Advertisement
Advertisement

Nishioka Shines: Weekend Review and Ratings Update

By Cliff Rold

It didn’t end up an action classic, nor will it be mentioned at 2011’s end as a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. 

That’s really not a big deal.  Every fight can’t be epic.  Sometimes fans have to settle for what amount to a boxing pot luck, an occasion to watch two fighters brings a little bit of everything from their fistic kitchen, en route to producing a hearty result.  A little bit of chess, a little bit of blood, a bold late stand…the only thing missing was a knockout casserole 

That’s just what happened Saturday in Las Vegas as WBC 122 lb. titlist Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KO) held off the challenge of former 118 and 122 lb. champion Rafael Marquez (40-7, 36 KO) in an all-class veteran struggle.

Let’s go the report card.

Grades
Pre-Fight: Speed – Nishioka B+; Marquez B/B+; B-
Pre-Fight: Power – Nishioka B; Marquez A/B; B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Nishioka B; Marquez B-/B+; B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Nishioka B+; Marquez A/A; A

Marquez got off to a great start, probably winning the first three rounds but it was Nishioka who was really picking up points.  The first three rounds, viewing the fight as a whole, were about baiting the hook.  Nishioka was gauging the range of the shorter Marquez and testing, seemingly one at a time, which of his blows would make the best contact.

The fight made a turn in a fourth round that could have gone either way before Nishioka firmly took things over in five, six and seven.  He was outthinking Marquez before outboxing him.  The butt changed all that of course, an accidental butt deep into the hairline disorienting Nishioka and drawing blood down around his right ear.  Marquez pounced, Nishioka shored up to return fire, and the firefights of the final third of the bout began. 

It would be the twelfth round that truly defined the night.  Well behind on the cards, Marquez went for broke and Nishioka, who could wisely have moved and held to get out of the round and on to sure victory, fought him.  With a minute to go, Nishioka was rocked.  He dug in and fought back again, risking defeat for even more thrilling victory.

In the pre-fight report card, it was noted Marquez has been a great fighter while Nishioka appeared only a good fighter on a great run.  What fans saw Saturday was a great performance that enhances the strength of Nishioka’s run at 122 lbs. since winning a belt (initially interim and then later ‘full’) in 2008. 

The fighter once defined by being the foil of Thai great Veraphol Sahaprom can be defined by his own accomplishment, the Sahaprom failings (two losses, two draws) simply one part of his story and no longer the biggest.  He also, to some extent, redefines recent perceptions about the Japanese boxing scene. 

Koki Kameda remains the biggest draw.  Hozumi Hasegawa, during an excellent Bantamweight title reign, looked like it’s finest fighter, even creeping onto some pound-for-pound ratings, including BoxingScene’s.

Hasegawa faltered when he reached beyond his comfort zone, stopped by Fernando Montiel in a unification bout and then in defense of a Featherweight belt a couple fights later by Jhonny Gonzalez.  That same Gonzalez was whacked out by Nishioka in an off the floor thriller.  Nishioka adds now the sort of name Hasegawa was trying for in Montiel.  That the name is even bigger strongly advances Nishioka’s claim on being Japan’s finest, both today and in recent retrospect.

There will be those who look at a Marquez who isn’t as quick, whose punches have steadily lost snap through myriad wars, and question the true validity of the win but that would be unfair.  Marquez showed he could stun Nishioka, and occasionally time him.  What he couldn’t do was consistently navigate the distance to the Japanese titlist, a tactical more than physical problem.  Maybe a younger Marquez could have defeated Nishioka…but, it’s fair to point out, Nishioka would have been younger as well. 

Marquez, on Saturday, showed he is still a world-class fighter.  Nishioka beat him because, for the moment, and for the last couple years, he is the world’s best at 122.  Can anyone in the class challenge him?  Fellow beltholders Takalani Ndlovu and Jorge Arce don’t look like they are seriously in Nishioka’s league; Rico Ramos is unlikely to have a belt beyond a mandatory with Guillermo Rigondeaux. 

That leaves the big challenge to come from below.  Is Nishioka versus Bantamweight leader Nonito Donaire now inevitable?  Donaire was ringside.  It’s worth hoping the countdown has begun to ring center. 

Report Card Picks 2011: 32-12

Ratings Update

Cruiserweight: A rematch is in order between Steve Cunningham and Yoan Pablo Hernandez after a laughable early cut stoppage, and equally laughable too-wide scores for Hernandez, brought an end to a fight that looked like it was getting really good.  The scoring might have been questionable in divide but had the right winner and Hernandez goes to number one while Cunningham slips a notch to number two. 

Light Heavyweight: Gabriel Campillo beat Karo Murat, got a draw, and moves up a notch.  This dude is the poster child for why some people just can’t stomach boxing’s inability to conduct itself respectably.

