Monday Morning Cornermen – Jan. 22 edition

In this new section of The Sweet Science, we step back and take a critical look at the fights that took place on the previous weekend, we compare our own previews with the way the actual fights went on, and we take your opinions and questions (along with those of special guests) to create a final analysis to another weekend of boxing. Follow us every Monday at #MMCatTSS and @TSSboxingnews  

Fortuna brings more clouds on an already stormy weather

Failing to make weight is a situation that is happening more frequently than it should, sometimes without any convincing excuses by the fighters. And that’s because there should obviously exist a coordinated planning effort by trainers and coaches alike to keep their man under control and thus avoid working for nothing during months ahead of an important fight.

This week it was the turn of Dominican lefty Javier Fortuna (pictured on the right), who lost his chance to fight for the lightweight belt against Robert Easter Jr., for failing to make the 135-pound limit. Fortuna climbed the scales weighing at 136.4 pounds, but most surprisingly, his best excuse was that New York weather was to blame.

Well, great job: now your big mouth is to blame for this blunder. This was indeed Fortuna’s responsibility, as well as the people who advise him. Weather alone can’t help you put on a few pounds. You’re not a debutant, and you live in Massachusetts during a good portion of the year.

Locking himself into a sauna didn’t help him a lot, because he failed to make 135 in his second attempt two hours later. And to make matters worse, Fortuna and his team have been in the US since Dec. 20, a date in which the extreme weather pattern that froze most of the northeastern US started taking shape. Trying to shift the blame to the weather is not exactly a great excuse.

And the worst part, obviously, is that his drained body could not hold his own in the ring of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where Fortuna gave a good account of himself and was on the brink of winning the fight if not for a one-point deduction on the second round by referee Ricky Gonzalez for holding and hitting. The proof of his excellent performance was the fact that the audience booed the decision loudly when it was announced that two of the judges saw Easter Jr. win by scores of 115-112 and 114-113, while the remaining judge saw Fortuna winning by 114-113. – J.J. Alvarez

Spence gets ready to take over the P4P rankings

It is hard to get such a unanimous vote in the world of boxing, but IBF welterweight king Errol Spence Jr. did just that with his extraordinary performance on Saturday, where he defeated a still valuable but over-the-hill Lamont Peterson to keep his crown and to earn a shot at an even bigger one: the title of pound-for-pound best fighter in the world today.

On Sunday morning, when the weekly ranking updates are discussed among boxing pundits worldwide, Spence’s name became the hottest topic of discussion, and not only because of his great win in the weekend’s most relevant fight. After his early career-defining, title-winning, signature win against Kell Brook last year, Spence was already being discussed as one of the candidates to inherit Floyd Mayweather’s throne, currently occupied by fellow welterweight Terence Crawford, who is getting ready to have his first crack at a 147-pound title after dominating the lightweight division. The fact that another prominent welter in Keith Thurman is also on that mythical list is a recipe for extraordinary matchups during 2018. And that’s not even counting the rest of the top echelon in the division, with names including Lucas Matthysse, Danny García, the still-active(ish) Manny Pacquiao, and more.

Spence’s win on enemy turf against a solid champion in Kell Brook, a crowning achievement that not even other, more established champions have today, was apparently just the beginning. And 2018 could very well be the year in which he will steadily climb every remaining step in the top 10 to reach the pinnacle of the world of boxing. If the matchups help him (and their competitors in that race fail to reach his standards), he could be very close to that lofty goal. – Diego M. Morilla

Barrionuevo repeats the dose against Veron

The first fight was billed as the best possible matchup in all of Argentine boxing between two promising welterweights in their prime. And for five rounds, it was all of that, with Adrian Veron trying to hold his ground against Cesar Barrionuevo’s unstoppable onslaught. Veron boxed, Barrionuevo tried to brawl and got cut in the process, but then it happened. A demolishing one-two combination caught Veron cold and sent him to the canvas in the sixth round to put an end to the fight. A new heir-apparent to fellow wild-swinging brawler Marcos Maidana’s crown as the most entertaining Argentine fighter in recent years was born.

But being two high-profile fighters with two different promoters and too much at stake to be worked out in a single bout, they agreed on a rematch even before the first punch was thrown, with the confrontation being seen as a two-fight series in each other’s turf and under each other’s promotional banners.

The rematch took place on Saturday, and the result was strikingly similar. Barrionuevo (34-3-2, 24 KOs) sent Veron (21-3, 13 KOs) down on the seat of his trunks when the initial bell was still ringing, and after chasing him around for what seemed to be the longest two minutes in Veron’s career, Barrionuevo found “Chucky” in virtually the same spot as he did in the first fight, and with exactly the same two punches on a wide-open chin. Veron fell face first, just like the first time but only six rounds sooner, and the fight was waved off before reaching the full count. – Diego M. Morilla

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