By Cliff Rold

For all the good done the sport in the ring in 2007, confusion and dissension still reign in an area that they should not: boxing’s championships and rankings.  Various press outlets, sanctioning bodies and historians all have their own take on the who’s and how’s of the subject; most corners make valid points. 

It begs the question: What happens when those strands of thought are combined?

That’s the question at the heart of the first Boxing Scene divisional ratings.  Based in spirit on the concepts at play in College Football’s Bowl Championship Series rankings, the ratings found here reflect a cross section of:

1. Historical lineage;

2. Press ratings from Ring Magazine, ESPN, SecondsOut.com, and the U.K.’s Boxing Monthly;

3. The ratings of the four major sanctioning bodies: the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF;

4. The computer ratings of the IBO and at boxrec.com; and

5. Quality components based on career winning percentage and results against current top ten contenders and/or a division’s champion where there is one.

These rankings ultimately will be no more definitive than any other set out there and already the first bone of contention can be presumed: given their known and suspected fraudulence on so many levels, why include the ratings of the various sanctioning bodies?  The answer isn’t that difficult to come by.

Regardless of their legitimacy, sanctioning body ratings and titles have tremendous influence on what fights fans look forward to.  A fighter may be little regarded amongst the press but, given the right ranking by a sanctioning authority, that fighter could be much closer to a title fight than more qualified peers.  That reality of the game can’t be wished away nor completely ignored; heck, sometimes supposed mis-mandatories can even surprise as was the case with men like Ricardo Mayorga and Carlos Baldomir at welterweight in recent years. 

Given those truths, the sanctioning bodies, for all their ills, are represented here.  Also noted will be the owners of the various alphabelts across the sports seventeen weight divisions; those sometimes collide with legitimate World champs. World Championship recognition in these ratings is based on historical lineage.  As will be seen, that is not always the same thing as being a Ring Magazine champion.

Enough, though, about semantics.  There will be plenty at the end of the page about such things.  Let’s skip to the main event and introduce the January 2008 Boxing Scene Ratings.

Heavyweight

World Heavyweight Championship: Vacant   

Vacant Since: Retirement of Lennox Lewis 02/06/2004   

Top Ten Contenders                                       Total

1 Wladimir Klitschko (49-3, 44 KO, IBF)            3.058 

2 Ruslan Chagaev (23-0-1, 17 KO, WBA)         11.021 

3 Oleg Maskaev (34-5, 26 KO, WBC)               14.129 

4 Samuel Peter (29-1, 22 KO, WBC Interim)     14.033 

5 Sultan Ibragimov (22-0-1, 17 KO, WBO)        23.022 

6 Nicolay Valuev (47-1, 34 KO)                       38.021 

7 Vladimir Virchis (24-1, 20 KO)                      60.040 

8 Hasim Rahman (45-6-2, 36 KO)                    71.132 

9 Sergei Liakhovich (23-2, 14 KO)                    74.080 

10 Tony Thompson (31-1, 19 KO)         77.031 

Rating Notes: While currently experiencing the longest vacancy of the World Heavyweight championship in the modern age, 2008 may finally see some real progress towards a true champion…Seven of the top ten will be in action in the first quarter of next year, six against each other…Given his run since losing to Lamon Brewster in 2004, the Ukrainian Klitschko has made the best case as the leading candidate to fill the throne…The rules of their system won’t allow Ring Magazine to recognize Klitschko if he defeats Ibragimov in February but a victory in that fight should end most debate…Chagaev is hot on Klitschko’s heels in terms of what’s gone on in the ring but lags in recognition in the U.S market…Peter’s case should be emboldened as well with a likely March victory over Maskaev.

