Welterweight: 2014, Apr 28- May 4

#11 Josesito Lopez looked a lot better on Thursday in Rancho Mirage, California than he did in his previous fight with Mike Arnaoutis, backing his opponent, Mexican journeyman and/or fringe prospect Aron Martinez, to the ropes for virtually the entire fight.  Lopez didn’t always do as much as we’d like to see when he put his guy in that position, but at least he clearly won the fith, ultimately stopping his man when Martinez turned his back in the middle of an onslaught.


Two nights later, but not far away in Carson, #5 Keith Thurman got a solid win over fringe contender Julio Diaz, and did so in finer fashion than did rivals Shawn Porter and Amir Khan, both of whom at least arguably deserved a loss to Diaz in recent years.  Diaz was stopped by his corner after three, due to a rib injury, but Thurman had already proven his mettle by clearly winning all three rounds and dropping Diaz in the third.


Impressive undefeated Mexican prospect Jose Zepeda- normally a 140-pounder- was in action a couple pounds into this division on Saturday, pounding out a punishing 8-round decision over veteran Denver journeyman Rob Frankel, whose best days as a legit gatekeeper are now long behind him.  Zepeda dropped Frankel from a beautiful body shot in the corner during round 3, and frankly from that point on I was sorta waiting for Frankel’s team to stop the fight, as Zepeda was really busting him up.  The fact that the stoppage never came is probably, despite an impressive knockout record, a testament to Zepeda’s lack of next-level power, since he was scoring very much at will with clean and hard-looking shots.  That being said, Frankel is a real tough guy, having only been stopped in 3 of his 15 losses.  Aside from that, there was really nothing not to like about Zepeda’s performance, as he was dominant in every aspect and in the fight as a whole.


No movement in the rankings, as Thurman’s win is nowhere near enough to eclipse Maidana.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (209-241-241)
Last Fight: 9/14/2013- W* (MD12) vs. #2 JMW Saul Alvarez (at JMW)
Next Fight: 5/3/2014- vs. #4 Marcos Maidana
Thankfully, it will be the worthy Maidana rather than the likely washed-up Khan that fights Floyd on May 3.
1) Manny Pacquiao (3-282-282)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- UD12 #1 Timothy Bradley
Next Fight: Unknown
The fight has lost some of its luster over time, but Pacquiao has once again put himself in a position to deserve a shot at Mayweather.  Still, that fight is likely not practically possible at the moment, and as crazy as it sounds after 4 odd fights, another Pacquiao and Marquez fight might help clarify the divisional picture further in the mean time.
2) Juan Manuel Marquez (29-129-129)
Last Fight: 10/12/2013- L (SD12) vs. #17 Timothy Bradley
Next Fight: 5/17/2014- vs. #? JWW Mike Alvarado
Marquez takes on Alvarado near L.A. on May 17.
3) Timothy Bradley (3-29-99)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- L (UD12) vs. #3 Manny Pacquiao
Next Fight: Unknown
Bradley’s best options for a next fight, practically-speaking, are limited to re-hashes of previous fights like Marquez and Provodnikov.
4) Marcos Maidana (21-47-47)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD12 LW Champ Adrien Broner
Next Fight: 5/3/2014- vs. Champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Maidana will get a shot at the true title on May 3.
5) Keith Thurman (20-20-60)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- RTD3 Julio Diaz (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
You know you’re a heck of a talent when you make a fight with Julio Diaz seem like a showcase fight. There had been talk of a Matthysse showdown, but Thurman says he wants Shawn Porter.
6) Shawn Porter (20-21-21)
Last Fight: 4/19/2014- KO4 #14 Paulie Malignaggi
Next Fight: Unknown
Thurman wants him and Golden Boy is making noise about him fighting Mayweather, but it’s hard to imagine Porter being able to put off his mandatory with Brook any longer.
7) Robert Guerrero (21-75-92)
Last Fight: 5/4/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
It looks likely that Guerrero will be back on June 21, with TV-friendly Yoshihiro Kamegai being discussed as the opponent.  If that fight isn’t made by next week, Guerrero could be removed for inactivity.
8) Kell Brook (21-157-157)
Last Fight:3/15/2014- TKO8 Alvaro Robles (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Porter’s notes, above.
9) Devon Alexander (21-114-114)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (UD12) vs. Shawn Porter (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/12/2014- vs. #12 Jesus Soto Karass
Boxingscene now reports that Alexander-Soto Karass is done, but not for June 21 as originally reported, but rather on the Canelo-Lara undercard on July 12.
10) Randall Bailey (23-23-23)
Last Fight: 11/23/2013- W (DQ8) vs. Humberto Toledo (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. Freddy Lawson (UNR)
Bailey wants Thurman, but it sounds like he’s settling for undefeated but fairly untested Ghanaian prospect Freddy Lawson in Minnesota.
11) Josesito Lopez (23-97)
Last Fight: 4/24/2014- TKO5 Aron Martinez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lopez is back on the right track, looking at least decent against a likely better fighter than Arnaoutis, whom he almost lost to.
12) Jesus Soto Karass (20-66)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- L (TKO9) vs. #13 Keith Thurman
Next Fight: 7/12/2014- vs. #9 Devon Alexander
See Alexander’s notes, above.
13) Andre Berto (20-75)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- L (TKO12) vs. #11 Jesus Soto Karass
Next Fight: Unknown 
Berto is now recovered from surgery and is training for a July return.  Alexander wants him.
14) Paulie Malignaggi (21-21) 
Last Fight: 4/19/2014- L (KO4) vs. #6 Shawn Porter
Next Fight: Unknown
Malignaggi confirms he’s considering retirement.
15) Chris van Heerden (21-98)
Last Fight: 4/16/2014- W (SD10) vs. Ray Narh (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Van Heerden’s split decision win over Ray Narh doesn’t look very worthy of a top 15 contender on paper, but I unfortunately am unable to find video, and thus can’t opine on what it might mean for his future.
16) Luis Carlos Abregu (21-53)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- TKO8 Jean Carlos Prada (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abregu is interested in fighting Brandon Rios in the US.
17) Luis Collazo (13-13)
Last Fight: 1/30/2014- KO2 Victor Ortiz (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/3/2014- vs. Amir Khan (UNR)
It appears that Collazo-Khan is on for the Mayweather-Maidana undercard on May 3.
18) Jan Zaveck (13-229)
Last Fight: 10/19/2013- UD8 Sebastien Allais (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
There are rumors that Zaveck may soon be positioned for a minor (IBO) title fight.
19) Leonard Bundu (7-9)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- TKO12 Lee Purdy (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bundu’s fight with Gianluca Branco, scheduled for April 12, is now off due to a training injury to Branco.  Bundu’s camp is now targeting May as his next appearance, and Frankie Gavin has been installed as his new mandatory.
20) Jo Jo Dan (7-7)
Last Fight: 11/30/2013- W* SD12 vs. Kevin Bizier (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown


