By Cliff Rold

In a fitting full circle, the month of March 2008 began and ended at 122 lbs.  The first fight, on March 1st, is celebrated already as the likely Fight of the Year.  A world away, in Thailand, the month drew to a close with a minor upset, far from the thoughts and eyes of America, as Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (33-1, 23 KO) stopped one half of 2006’s Fight of the Year, Somsak Sithchatchawal (56-3-1, 44 KO).  The point is that Boxing has been good to fans in every corner of the globe this month.  It is still day one that stands out above all others. 

Fighter of the Month:  Israel Vasquez

A solid career proved Hall of Fame, a good fighter proved great, and Boxing fans can do nothing but say thank you.  That sums up the wild ride that Israel Vasquez (43-1, 34 KO) has been on in the last year as his rivalry with former Bantamweight titlist Rafael Marquez (37-5, 33 KO) unfolded.  The two-time and current World Jr. Featherweight champion proved in those 25 rounds that he need not take a back seat to anyone in the history of his division.  Not Morales; not Barrera; not Fenech or Zaragoza, not even to Wilfredo Gomez.  In the final round of the of the March 1st rubber match, with the result still in the balance, Vasquez emptied his soul and almost stopped Marquez in one of the most memorable offensive outburst in the history of the sport.  Hyperbole?  Hell no.  Marquez, coming off the deck in the fourth, showed why they’re called fighters on March 1st as he fought through every second of that classic.  He’s the fighter of the month and a fighter to remember for all-time.

Fight of the Month:  Vasquez-Marquez III

There have been many candidates this month.  Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez II.  Joel Casamayor-Michael Katsidis.  Brian Vera-Andy Lee. 

None of them were Vasquez-Marquez III.

The end of their trilogy, the thrilling and clear choice so far for Fight of the Year, kicked off a magical March for Boxing and was a magic all its own.  It was a war from bell to bell with savagery, swings of momentum, and story.  Vasquez-Marquez is now a noun, an adjective, and a likely ticket for both men to Canastota.  One week after the swill of today’s Heavyweight action tainted the sport, Vasquez and Marquez provided the sort of theatre that will never allow the sport to die.

Ratings Movement

The ratings used for the March results are still based on the first quarterlies from January, located at: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=11902.  However, the next Quarterlies are on their way this week and with them will be the list of key matches in April.  Hold your breath Boxing fans; if the next three months are as good as the last three, then the accolades heaped on 2007 will seem like empty plaudits in the so-far superior 2008.

Heavyweight (201 lbs. – Unlimited)

03/08: #3 Samuel Peter (30-1, 23 KO, WBC Interim) W TKO6 #4 Oleg Maskaev (34-6, 26 KO, WBC)

Cruiserweight (176-200 lbs.)

03/08: World Champion David Haye (21-1, 20 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC/WBA) W TKO2 Enzo Maccarinelli (28-2, 21 KO, WBO)

03/08: Rudolph Kraj (14-0, 10 KO) W UD12 #8 Matt Godfrey (16-1, 9 KO)

Light Heavyweight (169-175 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in March.

Super Middleweight (161-168 lbs.)

03/22: #8 Librado Andrade (27-1, 21 KO) W TKO8 Robert Stieglitz (31-2, 19 KO)

Middleweight (155-160 lbs.)

03/29: #1 Arthur Abraham (26-0, 21 KO, IBF) W KO12 Elvin Ayala (18-3-1, 8 KO)

Jr. Middleweight (148-154 lbs.)

03/27: Verno Phillips (42-10-1, 21 KO, IBF) W SD12 #1 Cory Spinks (36-5, 11 KO) 

Welterweight (141-147 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters are scheduled to compete in March.

Jr. Welterweight (136-140 lbs.)

03/22: #9 Andreas Kotelnik (29-2, 13 KO, WBA) W TKO12 #4 Gavin Rees (27-1, 13 KO)

Lightweight (131-135 lbs.)

03/08: #4 Nate Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KO, WBA/IBF/WBO) W UD12 #1 Juan Diaz (33-1, 17 KO)

03/15: #2 David Diaz (33-1-1, 17 KO, WBC) W MD10 Ramon Montano (14-3-2, 0 KO)

03/22: World Champion Joel Casamayor (36-3-1, 22 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC Interim) W TKO10 #6 Michael Katsidis (23-1, 20 KO)

Jr. Lightweight (127-130 lbs.)

03/15: #2 Manny Pacquiao (46-3-2, 35 KO) W SD12 #1 Juan Manuel Marquez (48-8-1, 35 KO, WBC) for the vacant World championship

Featherweight (123-126 lbs.)

03/15: #4 Steven Luevano (35-1, 15 KO, WBO) W UD12 Terdsak Jaendaeng (29-3, 19 KO)

Jr. Featherweight (119-122 lbs.)

03/01: World Champion Israel Vasquez (43-4, 31 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC) W SD12 #4 Rafael Marquez (37-5, 33 KO)

03/07: Rendall Munroe (1341, 9 KO) W MD12 #10 Kiko Martinez (17-1, 14 KO)

03/31: Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (33-1, 23 KO) W TKO11 #5 Somsak Sithchatchawal (56-3-1, 44 KO) 

Bantamweight (116-118 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters scheduled to compete in March

Jr. Bantamweight (113-115 lbs.)

03/23: #6 Nobuo Nashiro (11-1, 7 KO) W KO3 Sairung Suwanasil (42-13, 26 KO)

Flyweight (109-112 lbs.)

03/08: World Champion Daisuke Naito (32-2-3, 20 KO, Lineal/WBC) D12 #4 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (65-3-1, 34 KO)

03/22: #6 Koki Kameda (17-0, 11 KO) W UD10 Rexon Flores (18-3-4, 9 KO)

03/27: #7 Roberto Vasquez (25-2, 18 KO) W TKO2 Jesus Lora (6-4, 3 KO)

03/29: #2 Takefumi Sakata (32-4-2, 15 KO, WBA) W UD12 Shingo Yamaguchi (22-5-2, 8 KO)

Jr. Flyweight (106-108 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters scheduled to compete in February

Strawweight (105 lbs.)

03/01: #3 Yutaka Niida (23-1-3, 9 KO, WBA) W KO6 Jose Luis Varela (15-3, 7 KO)

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com