By Cliff Rold

It’s hard to imagine a division topped by one of the sports pound-for-pound best and yet as ultimately disappointing as 108 lbs. was in 2008.  Sure, there were some good fights.  There will always be good fights.  There was even one (for the division) big marquee bout as World Champion Ivan Calderon defeated former champion Hugo Cazares for the second time.  The cut which ended the fight just as it seemed to get started though was almost a symbol for another year slipped by.

Why slipped?  Because this is not a class devoid of talent.  Calderon is a gem of a boxer and titlists Ulises Solis and Edgar Sosa aren’t far behind.  Solis added a pair of wins to move his IBF reign to eight defenses.  Sosa made his 4-for-4 for the second year in a row, stretching his WBC tenure to seven defenses.  This three-headed monster of talent had exactly zero fights against each other.

As noted, it was disappointing.  Let’s hope for a change in 2009.  For now, the most active gets the accolades.

Jr. Flyweight Fighter of the Year: Edgar Sosa (34-5, 18 KO)

While Calderon’s second win against Cazares was the best in class, the aborted bout makes it hard to gauge.  Calderon was well ahead when a vicious accidental cut forced the bout to the cards; could he have held off what looked to be another late Cazares rush?  If he had, it might well have been tough not to put him in this slot.  He didn’t get the chance, allowing Sosa’s championship level activity its due.

In 2007, Sosa upset Brian Viloria for his belt and defended three times before the year was out.  Now he’s added four more, twice by stoppage, including rough top-ten contender Juanito Rubillar.  Only 29, Sosa is evidence of fighters improving with a belt around their waist.  He hasn’t lost since 2003 and his losses speak highly of the notion of letting fighters learn in defeat.  All five came in his first seventeen fights, four of them to current or former titlist Ulises Solis (twice), Omar Nino, and Issac Bustos. 

Too many fighters in the modern age, champions, call a year busy if they make it to the ring three times in a single year.  Sosa is doing better than that and deserves credit.

Jr. Flyweight Fight of the Year: Ulises Solis UD12 Glenn Donaire

It wasn’t expected to be as close as it was, but by the end of twelve rounds fans got their money’s worth on the undercard of the first battle between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Matt Vanda on July 13th.  As reported by Jake Donovan at https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=14926:

The main event wasn't the only fight to feature way-off scoring. The chief support saw Ulises "Archie" Solis turn back the challenge of Glenn Donaire with a unanimous decision in a spirited bout marred by fouls and three judges who apparently missed a hell of a fight.

Donaire entered the fight surrounded by question marks, largely due to his poor showing against Vic Darchinyan in their October '06 flyweight bout. It appeared that the move down to junior flyweight greatly benefited the Filipino, who was taking the fight to the heavy-handed Solis throughout.

Headbutts left Solis cut and discouraged, but instead decided to box and move his way to victory down the stretch. There was confusion at one point in the fight, as it appeared that referee Pat Russell deducted a point from Solis for a headbutt. However the final scores didn't reflect as such – quite frankly, they didn't even suggest that any of the three judges bothered to objectively score the bout.

Solis prevailed by bizarre scores of 120-118 (2x) and 120-117. Either the final tally was read wrong and Solis really won 118-110 (2x) and 117-110, or there were a bunch of even rounds scored among all three scorecards. Whichever is the case, it didn't tell the story, even if the right guy won in the end.

The win marks the seventh successful defense for junior flyweight alphabet titlist Solis, who improves to 27-1-2 (20KO). He is now 9-0-1 in his last ten fights, though a previously busy campaign was halted by injuries earlier this year, making this fight his first of 2008.

Donaire slips to 17-4-1 (KO) with the loss.

Both fighters come from boxing families; Glenn Donaire is the older brother of current flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire, and Archie Solis the younger, though more successful, brother of featherweight contender Jorge Solis.  Both Solis brothers could pass for the Mexican version of Dominic West, better known to Wire heads as "Jimmy McNulty."

Jr. Flyweight: 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. Flyweight results of 2008.

First Quarter

01/25: #3 Hugo Cazares (25-4-1, 19 KO) WUD Kermin Guardia (37-8, 21 KO)

02/09: #2 Edgar Sosa (31-5, 16 KO, WBC) W UD12 Jesus Iribe (13-5-1, 7 KO)

02/16: #6 Brian Viloria (21-2, 12 KO) W UD8 Cesar Lopez (20-6, 4 KO)

Second Quarter

04/05: World Champion Ivan Calderon (31-0, 6 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBO) W UD12 Nelson Dieppa (25-5-2, 14 KO)

05/17: #10 Brian Viloria (22-2, 13 KO) W KO3 Fred Valdez (10-18, 5 KO)

06/14: #2 Edgar Sosa (32-5, 17 KO, WBC) W TKO8 Takashi Kunishige (18-3-1, 2 KO)

06/14: Juanito Rubillar (46-10-7) W SD12 #7 Omar Nino (25-3-1)

 

Third Quarter

07/12: #1 Ulises Solis (27-1-2, 20 KO, IBF) W UD12 Glenn Donaire (17-4-1, 9 KO)

07/13: Oscar Ibarra (14-2, 7 KO) W TKO6 #9 Adrian Hernandez (13-1-1, 11 KO)

07/26: Cesar Canchila (27-1, 21 KO) W UD12 #4 Giovanni Segura (19-1-1, 15 KO)

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

09/27: #3 Edgar Sosa (33-5, 17 KO, WBC) W UD12 Sonny Boy Jaro (28-7-5, 17 KO)

Fourth Quarter

10/4: #9 Omar Nino (26-3-1, 11 KO) W UD10 Francisco Soto (13-20-3, 9 KO)

10/17: #6 Juan Carlos Reveco (19-1, 10 KO) W KO6 Javier Tello (14-8-2, 9 KO)

11/2: #1 Ulises Solis (28-1-2, 20 KO, IBF) UD12 Nervys Espinoza (25-5, 18 KO)

11/29: #2 Edgar Sosa (34-5, 18 KO) TKO7 #8 Juanito Rubillar (46-11-7, 22 KO)

12/6: #9 Omar Nino (27-3-1, 11 KO) UD10 Sammy Gutierrez (20-4-2, 12 KO)

Other divisions in 2008 reviewed:

Cruiserweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17478

Lightweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17496

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 roldboxing@hotmail.com