By Cliff Rold

August is rarely Boxing’s hottest month, a contrast with temperature expectations the calendar brings in the northern hemisphere.  This years version of month eight was no exception in the pro ranks, though there were highlights.  Welterweight Joshua Clottey pushed Zab Judah closer to the brink of obscurity and Jr. Flyweight Ivan Calderon took a step farther from it.  The latest Heavyweight belt fight happened off U.S. TV, an increasingly common development in the modern era.

What lacked in the paid game was, sort of, made up for with over 200 televised Amateur bouts by way of the Beijing Olympics.  It was a thriller for countries not known for fistic merit and a head shaker in the States as Team USA turned in its worst performance in history.  Through the long weeks of that competition, scoring controversies and bad fights allowed the real highlights to stand out…and the best highlight of all gets his just due here.

This is the month in review.

Fighter of the Month:  Vasyl Lomachenko

Anyone who sat through a little or a lot of Olympic Boxing knows who Lomachenko was and is salivating at what he could be.  The Ukrainian Featherweight was far and away the best and most compelling Boxer in the Olympics in 2008, a combination of speed, aggression and power that screamed ‘fighter’ from bell to bell. 

How good was he?

Through his first four bouts, he won by an average of over eight points per bout in a conservatively scored Games.  Then, in the final round, against France’s Khedafi Djelkhir, he weather an early storm of body shots to positively batter his way to three standing eight counts, a first round stoppage, and Olympic Gold.  His receipt of the Val Barker Trophy signifying the tournaments best fighter was less reward, more rightful coronation of the obvious.  Lomachenko’s professional potential is mouth watering and while incentives exist in many nations to keep Amateur athletes under the headgear, fans in every nation and on every continent should cross their fingers that the lure of bog money overwhelms this overwhelming ring force.

Fight of the Month:  Roman “Rocky” Martinez vs. Santos Benavides

The boys of the two-minute rounds might have seized fighter honors, but the fight of the month emerged long after the torch had gone cold.  With only a day to spare, Martinez and Benavides turned in a brawl on the undercard of Ivan Calderon-Hugo Cazares II full of ‘pop out of a seat’ moments.  The young Puerto Rican Martinez is inching towards title contention at 130 lbs. and the thought of his style matched with a Humberto Soto or WBA titlist Edwin Valero is the sort of promising violence any fight fan can get up for.

As described after the fight, “As had been the case on the undercard of the first Calderon-Cazares fight, 25-year old Jr. Lightweight Rocky Martinez (20-0-1, 12 KO) of Puerto Rico provided the fans a show stealing war, getting off the deck to win a six-round slugfest versus 26-year old Santos Benavides (14-2-1, 12 KO).  One year ago, Martinez warred for twelve rounds before stopping Daniel Jimenez and could feel relieved his body was asked only half as much this time around.

Early exchanges brought a roar from the crowd before the round slowed down just a tad, each man having tasted some of the others power and battling with the earned measure of respect.  Respect flew out the window in a sensational round two. 

Just shy of the midway point, the southpaw Benavides found an opening with his left over a low Martinez right exploding with a perfect right hand that dropped the hometown favorite.  Martinez rose, banging his fists together and walking to the neutral corner for the judge to administer the mandatory eight.  Benavides leapt in to test the legs of Martinez and was quickly turned towards the corner with a counter left hook that staggered him, eating a left and right uppercut to turn the momentum of the bout. 

Martinez stayed on top of him but Benavides dug in, firing back, taking more than he dished out but never relenting. 

The late battering in the second by Martinez became perpetual abuse in the third, his left taking over the fight, working to the head and body of Benavides.  Martinez, possessing superior technique, repeatedly rocked the Nicaraguan and kept him folded him over with rippling body bombs.

Boxing more to start the fifth, Martinez worked the space of the ring and caught his breath after three fast paced rounds, using his jab and occasionally poking in with long rights.  The maintenance of reserves served him well in the sixth.  A partially blocked left hook attempt by Martinez set up a right hand burst through the Benavides guard, crashing into his chin and depositing Benavides on his back slightly more than a minute into the round.  Benavides rose, shaky, and took the referee’s eight before stepping forward to seek his survival.  It was not to be.  Martinez pounced, throwing with abandon and keeping Benavides on defense.  Against the ropes, a flurry of shots all missed but as Benavides spun out he ate a final straight left to provoke a stoppage.  The official time of the stoppage clocked at 2:03 of the sixth.”

