By Cliff Rold
September was an intriguing month in the squared circle. The Lightweight division sat front and center as the bulk of its top ten squared off, or at least was scheduled to, and a new World Champion was crowned. It wasn’t the only division adding to the intrigue.
Heavyweight and cruiserweight both featured fantastic upsets. The Cruiserweight one we’ll get back to; at heavyweight, the once fabulous Cruiserweight titlist Juan Carlos Gomez summoned a masterful effort against world-ranked Vladimir Virchis to put himself in shooting range of the winner of Samuel Peter-Vitali Klitschko and showed the speed and skill to be live in the challenge. At Strawweight, one of Boxing’s longest reigning alphabelt titlists, Yutaka Niida, was destroyed by young Roman Gonzalez, a thrilling bomber who could well breathe life into a weight class often forgotten altogether.
There was more. There usually is and now’s as good a time as any to review the best of it.
This is the month in review.
Fighter of the Month: Guillermo Jones
It wasn’t a fight aired in the U.S. but it’s out there on YouTube and worth a look. The 36-year old Jones (36-3-2, 28 KO), some ten years plus after two unsuccessful challenges of Laurent Boudouani for the WBA Jr. Middleweight crown, captured a WBA crown 46 pounds higher at Cruiserweight, stopping titlist Firat Arslan (29-4-1, 18 KO) in ten rounds. No matter how which side of the Atlantic one calls home, it’s an achievement worth acknowledging.
Since moving from Super Middleweight to Cruiserweight in 2002, Jones has had a hell of a run. He drew with longtime titlist Johnny Nelson, lost competitively to current titlist Steve Cunningham in 2005 and then threw in knockout wins of former titlists Kelvin Davis and Wayne Braithwaite the same year. Jones seemed certain for a title shot, and got it…three years later.
With an empty docket in 2006 and two walkovers in 2007, the shot at Arslan on paper appeared to be more a parting gift than an opportunity. Instead, Jones’ speed and experience produced a performance sure to create a different type of paper the next time he steps in the ring: green. With Cunningham set to face Tomasz Adamek for the vacant Ring crown later this year, Jones has a great case for the winner. There aren’t many stories in Boxing like Jones’ and it deserves every accolade this month.
Fight of the Month: Juan Manuel Marquez-Joel Casamayor
The Jr. Bantamweight clash between Jorge Arce and Rafael Concepcion may have held more raw action, but Marquez-Casamayor was an unexpectedly special fight. Two fighters on the fence leaning towards induction to the Hall of Fame, past their primes, put on a clinic of controlled violence and technical savvy featuring swings in momentum and control throughout. Both men were at the center of special eras for the feather and Lightweight divisons over the last decade and added to the legacy of both histories on September 13. Marquez left the new World Lightweight champion but both men could leave with their heads held high.
As described after the fight here at BoxingScene:
The schooled excellence of both men was exhibited right away. An immediate rapid exchange ended with a sharp right from Marquez which forced a step back from the larger looking Casamayor. A trade of lefts hands from each was followed by a blocked Marquez right hand near the midway point and another pair of swapped lefts. In the final minute, each man took turns on offense, Casamayor landing several lefts hands and Marquez a right and left hook to close a fairly even opening round.
The southpaw champion, a 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist, landed two brisk counter lefts in the first minute of the second, Marquez responding with a hard right to the body. A just missed-left by Marquez was countered with yet another counter left from Casamayor as the older man displayed superior speed in the early going. An uppercut and right hand landed for Marquez before Casamayor shot the left again. With thirty seconds to go, a lead Marquez right dashed to the forehead of Casamayor and the two ended the round in a clinch, no advantage seized yet on either side.
A left to the body opened the third for Marquez before action heated up a bit thirty seconds in. An arching left landed for Casamayor but the champion made the mistake of admiring his work and ate a left-right which rocked him and brought a clinch. The pace was measured from there until the waning seconds as Marquez landed a right hand only to be pulled in close and cracked with a left uppercut to the body that brought a grimace to his face.
