Archive for Max Bursak

Middleweight: 2014, Jun 23-29

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by danboxing
#7 Martin Murray got a solid win on Saturday in Monte Carlo over #15 Max Bursak.  Murray employed a markedly different strategy early than I was used to seeing at his best, and I’m not sure it served him well early.  Instead of walking forward and looking for openings in tank-like fashion behind a passive but tight high guard the way he did against Martinez, for example, he looked to be much lighter on his feet in this fight.  This led, in my opinion, to the first 4 rounds all being fairly close, though I did have Murray ahead 39-37 at that point, as he did at least manage to be first with his punches more often than not, and clearly had the better power and skills even while Bursak was able to put him in awkward positions with some frequency.  From the 5th on, though, it was all Murray, as perhaps his solid body attack began to pay dividends and he began holding his ground with more frequency.  I had it 119-109 for the Brit, with 2 of the 3 judges seeing it the same way.  

 

Murray receives a modest rankings boost just from proving that he’s most likely still world class, and not likely the same fighter that probably should have taken a loss against journeyman Khomitsky in December.  This is enough to get him by Quillin, who obviously can’t boast a performance anywhere near as impressive as the should-be victory over then-Champion Martinez (or the should-be victory over #3 Sturm, for that matter), and who never seems to beat good fighters by more than the skin of his teeth (give or take some bad judging).  Geale is able to hold him off in a fairly close call, though, since he at least has a win over a #3 contender in Sebastian Sylvester. on his resume.  While he did lose in an upset to Darren Barker last year, this is frankly more excusable than Murray’s performance against Khomitsky, and Geale’s resume is also significantly longer in terms of good wins.

 

Bursak stays put at #15, since his loss to a #7 contender says absolutely nothing about whether or not he’s better than #16 Lemieux, who has losses to a non-top-20 fringe contender in Alcine and a #11 Contender in Rubio, and who has never beaten anyone better than borderline top 25 level, and that’s if you generously credit Jose Miguel Torres with that kind of status as I grudgingly have.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Miguel Cotto (3-3-3)
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.  His thoughts seem to be more in the direction of Canelo.
1) Gennady Golovkin (28-95-158)
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 (4-28-28)
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, but Martin Murray looks more likely.
3) Sergio Martinez (3-219-219)
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.  A big soccer fan, he says he’ll determine his future after the World Cup.
4) Felix Sturm (3-562-562)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- L (UD12) vs. #8 Sam Soliman
Next Fight: Unknown
Sturm passed on an eliminator with Curtis Stevens, right after David Lemieux passed on an eliminator with Sturm.  Apparently nobody wants the IBF title.
5) Daniel Geale (3-262-262)
Last Fight: 2/19/2014- RTD6 Garth Wood (UNR)
Next Fight: 7/26/2014- vs. #1 Gennady Golovkin
See Golovkin’s notes, above.
6) Martin Murray (1-134-134)
Last Fight: 6/21/2014- UD12 #15 Max Bursak
Next Fight: Unknown
Finally another solid performance from Murray, who had been apparently hanging over from his robbery loss to Martinez.  He is now in line for a shot at Soliman’s belt, and also is in the running to fight Golovkin, it seems.

7) Peter Quillin (1-88-109)

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.
8) Matthew Macklin (3-157-248)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Macklin is reportedly hoping for an eliminator or some sort in Dublin soon, but there’s nothing much more specific than that to report.
9) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (3-28-28)
Last Fight: 4/16/2014- UD10 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
With the first 3 of the first 4 guys offered the shot having turned it down already, the 4th- Curtis Stevens- is now in talks for an IBF eliminator with N’Dam.  The winner would earn a shot at Soliman’s belt.
10) Sergio Mora (3-52-52)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- TKO5 Samuel Rogers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora wants Quillin or Golovkin.
11) Osumanu Adama (3-21)
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 (3-13)
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 (3-178)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- KO10* Domenico Spada (UNR)
Next Fight:Unknown
Rubio wants a shot at Cotto.
14) Jarrod Fletcher (3-21)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: 8/9/2014- vs. Daniel Jacobs (UNR)
Fletcher will fight fringe contender Daniel Jacobs on August 9 for a trumped up (aka WBA) title.
15) Max Bursak (3-178)
Last Fight: 6/21/2014- L (UD12) vs. #7 Martin Murray
Next Fight: Unknown
Monte Carlo isn’t kind to Bursak.  He lost a debatable decision to Jarrod Fletcher there, and then was more or less dominated by Martin Murray.
16) David Lemieux (3-5)
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 (3-167)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa has just a week to schedule a fight before he’s removed for inactivity.
18) Caleb Truax (3-40)
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 (3-47)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- TKO10* Tureano Johnson (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens will likely fight N’Dam for a shot at Soliman’s alphabet belt.
20) Andrey Meryasev (3-33)
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: 
Saturday
Mark Heffron vs. Vigilijus Stapulionis; Rzeszow, Poland; TV Unknown
Heffron is an impressive 23 year-old prospect from Lancashire, England, who burst on the scene in just his 9th pro fight in February by winning a comfortable points decision over Argentine gatekeeper Mateo Veron.  Stapulionis is a solid journeyman from Lithuania.  If the Veron win was in any way a fluke, he’s good enough to at least challenge the young Brit.  If not, Heffron should handle him with relative ease.

 

Matt Korobov vs. Jose Uzcategui; Omaha, Nebraska; HBO (US)
Korobov is a longstanding top prospect whose stock had been sinking at one point due to some underwhelming wins over so-so opposition.  A knockout of the very credible Ossie Duran a year ago put him back on the right track, but in Uzcategui he faces a fresh undefeated guy who probably has a lot more to offer at this stage than did Duran.  Uzcategui is a native of Colombia who has never fought outside his adopted home of Mexico.  He has very long arms, but probably needs to learn to control range better.  He’s rather predictable and easy to hit, or so it appears to my relatively untrained eyes.  Still, he comes off a knockout win over what I believe to have been a used-up version of David Lopez back in March.  If you twist my arm for a prediction, I’ll say that Korobov’s sturdier approach and more technically-sound skill set is likely to allow the Russian to prevail, and perhaps by knockout.  Whomever wins, my guess is that he’ll claim a ranking next week.

Middleweight: 2014, Jun 16-22

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2014 by danboxing
After a choc-full slate a week ago, the division took a break this past week.  No changes.

