by Cliff Rold
The boxing calendar is 365 days, 366 in a leap year. Boxing can happen on any of them. A great knockout can come at any time. In 2011, the last great knockout of the year happened with the clock ticking towards 2012.
The WBA Jr. Lightweight title showdown between Takashi Uchiyama and Jorge Solis was a long time coming. It was over in an instant. Reports indicate Uchiyama controlled the bulk of the action through the first ten rounds. Highlights on YouTube provided only the eleventh round.
What more need really be seen?
It came just twenty seconds into the eleventh round. Solis jabbed to the chest and stepped back. A slight shoulder feint from Uchiyama’s left side and a mini-move back opened a hole in Solis’s defenses. Uchiyama exploded forward and through it with a left hook that didn’t look like it moved much more than inches.
Solis went straight back as if shot, laid out beneath the bottom rope as the referee waved the action closed without as count. Sometimes ten seconds are needed to determine if a man can go on. Sometimes, it’s just ten more seconds without a doctor peering into the eyes of a fallen warrior. Solis was down well after the bell sounded to end the night. It was as cold a knockout as any witnessed this year.
And it was still ‘this’ year. Was it the best knockout of the year? It’s hard to say, reacting shortly after it happened, but it merited consideration. There is a rush each year, after the Christmas season, to start naming the best of for whatever year is closing. BoxingScene does it too. Should we? What would be the harm in waiting until 2011 is actually, like, over?
The answer is none, but it’s seldom a candidate emerges like this on the last day of the year either. It’s enough to be reminded that haste never stopped a fighter from laying waste on any given day.
Report Card Picks 2011: 42-18
Jr. Lightweight: Uchiyama retains the top spot while Solis slips a spot. Jr. Lightweight has been a division in flux but, with Yuriorkis Gamboa to compete there in 2012, the emergence of Adrien Broner, and the possible rise of Featherweight titlist Celestino Caballero, 130 lbs. has a new lease on life. Uchiyama’s countryman Takahiro Ao also holds a belt in class. Given Gamboa’s previous WBA title at Featherweight, could we see him emerge as a mandatory for Uchiyama in the coming year? Fans should hope so. It would be a splendid fight.
Featherweight: Caballero retains his slot after a lopsided decision win over Satashi Hosono. Caballero, as noted, is assumed in some quarters as headed to 130 lbs. If he chooses to remain at 126, the WBA should enforce a showdown with ‘Super’ champion Chris John. It would be a serious test for both men and John’s toughest fight since Juan Manuel Marquez years ago. Marquez lost a highly debatable decision to John in 2006.
Strawweight: Kazuto Ioka made his second defense of the WBC belt but took a big step back in competition after wins over veterans Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Juan Hernandez. The 22-year old may be Japan’s best young fighter.
The full ratings update is a click 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]