Cruiserweight

World Cruiserweight Champion: David Haye (20-1, 19 KO, Lineal, Ring, WBC/WBA)    

Lineage Descends From: Mormeck UD12 Braithwaite 04/02/2005    

Top Ten Contenders                                    Total  

1 Steve Cunningham (21-1, 11 KO, IBF)      6.045  

2 Enzo Maccarinelli (28-1, 21 KO, WBO)    15.034  

3 Jean-Marc Mormeck (33-4, 22 KO)          28.108  

4 O'Neil Bell (26-2, 24 KO)                      30.088 

5 Firat Arslan (28-3-1, 18 KO, WBA)         39.609  

6 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (39-2, 29 KO)       47.049  

7 Marco Huck (19-1, 14 KO)                     66.050  

8 Matt Godfrey (16-0, 9 KO)                    68  

9 Grigory Drozd (28-1, 22 KO)                 73.034  

10 Vadim Tokarev (24-1-1, 17 KO)           74.558  

Rating Notes…Cunningham began the new year with a sensational victory over Huck but remains on the outside looking in…Haye prepares now for a British mega-showdown with Maccarinelli that could be an early Fight of the Year candidate…Bell-Mormeck III while we wait for the smoke to clear?  I could think of worse.

Light Heavyweight

World Light Heavyweight Champion: Zsolt Erdei (28-0, 17 KO, Lineal, WBO)   

Lineage Descends From: Hill SD12 Maske 11/23/1996   

Top Ten Contenders                               Total

1 Clinton Woods (41-3-1, 24 KO IBF)        14.578 

2 Bernard Hopkins (48-4-1, 32 KO, RING)  23.085 

3 Chad Dawson (25-0, 17 KO, WBC)         27 

4 Danny Green (25-3, 22 KO, WBA)          51.107 

5 Antonio Tarver (26-4, 19 KO)                50.133 

6 Glen Johnson (46-11-2, 31 KO)             56.703 

7 Roy Jones Jr. (51-4, 38 KO)                  65.073 

8 Thomas Ulrich (31-3, 21 KO)                79.088 

9 Adrian Diaconu (24-0, 15 KO)               82 

10 Paul Briggs (26-3-1, 18 KO)`              81.103 

Rating Notes:  The lineal champion doesn’t fight anyone worth talking about unless one is interested in finding future Antonio Tarver opponents and is the true champion in only the strictest historical terms.  It’s too bad because he can fight a bit…Woods seeks a big fight and has earned one; that doesn’t mean such a fight is forthcoming.  Just to float an idea: Woods-Green would be a FOTY candidate…The popular choice as champion, Hopkins, is likely to face World Super Middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe in April in what should be a technical fan’s delight between future Hall of Fame greats...Dawson-Tarver didn’t happen in 2007 but Dawson-Johnson looks to be on it’s way and should be a great test for the young man considered by many to be the future of the division…Jones Jr.-Felix Trinidad may not be hotly anticipated, but its winner could make a fortune with the Hopkins-Calzaghe winner.

Super-Middleweight

World Super Middleweight Champion: Joe Calzaghe (44-0, 32 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC/WBA/WBO)   

Lineage Descends From: Calzaghe UD12 Lacy 03/04/2006   

Top Ten Contenders                                   Total

1 Anthony Mundine (30-3, 23 KO, WBA)     4.091 

2 Lucien Bute (21-0, 17 KO, IBF)              5.000 

3 Mikkel Kessler (39-1, 29 KO)                 16.025 

4 Dennis Inkin (32-0, 24 KO)                   43 

5 Carl Froch (22-0, 18 KO)                       48.000 

6 Jeff Lacy (23-1, 17 KO)                         52.042 

7 Juergen Braehmer (30-1, 24 KO)            63.032 

8 Librado Andrade (26-1, 20 KO)              69.037 

9 Vitaly Tsypko (22-2, 11 KO)                  71.087 

10 Sakio Bika (25-3, 15 KO)                    76.133 

Ratings Notes…Until and if he officially vacates, this is Joe’s world and everyone else merely survives in it…Kessler, Inkin, Froch and Bute all stand ready to fight for any void Calzaghe leaves behind…If things remain as they are, Ring would likely recognize a Mundine-Kessler rematch (Kessler won the first big) as filling an eventually vacant title in the division and that’s a good place to start...Ultimately, Bute-Kessler could wind up being the next superfight at 168 lbs.