Round four saw heavier trading as both men landed raking power shots. Marquez began well but by the final bell it was Casamayor who could claim his best round of the night to then. Making small defensive moves backwards and with his gloves, he defended well against the right while landing a number of flush left hands. The question coming into the fight had been who would lead; the answer in the fourth was Casamayor comfortably coming forward throughout the round.
He kept coming forward in the fifth, walking into a hard right hand from Marquez early in the second minute. A combination finished with a long right drove Casamayor into the ropes late in the round and another right clipped him near the ropes, advantage swung back to the Mexican. In between rounds, a cut over the right eye of Casamayor, picked up earlier in the bout, could be seen worsening, his corner telling him Marquez was ‘ready to go’ in perhaps a move to get his offense cranked up in case of the worst.
Casamayor did not fight as if the cut was bothering him, but the Marquez right hand had to be, landing with increasing regularity. Casamayor did not abandon his strategy even as the punishment increased, jabbing more with the right and continuing to find holes for his counter left, but Marquez appeared to land more and cleaner.
By the seventh, Marquez was settling into a surgeon’s rhythm. The right hand continued to slice and short hooks and uppercuts on the inside were adding to the snowball overtaking Casamayor. Surprisingly, the veteran slickster was being reduced to a one-handed fighter as the bouts second half got underway and his early speed advantage was subsumed by the affects of Marquez’s offense.
The one hand served him well in the eighth as Casamayor remembered his defense and returned to allowing Marquez to create his openings for him. Marquez remained active with the right, but landed less often than had been the case in the previous couple rounds. Conversely, Casamayor’s left snaked in with damaging affect multiple times.
A lead left from Marquez kicked off the scoring in the ninth round, but as time played out it became almost impossible to distinguish between the two tacticians as each would land a near even amount of blows at distance, walking each other into counters while not visibly hurting with any single blows.
After more tense action to start the tenth, each man would land a single dazzling power shot at the midway point. A left from Casamayor echoed among silent crowd partisans but a returned echoing right was drowned by the roar of the crowd. Marquez would turn it up from there, jabbing hard and popping the right to put the round clearly in his favor.
Favor stayed with Marquez in the eleventh round.
The champion came out to assert himself with six minutes to go and was carrying himself well. The left hand was landing and the chance of a narrowing scorecard appeared imminent. Then he missed the wrong left hand. Countered perfectly with a Marquez right, Casamayor rocketed backwards at center ring, his gloves catching him before the flat of his back could touch down. Blood dripping from his right eye into the full beard he sported into the ring, Casamayor was in serious trouble. He rose, hoping to ride out the final twenty seconds or so he’d need to catch a seat and rest up for one more round. Marquez would give him no such reprieve, launching into a combination of blows finished by a final short right hand to the point of the chin, forcing the old Cuban to the floor. Without finishing the count, the referee stepped over to stop the action. The official time was 2:55 of round eleven.
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 September.
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
The schedule to October, including early results, will be available later this week with the latest edition of the quarterly ratings.
Heavyweight (201 lbs. – Unlimited)
09/27: Juan Carlos Gomez (44-1, 35 KO) W UD12 #10 Vladimir Virchis (24-2, 20 KO)
Cruiserweight (176-200 lbs.)
09/20: #7 Marco Huck (22-1, 17 KO) W TKO12 Jean Marc Monrose (24-2, 15 KO)
09/27: Guillermo Jones (36-3-2, 28 KO, WBA) W TKO10 #2 Firat Arslan (29-4-1, 18 KO)
Light Heavyweight (169-175 lbs.)
No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in September.
Super Middleweight (161-168 lbs.)
09/27: #8 Denis Inkin (34-0, 24 KO, WBO) W UD12 Fulgencio Zuniga (21-3-1, 18 KO)
Middleweight (155-160 lbs.)
No BoxingScene rated fighters competed in September.
Jr. Middleweight (148-154 lbs.)
