Thursday, July 30, 2020

SNB Stock Report 7-30-20

It's time for another edition of the SNB Stock Report. July featured a number of prominent fighters in the ring and it's time to assess their performances. The (+) indicates fighters whose stock rose. The (-) denotes fighters whose stock fell and the (NC) is for fighters whose stock has remained unchanged after their most recent performance.  

Vergil Ortiz (+) 

Photo Courtesy of Stacey Verbeek

Ortiz returned to the ring with a fantastic power-punching display against Samuel Vargas, earning a seventh-round stoppage. Vargas put forth a game effort, but he was outgunned by Ortiz's blistering combination punching. Ortiz is now ready for contenders in the welterweight division. With his high Ring IQ and myriad offensive gifts, he's going to be a handful. At only 22, it's scary to think that he may have even more room for improvement.

Alex Saucedo (+) 

Saucedo performed solidly in his victory against Sonny Fredrickson, winning by a wide unanimous decision. He had Fredrickson hurt a couple of times early in the fight, but he didn't fully sell out for the knockout. Saucedo remains a tough and rugged customer at 140; however, his defense is still a problem. Even a trainer switch hasn't cleaned up that aspect of his game. But as long as his chin holds up, he'll be fun to watch.

Jose Pedraza (+) 

Pedraza has always run a little hot-and-cold. It was a pleasant surprise to see him dialed in and focused against the Mikkel LesPierre. Pedraza scored two knockdowns in the fight and was close to getting a stoppage; he won by a wide decision. However, there was a debatable call in the fifth round where he went down and it was subsequently ruled as a slip by the Nevada instant replay official. Still, it was an overall solid and confident performance.  

Albert Bell (NC) 

The Ohioan remains a frustrating figure in the ring. With tremendous boxing skills and fast feet, Bell boxed to a shutout points victory over Mark Bernaldez. However, it was disappointing to see Bell not attempt to inflict more damage. Bell will eventually become a top spoiler in the junior lightweight division. He possesses championship-level talent. But he's going to have to go through the sanctioning body game to get his chance. His style in the ring doesn't create much demand for his services. 

Jose Zepeda (+) 

Zepeda boxed his way to a comfortable victory over late replacement Kendo Castaneda. Zepeda has 25 KOs in his 32 victories, but it's clear that he's become much more comfortable as a boxer than a slugger. He still possesses excellent punch placement and a wide arsenal of punches, but his emphasis on defense in recent fights has led to less risk taking. He's one of the top fighters at 140 lbs. His well-rounded skill set should give him a good chance to win a title over the next 12-18 months.  

Joe Joyce (+) 

Photo Courtesy of Queensberry Promotions

"The Juggernaut" faced Michael Wallisch this month in a marking-time bout. He was supposed to face Daniel Dubois earlier this year before COVID scrapped those plans. Joyce wasted little time with Wallisch, scoring three knockdowns and earning a third-round stoppage. He still gets hit a lot, his punches can be timed with a sun dial, but he has heavy, heavy hands when he connects. Expect Joyce to face Dubois later this year. 

Carlos Takam (NC) 

Takam was in camp for another fight when he received the call to face Jerry Forrest on short notice. And he started off the fight excellently, displaying fine footwork and boxing skills to go along with his usual assortment of solid power punches. He did fade a bit as the fight progressed. Perhaps he wasn't in the best shape with a shortened camp. It's also worth considering that he's 39 and maybe he no longer has a full gas tank. He did win a decision, but didn't exactly put the division on notice. He remains a contender in the thin heavyweight division, but most likely his best days are behind him.  

Andy Vences (-) 

First things first, Vences deserved the decision against Luis Lopez. Lopez was effectively awkward at times and certainly landed his share of odd-angled punches, but over the course of the bout, Vences did the better work. Nevertheless, Lopez was awarded a split decision victory. Despite being hard done by the officials, it was not a strong performance by Vences. He displayed far too much caution at points in the fight and didn't seem to have a solid game plan as the match progressed. He was also badly hurt in the second half of the fight and a punch or two away from being knocked out. He's now lost two of his last three fights and any momentum that he once had in his career is now long gone.  

Felix Verdejo (+) 

Photo Courtesy of Mikey Williams

Verdejo made quick work of the capable Will Madera, stopping him in the first round with an impressive volley of power punches. Verdejo, once a prized prospect for Top Rank, had seen his shine diminish over the past few years. However, in teaming with noted trainer Ismael Salas, Verdejo seems to have regained his confidence. Still only 27, he remains an intriguing name in the deep lightweight division.  

Carlos Castro (+)

Castro made a strong statement by stopping former title contender Cesar Juarez after four rounds. Castro, at 26-0 and already 26 years of age, has yet to sniff a title shot, but it certainly looks as though he has the skills to compete at the top level of the junior featherweight division. Developed mostly around the Phoenix area, he's only been with Top Rank a couple of years. They might have found a diamond in the rough here.   

Oscar Valdez (NC) 

On the plus side, Valdez became the first fighter to stop Jayson Velez, a serviceable opponent who has given a number of solid boxers tough nights at the office. However, Valdez went through long periods of the fight where he seemed stuck between styles. He once had been an aggressive boxer-puncher, but under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso, he has attempted to become more of a classic boxer. After a number of fights together, Valdez still doesn't look comfortable in the new style. Nevertheless, his left hook remains a real weapon. He scored two knockdowns in the fight and stopped Velez in the final round. 

Isaac Dogboe (+) 

After taking over a year off after his second defeat to Emanuel Navarrete, Dogboe returned to the ring with new trainer Barry Hunter. Immediately, one could observe the difference, as Dogboe was trying to fight with more defensive responsibility against Chris Avalos. Dogboe wasn't flying open with wide power shots as much and overall his performance was more contained. Avalos, a former title contender who has definitely seen better days in the ring, was in good shape and put forward a good effort, but Dogboe's power shots were the difference. That Dogboe stopped Avalos in the eighth round isn't particularly noteworthy, but the fact that he's listening to his new coach and trying to learn from his past mistakes certainly is. He wants to make another run at 122-lbs. He remains a fun TV fighter, but the junior featherweight division is filled with excellent talents. He will need the right type of opponents (shorter, not huge punchers) in order to win another belt. 

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.  
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