Welterweight: 2014, May 5-11

#4 Marcos Maidana came out and mugged Floyd Mayweather on Saturday, and got about as close to being flat-out robbed as you can get without me calling it that.  What it was was a bad decision.  Floyd received his usual awed deference from the media, which tended to characterize the fight as a close one, but most agreed with the just plain ignorant position that Floyd won.  Look.  Maidana won the first 6 rounds.  Not the majority of them.  All of them.  1, 3, and 5 were so self-evident that if I need to convince you of that, I simply have no prayer to do so.  2, 4, and 6 were basically toss-ups, but with the punches essentially even, you’ve got to move on to the secondary criteria like effective aggressiveness and ring generalship.  This, I think, is where the ignorant media exposes its ignorance.  Obviously effective aggressiveness goes to Maidana, who was on top of Mayweather and looking to impose his will, while Mayweather’s dearest hope during this time was to try and keep Maidana out of his face.  

 

Scoring flaw #1 on the part of boxing hipsters: assuming that Maidana’s aggressiveness is not effective.  After all, it’s not like he’s landing all of his punches, right?  Come on.  Look.  Maidana was the aggressor, setting effectiveness aside for a moment, beyond all doubt.  Was he effective?  Sure.  Not that Floyd’s defense didn’t limit that aggressiveness somewhat, but you don’t have to be 100% effective 100% of the time to get credit in that category.  Too many fans and media dismiss effective aggressiveness as not applicable in Mayweather fights because of the shoulder roll.  You can be as slick as you want, but if the other guy is coming forward and initiating exchanges, he’s going to win this category.  The only question is how big a factor it becomes.  Let’s say it’s minimal for the sake of argument, even though I think it’s huge.  

 

Now to ring generalship.  Boxing hipsters think they know what this means.  Something along the lines of “using the entire ring” or simply moving can get a fighter the nod among these folks.  Running, then, is unjustly rewarded.  I’m not even accusing Floyd of running in this case necessarily.  I’m simply trying to challenge the all-too-common assumption that he wins ring generalship in a landslide at all times, and practically by default.  Look.  A shoulder roll is not ring generalship.  Backing up per se is far from being ring generalship.  Backing up CAN be part of this category, but only to the extent that, for example, you use it as a tactic to keep an opponent off balance to then spring your own offense off movement, or simply walk the opponent into punches.  My favorite example of the latter is Juan Manuel Marquez against Manny Pacquiao in their third meeting, but he got less than absolute zero credit for that from the awful judges.  By contrast, Mayweather gets the credit merely for being on the back foot.  I’ll never understand why, nor agree to it being justified.  Ask yourself this: if two armies are inflicting equal casualties on one another, but one is moving forward while the other falls back, whose general will tend to receive the most praise?  To me, the single best type of ring generalship is cutting off the ring, and keeping your opponent on or near the ropes.  This, I would wager, is not remotely on most fans’ radar when talking about ring generalship.  Put simply, the judging criteria are not properly or logically understood by very many people- even perhaps most judges- and it makes those with less admirable styles more successful against all reason.  Mayweather is not an undefeated fighter.  He just has the official record of one.  

 

But let’s say you disagree with me about rounds 2, 4, and/or 6, and had Maidana only up by a round or two, or even had it scored a draw after 6.  Maidana didn’t fade nearly as badly as Showtime might have you believe.  He won round 8 easily, and pretty clearly won 12, as well.  I also gave him round 11 for some of the same reasons detailed above.  This wasn’t even that close a fight in my opinion.  Maidana 117-111.  Technically there were enough close rounds to where I’m not 100% furious with you if you had it as far in the other direction as 115-113 Mayweather, but I think you would need to seriously examine your judging criteria and personal biases if you came to something like that.  Much like Canelo’s near-robbery win over Austin Trout, this one was a competitive fight with a lot of close rounds, but for stylistic reasons, those close rounds pretty clearly all should have gone in just one direction, and that direction is to Marcos Maidana.  I only regret that I hadn’t felt more strongly about those close rounds at the time they were happening so that I could give Maidana the Welterweight Championship recognition that is rightfully his.  Unfortunately, since I’m not one to second guess myself in order to second guess others, I will have to give minimal deference to the official result, which means essentially I’ll treat it like a draw, with the barest of edges to Mayweather, who therefore can’t help but retain his Championship.  Maidana, however, is now in the position that Martin Murray found himself in after a somewhat similar raw deal against Sergio Martinez last year- that of a #1 contender who can rightly feel like he beat the Champion.