 

 
Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Miguel Cotto (2-2-2)
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.  His thoughts seem to be more in the direction of Canelo.
1) Gennady Golovkin (27-94-157)
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 (3-27-27)
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, but Martin Murray looks more likely, assuming he gets by Bursak.
3) Sergio Martinez (2-218-218)
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 (2-561-561)
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.  He’s still in position for an alphabet eliminator.  Lemieux turned down a crack at him, and now it seems Curtis Stevens is in line for that shot.
5) Daniel Geale (2-261-261)
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 (2-87-108)
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 (2-133-133)
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 (2-156-247)
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 (2-27-27)
Last Fight: 4/16/2014- UD10 Fulgencio Zuniga (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
N’Dam’s team is trying to get a shot at Soliman.
10) Sergio Mora (2-51-51)
Last Fight: 5/31/2014- TKO5 Samuel Rogers (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora wants Quillin or Golovkin.
11) Osumanu Adama (2-20)
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 (2-12)
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 (2-177)
Last Fight: 4/5/2014- KO10* Domenico Spada (UNR)
Next Fight:Unknown
Rubio wants a shot at Cotto.
14) Jarrod Fletcher (2-20)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: 8/?/2014- vs. Daniel Jacobs (UNR)
Fletcher will fight fringe contender Daniel Jacobs on either August 2 or 9 for a trumped up (aka WBA) title.
15) Max Bursak (2-177)
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 (2-4)
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 (2-166)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa has just a couple weeks to schedule a fight before he’s removed for inactivity.
18) Caleb Truax (2-39)
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 (2-46)
Last Fight: 4/4/2014- TKO10* Tureano Johnson (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens is backed by the IBF to fight Sturm in an eliminator, should both men so choose.
20) Andrey Meryasev (2-32)
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: 
Saturday
#7 Martin Murray vs. #15 Max Bursak; Monte Carlo, Monaco; PolSat Sport (Poland)
Murray was a borderline robbery away from being Middleweight Champion a little over a year ago, but his recent performances have allowed others to pass him by pretty clearly.  If he’s still hanging over, he might get upset this week.  Max Bursak is a solid operator, and probably a hair better than his current ranking.  He most likely deserved at least a draw in his February fight with Jarrod Fletcher, for which he took an upset loss.

Middleweight: 2014, Feb 3-9

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by danboxing
In last week’s headlining fight on Saturday in Monte Carlo, #1 Gennady Golovkin did about what you’d expect, coming forward and breaking down his outgunned opponent, Osumanu Adama.  Adama did manage to get the 1-2 working here and there, but couldn’t consistently keep the seek-and-destroy Kazakh off of him.  The only surprise may have been that it took until the 7th round- three knockdowns deep- for the fight to be called off.

 

On the undercard, #12 Max Bursak took on one-loss Aussie prospect Jarrod Fletcher, and found himself in the no-doubt unfamiliar position of a late replacement, as Fletcher had initially been scheduled to fight Martin Murray.  The short notice- less than a month- may have been a factor, as he didn’t look that great.  The fight was difficult to watch due to constant holding and various other fouls.  Bursak was the main culprit, throwing the kitchen sink of illegal tactics at his opponent.  He held, he pushed down on the neck, he rabbit punched, and he hit after the bell.  Fletcher was no saint either, but it was Bursak that- still correctly, I think- lost a point for rabbit punches and a point for pushing down on Fletcher’s back.  The fight, in addition to being ugly, was extremely close and competitive.  Bursak, as I saw it, earned himself a fairly clear nod in rounds 1, 4, 6, 11 (even due to point deduction), and 12, while Fletcher clearly captured 5 and 7.  Rounds 2, 3, 9, and 10 were too close to call with confidence, I thought, with round 2 either even or a 10-8 Fletcher due to the first point deduction.  I had it 114-112 for Bursak, meaning I backed him as the winner of 8 rounds to Fletcher’s 4 before deductions are factored in.  Fletcher might legitimately have won as many as 6, and thus could have won by as much as a 114-112 margin, while I thought Bursak could have won as many as 10 rounds, or 116-110.  Surprisingly, Fletcher didn’t just win, but did so unanimously.  Phillippe Verbeke had it 114-112, a reasonable, if slightly pro-Fletcher card.  Luis Pabon proved that you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself as a bad referee if you can also be a bad judge, turning in a clearly unfair 115-111 card for Fletcher, a score in which he was joined by Poland’s Leszek Jankowiak.  That’s no surprise, as Jankowiak is a notorious fight thief.  In fights I’ve seen that he’s judged, he’s now turned in at least 4 completely unreasonable cards (Kolodziej-Crenz, this one, Rodriguez-Maderna and, to his everlasting infamy, Chisora-Helenius).  He also turned in a pretty borderline card recently, giving Roy Jones way too much credit in a wide decision over Zine Benmakhlouf.  I don’t see every mid-level European fight, and so I don’t see Jankowiak nearly as often as I would if he were a comparably busy American judge.  The volume of terrible cards he’s perpetrated relative to the number of fights I’ve actually seen him judge leads me to suspect that he may just be one of the worst judges in the whole wide world.

 

In the also-ran category, #11 Anthony Mundine won a unanimous shutout over 10 rounds against lower-mid-level Kiwi journeyman Gunnar Jackson, in what can only be described as a stay busy fight.

 

But that’s not to say that the fight wasn’t significant at all.  Far from it.  Mundine made 160, which allows him to stay ranked here.  He would have been removed this week if he’d come in as heavy as his opponent, who was above 163.

 

Speaking of indifferent results helping you out: Adama technically sees more benefit from his beatdown loss than Golovkin does from the win.  There’s nowhere for the #1 contender to go unless he fights the Champion, so he stays put.  Adama, who was removed from the #13 spot in September for inactivity at 160, returns at an even higher position of #10.  This has nothing to do with his performance on Saturday.  For someone of borderline top-10 rank, a loss to a #1 contender proves nothing.  His prior resume has about the same impact it otherwise might.  You might expect that to put him in the #15 range or something like that, considering the inactivity.  But not so.  He returns at #10.  I had to do my research on this, but that’s the first time he’s been in the top 10 since April 2011.  How does one move up 3 spots without doing anything?  Well, Barker and Pirog have departed since then, and I simply re-thought his placement as against Rubio and Mundine who, incidentally, are forced down to #11 and #12, respectively.