09/05: #10 James Kirkland (23-0, 20 KO) W TKO3 Ricardo Cortes (22-3-1, 15 KO)
09/13: #8 Vernon Forrest (41-3, 29 KO, WBC) W UD12 #2 Sergio Mora (21-1-1, 5 KO)
Welterweight (141-147 lbs.)
09/14: Rafael Jackiewicz (32-8-1, 18 KO) W UD12 #10 Jackson Bonsu (28-2, 23 KO)
09/27: #4 Shane Mosley (45-5, 38 KO) W KO12 Ricardo Mayorga (29-7-1, 23 KO)
09/27: #5 Andre Berto (23-0, 19 KO, WBC) W UD12 Steve Forbes (33-7, 9 KO)
Jr. Welterweight (136-140 lbs.)
09/13: #2 Timothy Bradley (23-0, 11 KO, WBC) W UD12 Edner Cherry (24-6-2, 11 KO)
09/13: #4 Andreas Kotelnik (30-2-1, 13 KO, WBA) W UD12 Norio Kimura (34-6-2, 18 KO)
Lightweight (131-135 lbs.)
09/06: #3 Juan Diaz (34-1, 17 KO) W SD12 #8 Michael Katsidis (23-2, 20 KO)
09/06: Breidis Prescott (20-0, 18 KO) W KO1 #6 Amir Khan (18-1, 14 KO)
09/13: New World Champion: Juan Manuel Marquez (49-4-1, 36 KO, Lineal/Ring) W TKO11 Joel Casamayor (36-4-1, 22 KO)
09/20: Antonio Pitalua (46-3, 40 KO) W TKO6 #10 Jose Armando Santa Cruz (26-4, 15 KO)
Jr. Lightweight (127-130 lbs.)
09/06: Nicky Cook (29-1, 16 KO, WBO) W UD12 #3 Alex Arthur (26-2, 19 KO)
09/06: #8 Rocky Juarez (28-4, 20 KO) W TKO11 #6 Jorge Barrios (47-4-1, 34 KO)
09/13: #2 Cassius Baloyi (36-3-1, 19 KO, IBF) W TKO3 Javier Alvarez (35-8-1, 16 KO)
Featherweight (123-126 lbs.)
09/13: Elio Rojas (20-1, 13 KO) W UD12 #6 Hector Velasquez (50-12-2, 35 KO)
Jr. Featherweight (119-122 lbs.)
09/15: #8 Toshiaki Nishioka (32-4-3, 19 KO) W UD12 Napapol Kiatisakchokchai (46-3-1, 39 KO)
09/17: #1 Celestino Caballero (30-2, 21 KO, WBA) W KO1 Elvis Mejia (27-8-1, 7 KO)
Bantamweight (116-118 lbs.)
09/18: #2 Anselmo Moreno (23-1-1, 8 KO, WBA) W TD7 Cecilio Santos (22-9-3, 12 KO)
Jr. Bantamweight (113-115 lbs.)
09/15: #5 Jorge Arce (50-4-1, 38 KO) W RTD9 Rafael Concepcion (11-3-1, 7 KO)
09/15: #6 Nobuo Nashiro (12-1, 7 KO) W SD12 #9 Kohei Kono (21-4, 7 KO)
Flyweight (109-112 lbs.)
09/20: #2 Omar Narvaez (28-0, 17 KO, WBO) W UD12 Alejandro Hernandez (20-6-1, 9 KO)
Jr. Flyweight (106-108 lbs.)
09/27: #3 Edgar Sosa (33-5, 17 KO, WBC) W UD12 Sonny Boy Jaro (28-7-5, 17 KO)
Strawweight (105 lbs.)
09/13: #2 Raul Garcia (24-0-1, 15 KO, IBF) W UD12 Jose Luis Varela (15-5, 7 KO)
09/15: #9 Roman Gonzalez (20-0, 18 KO, WBA) W TKO4 #1 Yutaka Niida (23-2, 9 KO)
09/27: #10 Yasutaka Kuroki (19-3, 14 KO) W KO3 Intanon Sithsoei (0-1)
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org