March 27, 2014

Bantamweights & Below - Boxing's Other Five Weight Divisions Vol. 14

Hands up at the IBHOF for Too Sharp
By Derek "DBO" Bonnett -- The most salient challenge when differentiating between boxing greats from past eras is the assessment of oppositional quality. Like we see today, there is often a lot of fluff amid the ledgers of past ring legends. Over the years, I have read critical perspectives of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam's resume. He fought often and between world title bouts he kept active against fighters with little to no recorded ring experience. Yet, Jimmy Wilde, whose resume is replete with insufficiently documented resumes, is often hailed as the greatest flyweight of all time. He's up there for sure; his numbers are great. However, is the meat between the bread as hearty as it's given credit for? The same could be said about Wonjongkam, who had he not been active would have surely made the top ten, possibly top five. Another issue is dominance over weak opposition.

I personally see few fighters on this list that I would say beat Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson hands down. Yet, they all have better resumes than him at 112 pounds. Johnson's talent got him in the conversation, but, in the end, he only just missed the cut. Perhaps a more unpopular opinion of mine is that although excellent fighters, Benny Lynch and Pascual Perez, both in the lower half of the top ten, benefitted greatly from weaker eras or not having a legitimate rival. Others who missed the cut held a significant win or two in the division, arguably better than others, but campaigned at flyweight for only a small portion of their careers. The greatest challenge with my compilation of the best flyweight boxers of all-time was the sheer volume of time and participants involved. The strawweight and light flyweight divisions lack the historical significance of the flyweight division, which is among the original eight weight classes in boxing.
The light flyweight class only dates back to 1975 and the strawweight division emerged in 1987.

World Class Boxing Results at Bantamweight and Below:

On Saturday, March 1, at Emperors Palace, Gauteng, South Africa, Hekkie Budler blitzed Karluis Diaz in one round of a WBA minimumweight title bout. The bout ended at the 2:59 mark. Budler raised his ledger to 25-1 (8) and notched the first defense of his title. Diaz fell to 21-4 (14). Budler remained my top-rated 105-pounder in the game.

On Saturday, March 8, at Coliseo Dibos Dammert, Lima, Peru, Alberto Rossel defeated Gabriel Mendoza by unanimous decision in a twelve round interim WBA light flyweight title bout. Rossel notched his fourth title defense in his homeland and raised his record to 32-8 (13). Mendoza dipped to 19-3-2 (16). Rossel maintained his number seven ranking among my top-rated 108-pounders.

Reveco drops Vides
On Friday, March 21, at Villa La √Ďata Sporting Club, Benav√≠dez, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Juan Carlos Reveco stopped Manuel Vides in two rounds of a WBA flyweight title bout. Reveco defended his title for the sixth time in total between interim and full title bouts. He lifted his ledger to 33-1 (18). Vides crashed to 15-3 (9).Reveco jumped passed Luis Concepcion in my flyweight rankings to number nine. Concepcion dipped to tenth.

On Saturday, March 22, at Arena Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Merlito Sabillo suffered an upset tenth round TKO against Francisco Rodriguez Jr in WBO minimumweight title bout. The bout was waved off at the 1:50 mark. Rodriguez captured his first world title and raised his record to 14-2 (10). Sabillo dipped to 23-1-1 (12). Rodriguez crashed my minimumweight rankings at number five. Sabillo fell from fifth to eighth. Ryugi Hara exited the top ten to make room.

At Arena Roberto Duran, Panama City, Panama, Anselmo Moreno outpointed Javier Nicholas Chacon in a twelve round WBA bantamweight title bout. Chacon was dropped twice in the second round, but hung on to hear the final bell. Moreno won by scores of 117-108, 117-109, and 118-108. Moreno defended his title for the thirteenth time and improved his dossier to 35-2-1 (12). Chacon dipped to 19-2 (4). Moreno remained my number two bantamweight in the world today. Also on the card, Leroy Estrada defeated Edwin Diaz in a ten round minimumweight bout. Estrada won by scores of 98-92, 96-95, and 96-93 in spite of hitting the canvas in the ninth round. Estrada upped his record to 12-1 (5). Diaz fell to 16-19 (5). Estrada claimed the tenth spot among my top-rated 105-pounders. Diaz, previously ranked tenth, exited.

On Wednesday, March 26, at Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan, Denkaosan Kaovichit was stopped by Kohei Kono in eight rounds for the vacant WBA super flyweight title. The end came at the :50 mark. Kaovichit was dropped in the fourth and eighth rounds. Kono elevated his record to 30-8 (13) in reclaiming the title. Kaovichit fell to 62-4-1- (26). Kono affirmed his number three ranking among my top 115-pounders. Kaovichit fell from ninth out of the top ten. Felipe Orucuta advanced from tenth to ninth. Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. returned to the ten spot.