 

Bursak at least arguably won the fight, and his opponent was reasonably credible in his own right.  For those reasons, I won’t drop Bursak any more than I have to, and so he is displaced two spots to #14- one for Adama’s return, and one to accommodate the required debut of Fletcher, who debuts at #13.  Even if I were of a mind to drop Bursak further, that would be problematic due to his 2010 win over Vera, who also falls two places to #15, along with everyone ranked below him.  Dmitry Chudinov is forced from the rankings after 23 weeks, and Ishida after just 2.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (199-199-199)
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 (8-75-138)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- TKO7 Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golovkin wants a shot at the Championship against Martinez, and there are rumors that Andy Lee is being considered for an April fight, as well.
2) Felix Sturm (8-542-542)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman is the #1 contender for Sturm’s alphabet title, and Murray, Macklin, and Geale are both trying to get rematches with him, as well.
3) Martin Murray (8-114-114)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- W* (PTS8) vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Initial reports had Murray’s withdrawal from his scheduled fight with Jarrod Fletcher as a result of an offer to fight Felix Sturm, but Murray says he doesn’t know if those negotiations are even underway or not, and says nagging injuries to both hands are to blame.
4) Daniel Geale (3-242-242)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: 2/19/2014- vs. Garth Wood (UNR)
Geale will face gatekeeper Garth Wood- his former sparring partner- on February 19 in Sydney.
5) Matthew Macklin (3-137-228)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After a legitimate but very unspectacular win over only moderately proven prospect Lamar Russ, Macklin has joined the chorus of quality middleweights looking for a rematch with Sturm.  He’s also pushing for a fight with Andy Lee and has expressed interest in Quillin.
6) Peter Quillin (3-68-89)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Macklin’s notes, above.  Stevens is also looking for a fight with him.
7) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (3-8-8)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD10 Anthony Fitzgerald (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/15/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
After Andy Lee turned down a proposed fight for March 1, N’Dam will be back on February 15 in Ireland against an opponent yet to be named.
8) Sam Soliman (3-8-8)
Last Fight: 12/11/2013- TKO9 Les Sherrington (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman has been re-installed as the #1 contender to Sturm’s alphabet strap, and will likely get another shot soon.
9) Sergio Mora (3-32-32)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora had hoped to fight Golovkin on February 1, but says he was never offered the fight.
10) Osumanu Adama (1-1-1)
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 (1-158)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/5/2014- vs. Domenico Spada (UNR)
Rubio-Spada is now set for April 5 in Mexico.  It’s for an interim title, if such trifles mean anything to you.
12) Anthony Mundine (1-158)
Last Fight: 1/29/2014- UD10 Gunnar Jackson (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mundine continues to make noise about wanting to fight Mayweather as if he thinks it’s remotely possible it might happen.  He sounds like a lunatic when he does that.
13) Jarrod Fletcher (1-1)
Last Fight: 2/1/2014- W* (UD12) vs. #12 Max Bursak
Next Fight: Unknown
I don’t agree with the verdict, but Fletcher legitimately fought on more-or-less even terms with a pretty good fringe contender in Bursak.  His only loss was a TKO that was stopped for very little reason against Billy Joe Saunders, so he’s one to watch.
14) Max Bursak (1-158)
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.
15) Bryan Vera (1-68)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L* (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (UNR) (at SMW)
Vera-Chavez is on for March 1 on HBO.
16) Grzegorz Proksa (1-147)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa would like to fight in April or May.  Setting reports of hand problems to rest, he says there’s currently nothing wrong with him.
17) Caleb Truax (1-20)
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.
18) Curtis Stevens (1-27)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- TKO1 Patrick Majewski (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens has his sites set on Peter Quillin.
19) Andrey Meryasev (1-13)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve still yet to see Meryasev in action, but his win over Sanders at this point in his career proves that he’s a real prospect.
20) Danny Jacobs (1-24)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown

 

The Week Ahead: 
Friday
Roberto Garcia vs. Norberto Gonzalez; Chicago, IL; ESPN2 (US)
Garcia, a Texas-based Mexican, is a legitimate fringe contender at 154, and the fight is expected to be contested somewhere between 154 and 160.  Gonzalez is a 2-loss Mexican journeyman.  I’d classify him as mid-level, but he probably has the potential to be better than that, since his only two losses were to decent opponents in Mark Melligen and Antwone Smith.  This will be the Friday Night Fights main event.

Middleweight: 2014, Jan 27- Feb 2

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by danboxing
In a fight that was expected to be quick and easy, Curtis Stevens made it look even easier and quicker than expected.  In the very first round, Stevens knocked Polish journeyman Patrick Majewski down hard with a jab, and then went into full windmill mode to knock him down twice more and finish him off.  Majewski never showed any resistance whatsoever at any point in the spectacle.

 

On the Huck-Arslan undercard in Stuttgart, we had a near miss on what was almost another in a long line of German robberies.  Technically undefeated prospect Marcos Nader brought his tenuous resume- which consisted of a draw against Roberto Santos that should have been a loss (I scored it 115-113), followed by a win in the rematch that again should have been a loss (I again had it 115-113)- into a European Union title defense against untested but also undefeated 34 year old Italian Emmanuele Blandamura.  Blandamura rose to the occasion, while Nader shrunk from it.  The Italian wasn’t particularly precise, but worked almost constantly, and peppered the Spanish-born Austrian with little scoring shots almost non-stop.  Nader laid back, looking to land single punches, which he did about once every two rounds.  He fought as if he were Randall Bailey and therefore capable of winning the fight at any moment he chose with a huge shot.  That’s most likely some combination of awful strategy and extreme laziness.  Nader only has 3 stoppage victories, at least one of which was due to injury.  He’s not the kind of guy that can turn around a fight with one punch, and that was the only chance he was allowing himself for a win, based on his effort.  But it turns out he had another chance, as two of the three judges were going out of their ways to hand it to him.  Luckily, Blandamura won it by a clear enough margin that one of the two- Denmark’s Soren Saugmann- apparently decided it was not close enough to sign his name to a robbery.  Richard Davies of England, a veteran crook, had no such compunction.  He gave Nader at least 3 rounds that were clearly won by Blandamura, in addition to two close ones I scored for the Italian, to give Nader the nod at 115-113.  Only Spanish judge Francisco Vazquez had it reasonably scored at 117-111.  My score was 118-110, and I could see giving Nader as many as 2 additional rounds.  It’s a measure of redemption for Vazquez, who was the worst perpetrator of one of 2013’s worst robberies when he scored Ndiaye-Rebrasse in favor of Ndiaye, who was comprehensively dominated in the fight.

