Friday, August 5, 2011

Profiling the Rising Junior Middleweights

The junior middleweight division features a diverse collection of emerging fighters.  This post will profile these rising boxers, all of whom are ranked in the top 15 of the division.  The fighters listed here are all under 30 and have just started to reach their respective peaks over the last year. 

Boxer: Saul Alvarez
Age: 21
Record: 37-0-1 (27 KOs)
Country: Mexico
Last Fight: 12th round TKO against Ryan Rhodes
Hardware: WBC Title
Ultimate Ceiling: Miguel Cotto with more fluid combinations
SNB Codename: Golden Boy's Gold
Scouting Report: Saul Alvarez has quickly become one of the emerging stars of boxing.  Featuring a full arsenal of punches and fluid combinations, Alvarez is an offensive force and has a ring IQ that belies his age.  He'll throw unique four and five-punch combinations, many of which start with lead uppercuts from the outside.  Alvarez likes space to punch.  His hand speed and foot speed are only average.  His chin has yet to be tested against elite opponents.  He also may be vulnerable to movers.

Boxer: Erislandy Lara
Age: 28
Record: 15-1-1 (10 KOs)
Country: USA by way of Cuba
Last Fight: Decision loss to Paul Williams (he was robbed by the judges)
Hardware: N/A
Ultimate Ceiling: Joel Casamayor with more power and less defense
SNB Codename: The Counterpuncher
Scouting Report: Lara, the former amateur world champion who defected from Cuba, has quickly ascended to the top of the division in fewer than 20 professional fights.  Lara has had an interesting 2011.  He undertrained against Carlos Molina and was lucky to escape with a draw.  He also boxed beautifully against Paul Williams in a disputed loss.  Lara features very accurate counterpunching and possesses one-punch knockout power.  However, he can be outworked and does not always show urgency in the ring.

Boxer: Vanes Martirosyan
Age: 25
Record: 30-0 (19 KOs)
Country: USA by way of Armenia
Last Fight: 7th round TKO against Saul Roman
Hardware: N/A
Ultimate Ceiling: A smaller Calvin Brock?
SNB Codename: The Forgotten
Scouting Report: Even though he was a 2004 U.S. Olympian and has Freddie Roach in his corner, Martirosyan's profile is relatively low in the sport.  His career has progressed very slowly.  Martirosyan is a solid fighter who doesn't necessarily do one thing well, or have obvious weaknesses.  He has a nice jab and a solid right hand, but he lacks a "wow" punch.  His defense is secure although not impenetrable.  He may never make it out of the B+/A- range.

Boxer: Carlos Molina
Age: 28
Record: 19-4-2 (6 KOs)
Country: USA by way of Mexico
Last Fight: Decision victory over Kermit Cintron
Hardware: N/A
Ultimate Ceiling: An orthodox Carlos Quintana
SNB Codename: The Spoiler
Scouting Report: Every few years, an unknown boxer establishes himself among the best in a division with a series of unexpected victories.  In the last decade, it has happened with Carlos Quintana and Carlos Baldomir (perhaps to a lesser extent with Glen Johnson).  Molina has had a similar type of year by drawing with Erislandy Lara in a fight that he deserved to win and by defeating Kermit Cintron.  Molina features nothing extraordinary.  He has a sneaky right hand which finds its mark often.  He also is comfortable leading with his left hook.  However, he has no real power.  Molina shows up in shape and ready to give a professional effort.  He tries to win by outworking his opponents.  Elite fighters should defeat him, either with their power or speed.  However, if overlooked, Molina can continue to rack up victories.

Boxer: Austin Trout
Age:  25
Record: 23-0 (13 KOs)
Country: USA
Last Fight: Decision victory over David Lopez
Hardware: WBA Title
Ultimate Ceiling: Andre Dirrell with less running
SNB Codename: The Technician
Scouting Report:  For a more complete scouting report on Austin Trout, click here.  Trout has a good amateur background and excellent boxing fundamentals.  However, promotional problems, soft matchmaking and a lack of television exposure have created an anonymous champion.  Trout boxes very well, using jabs, hooks and uppercuts to win battles in the pocket.  Although he wins his fights on pure boxing ability, he is not a runner.  He throws very fluid combinations and has a tight defense.  As the level of his competition increases, it will be interesting to see whether he can hold up to a first-class pressure fighter.  His chin is also untested.

Boxer: Pawel Wolak
Age: 29
Record: 29-1-1 (19 KOs)
Country: USA by way of Poland 
Last Fight: Draw with Delvin Rodriguez
Hardware: N/A
Ultimate Ceiling: A less dynamic Ricky Hatton
SNB Codename: The Mugger
Scouting Report: Wolak likes to close the distance to his opponents as much as possible.  He’s a classic pressure fighter, firing and receiving shots at close range.  Wolak's defense is poor but his chin is spectacular.  Wolak, at times, stifles his right hand and left hook by getting too close to his opponents.  He likes to wear boxers down with physicality and brute force.  Wolak's having a good year, as he upset Yuri Forman and scored a draw against Delvin Rodriguez in one of the best fights of the year.  He is vulnerable against movers and pot-shotters.

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