Bantamweight and Below Featured Rankings -
All-Time Best Retired Flyweights (112):

Canto is #1 All Time at Flyweight
1.) Miguel Canto (112) 61-9-4 (15) ~ Former WBC Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at 112: W15 Shoji Oguma I, W15 Betulio Gonzalez II, W15 Martin Vargas I

2.) Betulio Gonzalez (112) 78-12-3 (52) ~ Former two-time WBC and WBA Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at 112: W15 Miguel Canto, W15 Guty Espadas, KO12 Shoji Oguma

3.) Jimmy Wilde (112*) 132-3-1 (99) ~ Former World Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at 112: TKO 9 Sid Smith, W15 Joe Symonds, TKO11 Tancy Lee, W20 Memphis Pal Moore

4.) Frankie Genaro (112) 79-21-8 (19) ~ Former NBA Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at 112: W12 Pancho Villa, W10 Pancho Villa, W15 Pancho Villa

5.) Pancho Villa (112) 78-4-4 (22) ~ Former World Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at 112: KO7 Jimmy Wilde, W8 Kid Williams, W12 Bud Taylor

Pong Wonj gets the honorable mention
6.) Benny Lynch (112) 88-14-17 (34) ~ Former World Flyweight Champion ~  Best Wins at 112:
RTD2 Jackie Brown, W15 Small Montana, KO13 Peter Kane

7.) Pone Kingpetch (112) 28-7-0 (9) ~ Former World, two-time WBC, and two-time WBA Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at 112: W12 Pascual Perez,
TKO8 Pascual Perez, W15 Fighting Harada

8.) Yuri Arbachakov (112) 23-1-0 (16) ~ Former WBC Flyweight Champion ~
Best Wins at 112: KO8 Muangchai Kittikasem, TKO9 Muangchai Kittikasem, W12 Chatchai Sasakul

9.) Masao Ohba (112) 35-2-1 (16) ~ Former WBA Flyweight Champion ~ 
Best Wins at 112: W15 Betulio Gonzalez, KO 12 Chartchai Chionoi,
W10 Bernabe Villacampo

10.) Pascual Perez (112) 84-7-1 (57) ~ Former World Flyweight Champion ~ 
Best Wins at 112: KO 5 Yohsio Shirai III, W15 Yoshio Shirai II, W15 Leo Espinosa

* Wilde never actually scaled as high as 112 for a fight, but competed at flyweight.    
He typically fought in the high 90's up to what we could call strawweight today.

Honorable Mentions: Mark Johnson, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (still active), Midget Wolgast, and Fidel Labarba.

Bantamweight and Below: Give That Man a Title Shot!

Give Buitrago another shot at the WBO title
Nicaragua's Carlos Buitrago, 22, has not fought since his disputed draw against Merlito Sabillo back in November, but since then the WBO minimumweight title has changed hands. On that night, Buitrago settled for a draw in Sabillo's native Philippines by scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 113-115. Just this week, Mexico's Francisco Rodriguez Jr., 20, dethroned Sabillo by tenth round TKO. Rodriguez, 14-2 (10), was rebounding from a recent stoppage loss to Roman Gonzalez, Buitrago's countryman, last year in Nicaragua. Rodriguez was able to bring Sabillo to Mexico to meet him for their title bout. Buitrago, 27-0-1 (16), traveled to Mexico for a recent win in 2013, so he should be more than willing to do so again for a second opportunity at the WBO minimumweight title.

The Nicaraguan is still ranked number one and would provide a youthful dynamite match-up with Rodriguez.

Bantamweight and Below  — On the Horizon:

Clash in Newcastle
On Saturday, March 29, at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom, Stuart Hall versus Martin Ward in a twelve round IBF bantamweight title bout. Two of the UK's top bantamweights clash in Newcastle while their British peers Lee Haskins and Jamie McDonnell await the winner.

On Saturday, March 29, at Texas Station Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Brian Viloria versus Juan Herrera in a ten round super flyweight bout. The former champion begins his hunt for his fifth belt in his third division in this tune-up bout. Viloria has not fought since being upset by Juan Francisco Estrada.

On Saturday, April 5, at Arena Tecate, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Giovani Segura versus Felipe Salguero in a ten round flyweight bout. The most feared puncher from Bantamweight and Below looks to keep his win-streak alive.

Big night for Naoya Inoue?
On Sunday, April 6, at Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan, Akira Yaegashi versus Odilon Zaleta in a twelve round WBC flyweight title bout; Adrian Hernandez versus Naoya Inoue in a twelve round WBC light flyweight title bout; Roman Gonzalez versus Juan Purisima in a ten round flyweight bout. This stacked card features three of today's top fighters from Bantamweight and Below. It is rumored that Gonzalez is next in line for Yaegashi should both men win.

Inoue is my pick to pull off the upset against Hernandez.

On Wednesday, April 23, at Castle Hall, Osaka, Osaka, Japan, Shinsuke Yamanaka versus Stephane Jamoye in a twelve round WBC bantamweight title bout. The world's best bantamweight looks to tame the seasoned Belgium challenger with pressure punching. 

On Friday, April 25, in Phitsanulok, Thailand, Oleydong Sithsamerchai versus Noli Morales in a twelve round super flyweight bout. The Thai fighter is long overdue a title fight amid his seventeen bout win-streak.

Written by Derek "DBO" Bonnett - exclusively for KO Digest

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