By Derek Bonnett: Did you really think Sullivan Barrera could do it? Really? During the build up to Andre Ward’s bout with unbeaten Sullivan Barrera, some folks felt compelled to call the upset...possibility. Personally, I can’t recall anyone actually picking Barrera to win, but there were a lot of qualifying comments added to the pick of a Ward victory alluding to inactivity, age, letdown, etc. Did Barrera really look to have a chance or did some just want him to? I love the upset, but couldn’t see it happening here for the simple fact that Ward is a special fighter. His inactivity frustrates me as well, but the simple fact is that he is one of today’s best and the only slightly proven Sullivan had not shown anything to indicate that USA’s best fighter today was in any danger. Through twelve rounds there was not much to go on if your thesis was that Ward was a fighter in decline due to rust and lack of recent challenge. No, in fact, he made a pretty darn good statement for his case against Sergey Kovalev, whom he has always been favored to beat in most circles. Yes, it’s among the best possible match-ups in the sport and it is a real Super Fight in terms of fighter resumes and abilities. However, it is still Andre Ward we are talking about. A boxer who has not lost in two decades since he was an amateur boy. Ward suffers because he is not just a reluctant warrior, but a reluctant combatant who admitted to his contemplations on walking away from the sport. Kovalev is what fans all want in a pugilist: a man who appears more comfortable in the ring than outside of it. Circumstance and attitude are responsible for Ward’s decline in position amid boxing’s elite. Results are what put Kovalev ahead of him in the eyes of many. This fight will be worth the wait, but I expect the desire of a Kovalev win far outweighs the probability of one. I like watching Kovalev fight more as well, but my head tells me Ward walks away with yet another career defining victory that is only quietly celebrated.
SecondsOut fighters On the Move:
On Friday, March 25, at Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, Oklahoma, USA, Willie Nelson scored a second round TKO over late substitute Jonathon Batista. The bout ended at the :58 mark. Nelson lifted his number to 25-2-1 (15). Batista crashed to 15-9-0 (8).
Nelson remained SecondsOut’s number seven rated junior middleweight in the world today.
Also on this date, at Chokchai 4 Market, Bangkok, Thailand, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep won by eighth round KO over Samuel Tehuayo in a flyweight bout. The Thai boxer won for the fifth time straight since losing to Juan Carlos Reveco in a WBA flyweight title bout. Vor Saengthep’s record improved to 39-3-0 (25). Tehuayo crashed to 19-37-2 (4).
Vor Saengthep held down SecondsOut’s number ten ranking at 112 pounds.
On Saturday March 26, at Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, Kell Brook stopped Kevin Bizier in two rounds of a IBF World welterweight title bout. Bizier hit the canvas twice in round two. The end came at the 2:15 mark. Brook made the third defense of his title and lifted his ledger to 36-0-0 (25). Bizier fell to 25-3-0 (17).
Brook remained SecondsOut’s number two rated welterweight behind only Manny Pacquiao.
On the same date, at Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, USA, Andre Ward defeated Sullivan Barrera by twelve round unanimous decision in a light heavyweight bout. Ward earned scores of 119-109, 117-109, and 117-108. Ward dropped Barrera in round three and improved his dossier to 29-0-0 (15). Barrera fell to 17-1-0 (12).
Ward retained his number three light heavyweight ranking at SecondsOut.
Also On the Move, Gary Russell Jr. has been inactive for one year and has been dropped from the SecondsOut rankings. Beneath Ward-Barrera, Joseph Diaz scored a dominant and exciting win over Jayson Velez in a featherweight bout. Diaz climbed in at number eight to fill the void at 126. Evgeny Gradovich was pushed to tenth.
Also On the Move, Jose Benavidez will no longer campaign at 140 pounds in favor of a move to the welterweight division. Benavidez surrendered his number four ranking at 140 at SecondsOut, but has not yet claimed a top ten ranking at 147. In addition, Antonio Orozco has not made the 140 pound limit in years and has been dropped from the SecondsOut rankings as well. Cesar Rene Cuenca has climbed back in at number nine. Adrian Granados claimed the ten spot.
Also On the Move, Rey Loreto has reportedly moved down to 105 pounds after claiming a regional title. His future is uncertain, but he has been removed from his number seven ranking at 108. Instead, Loreto will be ranked number seven at minimumweight. Vic Saludar was pushed out of the top ten.
SecondsOut ranked fighters in action through Sunday, April 3, 2016:
Monday 28 March 2016
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
10 Featherweight Satoshi Hosono 30 2 1 (20) vs. Rikiya Fukuhara 31 8 1 (23) Japanese featherweight title
Friday, April 1 2016
DC Armory, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
television: USA Spike TV
12 Super Lightweight Adrien Broner 31 2 0 (23) vs. Ashley Theophane 39 6 1 (11) WBA Super World super lightweight title
Saturday, April 2 2016
Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
television: United Kingdom SKY
12 Super Middleweight Hadillah Mohoumadi 20 3 1 (15) vs. Callum Smith 18 0 0 (13) EBU (European) super middleweight title
For a more in depth look at Derek Bonnett’s SecondsOut world rankings:
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March 26, 2016[i]