Middleweight

World Middleweight Champion: Kelly Pavlik (32-0, 29 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC/WBO)   

Lineage Descends From: Hopkins TKO12 Trinidad 09/29/2001   

Top Ten Contenders                                 Total

1 Arthur Abraham (25-0, 20 KO, IBF)        13 

2 Felix Sturm (28-2-1, 12 KO, WBA)         28.581 

3 Jermain Taylor (27-1-1, 17 KO)             30.569 

4 Ronald "Winky" Wright (51-4-1, 25 KO)  43.58 

5 Sebastian Sylvester (27-2, 13 KO)         61.069 

6 Javier Castillejo (62-7, 42 KO)              65.101 

7 John Duddy (23-0, 17 KO)                    78 

8 Giovani Lorenzo (26-0, 18 KO)              82 

9 Randy Griffin (24-1-3, 12 KO)               82.589 

10 Amin Asikainen (23-1, 15 KO)             94.042 

Rating Notes:  While it can be described as a top heavy division, Middleweight has been thrilling top to bottom over the last few years…Pavlik is the king of a domain once ruled by men like Hagler, Greb and Monzon and could be on his way to a superstar status few have enjoyed in Boxing in recent memory; both his scheduled non-title rematch with Taylor and rumored bout with Duddy should be extremely fan friendly…Abraham casts a shadow as the biggest threat to Pavlik.  His knockout of Khoren Gevor in 2007 was blood curdling.  If both continue to win, Pavlik-Abraham should be demanded by anyone who loves boxing, but Abraham is going to have to become U.S. visible…Sturm has been in three thrilling bouts over the last two years, splitting with former World Jr. Middleweight champ Castillejo and drawing with Griffin.  A rubber match with Castillejo would be good; a showdown with fellow German draw Abraham would be better…Wright hasn’t fought a Middleweight since a draw with Taylor in the summer of 2006 and has no fights on tap as he hunts for a big payday…A rubber match between Sylvester and Asikainen would be a welcome addition; each of their first two were worth viewing…Duddy and Lorenzo are both largely unproven but loved by some pundits and the sanctioning bodies…Will Griffin get a Sturm rematch?

Jr. Middleweight

World Jr. Middleweight Champion: Vacant   

Vacant Since: Ronald "Winky" Wright Vacated in 2005   

Top Ten Contenders                               Total

1 Cory Spinks (36-4, 11 KO, IBF)             8.100 

2 Vernon Forrest (40-2, 29 KO, WBC)     12.048 

3 Sergei Dzinziruk (34-0, 22 KO, WBO)   22.000 

4 Oscar De La Hoya (38-5, 30 KO)          23.116 

5 Joachim Alcine (30-0, 19 KO, WBA)      25.000 

6 Roman Karmazin (36-2-1, 23 KO)         33.077 

7 Sergio Martinez (41-1-1, 22 KO)           72.035 

8 Joel Julio (32-1, 30 KO)                      74.03 

9 Daniel Santos (31-3-1, 22 KO)             77.1 

10 Travis Simms (25-1, 19 KO)               80.038 

Ratings Notes…Is there any division with this many name fighters that has ever been this invisible?  I’m not sure…Given Oscar’s stated desire to head back to Welterweight, the best fights in the class would mix Forrest, Spinks and Karamazin but bets are open as to how soon any of those fighters will be facing off…Dzinzurik wastes away overseas which is a shame because he has as much talent as anyone at 154 lbs.