 

Blandamura falls just a couple spots short of the rankings with the win, and is now a bona fide fringe contender in addition to an undefeated prospect.  No changes this week.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (198-198-198)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. # 8 JMW Miguel Cotto
According to fighthype.com, citing anonymous sources close to Cotto, there is now no doubt that Cotto-Martinez will happen on June 7 in New York. 
1) Gennady Golovkin (7-74-137)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Golovkin returns February 1 in Monte Carlo.  Originally it looked like Murray was the opponent, but he will instead fight former borderline top 10 contender Osumanu Adama, who was removed from a #13 berth in September for failing to make 160 for 18 months.
2) Felix Sturm (7-541-541)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman is the #1 contender for Sturm’s alphabet title, and Murray, Macklin, and Geale are both trying to get rematches with him, as well.
3) Martin Murray (7-113-113)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- W* (PTS8) vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Initial reports had Murray’s withdrawal from his scheduled fight with Jarrod Fletcher as a result of an offer to fight Felix Sturm, but Murray says he doesn’t know if those negotiations are even underway or not, and says nagging injuries to both hands are to blame.
4) Daniel Geale (2-241-241)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: 2/19/2014- vs. Garth Wood (UNR)
Geale will face gatekeeper Garth Wood- his former sparring partner- on February 19 in Sydney.
5) Matthew Macklin (2-136-227)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After a legitimate but very unspectacular win over only moderately proven prospect Lamar Russ, Macklin has joined the chorus of quality middleweights looking for a rematch with Sturm.  He’s also pushing for a fight with Andy Lee.  He’s also expressed interest in Quillin.
6) Peter Quillin (2-67-88)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Macklin’s notes, above.
7) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (2-7-7)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD10 Anthony Fitzgerald (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/15/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
After Andy Lee turned down a proposed fight for March 1, N’Dam will be back on February 15 in Ireland against an opponent yet to be named.
8) Sam Soliman (2-7-7)
Last Fight: 12/11/2013- TKO9 Les Sherrington (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman has been re-installed as the #1 contender to Sturm’s alphabet strap, and will likely get another shot soon.
9) Sergio Mora (2-31-31)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora had hoped to fight Golovkin on February 1, but says he was never offered the fight.
10) Marco Antonio Rubio (2-2-157)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: 4/5/2014- vs. Domenico Spada (UNR)
Rubio-Spada is now set for April 5 in Mexico.  It’s for an interim title, if such trifles mean anything to you.
11) Anthony Mundine (2-157)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- TKO7 #4 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Gunnar Jackson (UNR) (at JMW?)
After two halfway decent opponents in Carson Jones and Billy Lyell fell through, Mundine has stepped down in competition with late replacement Gunnar Jackson, a mere journeyman.
12) Max Bursak (2-157)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD8 Gari Abajian (UNR)
Next Fight: 2/1/2013- vs. Jarrod Fletcher (UNR)
Bursak has replaced Martin Murray against Aussie prospect Jarrod Fletcher on February 1.  He’ll be in the rare position of a favored fighter in a fairly high-profile fight becoming a short-notice opponent.
13) Bryan Vera (2-67)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L* (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (UNR) (at SMW)
Vera-Chavez II now looks likely for March 1 in either Vegas or Texas, after a proposed February date was abandoned over concerns related to Olympic conflicts.
14) Grzegorz Proksa (2-146)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Plans for a February fight have apparently been scrapped, and Proksa would like to fight in April or May.  Setting reports of hand problems to rest, he says there’s currently nothing wrong with him.
15) Caleb Truax (2-19)
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 (2-26)
Last Fight: 1/24/2014- TKO1 Patrick Majewski (UNR) (at SMW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Stevens obliterated an overwhelmed Patrick Majewski, but that can legitimately do nothing for Stevens other than return his confidence.
17) Andrey Meryasev (2-12)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve still yet to see Meryasev in action, but his win over Sanders at this point in his career proves that he’s a real prospect.
18) Danny Jacobs (2-23)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
19) Dmitry Chudinov (2-23)
Last Fight: 12/21/2013- TKO6 Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
A fight with Ricardo Mayorga had been discussed, but Mayorga is no longer interested.
20) Nobuhiro Ishida (2-2)
Last Fight: 8/4/2013- KO2 Elly Pangaribuan (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
This sounds crazy, but the rather light-hitting middleweight is currently doing heavy weight training and has applied for clearance from the Japanese commission to compete as a heavyweight.  That’s a 4-division, 40 to, let’s say, 100 pound jump in weight.  If he’s approved, he will likely fight for the rather lightly-regarded Japanese Heavyweight title against Kyotaro Fujimoto.  As for his ranking here, that means he’ll most likely just hang around the rankings until he becomes ineligible on or about August 4.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Wednesday
#11 Anthony Mundine vs. Gunnar Jackson; Boondall, Australia; Main Event (Australia)
Jackson is a lower-mid-level Kiwi journeyman, and Mundine should have little trouble with him.

 

Saturday
#1 Gennady Golovkin vs. Osumanu Adama; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Main Event (Australia)
This may look like a walk in the park for the destructive and excellent Golovkin.  It may very well turn out that way.  That being said, it should be noted that Adama was ranked #13 before being removed for inactivity at 160 in September, and so it’s not like he’s a no-hope journeyman or anything like that.  That being said (part 2), Adama barely squeaked by against fading gatekeeper Grady Brewer after failing to make weight two fights ago.  He might be on the decline, himself, even at age 33.

 

#12Max Bursak vs. Jarrod Fletcher; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Main Event (Australia)
Australian prospect Fletcher was originally slated to fight Martin Murray, who withdrew.  Bursak was called in just a few weeks ahead of the fight date, and will therefore be in the rare position of a significantly favored fighter who took the fight on short notice.  Fletcher’s only loss was in the fall of 2012 in a fight with undefeated Brit Billy Joe Saunders, in a fight that was stopped ridiculously prematurely by a bad referee in Saunders’ home country.  On the other hand, he’s never beat anyone better than a upper-mid-level journeyman.  Bursak is a bona fide fringe contender, having beaten Bryan Vera in 2010.

Middleweight: 2013, Dec 16-22

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2014 by danboxing
Wednesday in Flemington, Australia, Sam Soliman returned from a PED suspension to dominate and stop gatekeeper Les Sherrington in the 9th, dropping his man twice along the way.  I can’t find a video.  The result is an important one, as I’ll discuss below.

 

Inactive contender Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam also returned from a more voluntary brand of inactivity on Saturday, fighting for the first time since his exciting and close October 2012 loss to Peter Quillin.  The fight was in Barcelona against mid-level Irish journeyman Anthony Fitzgerald.  N’Dam won a 10-round decision, and Fitzgerald was kind enough to confirm for me on facebook that the fight was indeed contested at the 160 pound limit.  This means that N’Dam is eligible for a re-ranking now that he’s active again.  

