Thursday, April 26, 2012

What is the Most Loaded Division in Boxing?

Throughout the history of time the two most popular divisions of boxing were the heavyweight division and welterweight division.  The Heavyweight Division always appealed to the American public.  The thought of two larger than life men going at mano y mano was intriguing.  The Welterweight division brought the most skill to boxing.  It makes sense considered the average male would fall between 5’6 to 5’10 and weight around 145 to 160.  Those types of guys would not excel at basketball or football, so there is a larger pool of men to choose from.  Throughout history boxers from the welterweight division represented itself on the mythical pound for pound list.  From the greatest of all time Sugar Ray Robinson to the pound for pound king today Floyd Mayweather all held that position from the welterweight division.

In today’s game I believe there are many divisions that are talented, but taking a deeper look there are only a few divisions that would supply 10 guys worthy of being in title contention.  Welterweight today holds the sports two top stars Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather, but it only goes so far.  Over the next few days I will be showcasing several divisions and giving my rankings on those divisions.

The Junior Featherweights (122 Pounds)
Deep, deep division!  The division has established fighters holding down title positions.  Recently many top talents from 4 pounds south have joined the elite 122 pounders.  Let’s take a look at the fighters ranked in order.

1)      Nonito Donaire (28-1-0) - Yes, even though Donaire has only one fight at Jr. Featherweight he is the guy to beat.  His one fight came against a top 10 talent and he won impressively.  Donaire is the name of the division.  He demands the most money and is widely considered a top 5 pound for pound fighter.  Donaire has won 27 fights in a row, his lone loss coming in his second pro fight.  Donaire is schedule to take on Cristian Mijares (45-6-2). 
2)      Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3) – Toshiaki has been in the divison for some time now.  His most recent victory was a hard fought crowd pleasing fight against popular Mexican Rafael Marquez.  Toshiaki is on a 16 fight winning streak, 12 coming at the Jr. Featherweight limit.  Many boxing fans do not know much about Toshiaki, but he is a fighter that is highly skilled and will bring the fight to you 100% of the time.  His next fight is to be determined.
3)      Guillermo Rigodeaux (9-0-0) – What only 9 professional fights?  Yes sir.  Rigo is the real deal.  9 pro fights and holds a legit title after beating formerly undefeated Rico Ramos (20-1-0).  Rigo may have the best amateur career in the history of the sport, including 2 gold medals for Cuba.  Rigo has been calling for a clash with Donaire since his victory, but will have to settle for a title defense on the Pacman-Bradley undercard.  Rumors have opponent to be Teon Kennedy (17-1-2).
4)      Jorge Arce (60-6-2) – That’s a lot of fights against some tremendous competition.  Arce has been around long enough and has earned his recognition because of the crowd pleasing style and willingness to fight anyone.  Arce ahs not lost in 9 fights.  His draw against Lorenzo Parra was avenged in a 2012 rematch in which Arce stopped him in the 5th round.  Rumors have Arce and Donaire hooking up later this year in what would be a tremendous fight.  In the mean time Arce is fighting on the Pacman-Bradley undercard June 9th against Jesus Rojas (18-1-1).
5)      Abner Mares (24-0-1) – In the division for 1 fight Mares deserves a top 5 ranking because he is a ball of fire.  His last 5 fights have come against top notch competition, Yonnhy Perez, Vic Darchinyan, Joseph Agbeko X2, and Eric Morel compiling a record of 4-0-1.  Against Morel he dominated showing a wide variety of skills, both boxing and brawling.  In the process he added a vacant Jr. Featherweight title.  With the added weight Mares looked to be able to enhance his power.  Mares may look to fight fellow golden boy fighter Anselmo Moreno (33-1-1) who may make the jump to Jr. Featherweight later this year.
6)      Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (21-2-1) – Coming off two losses in three fights against top 5 fighters in the divison, Donaire & Arce, Wilfredo will look to get back in the winning ways and rebuild his confidence for another title run.  His future opponent has not been set.
7)      Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (46-2-0) – Poon not very well known in the States is a lot like Chris John.  Poon has 1 lost in the last 6 years, a hotly contested decision lost to Ryol Li Lee (16-1-1) at the time.  Poon has general fought in Asia, but is highly regarded in inner boxing circles that he would do very well against any top fighter in the division.  No future opponent named.
8)      Rico Ramos (20-1-0) – Ramos lost his title to Rigo in January of this year.  Since then we have not heard much from him.  It was his first lost of his career and he should be able to bounce back.  Ramos holds some good wins against some tough divisional fighters.  I would expect a tune-up fight to get back in it and another title shot down the road. 
9)      Steve Molitor (34-2-0) – The Canadian kid has an impressive record, but big chances have left him in defeat.  Most recently a rematch loss against Takalani Ndlovu.  Steve is entering the later half of his career and it would do him well if he could make a run and fight for a title soon.  If not it may be the way of gatekeeper in his future.
10)  Akifumi Shimoda (25-3-1) – Shimoda is a very tough fighter who again is not as well known in the States.  Shimoda fights mostly in Japan, but a trip to Atlantic City last year resulted in a loss to Rico Ramos.  Shimoda does hold some nice wins against very good fighters.  Shimoda has the ability to give any fighter at 122 lbs trouble on any given night; hopefully we get to see him in the states sometime soon.