Welterweight

World Welterweight Champion: Floyd Mayweather (39-0, 25 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC)

Lineage Descends From: Mosley UD12 De La Hoya 06/17/2000

Top Ten Contenders                                Total

1 Miguel Cotto (31-0, 25 KO, WBA)         2.000

2 Paul Williams (33-0, 24 KO, WBO)       10

3 Kermit Cintron (29-1, 27 KO, IBF)        23.033

4 Antonio Margarito (35-5, 25 KO)          30.125

5 Sugar Shane Mosley (44-5, 37 KO)       36.102

6 Luis Collazo (27-3, 13 KO)                  66.1

7 Zab Judah (36-5, 25 KO)                     67.121

8 Andre Berto (20-0, 17 KO)                   69

9 Joshua Clottey (33-2, 19 KO)               69.057

10 Issac Hlatshawyo (27-1, 9 KO)           85.036

Rating Notes…It is almost universally praised as the best division in the game and one need only look up to see why…There is a rising chorus that says Floyd must fight Cotto to retain his legitimacy but would that tune change if he fought a Mosley or Williams instead?  Not that he will be fighting them either.  It’s just a hypothetical…Margarito-Cotto would be an instant classic but Oscar De La Hoya’s return to the division could take Cotto elsewhere…If it does, let’s root to see Margarito face off with Judah or Mosley…Clottey is in line for Cintron and Berto’s people are smart enough to keep building him.  It’s a good call unless the rumors of his less than stable chin scream “Early cash out”…Hlatshawyo? The WBC and the computers like him but his record doesn’t merit his place.

Junior Welterweight

World Jr. Welterweight Champion: Ricky Hatton (43-1, 31 KO, Lineal/Ring)   

Lineage Descends From: Tszyu KO2 Judah 11/03/2001   

Top Ten Contenders                                   Total

1 Junior Witter (36-1-2, 21 KO, WBC)        2.051 

2 Paulie Malignaggi (23-1, 5 KO, IBF)       12.042 

3 Ricardo Torres (32-1, 28 KO, WBO)        16.03 

4 Gavin Rees (27-0, 13 KO, WBA)             31.000 

5 Demetrius Hopkins (28-0-1, 11 KO)        56.017 

6 Jose Luis Castillo (56-8-1, 46 KO)          62.131 

7 Kendall Holt (22-2, 12 KO)                    65.083 

8 Souleymane M'Baye (36-2-1, 21 KO)       66.564 

9 Andreas Kotelnik (28-2-1, 12 KO)           66.581 

10 Vivian Harris (28-3-1, 18 KO)               75.109 

Ratings Notes…This division is a little underrated.  It may not be a pound-for-pound haven but it is full of good fights…Witter’s KO of Harris last year exhibited just why Witter may be the most avoided fighter in any weight class.  Perhaps no one deserves a shot at his division’s top dog more…Malignaggi goes this Saturday and should still be going Sunday.  Going all the way to a Hatton fight?  It would certainly be worth a night at the Garden…Team Torres flat out ducked super prospect Victor Ortiz.  No matter; Ortiz will be in these ratings and any other ones by the end of 2008.

Lightweight

World Lightweight Champion: Joel Casamayor (35-3-1, 21 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC Interim)   

Lineage Descends From: Castillo UD12 Lazcano 06/05/2004   

Top Ten Contenders                                     Total

1 Juan Diaz (33-0, 17 KO, WBA/WBO/IBF)    3.000 

2 David Diaz (33-1-1, 17 KO, WBC)             15.043 

3 Julio Diaz (34-4, 25 KO)                          48.105 

4 Nate Campbell (31-5-1, 25 KO)                49.067 

5 Zahir Raheem (28-2, 16 KO)                    54.067 

6 Michael Katsidis (23-0, 20 KO)                 59 

7 Yuri Romanov (20-2, 13 KO)                    67.091 

8 Kid Diamond (25-1-1, 14 KO)                   67.556 

9 Jose Armando Santa Cruz (25-3, 14 KO)    69.107 

10 Ali Funeka (29-1-2, 24 KO)                    76.063 

Rating Notes…Forget about Juan a second; if there were any justice, Santa Cruz would be in the champion’s slot for this class.  His ‘loss’ to Casamayor in November was a stain on boxing’s good spirit last year…That said, Diaz is clearly the man and should be the champion by the end of the year…Overall, this is probably one of boxing’s weaker division’s.  It’s got lots of known names but none of those names, besides Juan Diaz and Katsidis, scream excellence.  Most just creak with age…If we all see Diaz-Katsidis (Katsidis will have to, and likely will, beat Casamayor while we wait) by the end of the year, the division’s lack of depth won’t matter.  We’ll all be too awestruck by the carnage to notice.