 

In another nice matchup on the undercard, Amir Khan finally managed to shine, really for the first time since moving up to welterweight.  #17 Luis Collazo, who had to be seen as having a fighting chance coming in based on his dismantling of Victor Ortiz, was largely outclassed against the Manchester star.  Collazo had moments on a sporadic basis, but had a fair amount of trouble getting off his punches.  Part of the reason for this was strategically brilliant clinching on the part of Khan who, even against a mediocre puncher like Collazo, has to be careful to keep his chin well protected.  Neutralizing Collazo’s offense thusly, he was able to, at his pace, flash the handspeed and combination punching that made him a huge international star in the first place.  My score was 116-107, which reflected 3 Khan knockdowns, as well as a point deduction against each fighter in the 8th- one on Collazo for a low blow, and one (perhaps overdue) on Khan for excessive holding.  Judges Jerry Roth (117-106) and especially Cathy Leonard and Adelaide Byrd (119-104) had the fight too wide, with the ladies having it shamefully so.

 

Maidana, as alluded to above, takes over the #1 spot, while Mayweather maintains a hold on the Championship that looks more tenuous than ever before.  Khan, despite appearing to be right in the thick of contention at the top of the division now, objectively is not able to rise past #14, since Collazo was only #17 after beating a diminished Ortiz.  This, of course, is partly due to the fact that his lengthy resume at 140 is no good to him here, as well.  Collazo just does manage to hang onto a ranking in this very stacked division, at #20.  Khan’s arrival forces Jo Jo Dan out after a run of 7 weeks consecutively.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (210-242-242)
Last Fight: 5/3/2014- W* (MD12) vs. #4 Marcos Maidana
Next Fight: Unknown
Mayweather certainly deserved a loss against Maidana in what was clearly his toughest night since the first Castillo fight.  There’s already serious talk of a rematch.
1) Marcos Maidana (1-48-48)
Last Fight:5/3/2014- L* (MD12) vs. Champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: Unknown
See Mayweather’s notes, above.
2) Manny Pacquiao (1-283-283)
Last Fight: 4/12/2014- UD12 #1 Timothy Bradley
Next Fight: Unknown
Pacquiao is reportedly working on a 5-fight extension with the rotting corpse of Top Rank.
3) Juan Manuel Marquez (1-130-130)
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.
4) Timothy Bradley (1-30-100)
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.
5) Keith Thurman (21-21-61)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- RTD3 Julio Diaz (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Thurman might get a Mayweather shot next, if there’s no Mayweather-Maidana II on the horizon.
6) Shawn Porter (21-22-22)
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 (22-76-93)
Last Fight: 5/4/2013- L (UD12) vs. Champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai (UNR)
Guerrero scheduled the Kamegai fight just in time to avoid removal.  It’s not exactly the sexiest possible matchup, though Kamegai does make good fights generally.
8) Kell Brook (22-158-158)
Last Fight:3/15/2014- TKO8 Alvaro Robles (UNR) (at JMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Porter’s notes, above.
9) Devon Alexander (22-115-115)
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 (24-24-24)
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 (24-98)
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 (21-67)
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 (21-76)
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) Amir Khan (1-1)
Last Fight: 5/3/2014- UD12 #17 Luis Collazo
Next Fight: Unknown
Despite the fairly impressive win over Collazo, Khan has ruled himself out of a possible Mayweather shot in September, due to Ramadan.
15) Paulie Malignaggi (1-22) 
Last Fight: 4/19/2014- L (KO4) vs. #6 Shawn Porter
Next Fight: Unknown
Malignaggi confirms he’s considering retirement.
16) Chris van Heerden (1-99)
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.
17) Luis Carlos Abregu (1-54)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- TKO8 Jean Carlos Prada (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Abregu is interested in fighting Brandon Rios in the US.
18) Jan Zaveck (14-230)
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 (8-10)
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) Luis Collazo (1-14)
Last Fight: 5/3/2014- L (UD12) vs. Amir Khan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It’s back to the drawing board for Collazo, whose career momentum was abruptly halted by a sharp Khan.

 

The Week Ahead:
Friday
Ray Robinson vs. George Sosa; Dover, Delaware; Off TV
Philadelphia’s Robinson will stay busy, while still effectively getting a breather in this one.  New Jersey native Sosa is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill journeyman, who has only twice beaten fighters with winning records (the two of which totaled only 7 wins).  Robinson, by sharp contrast, comes off back-to-back wins over top 50 fighters in Ray Narh and Aslanbek Kozaev.  
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