There you have it, my top 10 Jr. Featherweight fighters.  This list does not include any fighter that may fight in the division in the future,  For instance in Moreno were to make the jump to 122, then of course he would deserve a divisional ranking.  A fight at 122 would have to have taken place.

News and Notes: 
**Yesterday featured quite the Twitter war between Adrien Broner and Hank Lundy.  Both fighters made the marks.  Lundy has tasted canvas, Broner has not fought anyone.  There is no need for either of them to gain anymore exposure.  Fighting each other would provide that.  Both fighters have mouths that would drive the fight.  Broner has the power, Lundy has more experience.  Shut up and get it on!

**Richard Abril suddenly thinks he I worth a damn.  Dude, we get it!  You got a raw deal against Rios.  I would be all in favor of a rematch at 140.  BUT, don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.  Some how Abril thought it was ok to get involved between Broner and Lundy.  Dude, you lost to Lundy!  Abril you’re a decent fighter but the bottom line is every chance you got at a big time fight you lost.  Prescott = Loss, Lundy = Loss, Rios = Loss. Get back to the drawing board.

**Alfonso Gomez dropped out of his fight against Jesse Vargas due to severe back spasms that put a halt to his training.  In steps Steve Forbes.  Forbes is in good shape as he has been serving as chief sparring partner to Saul Alvarez.  Besides being excited about the opportunity to fight on the Mayweather-Cotto undercard he is also excited to see Mosley and Alvarez exchange leather.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weekend Round Up, a Look Ahead!

So over the weekend we had some exciting action.  If you like KO’s we had Adonis Stevenson making a statement and knocking out Noe Gonzalez within 3 rounds.  Stevenson’s straight left is vicious and when he landed it he followed with a smooth combo that left his opponent dazed.  The Ref stepped in to stop the fight.  Some may consider the Refs stoppage a bit early, but I do not think Gonzalez would have recovered to make it out of the round.

Anselmo Moreno continued his winning ways in slowly dismantling a disinterested David De La Mora.  Moreno pressed the action and landed some heavy shots to the body.  After being put down with a vicious body attack, Mora looked as if he did not want to fight anymore, even resorting to jogging around the ring.  Eventually the fight was stopped.  Moreno has pretty much cleared out whoever remained at 118.  It would benefit Moreno to move up to 122 and follow everyone up to get a big fight.

Speaking of a big fight Abner Mares and Eric Morel did not disappoint.  Both fighters brought it, but it was Mares that was super impressive.  The added 2 pounds that Mares carried in the ring looked real good on him.  Mares put together combo’s touching Morel to the body and head continuously.  Morel was game and attempted to answer back, but it was Mares right hooks to the body and overhand right to the head that found continued success.  The fight was entertaining throughout.  Both fighters earned their check.  This fight closed out a weekend where I picked 3 more winners, bringing my record to 10-1.

Looking Ahead
Adonis Stevenson said he would like to take on the elite at 168, but would very much like a fight against fellow Montreal native Lucian Bute.  A fight between Stevenson and Bute could draw a crowd at home, but Bute has a very tough fight against Froch overseas.  The Supper middleweight division has enough options that Stevenson will be sure to find a meaningful fight.  With Emanuel Steward in his corner he will continue to improve and make some noise in the division.

