By Cliff Rold

None of the World’s best, or more appropriately less bad, heavyweights fought in June.  That’s at least one reason that can be pointed to in reasoning just what made June 2008 such a good month.  After all, Heavyweight come with a heavy price tag, eating up TV dates and attention that is rarely equal to the action they produce in the ring.  In July that will mean the sure to be thrilling Wladimir Klitschko-Tony Thompson, a fight Don Dunphy would have had a hard time making exciting on radio.  Yippee.

Thank God for small favorites before we get back to the big boys (and immediately after them).

Damn near everyweight star Manny Pacquiao took a step farther from the contemporary and a step closer to the rarest historical airs by successfully moving up in weight yet again, eight classes from where he started.  Welterweight Paul Williams avenged his only loss in less than three minutes, going hot knife to butter on Carlos Quintana.  Middleweight thriller Arthur Abraham finally crossed the pond from Germany, thrashing Edison Miranda in only four rounds…and none of this produced the fight or fighter of the month.

Summer is off to a hot start.

July might have a tad less to offer in depth of action, but with Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito on tap fans should have a fight to look forward that provides more action than most whole months hold.  The first round should be better than Klitschko’s last couple years.  That is what’s ahead.  Looking behind, this is BoxingScene’s June Review. 

Fighter of the Month:  Sergio Mora

He was on the verge of being one of the sports best examples of wasted opportunity.  Ever.  Sergio Mora had an audience of millions via NBC when he won the first Contender reality show tournament in May 2004.  That audience was squandered with only five fights in the years since. Maybe his handlers were spooked by the fortunate decision he received in his Contender finale rematch with Peter Manfredo; maybe they overestimated the attention span of the public.  Whatever the answer is, he didn’t fight enough, he didn’t look great when he did, and that he managed a WBC 154 lb. title shot against former World Welterweight champion Vernon Forrest anyways was met with a chuckle or two.  The fight smelled like a cash-out, tucked away on a low publicity card where a loss wouldn’t completely kill the damaged Contender brand.

No one is laughing now.  In a fight that Contender figurehead and Boxing great, Sugar Ray Leonard admitted after the fact that he didn’t expect Mora to win, Mora did just that.  He lost the early rounds before finding a rhythm and dominating the second half of the contest.  Only 27, Mora showed what a younger fighter can do to an older one when he makes the effort to take his legs through activity and body work.  Mora wasn’t intimidated by the 37-year old Forrest even after Forrest had emerged as the presumptive best fighter at Jr. Middleweight.  Now, in a class short on intrigue, Mora lands at the right time to make some real noise and money.  If he can avoid another round of mis-management, Mora may have a chance to finally get back the audience he never should have lost. 

Fight of the Month:  Raul Marquez-Giovanni Lorenzo

Did anyone know to look forward to this one?  Marquez was supposed to be so far past his prime that he could lap it.  The former Jr. Middleweight titlist and 1992 Olympian hadn’t won a fight worth noting since Keith Mullings…in 1997.  And the Mullings fight was controversial.  In the years since, every step up was a step back as opponent quality and skin that busts with a breeze proved insurmountable obstacles.  Against Yori Boy Campas…stopped in eight.  Fernando Vargas…stopped in eleven.  Jermain Taylor…stopped in nine.

Undefeated Middleweight prospect Giovanni Lorenzo?  That turned out to be a different story altogether.  It turned out to be the fight of the month.  Here’s how it was recapped post-fight here at BoxingScene:

The veteran Marquez struck first in the opening round, landing two hard body shots as Lorenzo calmly circled.  A lazy right from Lorenzo just missed and Marquez landed a single left hook downstairs.  Lorenzo landed a long right and off the ropes and then another at mid-ring in the final minute.  Working out of a corner as the seconds ticked down, Lorenzo attempted to roll and counter against Marquez’s aggression with mixed success.

Marquez continued to press behind his right jab as the second round kicked off.  Another left downstairs brought a right from Lorenzo in response and Marquez found himself backed up.  Lorenzo continued to work the right, using the left jab and a lead left hook to create openings.  A right hand from Lorenzo in the corner was equaled by a left hook to the head from Marquez as they headed for the bell.