Critical Results

Including the official result from the Fight of the Month, we now take a look back at the most notable action around the world for the rest of Augusts' 31 days.

Using a formula inspired by the college football BCS, we’ve been compiling quarterly divisional ratings at Boxing Scene since the beginning of the year.  The third quarter lists were published on July 7th and these are the critical results from the month of August with the pending September schedule for contenders and champions schedule thrown in for good measure. Pay close attention to Lightweight; this is as good a month as any division has had all year.  Full ratings can be found at: https://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings 

Heavyweight (201 lbs. – Unlimited)

08/30: #4 Nicolay Valuev (49-1, 34 KO, WBA interim) WUD 12 #6 John Ruiz (43-8-1, 29 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/27: #10 Vladimir Virchis (24-1, 20 KO) vs. Juan Carlos Gomez (43-1, 35 KO)

Cruiserweight (176-200 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in August.

Scheduled for September

09/20: #7 Marco Huck (21-1, 16 KO) vs. Jean Marc Monrose (24-1, 15 KO)

09/27: #2 Firat Arslan (29-3-1, 18 KO, WBA) vs. Guillermo Jones (35-3-2, 27 KO)

Light Heavyweight (169-175 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in August or are scheduled to compete in September.

Super Middleweight (161-168 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in August.

Scheduled for September

09/27: #8 Denis Inkin (33-0, 24 KO) vs. Karoly Balzsay (19-0, 14 KO)

Middleweight (155-160 lbs.)

08/29: #9 Sebastian Zbik (24-0, 9 KO) WUD12 John Carvalho (18-3-1, 11 KO)

08/30: #8 Amin Asikainen (24-1, 16 KO) WKO2 Roberto de Jesus (13-3, 6 KO)

No BoxingScene rated fighters scheduled to compete in September.

Jr. Middleweight (148-154 lbs.)

08/13: #9 Joel Julio (34-1, 31 KO) WRTD6 Jose Varela (23-4, 16 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/05: #10 James Kirkland (22-0, 19 KO) vs. Ricardo Cortes (22-2-1, 15 KO)

09/13: #2 Sergio Mora (21-0-1, 5 KO, WBC) vs. #8 Vernon Forrest (40-3, 29 KO)

Welterweight (141-147 lbs.)

08/02: #6 Joshua Clottey (35-2, 20 KO, IBF) W TD9 #8 Zab Judah (36-6, 25 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/14: #10 Jackson Bonsu (28-1, 23 KO) vs. Rafael Jackiewicz (31-8-1, 18 KO)

09/27: #4 Shane Mosley (44-5, 37 KO) vs. Ricardo Mayorga (29-6-1, 23 KO)

09/27: #5 Andre Berto (22-0, 19 KO, WBC) vs. Steve Forbes (33-6, 9 KO)

Jr. Welterweight (136-140 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in August.

Scheduled for September

09/05: #7 Demetrius Hopkins (28-0-1, 11 KO) vs. Juaquin Gallardo (18-7-1, 5 KO)

09/13: #2 Timothy Bradley (22-0, 11 KO, WBC) vs. Edner Cherry (24-5-2, 11 KO)

09/13: #4 Andreas Kotelnik (29-2-1, 13 KO, WBA) vs. Norio Kimura (34-5-2, 18 KO)

Lightweight (131-135 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in August.

Scheduled for September

09/06: #3 Juan Diaz (33-1, 17 KO) vs. #8 Michael Katsidis (23-1, 20 KO)

09/06: #6 Amir Khan (18-0, 14 KO) vs. Breidis Prescott (19-0, 17 KO)

09/13: #1 Nate Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KO, WBA/IBF/WBO) vs. #7 Joan Guzman (28-0, 17 KO)

09/13: World Champion Joel Casamayor (36-3-1, 22 KO, Lineal/Ring) vs. #4 at 130 lbs. Juan Manuel Marquez (48-4-1, 35 KO)

09/20: #10 Jose Armando Santa Cruz (26-3, 15 KO) vs. Antonio Pitalua (45-3, 39 KO)

Jr. Lightweight (127-130 lbs.)

