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01 OCTOBER 2014

 

Title Shots Here! Getcha' Free Title Shot!, Vol. 7


Jhonny Gonzalez defends his WBC title
Jhonny Gonzalez defends his WBC title

By Derek Bonnett: It’s December and 2011 is rapidly coming to a close. If the Mayan calendar holds true, there are precious few months left for mankind and there are going to be legions of professional prizefighters whose dreams of world title contention will remain unfulfilled as the world comes crashing down in 2012. Apparently, a handful of fighters scribed their Christmas lists early enough for good old Saint Nicholas to grant them world championships bouts before the new year without the necessary prerequisites. The questionable challengers featured in this year’s final volume of Title Shots Here! Getcha’ Free Title Shot may have opted for being nice over naughty, but none of them appear qualified for the world champions who will stand in front of them throughout the month of December.

To start the holiday season off on December 3, Jhonny Gonzalez will put his WBC featherweight title on the line against journeyman Roinet Caballero. Gonzalez was scheduled to make a defense against Caballero back in July, but, after that bout fell through, he took on the woefully overmatched Tomas Villa. He followed that up with a September defense against the inactive Rogers Mtagwa. As featherweight champion, Gonzalez is ridding the division of journeymen instead of turning back the efforts of challengers. It must have been Roinet Caballero’s (un)impressive four bout win-streak that makes him such a demanding challenger for Gonzalez to reschedule a title defense against him. Since losing back to back decisions to Daniel Ponce De Leon and Irving Berry, Caballero has earned a number nine ranking from the WBC while remaining unranked by the other three major organizing bodies and SecondsOut. Caballero’s road to a title shot includes inside of the distance victories over Jose Miguel Payares (9-4), Elvis Garcia (9-9), and Santos Marimon (13-13-1). Most recently in October, Caballero came off the canvas against Aristides Perez, a second round TKO loser to Gonzalez in 2010, to capture an eight round decision. Perez has finished 4-6 in his last ten bouts.

Somehow, Caballero has received a shot ahead of worthy title challengers such as Miguel Angel Garcia, Juan Carlos Burgos, Ryol Li Lee, and Juan Manuel Lopez. All of these contenders have been or are currently longstanding ranked elites by SecondsOut. With the way Gonzalez’ title reign as unfolded thus far, don’t expect him to go after any of the aforementioned combatants in 2012. A showdown with number fifteen ranked Salvador Sanchez II is a more likely scenario these days. My how the mighty have fallen!

Koki Kameda puts his WBA bantamweight title on the line against Mario Macias on December 7. As one of three WBA champions at 118 (Super Champ, Anselmo Moreno and Interim Champ, Hugo Ruiz), Kameda has a light assignment in front of him in Macias, 23-7 (11). With nary a credible victory on his dossier to warrant a world title shot, Macias magically appeared in the October WBA rankings at number twelve. In 2011, Macias has a shallow record of 1-1 and 1 no-contest. His most recent victory at bantamweight was a seventh round TKO over Edgar Garcia, who entered the ring with a reported record of 1-0-1 (0). Prior to 2011, Macias defeated mostly unheralded journeyman and trialhorses with losing or marginal records.

Kameda has mingled with the best in the past having faced Daisuke Naito and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam along with faded version of Saman Sorjaturong and Alexander Munoz. When a champion campaigns in arguably the best division in the sport, a fighter such as Macias is an unacceptable challenger. The best in the division may be busy with high profile Showtime bantamweight match-ups, but far more commendable challengers such as A.J. Banal, Cristian Mijares, Malcolm Tunacao, or Ruiz still reside in the top ten. Any organizing body with three world champions in a single division is going to have a surplus of bogus match-ups and a revolving door of spuriously ranked fighters. Maybe the WBA are superstitious and are trying to get as many sanctioning fees in as possible before the close of 2012.



On December 10, Wladimir Klitschko will put his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles on the line against former cruiserweight champion Jean Mark Mormeck. Mormeck has three heavyweight victories under his belt since being stopped in seven rounds by David Haye at 200 pounds. However, all three bouts delivered uninspiring results and many questioned the verdicts of his last two wins over Fres Oquendo and Timor Ibragimov. Mormeck is unanimously ranked ninth by all three major sanctioning bodies involved in this title bout, but is no one to be seen on the SecondsOut radar. Unlike the other challengers in this volume, Mormeck has been at the top of his division and garnered legitimate world class experience. However, it is no longer 2007. Mormeck will have been inactive for more than a year come fight night and his last credible win came at cruiserweight against O’Neil Bell almost four years ago.