Abner Mares is an absolute beast.  The guy comes to fight.  It does not matter who is in front of him.  He has now fought 5 top fighters in a row going 4-0-1.  After the fight he asked for all the big names at 122.  Most impressively he said he just wants to make good fights and is no scared to lose.  His style a little boxing with a little brawling will make great fights.  Anselmo Moreno won impressively as well.  After his win he sat ringside very interested in the Morel-Mares bout.  If Moreno wants to stay at 118 he could very well fight Morel.  If he wants to move to 122 a bout with Mares should be easy to make being as they are both Golden Boy fighter.  The 122 lb. division is stacked.  It has awesome talent and many top notch bouts could be made.  The main issue is not with the fighters but with the two powerhouse promoters controlling the top talent in the division and throughout boxing.

**Vanes Martirosyan (32-0-0 Junior Middleweight Fighter) and myself exchanged some words over the weekend through twitter.  After reading an article that had Vanes blasting Oscar De La Hoya about not being ambitious enough to make a fight between Vanes and Canelo he decided to make it personal.  Curious as to why Vanes believes he deserved a title shot, I took a swipe at him.  Convo:

@toddyrock: @vanesboxing @oscardelahoya @kevinI congrats Vanes, the best 32-0 fighter to never fight anyone! Fight @DRodriguez1980 then talk #titleshot

@VanesBoxing: @toddyrock @oscardelahoya @kevinI @Drodriguez1980 Ok Buddy ask your boy y he aint fighting me and fighting someone I beat3times already

@Toddyrock: @vanesBoxing @oscardelahoya seriously how did you get to fight a guy with 5 loses in past 6 bouts for a silver belt? #whateverthatmeans

@VanesBoxing: @toddyrock @oscardelahoya shows how much you know about boxing have a good day take care

Vanes has turned down multiple fights over the past year for a variety of reasons, but the facts remain he has not fought a legit contender.  How can you get a title shot when you have not beaten anyone of significance and you can not draw a crowd.  I think Vanes is a very solid fighter that does have the potential to hold a legit belt in this sport, but he needs to be more aggressive in his choice of opponents.  LOOK no further.  The corrupt WBC has given Vanes the chance to fight someone legit.  Erislandy Lara vs. Vanes Martirosyan for the mandatory slot to face Saul Alvarez (whenever that is).  Either way this fight would settle a lot of critics of Vanes and supply a much deserved opportunity to Lara.
Update:  Vanes is more than willing to accept a fight with Lara if Canelo Alvarez is contracted to fight the winner. 

**Alex Ariza has left Manny Pacquiao’s and Amir Khan’s training camp.  Official word has not come out to as of why, but rumors have persisted that Manny would not do everything Alex asked resulting in the now famous “leg cramping” excuse.  Alex has now joined up with Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr. for his training camp.  Ariza claims he had an agreement with both Manny and Amir that would allow him to leave and join back up with their camp when they return to Las Angeles. 

**Ajose Olusegun (30-0-0) has continued to call out Philadelphia’s own Danny Garcia.  Ajose is Danny’s mandatory and has let it be known he will not be taking any interim fights.  He wants Garcia next.  Meanwhile a fight between popular fighters Lucas Matthysse and Humberto Soto will take place with the winner being set up as a possible future opponent to Danny Garcia.

Check Back for Continued News and Updates!

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Friday, April 20, 2012

A Lot of Fights, but are any Good? Weekend Predictions!

Alright, let’s get back at it.  I took a couple days off to enjoy some fantastic NHL playoff hockey.  Until the officials ruin it.  We’ll save that for an NHL blog.  We have ourselves a busy weekend when it comes to the amount of fights.  Let’s break some down and choose some winners.  Riding hot off a 5-0 weekend, it’s a busy time for boxing fans!