Jr. Lightweight

World Jr. Lightweight Champion: Vacant   

Vacant Since: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vacated in Arpil, 2002   

Top Ten Contenders                                           Total

1 Juan Manuel Marquez (48-3-1, 35 KO, WBC)   9.549 

2 Manny Pacquiao (45-3-2, 35 KO)                   9.580 

3 Joan Guzman (28-0, 17 KO, WBO)                12.000    

4 Edwin Valero (23-0, 23 KO, WBA)                 21 

5 Mzonke Fana (27-3, 10 KO, IBF)                   38.1 

6 Jorge Barrios (47-3-1, 34 KO)                       54.069 

7 Humberto Soto (43-6-2, 27 KO)                    62.137 

8 Alex Arthur (26-1, 19 KO)                            63.037 

9 Cassius Baloyi (34-3-1, 18 KO)                     80.092 

10 Yodsanan Nanthachai (50-3-1, 39 KO)         92.065 

Ratings Notes…The vacancy in the World title slot should be no more on the morning of March 16; the night before that of course is the long awaited rematch showdown between Pacquiao and Marquez.  The two of them make up the narrowest gap between slots 1-2 in any division…Right behind them is Joan Guzman, indicating a strength and weakness at 130 lbs.; it has solid and moreso fighters but the best of them are blown up Jr. Featherweights and Featherweights.  This is not the class of earlier this decade that featured a young Mayweather, Casamayor and Diego Corrales…Way behind the top three is the untested Valero, an exciting fighter with a toe shallow resume…Soto-Barrios would be a hell of a way for both to kill time if nothing else comes along.

Featherweight

World Featherweight Champion: Vacant   

Vacant Since: Manny Pacquiao vacated in 2005   

Top Ten Contenders                                    Total

1 Chris John (40-0-1, 21 KO, WBA)             4.011 

2 Robert Guerrero (21-1-1, 14 KO, IBF)       11.065 

3 Jorge Linares (25-0, 16 KO, WBC)            22 

4 Steven Luevano (34-1, 15 KO, WBO)        22.029 

5 Thomas Mashaba (20-2-4, 12 KO)            61.154 

6 Jorge Solis (34-1-2, 25 KO)                     64.079 

7 Hector Velasquez (48-11-2, 33 KO)          67.197 

8 Hiroyuki Enoki (27-0-1, 19 KO)                71.018 

9 Rocky Juarez (27-4, 19 KO)                     77.129 

10 Roinet Caballero (22-7-1, 16 KO)           80.274 

Ratings Notes…John’s controversial victory over Juan Manuel Marquez aside, he is a solid number one in a class that has slipped from its notoriety of a few years ago.  The best fight that can be made in the division, and perhaps the only one that would meet the criteria of must-see TV, is John versus Linares…It’s too soon for such accolades, but watching Linares I wonder if this is how viewers felt when Salvador Sanchez hit the scene a generation ago.  He looks that good.

Jr. Featherweight

World Jr. Featherweight Champion: Israel Vasquez (42-4, 31 KO, Lineal/Ring/WBC)   

