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The Mismatch Report Vol. 4: Postmortem Edition

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The Mismatch Report is not intended to do anything but bring awareness to the general public about potentially dangerous matches that could result in serious injury or worse for one or both combatants. This is the hurt business. The promoters want to move their stable forward. The matchmakers want to keep their guys winning, developing and progressing. That’s the business. Calling a matchmaker on a mismatch doesn’t really do a whole lot. That position, whether it is held at Gary Shaw Promotions, Lou DiBella, Golden Boy, Top Rank or any promotional company in the world, is about getting their fighter the most favorable match-up possible; Knowing the house fighters’ strengths and weaknesses and their opponents. You can’t really blame promoters for wanting things in their favor. “We’re trying to make some money over here!” The fighters fight who promoters tell them to and the trainers do likewise. Networks? “Hey, if the state commission gives these guys licenses, what do we care if they can’t fight?” I don’t even blame consumers for watching.


Make no mistake. The Mismatch Report is directed solely at the state commissions and officials that allow these fights to happen. They have the veto power. It’s the boxing industry’s prerogative and Modus Operandi to try and get these fights through. It’s on the commission to say no.  More and more in Californa, the matches are getting questionably dangerous. Here is a report on some recent matches and At-risk fighters.

Date: December 6, 2013
Location: Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez, California, USA
Promoter: Gary Shaw
Matchmaker: John Beninati

Fight #1:

The Fighters: Lateef Kayode, 18-0 (14 knockouts) vs. Travis Fulton, 21-33-1 (20)

Lateef Kayode is ranked at cruiserweight #5 in the world by the WBA, IBF and WBO. He fought Antonio Tarver to a draw though the official decision was expunged after Tarver tested positive for a banned substance. He beat one-time world title challenger Matt Godfrey for a ten round decision and had faced several foes with one loss and double digit wins.

The most telling stat about Travis Fulton is that he was 0-33 with 27 knockouts against fighters with more than two wins. That has to be some kind of record. Fulton is an absolute debut killer stopping 9 out of 9 debuting opponents. This veteran of over 300 professional MMA bouts, according to Boxrec.com, lost his second boxing match by second round knockout to an 0-1 fighter back in July of 1999. he won his next fight but was knocked out February 17, 2000 by a 9-0 Tye Fields in Davenport, Iowa. How did that fight get made? Fulton traveled to Denmark March 31, 2000, little more than a month later, and got knocked out again the first round by a 3-0 fighter. From November 2003 to June of 2004, Fulton would be stopped in the first round three times in Philadelphia, West Virginia, and Ohio. Of the 27 times he has been stopped, only one went past three rounds.

This is a man who clearly wants to scrap. http://boxrec.com/media/index.php?title=Human:18561 But at the same time, he doesn’t appear to be getting much better. In fact, its in doubt whether he is truly very good at this at all. There is nothing about his record to suggest Fulton belongs in the ring with a number 5 world ranked contender except that he is really good at getting knocked out early.

Result: Fulton was dropped in the first and finished in the second. The only thing he had going for him in this fight was the merciful and intelligent referee Jack Reiss watching over him and stopping it appropriately by all accounts.

Fight#2

The fighters: Rustam Nugaev, 26-6, (16 wins by knockout. No losses by knockout) vs Mario Hermosillo, 12-13-3, (2 knockout wins. 7 losses by knockout)

Nagaev is a rugged Russian fighter who will give you tough rounds. He is ranked 26 in the world by Boxrec.com about Jorge Linares, Sharif Bogere and other capable professionals on the cusp of the top tier of world boxing. Russia ranks him third. His losses are all by decision in hard fought fights. Some of them are quite early in his career; clearly a man who at 31 has learned his craft on the job. At 5’10” he towered over the 5’5” “Popeyin” Hermosillo out of Tijuana, Mexican.

Hermosillo, or as boxrec.com refers to him, http://boxrec.com/media/index.php?title=Human:487595 Human #487595, has boxed a total of 116 rounds to Nugaev’s 204. The only undefeated fighters he’s beaten are two fighters making their debuts. Most recently, Hermosillo went 3-3 in 2012, losing all three by stoppage. Heading into the Nugaev fight, Hermosillo was 1-4 in 2013, having been stopped in San Diego in July and then again in Ontario in October of 2013.

Result: Nugaev knocked Hermosillo out with a body shot in the first.

Date: December 7, 2013
Location: Sports House in Redwood City, CA
Promoter:Don Chargin Productions/Paco Presents
Matchmaker: Jorge Marron

This is a little bit different breakdown. This is not about the opponents. This is a question about why two separate fighters were allowed to fight anyone much less their opponents on this night.

Fighter #1: Rodolfo Armenta, 13-12, (10 knockouts wins, 7 knockout losses). At age 29, Armenta has a lot of miles on him. He’s gone from a fighter who lost going the four distance to a most recently a fighter who won’t see the third. He was 1-2 in 2011. He stopped in the fourth of a scheduled eight rounder by Antonio Orosco in February of 2012 in Nevada, Armenta dropped a ten round decision that May and was knocked out by Jose Roman in five rounds, dropping him in the first and fifth.

Armenta bounced back that November, beating 3-11 Wilbert Ortiz in Mexico. Armenta ended 2012 by getting dropped twice in the first and knocked out by Jonathon Garcia. He got knocked out by Artemio Reyes and Ronald Cruz in two rounds each in February and August of this year.

Result: Chicas stopped him in two rounds.

Afterthought: Every fighter that has stopped him in recent years has been quality. But the decision losses that have become quicker and quicker knockout losses is a warning sign. That they are this close together is an accident waiting to happen for the next person to book him or fight him.

Fighter #2: Arthur Brambila, 9-21-1, (4 knockout wins, 7 knockout losses).

At age 34, Brambilla’s future in boxing is not looking too good. He hasn’t won two in a row since 2005. Before that, he hadn;t won two in a row since 2003. From September of 2005 to March of 2007 he went 0-6 with 1 KO loss. Despite getting knocked down, Brambilla won a unanimous decision over Sven Paris, who knocked him out in one round the next month. Brambila has gone 0-10-1 with four early stop losses since.

Result: Brambilla was stopped in two rounds. This is definitely a name to be kept an eye in light of recent events At some point, defense has to be evaluated but also offense, ability to win and not just adsorb punishment time and again. Perhaps a rule where a fighter is suspended for a significant period of time follow a long string of losses is in order.

Date: December 13, 2013
Location: Fantasy Springs Indio, CA
Promoter: Richard Schaefer (Golden Boy Promotions)
Network: Fox Sports 1

Fight #1

Hugo Centeno, Jr, 20-0 (11 knockout wins) vs. Angel Osuna, 11-4-1 (One KO loss. Unlikely to ever fight again after this fight).

Centeno is solid fighter at 154 pounds. Boxrec ranks him number 17 worldwide. More importantly, he is a ten round fighter who has faced quality opposition. With 100 amateur fights to Osuna’s 12, Centeno was clearly the favorite despite Osuna winning much of the bout early on.

So where is the mismatch factor?

Osuna had never been scheduled for anything past six rounds. Centeno had two scheduled ten rounders coming into this scheduled ten round bout. Centeno went the six round distance 3 times to Osuna’s 1-1 record going six rounds. Centeno has had four eight round fights. He’s gone the eight round distance once and gone the full ten round distance once before going into the ninth versus Osuna, who badly faded and was technically knocked out at :52 of the round. He was knocked onto the scorer’s table and recovered barely enough to have the fight stopped soon after.

Osuna was taken out on a stretcher to the local hospital and put into a medically induced coma following the discovery of a blood clot in his brain. He is by some reports, recovering well.

Osuna is a good fighter. His first loss was his debut against Mauricio Herrera, also debuting. Herrera went on to a successful pro career. Osuna drew with Joel Mills, and dropped decisions to Chris Chatman in 2009 and Paul Mendez in 2010. He’d won 7 straight heading into the Centeno fight. Five by stoppage.

But he was a six round fighter with only 9 rounds of work in 2012 and two rounds in 2013. Why a six round fighter who went the six round distance for the first and only time June of 2012 was put in with a ten round fighter like Centeno is a mystery.

Some lo-light stats from the rest of the card, which was a Lazy Susan of mismatches.

At-risk Fighter #1: Since 2007,  34 year old Pipino Cuevas, Jr, a career 135-pounder who has shown a conditioning decline in recent years, had been stopped 10 times. Fighting at a sloppy 153 pounds against arguably the Prospect of the Year Errol Spence, Jr., Cuevas spared little time in getting stopped an eleventh time in one round. Reports said that after taking a body shot from Spence, Cuevas, Jr was about to puke in the corner when the ref called it off. Cuevas improved to 17-11 with 15 knockout wins and 11 KO losses. I don’t see that ledger turning for the better any time soon.

This next mismatch is especially ghoulish.

 At-risk Fighter #2: Alejandro Artiaga is 3-8, (1 K0 win, 7 KO losses). Hailing from Bakersfield, CA, this 36 year old took on 3-0 (3 KO wins) Kevin Watts, who knocked him out in two rounds.

Watts knocked out Artiaga in two rounds in his previous fight on October 25, 2013. Artiaga is Watts’ first and second knockout. Both fights were in California.

Artiaga’s knockout loss journey dates back to 2006 where he suffered back to back first round KO losses in March and then July. He finished 2006 with a third round TKO win. Then he retired for five years.

Since returning in August of 201, Artiaga is 0-6, losing three times in the first and twice, to Watts, in the second.

Why is he being allowed to not only fight but get knocked out by the same guy twice in a barely two month period in the same state? Since the comeback, Artiago can’t get out of Round Two much less get a win. This is one where you have to put it on the matchmaker, promoter and the state. Using this fighter is questionable. Using him twice in a row in that fashion is downright criminal.

At-risk Fighter #3: Jose Hermosillo is now 0-2 with both losses coming this year by KO and TKO in round one. One insider pointed out that he did not show skills to be a professional, which is something that must be displayed to get a license in California. This is a fighter that should be monitored by state officials. Another bad KO could be his last.

But perhaps the most egregious oversight on the card was that a trainer who had been suspended three weeks earlier by the California commission worked the corner of one of the TV bouts as the chief second.

As thoroughly reported by Zach Arnold of Fightopinion.com:

http://www.fightopinion.com/2013/12/14/california-boxing-rodrigo-mosquera/

“Three weeks ago, Mosquera was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission. He was suspended, along with a fighter he was working with, for using illegally manipulated boxing gloves for an All Star Boxing show on September 20th in Montebello, California at Quiet Cannon. Both the fighter and Rodrigo Mosquera were given notices to appear at the December 16th (Monday) California State Athletic Commission hearing in Sacramento.


Despite being suspended by the commission, Mosquera worked the Golden Boy event in Fantasy Springs. Loophole? The suspension letter to Mosquera is regarding his manager’s license. He worked as a second for Francisco Vargas.


We know about the suspension of Rodrigo Mosquera because his suspension letter was included in a 156-page document dump put on the California State Athletic Commission web site on Friday.
When you take a look at all of the documentation included in the doc dump, one thing is clear: nobody involved looks good. It’s a terribly depressing read and an all-too common scenario that is playing out throughout shows in the state. As one prominent (and competent) athletic inspector put it:


“Of course, rookie inspectors and low staffing are the primary reasons the guy was able to walk in the ring with altered gloves before the referee caught the [screw-up]” wrote Arnold.


What is going on in California? And what will it take to fix it?



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