A marked increase in intensity could be seen at the start of the third and carried through to the fourth as Marquez’s efforts to get inside on Lorenzo were stepped up.  In each round, Marquez started off with lead power shots.  In round four, it led to a full, sustained opening minute of landing hooks and straight rights.  The game old man was also wise, never ignoring the body.  As the final thirty seconds wound down, Marquez was defending against Lorenzo’s right hand counters, landing a particularly nasty right hook to the body followed by a left hook to the temple of the younger man. 

Having seized control of the bout in the previous round, Marquez again attempted to bum rush his man at the bell and was clipped with a right hand from Lorenzo that came close to being an official knockdown as Marquez’s gloves came perilously close to the floor.  They traded rights as the moved around the ring, Lorenzo going backwards but planting to deliver and Marquez never giving him time to settle.  A right to the body from Marquez led to a furious power punch exchange near the ropes around the thirty second mark but little action followed from there.

With his left eye showing redness at the end of the fifth, Lorenzo was forced to eat a steady diet of Marquez rights in the sixth that brought the red to swelling.  Defying the calendar, Marquez refused to relent, pressuring and landing echoing power blasts.  The pace slowed in the seventh as Lorenzo cautiously moved and held to try and slow Marquez down, a tactic that woke the boo birds in the crowd. 

Two left hands to the top of Lorenzo’s head in the middle of round eight appeared to have the Dominican stunned but he shook it off and landed his own slashing right inside the final minute.  Marquez reached to hold, clearing his head and then landing yet another left on Lorenzo in the waning seconds of the round to halt any surge of confidence that. 

Grappling marked the beginning of round nine but Marquez was soon back on full offense with a left hook that drove Lorenzo into the corner.  A hard Marquez jab was met with a Lorenzo right uppercut, then lead right hand, before Marquez landed his own left.  Lorenzo holding on tight in the final thirty seconds, Marquez clipped him with two rights to the jaw in the clinch and then a left hook that sent Lorenzo stumbling back yet again.

Looking well behind in the fight, Lorenzo’s corner chided him to look for the knockout in the rest period before round ten.  Lorenzo came out with the right hand right away in search of that end.  A clinch ended with a Lorenzo right and a nasty cut over the right eye of Marquez.  It wasn’t clear if the blow or a clash of heads caused the cut; moments later, a clash of heads would be quite evident as Lorenzo intentionally head butted Marquez as he was backed into the ropes.  Immediately deducted a point on the cards by a visibly angry referee, Lorenzo was waved in to continue and Marquez charged across looking to put Lorenzo’s head into the seats with wide loaded hooks.  A violent exchange would carry past the final bell as each man took cheap shots on the other before their corners could separate them.

Marquez and Lorenzo picked up where they left off at the bell to start round eleven, fighting on even terms early before Marquez’s cleaner, straighter shots robbed Lorenzo of his initial fire.  Hurting from a fights worth of body and head punishment, the younger man was holding on for survival heading towards the final rest period.

The closing frame saw Lorenzo attempt some counter rights but Marquez’s stalking, varied offense dissuaded Lorenzo from going for the knockout, instead legging out stretches of the round and leaving it to the judges.  The underdog appeared a clear winner as the final bell of an exciting bout sounded, raising his arms into the air as the crowd stood to applaud his effort.

Closer in the official tallies than it should have been, the obvious was made reality as the judge’s scores were announced at 114-113 across the board.

Critical Results

Using a formula inspired by the college football BCS, I’ve been compiling quarterly divisional ratings at Boxing Scene since the beginning of the year.  The second quarter lists were published between April and May 2008 and these are the critical results from the month of June; full ratings can be found at: https://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings

Third quarter ratings will be released in the first week of July with a look at July’s upcoming action.

Heavyweight (201 lbs. – Unlimited)

No rated fighters competed in June.

Cruiserweight (176-200 lbs.)

