Middleweight: 2014, May 26- Jun 1

In a battle of fallen prospects on Saturday, David Lemieux got his career back on the right track by destroying Fernando Guerrero, who went down in every round and twice in the 3rd, for a 3rd-round knockout.  Lemieux reminded us why he has a lot of fans despite his inconsistent results over the past few years, as he was ridiculously explosive in the fight, and walked right through a reasonably decent opponent.  Guerrero simply could not keep the much stronger Lemieux off of him, and it probably didn’t help that he suffered a bad and extremely bloody cut on his eyelid in the 2nd round.  It was a total wipeout, and it gets Lemieux to heights he never (legitimately) reached, even as an undefeated prospect.  

 

Combined with the win over Jose Miguel Torres that he scored a couple pounds over the limit during a period I considered him inactive at 160, Lemieux makes what I’m pretty sure is his debut in any of my rankings, at #14.  This forces everyone ranked #14 and below last week down a spot, including Akio Shibata, who exits the rankings after 6 weeks back in.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (215-215-215)
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 (24-91-154)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO7 Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
Golovkin will fight July 26 in New York, and the Chavez fight looks dead.  All signs point to Daniel Geale as the opponent.  He renewed his stated desire to fight the Martinez-Cotto winner after that.
2) Felix Sturm (24-558-558)
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 (14-258-258)
Last Fight: 2/19/2014- RTD6 Garth Wood (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
It looks extremely likely that Geale will get a shot at Golovkin on July 26.
4) Peter Quillin (6-84-105)
Last Fight: 4/19/2014- UD12 Lukas Konecny (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBO has mandated Quillin to fight British prospect Billy Joe Saunders next.  There continues to be talk of an endlessly-theorized all-Golden Boy showdown with Daniel Jacobs, though, and perhaps a fight with Lemieux after that.  Golovkin also wants a piece of him.
5) Martin Murray (6-130-130)
Last Fight: 4/23/2014- RTD6 Ishmael Tetteh (UNR) at SMW
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. #13 Max Bursak
Murray hasn’t looked at all special since nearly and probably deservedly knocking off the Champ last April, but he’ll need to be in some kind of form in June if he hopes to handle the always tough Max Bursak.
6) Matthew Macklin (6-153-244)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Macklin’s fight with Geale is off due to an injury on the card, and Geale has bailed on the fight altogether in favor of a shot at GGG.
7) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (19-24-24)
Last Fight: 4/16/2014- UD10 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
N’Dam says he wants Rosado next, and then Golovkin.
8) Sam Soliman (19-24-24)
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 (19-48-48)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: 5/31/2014- vs. Samuel Rogers (UNR)
I missed the memo about the date for Mora-Rogers.  I originally read that it was going to be on Arreola-Stiverne II in LA, but at some point it was moved to HBO2’s May 31 card in Vegas.
10) Osumanu Adama (17-17-17)
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 (17-174)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- KO10* Domenico Spada (UNR)
Next Fight:Unknown
Rubio likely will rather embarrassingly take on the still-existing Ricardo Mayorga in late July.  Anytime the early fight hype involves talk of extensive medical tests to ensure fighter safety, you know the fight shouldn’t be happening.
12) Jarrod Fletcher (7-17)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: Unknown
The WBA randomly ordered Golovkin to fight Fletcher, but then apparently relented in favor of Daniel Geale.
13) Max Bursak (7-174)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- L* (UD12) vs. Jarrod Fletcher (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. #5 Martin Murray
Bursak will get a big opportunity before Jarrod Fletcher, who outpointed him in a moderately controversial decision in February, as he has been tapped by Martin Murray for a June 21 fight in Monte Carlo.
14) David Lemieux (1-1)
Last Fight: 5/24/2014- KO3 Fernando Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Lemieux’s eye-popping domination of Guerrero has fueled idle speculation of a potential shot at Peter Quillin, who is short on options for high-level opponents due to the ongoing Showtime-HBO feud.
15) Grzegorz Proksa (1-163)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
16) Caleb Truax (1-36)
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.
17) Curtis Stevens (1-43)
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.
18) Andrey Meryasev (1-29)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- UD10 Carlos Baldomir (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Meryasev dominated in pedestrian fashion against the now-retired Baldomir.
19) Daniel Jacobs (1-40)
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.
20) Dmitry Chudinov (1-9)
Last Fight: 12/21/2013- TKO6 Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/1/2014- vs. Patrick Nielsen (UNR)
Chudinov will fight promising Danish prospect Patrick Nielsen in a very interesting clash on June 1 in Moscow.