It’s easier to give Wladimir Klitschko a pass since his recent title challengers are more credible by a long shot. However, Robert Helenius, Alexander Dimitrenko, and Chris Arreola would prove far more satisfying as names to go alongside Wlad’s on the marquee. Even less experienced contenders such as Kubrat Pulev, Denis Boytsov, and Alexander Ustinov excite the imagination more than Mormeck. Also, their recent victories are far more decisive and credible. Even a match-up with WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck, who has begun taunting the Brothers K in recent months, would be more deserving since he has at least been performing at a high level against top ranking opposition over the last few years. Two former cruiserweight champions - David Haye and Tomasz Adamek - have failed to upset the applecart in 2011. Mormeck’s best efforts won’t likely be enough to carry him throughout the mid-rounds.

On December 17, Orlando Salido will put his title on the line against an undeserving title challenger for the second time since he won the WBO belt with a stunning upset of Juan Manuel Lopez. Kenichi Yamaguchi was disheartening, but Carlos Manuel Reyes is absolutely disturbing. Sure, Reyes sports a nice looking 23-1-1 ledger. However, outside of a wide decision loss to a promising featherweight in Nicholas Waters, Reyes has no experience against an opponent with a pulse. In fact, excluding Nicholas, Reyes other twenty-four opponents have a combined reported record of 29-164. One additional beacon on Reyes record is his two bout series with Juan Carlos Contreras. Contreras entered the ring 0-3 against a 19-1 Reyes and held him to a four round majority draw in May of this year. Then, in July, an 0-4-1 Contreras held Reyes to a split decision. Sure, Reyes has fought six times in 2011, but the caliber of his opposition is atrocious. It is doubtful that two bouts with Ricardo Capellan, 1-4 (0), both of which ended by first round TKO, and a fifth round stoppage of Alejandro Lebron, 4-27-3, will prepare Reyes for a seasoned world champion like Salido. In fact, this resembles the type of match-up that has ended in tragedy in the past.

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam remains one of the most active big names in the sport and will be closing out 2011 on December 23 with his sixth appearance this year. His most significant bout of the year was a unanimous decision over Edgar Sosa in October. Now, he will be granting a title shot to the new WBC number fifteen ranked flyweight contender, 5-1 (0), Hirofumi Mukai. Mukai has fought only once at 112 pounds in losing a unanimous twelve round decision to SecondsOut ranked Rocky Fuentes in August. Mukai has not fought since, but does own a decision over one-time contender Sonny Boy Jaro, who is presently ranked ahead of him. Does that warrant a title fight against a veteran world champion with eighty-seven bouts of experience? Not really. Especially when two of Mukai’s five professional victories were narrowly captured by two point margins over fighters far less than Wonjongkam.

Wonjongkam is an excellent fighter, but he continues to bolster his professional numbers against neophytes with little experience or unverified results. Victories over Koki Kameda, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, and Sosa have kept him in the number one seat at SecondsOut. His willingness to compete in frequent non-title fights is admirable, even if the opposition is very soft. However, Mukai does not appear ready for this big stage of a WBC title fight; especially since Rocky Fuentes is ranked fourth. Fifth ranked Ricardo Nunez could have been offered this fight since he was already prepping for a bout earlier this week. Milan Melindo, ranked sixth, would have also been a great name to fill this title slot. The most sensible thing would be to call Mukai-Wonjongkam a non-title bout and not allow the champion to pick up a defense or further line the pockets of the organizing bodies.

Merry Christmas to the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO! They will certainly be ending 2011 out of the red. As for boxing fans, you don’t have to accept the early lump of coal you received in your stockings. Reach out! Speak up! Send SecondsOut your thoughts about bogus world title bouts via our Ask the Editor feature. The fans need to be heard. SecondsOut will give you the proper forum.

For further boxing discussion contact Derek Bonnett on Facebook or at mabfan@comcast.net.

December 1, 2011






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