No rated fighters competed in June.

Light Heavyweight (169-175 lbs.)

No rated fighters competed in June.

Super Middleweight (161-168 lbs.)

06/21: #2 Mikkel Kessler (40-1, 30 KO, WBA) W TKO11 Dimitri Sartison (22-1, 14 KO)

06/21: 160 lb. #1 Arthur Abraham (27-0, 22 KO, WBA) W TKO4 #9 Edison Miranda (30-3, 26 KO)

Middleweight (155-160 lbs.)

06/07: World Champion Kelly Pavlik (34-0, 30 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC/WBO) W TKO3 Gary Lockett (30-2, 21 KO)

06/21: Raul Marquez (41-3-1, 29 KO) W UD12 #8 Giovanni Lorenzo (26-1, 18 KO)

06/28: #7 John Duddy (25-0, 17 KO) W UD10 Charles Howe (17-5-2, 9 KO)

Jr. Middleweight (148-154 lbs.)

06/07: Sergio Mora (21-0-1, 5 KO, WBC) W MD12 #1 Vernon Forrest (40-3, 29 KO)

06/07: #8 Sergio Martinez (43-1-1, 22 KO) W TKO7 Archak Termeliksetian (16-7, 13 KO)

Welterweight (141-147 lbs.)

06/07: #6 Paul Williams (34-1, 25 KO, WBO) W TKO1 #2 Carlos Quintana (25-2, 19 KO)  06/21: #7 Andre Berto (22-0, 19 KO) W TKO7 Miguel Rodriguez (29-3, 23 KO)

Jr. Welterweight (136-140 lbs.)

06/06: Herman Ngoudjo (17-2, 9 KO) W UD12 #6 Soulemayne M’Baye (36-3-1, 21 KO)

Lightweight (131-135 lbs.)

06/21: #8 Amir Khan (18-0, 14 KO) W TKO5 Michael Gomez (35-9, 24 KO)

06/25: #4 Julio Diaz (35-4, 26 KO) W TKO5 David Torres (20-1, 13 KO)

06/28: Manny Pacquiao (47-3-2, 36 KO, WBC) W KO9 #3 David Diaz (34-2-1, 17 KO)

Jr. Lightweight (127-130 lbs.)

06/12: #2 Edwin Valero (24-0, 24 KO, WBA) W TKO7 Takehiro Shimada (22-4-1, 15 KO)

06/28: Francisco Lorenzo (33-4, 14 KO) W DQ4 #5 Humberto Soto (44-7-2, 28 KO)

Featherweight (123-126 lbs.)

06/28: #3 Steven Luevano (35-1-1, 15 KO, WBO) D12 Mario Santiago (19-1-1, 14 KO)

 

Jr. Featherweight (119-122 lbs.)

06/07: #1 Celestino Caballero (29-2, 20 KO, WBA) W TKO12 Lorenzo Parra (28-2, 18 KO)

06/07: #7 Juan Manuel Lopez (22-0, 20 KO, WBO) W TKO1 #2 Daniel Ponce De Leon (34-2, 30 KO)

06/24: #5 Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (35-1, 25 KO) W KO3 Jason Butar (2-4-1)

Bantamweight (116-118 lbs.)

06/12: #1 Hozumi Hasegawa (24-2, 7 KO, WBC) W UD12 Cristian Faccio (15-3, 10 KO)

Jr. Bantamweight (113-115 lbs.)

No rated fighters competed in June.

Flyweight (109-112 lbs.)

No rated fighters competed in June.

Jr. Flyweight (106-108 lbs.)

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)

Strawweight (105 lbs.)

06/14: Raul Garcia (23-0-1, 15 KO, IBF) W SD12 #2 Florante Condes (22-4-1, 20 KO)

06/18: #3 Oleydong Sithsamerchai (27-0, 11 KO, WBC) W KO9 Junichi Ebisuoka (17-11-3, 7 KO)

06/27: #10 Nkosianthi Joyi (18-0, 14 KO) W TKO7 Sammy Gutierrez (20-3-2, 12 KO)

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