by Cliff Rold
It was a good week for fresh faces.
Except when it was not.
On Friday and Saturday night, four emerging fistic stars were faced with what were expected to be varying levels of tests. Two had what appeared could be their best foes to date, one was attempting to redeem an unsatisfactory HBO debut, and another was to be tested by a known spoiler.
The spoiler again earned the distinction.
Fernando Guerrero, an emerging ticket seller at Middleweight, attempted to drop down a weight class and tempt fate with aging puncher Grady Brewer. At the end of four rounds, Guerrero got a lesson in the lows of pro fighting and a chance to find out, going forward, how much he can be. Losing isn’t fun but many times it has been the beginning for fighters worth remembering. Guerrero remains worth following.
Adrien Broner proved worth it with his 1st round win over Jason Litzau. Maybe he has other, similar knockouts in him. Maybe not. However, Broner made sure that in his second trip to HBO, he showed a dimension beyond the safe, dull boxer he appeared in facing veteran Daniel Ponce De Leon earlier this year.
Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez had arguably the best weekends.
In the case of the latter, a win over contender Ryan Rhodes, in front of an adoring Mexican crowd, showed off growth and star power in equal measure. On a night where a highlight reel knockout wasn’t coming, Alvarez showed off a full tool box offensively and managed to be touched less than in recent affairs.
While most probably didn’t see Golovkin on the undercard of Anselmo Moreno-Lorenzo Parra, a scour of YouTube is worth the time. The former amateur standout and Olympic Medalist has some defensive liabilities, but that makes for good fights. Former Jr. Middleweight titlist Kasim Ouma gave him one. Golovkin isn’t ready for Middleweight king Sergio Martinez just yet.
Friday, he looked like it might have been better for him that he has come by a WBA belt without facing the stern jab of the other WBA beltholder, Felix Sturm just yet.
But time remains on Golovkin’s side and his development took a turn for the more interesting in the week behind us.
Middleweight: Golovkin rises in part based on the best win of his professional career to date. Ouma came to fight. Golovkin came to win. Victory has its rewards.
Jr. Middleweight: Alvarez gets a mild bump from his latest win and, while he still has much room to grow, 154 lbs. is a good class to do that in right now. He could pick up another belt if he could somehow catch the winner of this weekend’s Cornelius Bundrage (IBF)-Sechew Powell rematch, thought Alvarez’s promoters at Golden Boy probably have other ideas.
Jr. Lightweight: Broner climbs the ranks and, given the barren state of Jr. Lightweight, may be much closer to a belt than most realize. There isn’t a titlist in class he’s incapable of defeating right now.
Bantamweight: The excellent WBA titlist Anselmo Moreno is back after a layoff of a year, but it wasn’t a fight worth watching. Opponent Lorenzo Parra looked once to be on his way to one of the best little man careers in years. A genuine road warrior, the former Flyweight titlist Parra was sidelined by injuries, weight issues, and imposed layoffs. He was never the same after returning and Friday he was unable to make the brain and body connect in the ring. It should be the culmination of a career and Moreno, after this, even more desperately needs a live opponent before he too finds his best days lost.
These results and more are reflected a page away.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]