 

The Week Ahead:  
Saturday
#2 Felix Sturm vs. #8 Sam Soliman; Krefeld, Germany; SAT1 (Germany)
This is a rematch of a fight from last year that Sturm pretty clearly won, but in which he was pretty clearly robbed.  Soliman then tested positive for a banned stimulant, causing the bout to be declared a no contest.  I view it as a Sturm win…I pretty much did all along.  Soliman’s public relations team has done a great job obfuscating the test results.  He tested positive under local commission protocols, and then insisted that his B-sample be opened by an independent lab in the US, but under protocols that expressly do not test for the substance that he tested positive for.  He now claims to have been clean, under the flawed rationale that the substance he tested positive for (which, by the way, he’s never claimed he didn’t take, to my knowledge) was not banned by the alphabet organization whose title he was seeking, nor by the bout contract.  That’s a preposterous strawman argument, though.  It was banned by the local German commission, and if you’re going to fight there, you obviously are bound by their rules.  Maybe the IBF and and the bout contract didn’t include a “no baseball bats” clause either, but I’m pretty sure the German authorities would have had every authority to deny Soliman the use of one, had he brought one with him.  Same principle applies.  The largely weak-minded and uninquisitive boxing media, along with the IBF, has given Soliman a pass and accepted his narrative blindly, by and large.  I will not.  He is a dirty fighter, and the fact that he’s getting this shot is a real shame, especially after Sturm already handled him the first time.  He’s ranked in the top 10 independently of the first meeting, based mostly on a 2012 decision over 15th-ranked Garth Wood, along with three other gatekeeper-level wins for which he did not test dirty.  As for Sturm, he can’t catch a break on the cards lately, after having benefited from biased judging in his favor for years.

 

#9 Sergio Mora vs. Samuel Rogers; Las Vegas, Nevada; Off TV
Mora continues to wait for a big fight after converting on a huge upset against fringe contender, and ultimately shooting star, Grzegorz Proksa back in June.  He comes off a 5th round knockout over low level journeyman Milton Nunez.  Rogers, of the Virgin Islands, comes off a decision loss- the first of his career- against veteran journeyman Carlos Jerez.  I wouldn’t rule him out as a legitimate prospect despite that loss, but it’s a pretty big ask to expect him to be competitive with a top 10 contender after losing to a journeyman.

 

Sunday
#20 Dmitry Chudinov vs. Patrick Nielsen; Mytishchi, Russia; Boytsovskiy Klub (Russia)
This is one of those fights you love to see.  Two blue-chip undefeated prospects on their way up meeting in a high-stakes matchup.  I’ve seen both guys, and both have had occasional struggles with opponents far below this level.  Nielsen seems to be the better technical fighter to me, but still only narrowly outpointed a guy named Jamel Bakhi at one point.  Chudinov had perhaps even greater trouble with journeyman Patrick Mendy not that long ago.  He has apparent power- probably more than Nielsen, but he tends to club with his punches, and has a tendency to headhunt.  I’ve seen him tire himself out from all the heavily-thrown misses.  On neutral ground, I think I’d give a narrow edge to Nielsen, but maybe in Russia you’d have to give Chudinov a slight edge if you were betting, particularly since Nielsen is not much of a knockout threat.
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