Middleweight: 2014, Jun 9-15

I’ll start my discussion of this very eventful week at middleweight with far and away the most important fight of the lot: the World Championship fight between Champ Sergio Martinez and challenger Miguel Cotto.  It was a sad ending to the already diminishing reign of what I must confess has long been one of my favorite fighters in Martinez.  The Champion went down three times in the first.  He either re-injured his knee early in that round, or else just had no bounce left in them for another reason.  Either way, his chin also was not all that impressive, and Cotto, while being the smaller man, just came out and destroyed him.  Whether literal or somewhat figurative, Sergio’s handicap and the resulting action conjured up images of Cotto’s cringeworthy beating of Yuri Foreman.  Martinez held on gamely, not going down again and even coming close to winning a round or two in the first half of the fight, but in the 9th he was charged with an incorrect knockdown by referee Michael Griffin where his body plunged downward, but where his knee and no other part of him besides the soles of his feet touched the canvas.  This was the beginning of the end either way, as Maravilla’s corner stopped the fight after that round.  Cotto is now a legitimate Champion of the World, a credential he never achieved even during his heyday at 147 and thereabouts.  That being said, he’s instantly a vulnerable one, having fought the right Champion at the right time.  Can you picture him even being competitive with Golovkin, for example?  I can’t.


On Friday’s ShoBox broadcast from Indio, California, prospect Hugo Centeno pitched a clear shutout over 10 rounds with laughably unproven undefeated prospect Gerardo Ibarra.  Raul Caiz, Sr. and Tony Crebs somehow found a round to give Ibarra, but that’s nonsense.  It was total domination, with only two rounds that were even kinda close.  Centeno boxed well, but it should be noted that while he had his guy hurt several times, he didn’t seem to flash much in the vein of killer instinct.  As for Ibarra, he was a late replacement and out of shape as a result.  This led to his fighting at a sub-par pace that gave him no chance to do anything but go the distance.  He did have moments when he showed he had some pop, particularly since he seems to be the more natural middleweight of the two, with Centeno typically competing at or around 154.


Saturday in Townsville, Australia, gatekeeper Les Sherrington dominated low-level Japanese journeyman Kazuyuki Fukuyama over the 8-round distance, bookending his performance with 2 knockdowns in the first and one in the 8th, and winning every round in between according to the judges.  I can’t find a video, but this one seems pretty cut and dry, and also pretty inconsequential.


In other non-televised Saturday action, prospect Michel Soro- who would be undefeated if not for a very questionable decision loss to currently-ranked Zaurbek Baysangurov- scored a 5-round knockout over the occasionally formidable Bulgarian journeyman Alexey Ribchev.  He’s known for his upset win over Matthew Hall in 2011, but doesn’t usually do nearly that well when he mixes with legitimate prospects.  This apparently was no different, though the result is really all I know about the fight in the absence of video.


The Chris Eubank two-man clown show continued in full force on Saturday in Newcastle, England.  The elder Eubank handled the corner work (such as it was), and barely said a word all night, instead choosing to pose in the corner the way Eubank all too often poses in the ring.  Speaking of which….there’s no denying Jr’s talent.  He can- and ultimately did- blast a guy out of there anytime he feels like it, at least at this level.  I understand trying to get rounds, but when you’re just standing there with a really sub-par opponent, you’re doing nothing but making yourself look bad.  The over-the-top cockiness of this guy and this team are really insufferable.  If you were easily handling a Carl Froch or Gennady Golovkin- or, hell, even a Marco Antonio Rubio or something like that, then fine.  Enjoy yourself, if that’s the type of guy you are.  You’ve earned it, at least.  But to clown a guy like Stepan Horvath?  A guy that everyone already knows doesn’t belong in the same ring with you?  You’re showing a lower level of class as a human being than Horvath ever has as a fighter, and that’s saying something.  Just do your job and spare us the 6 rounds of unwatchable boxing, please.  You know a guy is underachieving when a fight with 5 knockdowns is crushingly boring overall.  All of those knockdowns were clustered in round 5 and 6, when I can only hope Eubank got as tired of his own antics as everyone forced to watch them already were.


Mexican prospect Marco “Dorado” Reyes failed to impress in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico on Saturday, settling for a unanimous decision (the scores were somewhat fishily not announced) against a lower-mid-level journeyman in Octavio Castro that had been stopped by several decent fighters that you wouldn’t necessarily call feared contenders.  Overall, Castro had been stopped no less than 7 times in his career.  It’s not just that Reyes didn’t get the stoppage, though.  He also failed to really separate himself.  While I gave him 9 of the 10 rounds, I felt the majority of those were debatable, or close at the very least.  Reyes did suffer a fairly serious cut- from a punch as far as I could tell- in the 4th, but he hadn’t been lighting it up to that point, either.  On the basis of this one fight, I’d say that if you’re looking forward to Reyes being a dynamic contender or future champion, you will be waiting forever.


