Few divisions have been as intriguing, for as long, as Jr. middleweight over now more than half a decade. The cast has changed at times but it continues to reload with fun new options. After his thrilling win over Erickson Lubin, Sebastian Fundora was confirmed as a serious contender.
The task for Fundora is to hold serve and continue to develop as he gets closer to his opportunity. On Saturday, Fundora got a spirited effort from a Carlos Ocampo who wanted to let the world know he was much more than a man once stopped in one by Errol Spence.
Mission accomplished for Ocampo. The underdog couldn’t win and never really threatened to. Ocampo still fought his heart out, won some rounds, overcame some absurd badgering about his effort from referee Jack Reiss, and dealt with one of the most awkward assignments in boxing. There aren’t a lot of Fundora’s in any era. 6’5 with, so far, good whiskers, a great gas tank, and volume offense is not ordinary.
Fundora showed signs of a fighter working on his game. He employed the jab to great effect in the first three rounds before going to what seems to be his preferred place in the trenches. Fundora did well both ways; the fans got a better show in the latter.
Now it’s a matter of one or two more wins to stay in position.
Futures: Fundora is in line for a shot at undisputed champion Jermell Charlo. If he keeps winning, and Charlo stays at Jr. middleweight, it’s almost presumptive they face off in 2022. Before they get there, Charlo is slated to defend against Tim Tszyu. Tszyu could shock the world but it’s more likely Charlo is too seasoned for a Tszyu still learning on the job.
To beat Charlo, Fundora will probably need to be more jab-at-a-distance than tempt-fate-at-range. Charlo is a real puncher, to the head and body, and Fundora presents a lot of lean target. This is boxing the way it should be. One champion, one line of contenders who earn and present real challenges. Jr. middleweight is boxing the way many say they want it.
Carlos Adames is making the most of his time at middleweight though the stoppage of Montiel on Saturday felt far too quick. He’s in position to challenge Jermall Charlo and Charlo hasn’t been in live fire for well over a year now. This could be a more interesting fight than anyone would have guessed when Charlo was last in the ring…Fernando Martinez beat Jerwin Ancajas up again and the way Martinez fights makes for fun viewing. There’s a bit of Ricardo Mayorga to his game, relying on quick hands, forward momentum, and nary a jab. Will Martinez get chances to mix in with the rest of the best at 115? The still-loaded weight class has talent to spare…For all that boxing may or may not deliver the rest of 2022, this coming Saturday is a gem. The women’s doubleheader, lightweight title rematch, and pay-per-view return of Deontay Wilder will provide something for everyone this weekend.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org