 

#1 Martin Murray had an awful outing that night in London.  The fight- against Belorussian journeyman Sergey Khomitsky- had been postponed from a couple weeks ago due to a virus that laid Murray low.  It could be that he was not entirely over its effects, because he was flat and very ordinary-looking.  The fight was at a contract weight of 163 or 164, but it can’t go unnoticed here.  Referee Robert Williams was also charged with the task of sole judge.  This is customary in Britain for non-title fights, and stands as one of the worst ideas that nation has had since it decided to bow to another person based solely on who her parents were and pay millions of pounds in tax money to that individual.  I do not fault Williams for his 77-75 card in favor of Murray because in the first place it was fairly reasonable despite the fact that I disagree with it, and in the second place because he could not possibly provide the concentration required to accurately judge a close round while simultaneously doing his job of enforcing the rules and ensuring fighter safety.  I think Murray lost the fight 77-75, and even giving minimal deference to the ref’s decision, the effect of this- the equivalent of a draw- is potentially devastating to Murray’s ranking.  But at the same time, he himself got even more clearly robbed against the Champion of the World in his previous fight, and thus it’s hard to drop him too far down the ranks.

 

In less momentous action, #11 Max Bursak shut out low-level journeyman Gari Abajian over 8.

 

I decided that with regard to Murray, he’s got to drop below Golovkin, and also below Sturm, who just beat a guy that Martinez beat.  He remains ahead of Barker in part because I’m maybe more merciful with regard to the Khomitsky fight than I should be, and in part because Murray performed better against Martinez (that’s really just my excuse that I’m using not to drop him to the #15 range or something).  I do think it’s important to strike a reasonable balance here, since his poor performance against Khomitsky is probably much more of a fluke than are his fine performances against Sturm and Sergio.  So Murray slides to #3.

 

N’Dam, whose only drawbacks are inactivity and his loss to an only semi-proven contender in Quillin, re-emerges at #8, just behind Quillin himself.

 

A quick analysis on Soliman: his overall resume is still solid.  But it was quite a stretch to have him winning the Sturm fight in the first place, and when you factor in his PED use for that fight, I don’t think it makes any sense at all to give him any positive credit for that particular outing.  So on the merits of his remaining resume (with the instant Sherrington win figuring prominently therein), he returns to the ranks just a couple spots lower than he left them, landing just behind N’Dam at #9.  Everyone ranked #8 and below last week dives two places, including Rubio and Mundine, who are forced from the top 10 after 10 and 8 weeks, respectively.  James Kirkland and Jorge Heiland are both forced from the rankings after one and two week stints, respectively.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (192-192-192)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. # 8 JMW Miguel Cotto
According to fighthype.com, citing anonymous sources close to Cotto, there is now no doubt that Cotto-Martinez will happen on June 7 in New York. 
1) Gennady Golovkin (1-68-131)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Golovkin returns February 1 in Monte Carlo.  Originally it looked like Murray was the opponent, but he will instead fight former borderline top 10 contender Osumanu Adama, who was removed from a #13 berth in September for failing to make 160 for 18 months.
2) Felix Sturm (1-535-535)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman is the #1 contender for Sturm’s alphabet title, and Macklin and Geale are both trying to get rematches with him, as well.
3) Martin Murray (1-107-107)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- W* (PTS8) vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Murray barely avoided an abject disaster with his abysmal performance against Khomitsky, and though he probably deserved to lose the fight, his narrow decision win allows him to stay in line for what looks like a shot at a second-rate alphabet belt in February, though the opponent hasn’t been announced.
4) Darren Barker (2-18-114)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (TKO2) vs. #4 Felix Sturm
Next Fight: Unknown
Barker’s body failed him against Sturm, and it’s led to heavy speculation that we may have seen the last of him.  His team has only fueled this speculation further.
5) Daniel Geale (18-235-235)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
In the wake of Sturm’s victory over the man that beat him, Geale has renewed calls for what would be a very interesting rematch with the German.  On the other hand, he’s got a loose verbal agreement to fight Golovkin, likely toward the end of 2014.
6) Matthew Macklin (18-130-221)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
After a legitimate but very unspectacular win over only moderately proven prospect Lamar Russ, Macklin has joined the chorus of quality middleweights looking for a rematch with Sturm.  He’s also pushing for a fight with Andy Lee.
7) Peter Quillin (34-61-82)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is looking to match Quillin with Danny Jacobs in Brooklyn on February 1.  A recent interview indicates he might prefer to fight some of the top contenders, instead.  Unfortunately most of them fight on HBO in this division, while Quillin’s promoter is tied to Showtime.
8) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD10 Anthony Fitzgerald (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
No word on a potential big fight for N’Dam, but at least he’s active again.
9) Sam Soliman (1-1-1)
Last Fight: 12/11/2013- TKO9 Les Sherrington (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Soliman has been re-installed as the #1 contender to Sturm’s alphabet strap, and will likely get another shot soon.
10) Sergio Mora (1-25-25)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora had hoped to fight Golovkin on February 1, but says he was never offered the fight.
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (1-151)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio looks poised to take on Sergio if Maravilla’s intended fight with Cotto falls through, though that possibility has begun to look increasingly unlikely.
12) Anthony Mundine (1-151)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- TKO7 #4 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
In a quick turnaround, Mundine announced that he will headline a January 29 show in Brisbane.  Most likely this will be nothing more than a quick payday, as I’m sure he won’t want to prepare for two big fights that close together.
13) Max Bursak (1-151)
Last Fight: 12/14/2013- UD8 Gari Abajian (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
14) Caleb Truax (1-13)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Ossie Duran (UNR)
Truax’s January 3 fight will likely be the first notable fight of the New Year.  His opponent was to be Derek Ennis, but he’s been replaced by the marginally better Ossie Duran.
15) Bryan Vera (1-61)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L* (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (UNR)
Vera-Chavez II now looks likely for March 1 in either Vegas or Texas, after a proposed February date was abandoned over concerns related to Olympic conflicts.
16) Grzegorz Proksa (1-140)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa had another hand operation in August, but thinks he’ll be ready to go for a proposed February fight in Poland with undefeated prospect Maciej Suleckim.
17) Curtis Stevens (1-20)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L (RTD8) vs. #2 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: 1/24/2014- vs. Patrick Majewski (UNR)
Stevens will make a surprisingly quick return from a grueling battle with Golovkin.  His January 24 opponent will be one-loss Polish fringe prospect Patrick Majewski.
18) Andrey Meryasev (1-6)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve still yet to see Meryasev in action, but his win over Sanders at this point in his career proves that he’s a real prospect.
19) Danny Jacobs (1-17)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is apparently looking to match Jacobs and Quillin on February 1 in Brooklyn.
20) Dmitry Chudinov (1-17)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- W (PTS8) vs. Max Maxwell (UNR) (at SMW/LHW)
Next Fight: 12/21/2013- vs. Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Chudinov makes his return in Moscow on December 21, taking on mid-level Colombian journeyman Juan Camilo Novoa.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Saturday
#20 Dmitry Chudinov vs. Juan Camilo Novoa; Moscow, Russia; Sport 2 (Hungary)
Chudinov gets a reasonable stay-busy outing against mid-range Colombian journeyman Juan Camilo Novoa on the Roy Jones undercard in Moscow.

