By Derek Bonnett: As I begin my reflections on the 2012 boxing calendar, one trait stands out above all others, which I truly appreciated seeing in the careers of the copious professional prizefighters I followed in and out of the SecondsOut rankings. That venerable characteristic was easy to find and one I’d like to see more in all fighters, but especially the world class variety whom are constantly under my On the Move microscope. Simply put, it’s activity.
What do Jean Pascal, Andre Dirrell, Joseph Agbeko, Celestino Caballero, Guillermo Jones, and numerous other top names in their respective divisions have in common? They were all dropped from the SecondsOut rankings for sustained inactivity. The worst part about it is that each fighter mentioned is a repeat offender with the exception of Pascal.
In a year when world champions such as Leo Santa Cruz and Nonito Donaire can fight five and four times respectively to secure Breakout Fighter of the Year and Fighter of the Year contention status, an elite class fighter should be expected to fight once or twice in a twelve month period barring extenuating circumstance, such as Ulises Solis had after having his jaw broken outside of the ring by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Even in the wake of defeat to start 2012, the now retired Pongsaklek Wonjongkam fought six times. The world’s best light flyweight according to most, Roman Gonzalez, punched his pugilistic time-card four times in 2012. Lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez posted four defenses of his title this year. Top-rated heavyweight, Tomasz Adamek will fight for the fourth time of 2012 next week. As will Marco Antonio Rubio fight for a fourth time, now campaigning as a super middleweight and unranked by SecondsOut. Top-rated strawweight Denver Cuello put on the brakes in 2012 and still managed to fight three times.
Too many capable ring practitioners let 2012 pass them by and it was truly a special year in boxing to be a part of. This is where other sports gain an advantage over boxing due to scheduling. Fans know exactly how many times they will minimally see their favorite football, rugby, baseball, and basketball teams. With boxing it is anybody’s guess as we see our favorite fighters pull out due to contractual disputes, surrender titles to avoid mandatory challengers, and stay on the sidelines as long as they see fit. Here’s to hoping for a busy 2013 as all of the SecondsOut ranked fighter try to stay On the Move.
On Saturday, December 15, at Hilton Garden Inn & Casino, San Miguel, Tucuman, Argentina, Omar Andres Narvaez out-scored David Quijano in a twelve round WBO super flyweight title bout. The three scores read 120-106, 120-108, and 119-109. The win marked Narvaez’ sixth defense if his crown and raised his ledger to 38-1-2 (20). Quijano fell to 15-3-1 (9).
Narvaez had won thrice since his bantamweight loss to Nonito Donaire, but in order to reclaim the top spot at 115 he needs to take a large step up in opposition to match Tepparith Singwancha. He remains ranked third among SecondsOut’s top super flyweights.
Also on this date, at Arena Nurnberger Versicherung, Nuremberg, Bayern, Germany, Arthur Abraham stopped Mehdi Bouadla in eight rounds of a WBO super middleweight bout. The end came at the 2:11 mark. Abraham made his first defense of the title and lifted his record to 36-3 (28). Bouadla dropped to 26-5 (11).
Abraham has perhaps reached his peak in today’s 168-pound division, but still has interesting match-ups against George Groves and other second tier super middles. Abraham held his number four ranking among SecondsOut’s elite 168-pounders.
Also on the card, Mateusz Masternak kept busy with a twelve round shut-out of Juho Haapoja in a cruiserweight bout. All three scores tallied 120-108 in favor of Masternak. Masternak raised his dossier to 29-0 (21). Haapoja fell to 18-3-1 (11).
Masternak remained ranked number eighth amid SecondsOut’s top-performing cruiserweights. However, the rising prospect is also in need of a sterner test in order to advance the rankings.
Also on the same day, at Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, USA, Amir Khan stopped Carlos Molina after ten rounds of a junior welterweight bout. Molina retired on his stool after ten rounds at the 3:00 mark. He was cut in the opening round. Khan raised his record to 27-3 (19) and snapped a two-fight losing streak. Molina dipped to 17-1-1 (7).
Khan held his shaky number five ranking among SecondsOut’s top junior welterweights.
Also on the card, Leo Santa Cruz won a tough unanimous decision over Alberto Guevara in a twelve round IBF bantamweight title bout. Santa Cruz prevailed by margins of 119-109, 118-110, and 116-112. Guevara was cut in the sixth round. Santa Cruz won for the fifth time in 2012 and raised his record to 23-0 (13). He defended his title for the third time this year. Guevara dipped to 16-1 (6).
Santa Cruz held onto his number three ranking in a very talented bantamweight division at the top.
Also on this date, at Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, USA, Nonito Donaire demolished Jorge Arce in three rounds WBO super bantamweight title bout. Arce hit the canvas in the second and third rounds. The end came at the 2:59 mark. Donaire won for the fourth time in a Fighter of the Year worthy 2012. He moved his numbers to 31-1 (20). Arce fell to 61-7-2 (46).
Donaire regained the top spot at 122-pounds at SecondsOut. Abner Mares fell from first to second.