By Cliff Rold
The future isn’t now but it’s getting closer. Jr. Middleweight hasn’t been a source of great excitement since the first half of the decade brought bouts featuring Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Shane Mosley and Winky Wright. More recent vintage has seen lengthy fights involving Cory Spinks and Vernon Forrest which didn’t do much to fire up the masses.
Things are changing. Young tigers like James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo are emerging and former Welterweight titlist Paul Williams has arrived. Forrest, who split fights with Contender Season One winner Sergio Mora, and Daniel Santos remain as veteran hands to test the new blood. So do German-based titlist Sergiy Dzinziruk and a newly appreciated Sergio Martinez. It’s not often a good sign when a division builds itself on wait ‘til next year. This could be a quality exception.
Jr. Middleweight Fighter of the Year: None
Wait ‘til next year.
Jr. Middleweight Fight of the Year: Alfredo Angulo-Richar Gutierrez
As reported by Jake Donovan at: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=14017
Alfredo Angulo continues his assault on the bubble level of the junior middleweight division. The latest victim was Miami-based contender Richard Gutierrez, who stood tall for as long as he could before succumbing to the Mexican in five action-packed rounds.
It was a give and take opening round, with both fighters effective throughout. Gutierrez was able to touch the body with left hook, while Angulo relied on the type of relentless workrate that has made him such a highly touted prospect. The round ended with the two going toe to toe, Angulo flurrying in efforts to steal a round that appeared to belong to the Colombian.
Angulo settled into his groove in the second round, and never really let up. Gutierrez was still getting in his licks and was busy by general standards, but often looked like he was fighting in slow motion in trying to keep up with the fiery Mexican.
The fourth was fought in a phone booth for the most part, with Angulo establishing distance when he saw fit. Gutierrez enjoyed modest success when able to keep the fight on the inside, but it was all Angulo anytime the two didn't fight like they were joined at the hip.
The tide momentarily turned in a big way in the fifth when Gutierrez uncorked a left hook about thirty seconds into the round. Angulo was stunned as he staggered into the ropes, but Gutierrez was unable to take advantage.
A right hand midway through the round got through for Angulo, with the Colombian now on wobbly legs. Angulo unloaded everything while switching back and forth between conventional and southpaw. To his credit, Gutierrez took it all well, but wasn't fighting back. This would come back to haunt him, as eight more unanswered shots – all upstairs – prompted referee Tony Weeks to intervene.
The official time was 2:48 of round five.
Angulo runs his record to 13-0 (10KO) with the win, having now scored nine straight stoppages. It was the deepest knockout in his young career, having only gone more than four rounds one other time in his career, a six-round decision in 2005. The five rounds made for more than Angulo's last three bouts combined, which says something of not only Gutierrez' ability to absorb, but give back in return.
"It was a difficult round," admitted Angulo in recalling the see-saw fifth round. "He hurt me but I was able to hurt him and eventually pull through. I was a little anxious, but as a boxer you have to think. I hurt him with my combinations and was able to finish him."
Gutierrez returns to Miami with his second loss in four fights, falling to 24-2 (14KO). Both losses have come on HBO; he lost a majority decision to Joshua Clottey in 2006.
Jr. Middleweight: The Year in Results
Since last January, BoxingScene has produced quarterly ratings for each of Boxing’s seventeen weight classes. Ratings for the first quarter of 2009 should be available at the New Year; for now, here’s a look back at the critical Jr. Middleweight results of 2008.
01/19: Alex Bunema (29-5-2, 15 KO) TKO10 #6 Roman Karmazin (36-3-1, 23 KO)
02/16: #7 Sergio Martinez (42-1-1, 22 KO) UD4 Eduardo Sanchez (16-6-2, 9 KO)
03/27: Verno Phillips (42-10-1, 21 KO) SD12 #1 Cory Spinks (36-5, 11 KO, IBF)
04/26: #3 Sergiy Dzinziruk (35-0, 22 KO, WBO) MD12 Lukas Konecny (36-3, 18 KO)
05/03: #5 Oscar De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KO) UD12 Stevie Forbes (33-6, 9 KO)
06/07: Sergio Mora (21-0-1, 5 KO) MD12 #1 Vernon Forrest (40-3, 29 KO, WBC)
06/07: #8 Sergio Martinez (43-1-1, 22 KO) TKO7 Archak Termeliksetian (16-7, 13 KO)
07/11: Daniel Santos (32-3-1, 23 KO) KO6 Joachim Alcine (30-1, 19 KO, WBA)
07/11: #7 Alex Bunema (30-5-2, 16 KO) KO6 Walter Matthysse (26-4, 25 KO)
08/13: #9 Joel Julio (34-1, 31 KO) RTD6 Jose Varela (23-4, 16 KO)
09/05: #10 James Kirkland (23-0, 20 KO) TKO3 Ricardo Cortes (22-3-1, 15 KO)
09/13: #8 Vernon Forrest (41-3, 29 KO, WBC) UD12 #2 Sergio Mora (21-1-1, 5 KO)
10/4: #7 Sergio Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KO) RTD8 Alex Bunema (30-6-2, 16 KO)
10/18: #10 Yuri Foreman (26-0, 8 KO) UD10 Vinroy Barrett (22-7, 11 KO)
11/1: #4 Sergiy Dzinziruk (36-0, 23 KO, WBO) UD12 Joel Julio (34-2, 31 KO)
11/22: #9 James Kirkland (24-0, 21 KO) TKO8 Brian Vera (16-2, 10 KO)
11/29: #2 at 147 Paul Williams (36-1, 27 KO) TKO8 #2 Verno Phillips (42-11-1, 21 KO)
12/13: #10 Yuri Foreman (27-0, 8 KO) UD10 James Moore (16-2, 10 KO)
Other divisions in 2008 reviewed:
Light Heavyweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17628
Super Middleweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17595
Jr. Welterweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17647
Jr. Lightweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17637
Jr. Featherweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17610
Jr. Bantamweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17572
Jr. Flyweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/index.php?m=show&id=17514
Check in tomorrow for more of BoxingScene’s 2008 Year in Review.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com