 

Jose Uzcategui vs. Francisco Villanueva; Tijuana, Mexico; Azteca (Mexico)
Undefeated young Venezuelan Uzcategui takes on Mexican journeyman Francisco Villanueva in a 6-rounder.  Villanueva is much much better and more accomplished than his abysmal 14-28 record would indicate, and comes off a solid win over prospect Guillermo Arroyo.  You could easily argue that Villanueva is one of the best couple opponents Uzcategui has met so far, though it should be noted that Villanueva- who fought as a junior featherweight as recently as 2008- is probably undersized even as low as junior welter at this point, and painfully so at 160.
 

Middleweight: 2013, Dec 9-15

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2014 by danboxing
I’ll take the week’s action in order of importance this week.

 

Saturday in Stuttgart, #3 Darren Barker saw his body betray him, as a lingering hip injury flared up and saw him unable to keep his feet after originally getting caught for a knockdown in the 2nd round.  His opponent, #4 Felix Sturm, showed no visible signs of pity, dropping the wobbly Englishman again a few seconds later, before the corner mercifully threw in the towel and ended it.  

 

Later that night in Atlantic City, former junior middleweight contender James Kirkland returned after about 21 months off, and put a frightful- if initially competitive- beating on unbeaten junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia, stopping the game Tapia in 6, after Steve Smoger let it go maybe just a little too long.  The fight was contested at a contract weight of 156, which makes it relevant here.

 

On that undercard, #6 Matthew Macklin didn’t look all that spectacular against undefeated prospect Lamar Russ, but still did plenty to win the fight.  I had Macklin winning comfortably at 98-92, but there were a lot of close rounds.  The judges had it 96-94, 98-92, and 97-93, all for Macklin, and all reasonable.

 

On the non-televised portion of the card, undefeated Russian prospect Matt Korobov stopped Derek Edwards in the 9th of a scheduled 10, at a contract weight a few pounds over the limit.  No big deal there, as Edwards was a low-level journeyman.

 

Japanese undefeated prospect and Olympic Champion Ryota Murata was in action this weekend in Tokyo against Dave Peterson of Minnesota, but you’ll have to read my very detailed report on the Super Middleweight update to find out what happened, as Murata (who is ranked there) came in a half-pound over the limit.

 

Barker is very likely to retire, given his chronic catastrophic injuries, but for now we can only take the fight on its own merits.  It doesn’t prove that Sturm is dominant over a #3 contender, though you do have to give him full credit for the first knockdown.  But even if he had absolutely destroyed a healthy Barker, I’m not sure it would have made much difference in his actual ranking.  As for Barker, I am unable to assume that he’ll never fight again, or that he will be compromised if he does.  He’ll maintain his ranking until he proves unworthy of it, or until he retires.  Therefore, Sturm moves up to #3, while Barker swaps with him to #4.  For those that wonder how much pause I was given by the fact that #5 Geale beat Sturm, I can tell you that it wasn’t much.  Geale’s win over Sturm was one of the closest all-around fights I’ve ever seen, and the verdict was debatable.

 

As for Kirkland, he is held back a bit by his loss to Ishida from a couple years ago- especially as compared to undefeated prospects like Meryasev and Chudinov who have succeeeded at a slightly lower level than Tapia, but who have never suffered the appearance of limitation that comes from a loss at essentially the same level as Tapia that Ishida represented.  If there was any doubt as to where to place him in relation to a guy like Chudinov, it was dispelled by the fact that Tapia isn’t a true middleweight and that the fight was only at middleweight because there was not a title on the line.  Accordingly, Kirkland makes his debut in the middleweight rankings at #19, which once again forces out Akio Shibata after a 9-week stint.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (191-191-191)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: 6/7/2014- vs. # 8 JMW Miguel Cotto
According to fighthype.com, citing anonymous sources close to Cotto, there is now no doubt that Cotto-Martinez will happen on June 7 in New York. 
1) Martin Murray (33-106-106)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- L* (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez (Robbery- D at worst)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Sergey Khomitsky (UNR)
Murray’s fight with Khomitsky for the Froch-Groves undercard was cancelled on 3 days’ notice on account of a virus, but has been rescheduled for December 14.
2) Gennady Golovkin (24-67-130)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens
Next Fight: 2/1/2014- vs. Osumanu Adama (UNR)
Golovkin returns February 1 in Monte Carlo.  Originally it looked like Murray was the opponent, but he will instead fight former borderline top 10 contender Osumanu Adama, who was removed from a #13 berth in September for failing to make 160 for 18 months.
3) Felix Sturm (1-534-534)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Sturm got a little help from Barker’s trick hip, but it’s gotta count for something, and he did score the first knockdown on his own.
4) Darren Barker (1-17-113)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- L (TKO2) vs. #4 Felix Sturm
Next Fight: Unknown
Barker’s body failed him against Sturm, and it’s led to heavy speculation that we may have seen the last of him.  His team has only fueled this speculation further.
5) Daniel Geale (17-234-234)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
In the wake of Sturm’s victory over the man that beat him, Geale has renewed calls for what would be a very interesting rematch with the German.
6) Matthew Macklin (17-129-220)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- UD10 Lamar Russ (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/7/2013- vs. Lamar Russ (UNR)
After a legitimate but very unspectacular win over only moderately proven prospect Lamar Russ, Macklin has joined the chorus of quality middleweights looking for a rematch with Sturm.
7) Peter Quillin (33-60-81)
Last Fight: 10/26/2013- TKO10 Gabriel Rosado (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is looking to match Quillin with Danny Jacobs in Brooklyn on February 1.  A recent interview indicates he might prefer to fight some of the top contenders, instead.  Unfortunately most of them fight on HBO in this division, while Quillin’s promoter is tied to Showtime.
8) Sergio Mora (8-24-24)
Last Fight: 11/16/2013- KO5 Milton Nunez (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Mora had hoped to fight Golovkin on February 1, but says he was never offered the fight.
9) Marco Antonio Rubio (8-10-150)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio looks poised to take on Sergio if Maravilla’s intended fight with Cotto falls through, though that possibility has begun to look increasingly unlikely.
10) Anthony Mundine (8-8-150)
Last Fight: 11/27/2013- TKO7 #4 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Next Fight: 1/29/2014- vs. Unknown Opponent
In a quick turnaround, Mundine announced that he will headline a January 29 show in Brisbane.  Most likely this will be nothing more than a quick payday, as I’m sure he won’t want to prepare for two big fights that close together.
11) Max Bursak (8-150)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- UD12 Nick Blackwell (UNR)
Next Fight: 12/14/2013- vs. Gari Abajian (UNR)
Bursak will fight a low-level Georgian journeyman this weekend in a short-notice stay-busy contest.
12) Caleb Truax (8-12)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR)
Next Fight: 1/3/2014- vs. Derek Ennis (UNR)
Truax’s January 3 fight will likely be the first notable fight of the New Year.  He’ll face Derek Ennis.
13) Bryan Vera (8-60)
Last Fight: 9/28/2013- L* (UD10) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at LHW)
Next Fight: 3/1/2014- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (UNR)
Vera-Chavez II now looks likely for March 1 in either Vegas or Texas, after a proposed February date was abandoned over concerns related to Olympic conflicts.
14) Grzegorz Proksa (8-139)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa had another hand operation in August, but thinks he’ll be ready to go for a proposed February fight in Poland with undefeated prospect Maciej Suleckim.
15) Curtis Stevens (8-19)
Last Fight: 11/2/2013- L (RTD8) vs. #2 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: 1/24/2014- vs. Patrick Majewski (UNR)
Stevens will make a surprisingly quick return from a grueling battle with Golovkin.  His January 24 opponent will be one-loss Polish fringe prospect Patrick Majewski.
16) Andrey Meryasev (5-5)
Last Fight: 11/4/2013- UD10 Sergio Sanders (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
I’ve still yet to see Meryasev in action, but his win over Sanders at this point in his career proves that he’s a real prospect.
17) Danny Jacobs (2-16)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Golden Boy is apparently looking to match Jacobs and Quillin on February 1 in Brooklyn.
18) Dmitry Chudinov (2-16)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- W (PTS8) vs. Max Maxwell (UNR) (at SMW/LHW)
Next Fight: 12/21/2013- vs. Juan Camilo Novoa (UNR)
Chudinov makes his return in Moscow on December 21, taking on mid-level Colombian journeyman Juan Camilo Novoa.
19) James Kirkland (1-1)
Last Fight: 12/7/2013- TKO6 Glen Tapia (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Only time will tell whether Kirkland does any serious campaigning at middleweight in the near future, but even though both men are typically junior middleweights, Tapia was a credible enough opponent at 160 (or 156, as it were) to earn Kirkland a ranking here.
20) Jorge Heiland (1-2)
Last Fight: 11/29/2013- TKO*12 #17 Billi Godoy
Next Fight: Unknown
After two closely-contested battles, there’s already talk of a trilogy with Godoy.