Adonis Stevenson (17-1-0) vs. Noe Gonzalez (28-1-0) At Montreal, Canada       
WBC Silver Super Middleweight Title
I have neither fighter ranked in my top 10 for the supper middleweight division, but that does not mean this will not be a good main event for ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.  Each fighter only has one loss and knows that a win against each other would propel them to a top 10 ranking and a future title shot.  Stevenson is known as a very hard puncher and it has excited many fans.  Gonzalez is not as well known, but he is an excellent counter puncher with the Mexican boxing heart.  Gonzalez has become a well rounded fighter and his lone defeat comes at the hands of division champion Felix Sturm back in 2007.  This fight is taking place in Stevenson’s hometown, Montreal, who boosts one of the most fanatic boxing fan bases of recent years.  Stevenson is now trained by legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward.  Steward is sure to add a solid defense to Stevenson’s awesome power.  Stevenson plans to use his predicted win to set up a fight with fellow Montreal fighter Lucian Bute.  I believe in the end Adonis Stevenson’s power will be the difference.  Winner - Adonis Stevenson

Abner Mares (23-0-1) vs. Eric Morel (46-2-0) At El Paso, Texas
WBC Junior Featherweight Title
This is the biggest fight for the weekend.  We have two top notch fighters fighting for a title.  The way things should be.  Mares has taken on top contenders for some time now going 3-0-1 against Perez, Darchinyan and Agbeko twice.  This will be Mares first fight at Junior featherweight even though the contracted weight is 120 lbs.  Morel has dangled between 118-122 lbs.  Morel is on an 11 fight win streak, last losing a decision back in 2005.  The junior featherweight division is loaded with top talent including money man Nonito Donaire.  Expect Morel and Mares to be fully engaged with each other exchanging shots early and often.  In the end I expect Mares youth to take over.  This fight is great for the division and the winner will go on to an even greater challenge with names like Donaire, Nishioka, Rigondeaux, Arce and Vazquez Jr. around.  Winner – Abner Mares (If betting, take the distance.)

Anselmo Moreno (32-1-1) vs. David De La Mora (24-1-0) At El Paso, Texas
Moreno’s WBA Super World Bantamweight Title
Both fighters have impressive records, but Moreno has faced the far tougher competition.  Moreno has not lost since 2002 and with the departure of Donaire and Mares has become the division’s number one guy.  La Mora is a tough fighter, but has flaws.  He lost last August to Koki Kameda a nice fighter, but bounced back with a win against a less experienced fighter in Eddy Julio.  Moreno’s speed and experience should be too much for La Mora to handle.  La Mora has only participated in three 12-round fights.  He is 1-1 in the two that went the distance.  Moreno on the other hand has participated in many 12-round fights and his experience will without a doubt be the difference.  Winner – Anslemo Moreno (If Betting, take the distance.)

Here are some other notable fighters:  (Not recording W/L’s)

Jose Cotto (32-3-1) vs. Eric Cruz (13-8-3) Winner – Jose Cotto (Stay Busy Fight)

Cristian Mijares(44-6-2) vs. Eddy Julio (13-3-1) Winner – Cristian Mijares (It should be noted that Mijares has way to much to lose in that he is scheduled to face Nonito Donaire in July at Cowboys Stadium)

Omar Naraez (35-1-2) vs. Jose Cabrera (20-2-2) Winner – Omar Naraez (Omar’s WBO Junior Bantamweight Belt on the Line)

Jermain Taylor (29-4-1) vs. Caleb Truax (18-0-1) Winner – Jermian Taylor

News and Notes:
  • Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor is making his comeback fight.  Hopefully he has taken enough time off to let his head heal from back to back knockouts at the hands of Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch.  If Jermain can return to form at his most successful weight (160) he can again be a contender and add some spice to the middleweight division.
  • Puerto Rican legend Tito Trinidad is in the news.  Tito thinks Mayweathers speed and conditioning will be the difference come May 5th. #MayweatherCotto
  • Berto vs. Ortiz II is starting to heat up.  Each of them is claiming the fight will not go the distance.  Their first fight was a classic.  I think their second will be very good as well.  Each fighter is at a cross road in their career.  Looking forward to it.
  • Looks like Arthur Abraham has volunteered to face Kelly Pavlik this fall at 168 lbs.  Each fighter has suffered defeats since they were rivals at the middleweight division.  That does not mean a fight at 168 can not be good and meaningful.  Let’s get it done.

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