By Derek Bonnett: I’m just thinking out loud here. One of my biggest gripes with today’s boxers is activity throughout each year. As fans, we sit around waiting to see our favorite fighters trade leather and typical only get to see them twice, maybe three times throughout a given year. Fighters like Nonito Donaire and Leo Santa Cruz have been recent exceptions to this standard by fighting four and five times in 2012 against varying levels of world class opposition. However, as a close watcher of the lighter weight classes and the world boxing scene, I have noted numerous quality fighters at the world class level keeping active with six or eight round tune-up bouts between more significant contests. The recently retired Pongsaklek Wonjongkam kept a fast pace of bouts often fighting six or seven times a year on both small and larger cards to help promote younger fighters, keep ring rust at bay, or defend his world championship. Going back a little further to 1993, Greg Haugen famously berated Julio Cesar Chavez for fighting mostly Tijuana cab-drivers. However, leading up to their bout Chavez fought five times in 1992, facing opposition ranging from world class opposition to the cab-driver variety. Yet, he looked pretty damn sharp in dismantling Haugen, who fought three times in 1992 and against far worse opposition. In both case, Wonjongkam and Chavez made an effort to give their fans a lot more.
If the best in the world today fight only two to three times a year against rated opposition, why not get excited about seeing them two to three times more in six or eight round tune-up bouts? Staying more active would help fighters keep their weight more manageable between fights. Being active could also serve to fend off injuries due to inactivity. Also, fighting at smaller venues and not just the top cards would expose them to a lot more fans and boost their popularity so that they can perhaps demand greater earnings when they are under the spotlight at the top venues.
For example, boxing fans were happy to see Andre Ward once in 2012 and twice in 2011 against the absolute best. Imagine seeing him fight Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, and Arthur Abraham, but sandwiched in between were less formidable wins over Will Rosinsky, Dyah Davis, and Vladine Biosse on ESPN or NBC. Hell, throw in a rematch with Darnell Boone, who dropped him back in 2005. Add those three or four victories to either year and we have a much more active champion visible to more fans on a national level.
On Friday, January 25, at Wat Bannamtieng, Maha Sarakham, Thailand, Wanheng Menayothin kept active with a six round unanimous decision over Jack Amisa. Menayothin made his 2013 debut and raised his record to 26-0 (8). Amisa fell to 20-26-2 (14) losing for the twelfth consecutive time and winless since 2008.
Menayothin remained SecondsOut’s number sixth ranked strawweight, but he is in serious need of a challenge since he face Florante Condes in 2011. His quality of opposition will be monitored to more accurately reflect his ranking amongst the best in the division.
On Saturday, January 26, at Bon Pastor, Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain, Robert Stieglitz won for the first time since losing to Arthur Abraham. He stopped Michel Nieroda in three rounds. The bout was waved off at the 1:45 mark. Stieglitz elevated his ledger to 43-3 (24). Nieroda dropped to 10-3 (5).
Stieglitz retained his number five super middleweight ranking at SecondsOut as he approaches a March rematch with Abraham.
Also on this date, at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, The Joint, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Lucas Martin Matthysse made short work of substitute Mike Dallas Jr. in an interim WBC light welterweight title bout. Matthysse stopped Dallas 2:26 of the first round. Matthysse raised his record to 33-2 (31) to make the first defense of the interim belt. Dallas crashed to 19-3-1 (8).