 

The Week Ahead: 
Wednesday
Sam Soliman vs. Les Sherrington; Flemington, Australia; Off TV
Soliman returns from a PED suspension against fellow Australian Les Sherrington, who has been able to rebuild himself to gatekeeper level after breaking his leg in a fight with the awful Kashif Mumtaz.  Soliman might reclaim a ranking with a win, simply by virtue of ending his forced inactivity.

 

Saturday
Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs. Anthony Fitzgerald; Barcelona, Spain; Off TV
This is another matchup that has the potential to get an inactive contender back into the rankings.  N’Dam is a shoe-in for a spot, assuming he wins and makes 160.

 

Max Bursak vs. Gari Abajian; Brovari, Ukraine; Off TV
Just a stay-busy fight for Bursak.  Abajian is a l0w-level Georgian journeyman.

 

Martin Murray vs. Sergey Khomitsky; London, England; Sky (UK)
This fight is expected to take place a few pounds over 160, and will likely be treated in more detail at 168.

 

Jermain Taylor vs. J.C. Candelo; San Antonio, Texas; Off TV
Another fight that is basically a middleweight fight, but which is expected to take place at super middle technically.  I haven’t decided which division I will discuss it in next week.

Middleweight: 2013, Sep 23-29

Posted in Middleweight, Rankings with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2013 by danboxing
Australian gatekeeper Les Sherrington dominated low-level Japanese gatekeeper Shigetaka Yonezawa in Southport, Queensland on Friday, taking a 12-round decision by losing just one round among the three cards.

 

Saturday nearly saw a major upset in Kharkov, Ukraine.  After a fairly strong and aggressive first three rounds, #13 Max Bursak was badly hurt and nearly stopped in the 4th by 2-loss British prospect Nick Blackwell.  Bursak came back to hang in there for the next 4 rounds, though he lost the majority of them.  But he closed very strong, winning the last 4 on my card.  Blackwell may have gotten a bit tired down the stretch, probably in part due to his tendency to bounce and waste energy in between engagements.  All in all, though, it was a fairly impressive showing for the rather unheralded Blackwell.  While he now has three losses, they have all been to strong opposition- close affairs against Billy Joe Saunders and now Bursak, and one rather forgivable stoppage against no less than Martin Murray.  Bursak didn’t necessarily do himself any favors in winning (my score of 115-112 agreed with 2 of the judges), but did dodge a bullet, which of course is better than getting hit by same.

 

Speaking of Billy Joe Saunders, he had a close competitive fight of his own on his hands in London, as he ran into a fellow well-schooled, hungry, and undefeated prospect in John Ryder for the British and Commonwealth titles.  Saunders was the more experienced of the two, and more tested at a higher level, and that may have made all the difference in the fight.  It was a very interesting style match-up.  Saunders was the athletic boxer, looking to maintain distance and potshot.  Ryder was the pressure fighter, although he was much more defensively responsible than you would picture from that style.  He would come in with head movement and a shoulder roll as often as with a jab, and it was effective at times.  The only defensive lapse he showed was that even with his head movement, he was mainly coming in the front door, and in doing so squared himself up for Saunders to throw a looping right hand, which found the mark to some effect at various times.  The moderate but constant pressure from Ryder seemed to be getting to Saunders in the end, as Ryder seized the last two rounds- including a very clear 12th.  But in the end, it was a bit too little, too late.  I scored the fight 115-113, and the official judges were essentially in agreement.  I think the fight could reasonably have gone narrowly in Ryder’s favor, but Saunders definitely had the edge.

 

On the Saunders-Ryder undercard, #19 Dmitry Chudinov won 79-73 on the ref’s scorecard against mid-level and sub-.500 British journeyman Max Maxwell, but came in nearly at the light heavyweight limit (174) , while his already overmatched opponent scaled just 162.  I would hope this doesn’t indicate a gross lack of discipline on the part of the young contender, but it’s hard to escape that suspicion.

