As we continue the Super Official Boxing Rankings No Seriously Guys Rankings project, we now turn our attention to the middleweights today. For an explanation of what this is and to see the previous posts, check them out here:
|LINEAL CHAMP||WBC CHAMP||WBA CHAMP||IBF CHAMP||WBO CHAMP|
|Miguel Cotto||Miguel Cotto||Gennady Golovkin||Sam Soliman||Vacant|
Champ: Miguel Cotto, Puerto Rico (39-4, 32 KO)
Cotto is the lineal champ here, having beaten and taken the belt of the undisputed middleweight champion Sergio Martinez back in June, but that is a bit misleading. It was really Cotto’s first fight at middleweight, he didn’t really ‘deserve’ the lineal title shot and beat down an injured and diminished Martinez. Sergio had a great run at the top and was for a few years the most dynamic fighter in the game, but his match with Cotto was both a cashout fight for Sergio and the final death rattle of Martinez’s supernova career.
Regardless, Cotto showed up to fight and with new trainer Freddie Roach, has re-established his nasty left hook and body attack and seemingly rejuvenated his stagnating career and returned to the scene as a punishing offensive fighter. Cotto has always been a warrior and is one of boxing’s biggest names and most popular fighters for a reason–but given the beatings he’s taken in some of his losses, particularly in the Manny Pacquiao fight and the Antonio Margarito fight (where Margarito possibly pummeled him with loaded gloves), people have been saying he was close to finished for quite some time. Cotto won’t go away, though, and after a decision loss in 2012 to Austin Trout in a poor style matchup, he has looked dynamite in beatdowns of Martinez and third-tier Delvin Rodriguez.
The real champ in this division, the real monster, is Kazakh dynamo Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin, I’m sure, would kill for a big-money fight with Cotto for the middleweight championship and most would favor the hard punching and much bigger Golovkin in that fight. However, it doesn’t seem like Cotto plans on taking that fight anytime soon, and with the clock ticking down on his career and Golovkin not bringing enough money to the table it’s hard to blame Cotto. Look for Cotto to pursue a big money PPV fight with Canelo Alvarez or a rematch with Floyd Mayweather and cash in big on the last few fights of a stellar career.
The Other Beltholders:
Gennady Golovkin, Kazakhstan (30-0, 27 KO)
The aforementioned Golovkin is a monstrosity of a fighter who I’ve written about in this space before. He has explosive power in both hands, leaves opponents crumpled on the floor and gasping for air and is the most feared man in the sport today. As they work to build his name and make him into a superstar (something that only hasn’t happened yet due to lack of big-name competition, limited English and being from Kazakhstan), Golovkin has the talent to be the boxing’s next big thing, a middleweight Mike Tyson who steamrolls through opponents.
However, he is a late arriver to the mainstream scene, and he is already 30 years old. He is right now in his physical prime and looks unstoppable, but time is a cruel bitch in the boxing game, and he is spending too much of it fighting stay-busy no-hope opponents as the bigger names avoid him. He is working on cleaning out a mediocre middleweight division and no doubt hoping for a big money fight against a name like Cotto or Chavez. He may have to go up in weight to fight Andre Ward eventually to make his mark, but for now he is Fred Astaire without a dance partner.
Sam Soliman, Australia (44-11, 18 KO)
This is about as weak as a beltholder gets, as the light-punching and unspectacular Australian swiped a belt from a 40-year old Felix Sturm in his last fight and has proceeded to defend it against Jermain Taylor, a guy whose presence in the sport itself is gross given he suffered a terrible brain injury and was told to retire years ago. Soliman is a paper champion who is little to no threat to the top of this or any division. He has 11 losses. He is just a guy.
Peter Quillin, USA (31-0, 22 KO)
I’m putting Quillin on here even though he doesn’t have a belt, as the only reason he does not have one is because he vacated the WBO title when he refused a fight against contender Matt Korobov. The motivation for refusing a fight against a mid-level guy for a career high payday of over a million dollars is a questionable decision at best and a factor for why many boxing fans have turned on this talented Brooklyn fighter, just the most recent example of a guy given all the breaks and avoiding hard competition.
He’s been promoted as an up and coming star, pushed heavily by Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions, but has looked unimpressive against recent outings and is untested. Quillin has decent power and seemingly can fight, but with the two best names on his resume being Gabriel Rosado and Hassan N’Dam, boxing fans would love to see him prove it against a real threat.
Other Contenders and People of Interest:
- Julio Ceaser Chavez Jr., Mexico (48-1-1, 32 KO) — Chavez Jr., the son of a boxing legend, is a talented, hard-chinned and extraordinarily lazy fighter with immense name recognition due to his bloodline. He enjoys every benefit possible for a fighter, including size advantages, judging advantages and being rich, and spends his free time eating cereal and smoking weed. Since nearly beating middleweight champ Sergio Martinez after losing the first 11 rounds with an insane last round near-comeback (a final round in which he injured Sergio to the point that Martinez never really recovered) he has looked very lackluster in a pair of wins against journeyman Bryan Vera and has ceased to be an active fighter. Rumor has it he has legal issues with his promoter, and he doesn’t seem to really love the sport, but the fact is boxing is more interesting with him in it and active and I’d like to see him in with Golovkin or one of the other names, if for no other reason than to build up Golovkin.
- Sergio Martinez, Argentina (51-3-2, 28 KO) — Martinez, a dynamo for the later part of his career and a true champion, deserves mention here due to his accomplishments and being the man in the division for years, with wins over Kelly Pavlik,Chavez Jr., Paul Williams, Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray, before being rudely knocked off his throne by Cotto in June. During his run, Martinez had a unique style of fighting with his hands by his knees and using unmatched athleticism and reflexes to avoid punishment while dishing powerful punches from unnatural angles. Unfortunately, Martinez is completely shot, with balky knees that won’t hold him up, slowed reflexes and just generally a body that is falling apart. His style is all wrong for a guy that doesn’t have his athleticism anymore and at age 40, Martinez should retire before he gets seriously injured. A borderline Hall of Famer and at his apex, one of the most exciting fighters int he world
- Other names of interest: Everyone else in this division falls into the camp of pretty good but not great, including Martin Murray, UK (28-2-2, 12 KO); Daniel Jacobs, USA (28-1, 25 KO); Daniel Geale, Australia (30-3, 16 KO); and Marco Antonio Rubio, Mexico (59-6-1, 52 KO)