Middleweight: Grzegorz Proska rockets into the top ten with a dominant carving up of former titlist Sebastian Sylvester.  It was the third stoppage loss of Sylvester’s career and he’s shown age, but he marked a quality step up fight and Proska responded.  Europe is getting looks at guys like Proska and Golovkin.  The U.S. is watching the visibly less talented Andy Lee.  The future of the Middleweight division may be headed where the Heavyweight division already resides.

Since Lee is mentioned, let it be noted he is not rated here nor should he be despite HBO showcasing him recently.  Lee is not a top ten Middleweight (yet) and has shown nothing to indicate he is any more a challenge for Sergio Martinez than Darren Barker was. 

Martinez is the legitimate Middleweight king and there are some quality Middleweights to defend against.  He should fight one next, after taking the traditional paycheck defense.  Lee should not be one of the options.  If HBO isn’t disposed to air Martinez versus a serious Middleweight contender, how about a Martinez defense in Argentina or even in Europe on some other network?

The great Carlos Monzon did it, behaved as a capital “W” World champ, defending the Middleweight crown in the U.S. only once during one of the great title reigns of all time.  If it’s good enough for Monzon, can’t it be good enough for Martinez?

Featherweight: Assuming he continues as a professional, Rafael Marquez is likely to stay on at Featherweight, where he’s spent most of his recent tenure.  His loss to Nishioka costs him a couple slots but he remains rated for the time being.

The weekend results and more are reflected a page away.

>>>>>>Click Here To View BoxingScene's Full Divisional Ratings<<<<<<

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]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by cool-jupiter on 10-04-2011

Donaire challenging Nishioka, hopefully on US soil, is something we JP fight fans definitely want to see take place in the very near future. Nishioka is on the verge of retirement, and Nonito is a rising star. Two Asian fighters…

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Mares: Don't Rule Out Possibility of Cuellar Getting Knocked Out! Deontay Wilder's Handlers Reach Out To Alexander Ustinov Kosei Tanaka Stops Rene Patilano in Six Rounds in Nagoya, Japan Video: Shane Mosley Jr. Reflects on Win, The Future, More Tony Bellew: I'll Face That Bitch David Haye on That Joker Channel! Denis Shafikov, Joel Diaz Jr. To See Action on June 11 in El Monte Tony Bellew Gets Off The Deck, Brutal KO of Makabu For WBC Belt Video: David Avanesyan, Trainer Talk Win Over Shane Mosley Stephen Smith, Sean Dodd, Scott Fitzgerald All Victorious Video: Roberto Duran on Mosley Defeat To Avanesyan David Avanesyan Will Be Ringside To Scout Thurman vs. Porter Callum Smith Stays on Course For Title Shot, Get TKO in Six Ricky Burns Ready For Revenge on Crawford, Broner Showdown Video: Shane Mosley Talks About Loss To David Avanesyan David Price Returns in Style With Quick Knockout Victory Holyfield Believes Anthony Joshua Could Break Marciano's Record Bellew vs. Makabu LIVE Results From Goodison Park Frank Warren Questions Hearn's Position on Joshua vs. Haye James DeGale's Coach Confident: Badou Jack is Tailor-Made For Us Hearn: Eubank is Bigger UK Fight For Golovkin Than Saunders Golovkin's Coach: Only GGG Fight Brings Mayweather 100 Million! Bellew: I'll Fight That Bitch David Haye, He's Degrading Boxing! Photos: Ricky Burns Makes History, Blasts Di Rocco For WBA Belt Bellew vs. Makabu: Sean Dodd Looks To Enter The World Scene Viktor Postol Motivated By Underdog Role Against Crawford Arum: If Mayweather Wants Pacquiao, Let Him Come To Manila Haumono Saw Flaws, Believes He Will Chin Check Joseph Parker Glowacki Hopes To Get Usyk To Poland, Then Wants Lebedev Avanesyan Ends Shane Mosley, Secures Thurman-Porter Shot Vazquez Outpoints Bone, Eyes Future Clash With Adrien Broner Gabe Rosado Not Looking Past Gutierrez To Chavez Jr. Showdown Shane Mosley Jr. Edges Roberto Young With Majority Nod Bermane Stiverne Eager To Step in, Face Deontay Wilder Jonas Sultan Retains His RP Championship With KO in Five Rounds Photos: Verdejo, Diaz Open Workouts Before HUGE Bronx Crowd Roach: Floyd Mayweather Asked Me To Train Conor McGregor Krzysztof Wlodarczyk Beats Down Kai Kurzawa For TKO Win Ricky Burns Becomes Three Division Champion, Stops Di Rocco in 8 Nurse Pounds on Limond For TKO Win, Retains British Title WADA To Meet With AIBA, Shocking Allegations Over Drug Testing
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement