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Middleweight Update: Sergio Martinez-Nobuhiro Ishida, Dmitry Pirog-Peter Manfredo Jr. Discussed

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

With Nobuhiro Ishida entering the big-time talk due to Saturday's upset of James Kirkland, the middleweight division and champion Sergio Martinez are in the news, with Ishida attached, plus some other DiBella Entertainment middleweight talk.

The (Possible) Fight: Sergio Martinez v. Nobuhiro Ishida this fall
Source: Michael Marley @

Thoughts: Well, if everyone's willing to take the 35-year-old Ishida (23-6-2, 8 KO) this seriously, you can't blame DiBella for looking for what is most likely an easy fight. Look, this is nothing against Ishida, who gave us all a shocker show on Saturday night by beating the crap out of Kirkland. It's just that on Saturday at 9:40pm EDT, no one would have been entertaining this thought. Hell, I don't think too many people who had a realistic perspective on Kirkland would have really thought Martinez-Kirkland was that good of a fight, and that's not hindsight. But this is just one fight that DiBella has submitted to HBO for approval, and to be fair to Ishida, he's been competitive in basically every loss of his career, and well, nobody expected him to tear through Kirkland, either.

Also worth noting: Erislandy Lara called out Ishida for a fight, which is either brassy or transparent, you decide.

The (Possible) Fight: Dmitry Pirog v. Peter Manfredo Jr. this summer/fall
Source: Chris LaBate @

Thoughts: Pirog (18-0, 14 KO) had a few struggles with Argentina's Javier Maciel on March 26, not quite looking like the destroyer he appeared to be against Danny Jacobs. And that's boxing -- some nights, you look awesome, some nights you don't. Styles make fights and all that. He definitely won the fight against a game, determined opponent, and now he wants to fight in the States again. Manfredo (37-6, 20 KO) has gone on a six-fight win streak against middling opposition since getting obliterated by Sakio "The Hulk" Bika in November 2008, and the move back to middleweight has made him look stronger and just plain better. He's still not an A-list fighter by any means, but he's more credible than he sometimes gets credit for, and this wouldn't be the worst fight, especially if when you put all this together, you might be looking at a double-header with Martinez on top and Pirog-Manfredo in a co-feature, hopefully at that rate setting up Martinez-Pirog, or creating a different attractive matchup.

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