The Week Ahead:
Champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. #4 Marcos Maidana; Las Vegas, Nevada; Showtime PPV (US)
Mayweather is a heavy favorite in this one, and aside from the fact that he’s at least never technically lost, I can’t really figure out why.  Not that he shouldn’t be a legitimate favorite.  He should.  Just not a prohibitive one.  Anyone who thinks this is just another Mayweather win waiting to happen has never seen Maidana…at least not on a good night.  The Argentine slugger has been confounded by skilled boxers before- most notably Devon Alexander- but he’s also put major hurt on them- most notably Amir Khan and Adrien Broner.  Not only that, but I personally have seen Floyd slipping a little, even though Showtime is too busy falling all over themselves in praise of their cash cow to notice.  


#17 Luis Collazo vs. Amir Khan; Las Vegas, Nevada; Showtime PPV (US)
Khan is the favorite and the big name here, but Collazo is the only ranked fighter in the fight.  Why?  Khan was a top contender at 140, but 147 is a fresh start, and frankly he has yet to distinguish himself here.  He went life and death with the same Julio Diaz that Keith Thurman just took out, and that’s really his only serious action.  You would have thought a few months ago that a #17-ranked Collazo would be an ideal stepping stone for Khan, since Khan can’t help getting badly hurt against any puncher he gets in with, and since Collazo is a noted non-puncher.  That’s not the cinch it once appeared to be, since Collazo legitimately hurt and- perhaps with help from Ortiz’s mental fragility- stopped Victor Ortiz in his last fight.  Ortiz is a quitter born, but that wasn’t the whole story.  Collazo dented his chin on his own, and conventional wisdom would be virtually unanimous for the proposition that Ortiz has a better chin than Khan.  We know Khan can outbox just about anyone, but with him there will always be that other big question: can this guy knock him out or hurt him?  Collazo seems like a definite maybe.  My pick: Khan by dominant decision, or Collazo by knockout.

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