Sunday, August 30, 2020

SNB Stock Report 8-30-20

After a busy month of fight action, it's time for another edition of the SNB Stock Report. See which fighters' stock went up (+), down (-) or remained unchanged (NC). To read more about the Whyte-Povetkin and Alvarez-Smith fights, click here

Shawn Porter (+)

Photo Courtesy of Sean Michael Ham

In his first ring action since last year's thrilling fight against Errol Spence, Shawn slugged his way to a shutout against Sebastian Formella. Porter dazzled with combination punching on the inside and exhibited solid technical boxing skills on the outside. This was always going to be a marking time bout for Porter, but he looked very sharp and didn't fight down to the level of his competition. Expect Porter to be back in the welterweight title picture in 2021.

Erislandy Lara (NC)

Erislandy Lara remains a formidable fighter in the junior middleweight division. This month he boxed his way to a unanimous decision against overmatched Greg Vendetti. Lara's timing was off at points early in the fight and he wasn't always able to stop Vendetti from getting in close. However, he got the best of the action with straight left hands, left uppercuts and right hooks. At 37, it's a fair question to ask if Lara's reflexes are still at their peak form, but we're going to need to see a much better opponent than Vendetti to find out that answer. 

Alfredo Angulo (-)

Many fight fans have been calling for Angulo to retire for a number of years. His physical skills have declined and he's taken far too many heavy blows. However, he had a nice come-from-behind victory against Peter Quillin last year, which was supposed to set up a meaningful fight against Caleb Truax. But Truax had to pull out of that matchup for health reasons and Angulo wound up facing late-replacement Vladimir Hernandez. After a slow start, Angulo slugged his way back into the fight, but he did slow down in the final two rounds. He wound up losing a unanimous decision, but more importantly, he was hit with hundreds of additional hard shots throughout the fight. He's now 38 and if he had been harboring any dreams of finding his way back into the title picture, that reality is now up in smoke.  

Angelo Leo (+)

Leo was supposed to fight Stephen Fulton for a vacant belt at 122 lbs., but Fulton tested positive for COVID-19 the week of the fight. Southpaw Tramaine Williams stepped in on short notice and despite a radical difference in opponent style, Leo was able to impress. Taking a few rounds to assess to Williams's hand speed and movement, Leo eventually had success on the inside with a merciless body attack. He also displayed an exceptional ability to cut off the ring, nullifying Williams's foot speed advantage. Leo won via a unanimous decision and put his name into the hat as another top fighter in the deep junior featherweight division. 

Ra'eese Aleem (+)

Every now and then an unheralded veteran fighter will suddenly emerge on the scene and force the boxing industry to take notice. Thirty certainly isn't an age for most junior featherweights to make an initial impression; that's when many smaller-weight fighters are already comfortably in their decline phase. However, Aleem, who had been boxing mostly in the Midwest and Pennsylvania circuits, made a significant statement by stopping Marcus Bates in his Showtime Championship Boxing debut. Aleem put forth an impressive power-punching display and he also demonstrated significant skills both on the inside and outside. With his electric performance, he'll certainly have another notable opportunity soon.  

Jose Ramirez (-)

Ramirez looked like he was in peak form during an impressive performance against Maurice Hooker last July. Since then, a scheduled fight with Viktor Postol was cancelled twice on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, back into the ring after 13 months, Ramirez struggled against Postol's clever boxing from the outside. Ramirez did have a few notable moments in the seventh and eighth rounds where he hurt Postol with left hooks against the ropes. But for the most part, he seemed to fight Postol to a standstill, with neither fighter truly able to assert his will upon the action. Ramirez wound up winning a majority decision. It wasn't a robbery, but the unified junior welterweight champion did not look commanding or convincing in the ring. He will still have an opportunity to become the undisputed 140-lb. champ in a future fight against Josh Taylor, but Ramirez's career momentum took a hit with his inconsistent showing against Postol. 

Viktor Postol (+)

At the age of 36, Postol was supposed to present a couple of challenges to Jose Ramirez, but few, if any, expected him to win the fight. Yet after 12 rounds, the actual winner of the contest was very much in doubt. More than a few on social media thought that he had jabbed and moved his way to a close win (count me in this group). Although Postol lost by majority decision, he demonstrated that he's still an elite junior welterweight. With a different judging panel, he certainly could have had his hands raised at the end of the night. 

Katie Taylor (+)

Photo Courtesy of Mark Robinson

Katie Taylor has now boxed 20 rounds against Delfine Persoon and has come away with disputed victories in both fights. Without getting into the intricacies of scoring, both Taylor-Persoon bouts have been among the best women's boxing fights that I've seen. In my opinion both boxers have been elevated by their performances. Taylor-Persoon is just one of those matchups that stylistically will lead to close verdicts on the scorecards. From my vantage point, I thought that Taylor boxed a little sharper in the rematch and used her legs to better effect. My scorecard read 96-94 for Taylor; however, I don't think that her victory was definitive by any means. But ultimately, the fight was fantastic, and sometimes that's more important than the minutiae of scoring criteria. 