08/29: #7 Mzonke Fana (28-4, 11 KO) WTKO 3 Victor Manon (3-9-2, 2 KO)

08/30: #10 Roman Martinez (20-0-1, 12 KO) WTKO 6 Santos Benavides (14-2, 12 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/06: #3 Alex Arthur (26-1, 19 KO) vs. Nicky Cook (28-1, 16 KO)

09/06: #6 Jorge Barrios (47-3-1, 34 KO) vs. #8 Rocky Juarez (27-4, 19 KO)

09/13: #2 Cassius Baloyi (35-3-1, 18 KO, IBF) vs. Javier Alvarez (35-7-1, 16 KO)

Featherweight (123-126 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in August.

Scheduled for September

09/13: #6 Hector Velasquez (50-11-2, 35 KO) vs. Elio Rojas (19-1, 13 KO)

Jr. Featherweight (119-122 lbs.)

08/01: #5 Jhonny Gonzalez (39-6, 33 KO) W TKO1 Levi Brea (16-7-3, 8 KO)

08/29: #4 Steve Molitor (28-0, 11 KO, IBF) WTKO 10 Ceferino Labarda (18-1, 7 KO)

08/30: #9 Rey Bautista (26-1, 19 KO) WTKO 2 Eden Marquez (16-4-3, 12 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/15: #8 Toshiaki Nishioka (31-4-3, 19 KO) vs. Napapol Kiatisakchokchai (46-2-1, 39 KO)

09/17: #1 Celestino Caballero (29-2, 20 KO, WBA) vs. Elvis Mejia (27-7-1, 7 KO)

Bantamweight (116-118 lbs.)

No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in August.

Scheduled for September

09/13: #4 Joseph Agbeko (25-1, 22 KO, IBF) vs. William Gonzalez (21-2, 19 KO)

09/18: #2 Anselmo Moreno (22-1-1, 8 KO, WBA) vs. Cecilio Santos (22-8-3, 12 KO)

Jr. Bantamweight (113-115 lbs.)

08/03: #7 Vic Darchinyan (30-1-1, 24 KO, IBF) W KO5 #3 Dimitri Kirilov (29-4-1, 9 KO)

08/30: #1 Cristian Mijares (36-3-2, 15 KO, WBC/WBA) WKO 3 Chatchai Sasakul (64-4, 39 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/15: #5 Jorge Arce (49-4-1, 37 KO) vs. Rafael Concepcion (11-2-1, 7 KO)

09/15: #6 Nobuo Nashiro (11-1, 7 KO) vs. #9 Kohei Kono (21-3, 7 KO)

Flyweight (109-112 lbs.)

08/11: Takahisa Masuda (19-7-3, 4 KO) WUD 10 #7 Wandee Singwancha (56-9-1, 12 KO)

08/30: #6 Koki Kameda (19-0, 12 KO) WUD 12 Salvador Montes (5-5, 2 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/20: #2 Omar Narvaez (27-0, 17 KO, WBO) vs. Alejandro Hernandez (20-5-1, 9 KO)

Jr. Flyweight (106-108 lbs.)

08/30: World Champion Ivan Calderon (32-0, 6 KO, Lineal/ Ring/WBO) WTD7 #5 Hugo Cazares (26-5-1, 19 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/20: #6 Juan Landaeta (24-6-1, 18 KO) vs. #7 at 105 lbs. Katsunari Takayama (21-3, 9 KO)

09/27: #3 Edgar Sosa (32-5, 17 KO, WBC) vs. Sonny Boy Jaro (28-6-5, 17 KO)

Strawweight (105 lbs.)

08/30: #4 Donnie Nietes (23-1-3, 14 KO, WBO) WKO 2 Eddy Castro (12-4-1, 9 KO)

Scheduled for September

09/13: #2 Raul Garcia (23-0-1, 15 KO, IBF) vs. Jose Luis Varela (15-4, 7 KO)

09/15: #1 Yutaka Niida (23-1, 9 KO, WBA) vs. #9 Roman Gonzalez (19-0, 17 KO)

09/27: #10 Yasutaka Kuroki (18-3, 13 KO) vs. Wattana Ponnak

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