 

Finally, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 17th-ranked super middleweight Caleb Truax returned to his natural division against Ceresso Fort, a fellow Minnesota prospect who rebounded from his sole loss recently with a win over credible measuring stick Marcus Upshaw.  Truax proved to be at a higher level- as you might suspect after he brutalized Don George- stopping Fort a bit over halfway into round 4. 

 

None of the losers this weekend were proven at quite high enough a level to help the winners advance in these rankings, save for Fort, who had recently acquired suitable status.  Combined with his successes a couple pounds over the limit, as well as his past resume at 160 itself, this win transforms Truax into a two-division ranked contender.  He checks in between Bursak and Vera at #14, forcing last week’s #20 Akio Shibata out after a brief two-week return.

 

Dan’s Top 20 (Weeks in Current Position-Weeks in Top 10 if applicable-Weeks in Top 20)
Champ: Sergio Martinez (180-180-180)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- UD12* #9 Martin Murray (Robbery- draw at best)
Next Fight: Unknown
Martinez should be back in March or April of 2014.  Golovkin has been mentioned, but that would be a bit too much for his first fight back, I would think.  He also said recently that he wants to defend in Argentina.  I would too, if I’d gotten the gift he got last time around.
1) Martin Murray (22-95-95)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- L* (UD12) vs. Champ Sergio Martinez (Robbery- D at worst)
Next Fight: 11/30/2013- vs. Garth Wood (UNR)
Murray is the mandatory challenger for the Golovkin-Stevens winner, and will be fighting Garth Wood in Sydney on November 30 if he can obtain a visa in time.
2) Gennady Golovkin (13-56-119)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- KO3 #5 Matthew Macklin
Next Fight: 11/2/2013- vs. #17 Curtis Stevens
Apparently 2 gatekeeper-level knockouts, a gift decision over a journeyman, and a ton of undeserved hype will get you a shot at getting demolished by Golovkin.  Curtis Stevens will get just that on November 2.
3) Darren Barker (6-6-102)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- W (SD12) vs. #3 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale wants a rematch, and Martin Murray is knocking, as well.  But more than likely, a mandatory against Sturm is the next move, probably in December.
4) Felix Sturm (13-523-523)
Last Fight: 7/6/2013- TKO4 Predrag Radosevic (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
See Barker’s notes, above.
5) Daniel Geale (6-223-223)
Last Fight: 8/17/2013- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker
Next Fight: Unknown
Geale wants a rematch, but will probably have to wait until at least 2014, since it appears likely Barker will make a mandatory defense in December against Sturm, instead.  Geale wants to be back in December in any event.
6) Matthew Macklin (6-118-209)
Last Fight: 6/29/2013- L (KO3) vs. #4 Gennady Golovkin
Next Fight: Unknown
Macklin has now suffered his 2nd knockout loss at the top level, but still has plenty of cred against anyone not in the top 5.
7) Peter Quillin (22-49-70)
Last Fight: 4/27/2013- TKO7 Fernando Guerrero (UNR)
Next Fight: 10/26/2013- vs. JMW #9 Gabriel Rosado
Quillin will fight the very solid Rosado on the Hopkins-Murat undercard, though his opponent is clearly much better at 154.
8) Dmitry Pirog (22-165-165)
Last Fight: 5/1/2012- UD12 #20 Nobuhiro Ishida
Next Fight: Unknown
Pirog says his back injuries have fully healed, and will be meeting with his people in the US soon to determine his next fight.  I’ll probably give him until the end of September to calendar that fight before removing him.
9) Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (13-29-152)
Last Fight: 10/20/2012- L (UD12) vs. #20 Peter Quillin
Next Fight: Unknown
10) Sergio Mora (13-13-13)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- UD10 #9 Grzegorz Proksa
Next Fight: Unknown
11) Marco Antonio Rubio (28-139)
Last Fight: 7/27/2013- KO2 Dionisio Miranda (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Rubio is theoretically set up for a alphabet title fight with Chavez, but Chavez has to beat Vera and decide to continue campaigning at 160, which seems increasingly unlikely.
12) Anthony Mundine (28-139)
Last Fight: 1/30/2013- L (UD12) vs. #1 Daniel Geale
Next Fight: 10/23/2013- vs. #3 WW Shane Mosley (at JMW)
Mosley-Mundine is October 23 in Australia.
13) Max Bursak (3-139)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- UD12 Nick Blackwell (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Bursak got a bit of a scare from underdog Blackwell, and it will be important for him to look strong in his next fight.
14) Caleb Truax (1-1)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- TKO4 Ceresso Fort (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Truax is targeting the big names in the division as he continues to build his resume at the lower levels.
15) Bryan Vera (1-49)
Last Fight: 3/29/2013- TKO7* Donatas Bondorovas (UNR)
Next Fight: 9/28/2013- vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (UNR) (at SMW)
Vera’s fight with Chavez has been delayed again, this time to 9/28.
16) Grzegorz Proksa (1-128)
Last Fight: 6/28/2013- L (UD10) vs. Sergio Mora (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
Proksa is an enigma.  He looked like the next big thing against Sylvester, but did practically nothing against Mora. 
17) Curtis Stevens (1-8)
Last Fight: 8/3/2013- KO1 Saul Roman (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/2/2013- vs. #2 Gennady Golovkin
Stevens needed a gift to beat journeyman Derrick Findley, and has never beat anything better than a gatekeeper at this weight.  My opinion is that his fight with Golovkin will be akin to an execution.
18) Billi Godoy (1-6)
Last Fight: 7/19/2013- UD12 Mateo Veron (UNR)
Next Fight: 11/29/2013- vs. Jorge Heiland (UNR)
Godoy will fight high-level domestic journeyman Jorge Heiland in Neuquen, Argentina on November 29, in a rematch of their July 2012 fight.
19) Danny Jacobs (1-5)
Last Fight: 8/19/2013- TKO3 Giovanni Lorenzo (UNR)
Next Fight: Unknown
20) Dmitry Chudinov (1-5)
Last Fight: 9/21/2013- W (PTS8) vs. Max Maxwell (UNR) (at SMW/LHW)
Next Fight: Unknown
Chudinov weighed in at 174 to fight his already hopeless 162-pound opponent on September 21.  He’s invited a great deal of scrutiny over his weight and discipline in doing so.

 

The Week Ahead: On a very deep card in Montreal, 2-loss prospect David Lemieux takes on high-level American journeyman Marcus Upshaw, who is accustomed to busting prospects.

 

#15 Bryan Vera is also in action, but a division to the north against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.