Cotto naturally assumes the title of Champion, while Martinez returns the the realm of mere mortals for the first time since his win over Champion Kelly Pavlik more than 4 years ago.  He settles in at #3 behind Golovkin and Soliman.  His actual in-ring performance and, to a lesser extent, his previous one against Murray would indicate that he belongs much lower than that, but his overall resume still can’t be totally ignored.  Sergio’s deposition bumps everyone ranked #3 and below last week down a spot, including Osumanu Adama, who exits the top 10 after 18 consecutive weeks, and Daniel Jacobs, who exits the rankings after 41.


Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Miguel Cotto (1-1-1)
Last Fight: RTD10 Champ Sergio Martinez
Next Fight: Unknown
Cotto is the Champion.  The only question now is whether he will risk that Championship against the dominant #1 contender against whom he probably would have very little chance.
1) Gennady Golovkin (26-93-156)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO7 Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #5 Daniel Geale
Golovkin-Geale is official for July 26 in New York.
2) Sam Soliman (2-26-26)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- UD12 #2 Felix Sturm
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman dominated Sturm in the rematch after getting a very fortunate decision the first time before a banned stimulant incident led to a no contest.  So far as we know so far, he was clean this time, too, though he did look extremely energetic. His trainer wants Cotto.
3) Sergio Martinez (1-217-217)
Last Fight: 6/7/2014- L (RTD10) vs. #8 JMW Miguel Cotto
Next Fight: Unknown
When assessing Maravilla’s viability as a contender at this point, it really comes down to one question: is his base athletic level and chin as bad as his performance against Cotto, or can it be blamed on a knee or other sort of leg injury?  If the latter, he might stand some chance to come back given enough recuperation time.  If the former, then he’s one of the most obviously finished fighters I’ve ever seen.  His manager ominously said after the fight that his only injury was a broken nose.  That’s incredible, if true, considering how bad his legs looked.
4) Felix Sturm (1-560-560)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- L (UD12) vs. #8 Sam Soliman
Next Fight: Unknown
Sturm might be on his way out, with his rematch performance head and shoulders below his effort in the first fight with Soliman.  Nevertheless, he has denied any thoughts of retirement.
5) Daniel Geale (1-260-260)
Last Fight: 2/19/2014- RTD6 Garth Wood (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #1 Gennady Golovkin
See Golovkin’s notes, above.
6) Peter Quillin (1-86-107)
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.  Sergio Mora has also indicated interest.
7) Martin Murray (1-132-132)
Last Fight: 4/23/2014- RTD6 Ishmael Tetteh (UNR) at SMW
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. #15 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.
8) Matthew Macklin (1-155-246)
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.
9) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (1-26-26)
Last Fight: 4/16/2014- UD10 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
N’Dam says he wants Rosado next, and then Golovkin.
10) Sergio Mora (1-50-50)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- TKO5 Samuel Rogers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora wants Quillin or Golovkin.
11) Osumanu Adama (1-19)
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.
12) Dmitry Chudinov (1-11)
Last Fight: 6/1/2014- UD12 Patrick Nielsen (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chudinov’s promoter has verbally offered Sam Soliman a fight on August 8.
13) Marco Antonio Rubio (1-176)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- KO10* Domenico Spada (UNR)
Next Fight:Unknown
14) Jarrod Fletcher (1-19)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: Unknown Date- vs. Daniel Jacobs (UNR)
Fletcher will fight fringe contender Daniel Jacobs on an unknown date for a trumped up (aka WBA) title.
15) Max Bursak (1-176)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- L* (UD12) vs. Jarrod Fletcher (UNR)
Next Fight: 6/21/2014- vs. #7 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.
16) David Lemieux (1-3)
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.  In the meantime, he’s reportedly turned down an eliminator with Sturm.
17) Grzegorz Proksa (1-165)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
18) Caleb Truax (1-38)
Last Fight: 1/3/2014- Draw (UD10) vs. Ossie Duran (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: 7/25/2014- vs. Rogelio Medina (UNR)
Truax fights the very serviceable Porky Medina, who comes off a split decision loss to to Jonathan Gonzalez that could have gone the other way.  He’s on a similar level to Duran, who gave Truax all he could handle.
19) Curtis Stevens (1-45)
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.
20) Andrey Meryasev (1-31)
Last Fight: 4/26/2014- UD10 Carlos Baldomir (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Meryasev dominated in pedestrian fashion against the now-retired Baldomir.


The Week Ahead: Nothing major to report for next week.

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