shadow of his former self, and was never that great to begin with.  Gatica destroyed an untested undefeated fighter in Ghana’s Sena Agbeko, giving some support to the idea that he is a serious force- an idea which had its roots in his punishing near-victory over battle-tested fringe prospect Fernando Guerrero.  Gatica gets the edge in experience, but Adams did look more than a little talented last time out.  I see it as an interesting fight that’s tough to call.


In the second fight, Ukrainian tournament favorite Vitaliy Kopylenko gets what should be an easy path to the finals against Willie Monroe, Jr.  Kopylenko destroyed borderline top-50 fringe prospect Ceresso Fort to begin his tourney campaign, while the light-hitting Monroe was clearly beaten, yet was given a win over rugged journeyman Donatas Bondas.


#6 Peter Quillin vs. Lukas Konecny; Washington, D.C.; Showtime (US)
I hope Quillin isn’t taking this fight for granted as much as most in the media seem to be.  Konecny was an underrated guy at 154, and was a big enough, strong enough guy at that weight to suggest he might have the strength and power necessary to threaten Quillin, who has given plenty of reason to doubt his chin and his conditioning when it comes to rough physical fights.  Obviously I agree that Quillin should be the favorite, but Konecny is every inch an underrated live dog in this one.


Matt Korobov vs. Emil Gonzalez; Orlando, Florida; Off TV
Korobov is a Russian undefeated prospect whose career has essentially plateaued after he appeared to be the next big thing back around 2009.  Korobov did how some signs of life in destroying the extremely competent Ossie Duran nearly a year ago, but he’s actually been stepping down his competition in each fight since.  That trend continues this week, as Emil Gonzalez is a very nondescript Puerto Rican journeyman who is coming off a points loss to Derek Ennis, and has lost to some lesser guys earlier in his career, as well.  It’s a stay-busy fight and not expected to make the UniMas broadcast of the card.

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