Delfine Persoon (+)

It's long been a working theory of mine that the best way to fight expert, polished boxers is to dispense with any notion of trying to match their skills. Persoon doesn't possess the pretty jabs, textbook left hook, or foot speed of Katie Taylor, but she has specific dimensions that will always bother her. Persoon's relentless aggression forces Taylor to fight at a pace (faster) and a distance (closer) that is uncomfortable for her. In addition, Persoon is wonderful in the clinch, utilizing her physicality and maneuvering her body to get off chopping power shots at close range. It's a shame that Taylor and Persoon fought only two-minute rounds. In so many of their rounds Taylor dominated the first half and Persoon came back in the final minute. A third minute could have provided a definitive winner in both bouts.  

David Benavidez (-)

On one hand David Benavidez took care of business this month by defeating Alexis Angulo in an impressive, one-sided beat down. But "business" is the key word, as far as it concerns Benavidez. He missed weight by almost three pounds prior to the fight and wound up losing his belt on the scales, the second time in his brief professional career where he has lost a world title outside of the ring. Benavidez has now earned the reputation of being unreliable, which is not a positive development for him. It's unclear if Benavidez can even safely make super middleweight going forward. If he can, he may still get a fight with titleholder Caleb Plant in 2021, but he won't have the same financial leverage that he would have had as a champion. 

Sebastian Fundora (+)

Last year Fundora had a difficult matchup against Jamontay Clark. Fundora built an early lead, but somehow let Clark, whom he had hurt multiple times, come back into the fight to earn a draw. Did Fundora have enough physical strength on his lanky frame? Was he unprepared for Clark's lateral movement? Facing former contender Nathaniel Gallimore this month, Fundora put all those questions aside for now and impressed in all aspects against a much different opponent. Not only was his punch selection, power and work rate fantastic, but he also showed a new-found ability to use his physicality to rough up Gallimore in the trenches. Fundora won via a sixth-round knockout. It's still anyone's guess as to which division Fundora will ultimately settle into, but he's starting to grasp more advanced aspects of boxing in the ring. If he keeps making steady progress, he's going to be a tough out. 

Israil Madrimov (NC)

Madrimov defeated veteran Eric Walker this month in an overall strange performance. After a fast start, Madrimov seemed to tire by the fourth round. In the seventh and eighth rounds he was getting hit by a lot of shots. Then the fight got weird. In the ninth round, Madrimov landed a leaping left that knocked Walker down. During the follow through of the punch, Madrimov's shoulder also connected with Walker. Referee Gary Ritter ruled that the knockdown was due to the foul, which was a questionable call at best. After a long break, the fight resumed and Madrimov dominated the remainder of the action. He would win a unanimous decision. Madrimov possesses incredible athletic talent, but his lack of defensive fundamentals is problematic at this point in his young professional career. Walker routinely landed with simple one-two's. And it's surprising that with Madrimov's substantial amateur career, that he still has such defensive shortcomings. Madrimov's team has talked about getting a title shot as soon as possible at junior middleweight. In my opinion he still needs three or four fights before he's ready for that level.

Tim Tszyu (+)

In a big fight in Australia, Tszyu, the son of the former champion, Kostya, stopped recent welterweight champion Jeff Horn. In just his 16th pro fight, Tszyu fought like a seasoned veteran, handling Horn's roughhouse techniques and grappling with aplomb. Tszyu featured a pulverizing left hook and a commitment to body punching. Like Madrimov, Tszyu is one of the up-and-comers in the 154-lb. division. And although he possesses offensive firepower, he would do well to fight a legitimate contender or two before he gets a title shot. To this point he hasn't had enough competitive rounds in his professional development.  

Rolando Romero (-)

Romero made his Showtime Championship Boxing debut this month against Jackson Marinez, and quite frankly, he didn't look ready for the big stage. Loading up on every shot, Romero seemed befuddled by Marinez's polished boxing skills and athleticism. Romero did connect with some tasty power punches, but there weren't enough of them. Romero was awarded the victory, but it was a robbery. It's never a good sign when the WBA President immediately tweets out that a rematch should be considered based on the scoring of the fight. At 24, Romero still has time to develop additional aspects of his game. He has to learn to set up shots strategically. For many opponents, one shot will not suffice. 

Otto Wallin (+)

Wallin, who gave Tyson Fury some problems last year, stopped Travis Kauffman in the fifth round of their fight this month. Wallin is one of those fighters who doesn't necessarily pass the "eye test," but he can fight. Although he doesn't possess big-time power, his punch volume, jab and movement are unique factors in a division where many fighters would prefer to be stationary. He needs additional rounds against credible heavyweights to assess just what his ceiling could be, but he has some interesting raw tools. It wouldn't surprise me to see him spring a notable upset or two in the near future.

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. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

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