Lineage Descends From: Vasquez TKO3 Larios 12/03/2005   

Top Ten Contenders                                           Total

1 Celestino Caballero (28-2, 19 KO, WBA)         7.067 

2 Daniel Ponce De Leon (34-1, 30 KO, WBO)     15.029 

3 Steve Molitor (25-0, 10 KO, IBF)                   19 

4 Rafael Marquez (37-4, 33 KO)                       22.098 

5 Somsak Sithchatchawal (54-2-1, 43 KO)         48.042 

6 Ricardo Cordoba (31-1-2, 20 KO)                   72.059 

7 Mike Oliver (21-0, 7 KO)                               78 

8 Juan Manuel Lopez (20-0, 18 KO)                  79 

9 Toshiaki Nishioka (30-4-3, 18 KO)                 79.149 

10 Kiko Martinez (17-0, 14 KO)                        80 

Ratings Notes…If you like your boxing with blood, then 122 lbs. is your domain of choice…3 of the last 8 consensus choices for Fight of the Year have come from here…A candidate to make that 4 will likely be the spring rubber match between Vasquez and Marquez; their first two each stood out in 2007…Lots of quality young talent here just waiting to be sorted out.  No matter who wins Marquez-Vasquez III, those aging warriors will have their hands full holding onto the crown…Caballero deserves first crack but De Leon might have the style and flash to cut in line…Keep a close eye on Lopez; he could be the future.

Bantamweight

World Bantamweight Champion: Vacant   

Vacant Since: Bernardo Pinango vacted March 1987   

Top Ten Contenders                                   Total

1 Hozumi Hasegawa (22-2, 7 KO, WBC)         3.083 

2 Wladimir Sidorenko (20-0-2, 7 KO, WBA)    12.045 

3 Gerry Penalosa (52-6-2, 35 KO, WBO)        14.167 

4 Joseph Agbeko (25-1, 22 KO, IBF)             30.038 

5 Verapol Sahaprom (58-3-2, 42 KO)            45.063 

6 Jhonny Gonzalez (35-6, 29 KO)                 59.146 

7 Silence Mabuza (20-2, 16 KO)                   65.091 

8 Simone Maludrottu (25-1, 10 KO)              71.038 

9 Anselmo Moreno (21-1-1, 8 KO)                77.065 

10 Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (72-9, 48 KO)      83.11 

Ratings Notes…Wishful thinking says that a January double-bill could lead to a showdown between Hasegawa and Sidorenko but this is bantamweight so who knows…Penalosa was the comeback story of 2007 and it’s shocking no one (including me) gave him more credit.  The former World Jr. Bantamweight would be live with anyone at 118 today, even in his mid-30s.  He has a rematch with Sor Vorapin upcoming; Penalosa stopped him in six the last time around…Look for this division to continue its trend of unofficial kings and little in the way of clarity.

Jr. Bantamweight

World Jr. Bantamweight Champion: Vacant   

Vacant Since: Masamori Tokuyama Retired 03/14/2007   

Top Ten Contenders                                     Total

1 Cristian Mijares (33-3-2, 14 KO, WBC)      3.083 

2 Fernando Montiel (35-2-1, 26 KO, WBO)   12.045 

3 Alexander Munoz (31-2, 27 KO, WBA)       14.167 

4 Martin Castillo (33-2, 17 KO)                   30.038 

5 Dimitri Kirilov (29-3, 9 KO, IBF)               45.063 

6 Nobuo Nashiro (10-1, 6 KO)                    59.146 

7 Vic Darchinyan (29-1, 23 KO)                   65.091 

8 Jorge Arce (48-4-1, 37 KO)                      71.038 

9 AJ Banal (16-0-1, 13 KO)                        77.065 

10 Pramuansak Posuwan (41-1-, 22 KO)      83.110 

Ratings Notes…There is no filling the vacant title of this class without going through Mijares…That said, right behind welterweight, this is not only the best division in the game; it may be the best division of this decade…The tragically unheralded Tokuyama left little in the way of a vacuum when he retired last year and the quality of fights has continued on…Steve Kim at Maxboxing reported on his site’s message board a Montiel-Castillo showdown in February on the Pavlik-Taylor II undercard; a call to Lou DiBella, Taylor’s promoter, confirmed that bout.  Along with DiBella fighters Mijares and Jose Navarro also in action against each other, these 115 lbers. have just filled out arguably the best card of the decade…The winners building to a logical showdown?  One can only hope.  The early prediction here is that the top two in theses ratings will still be there the next time this list runs.  Let’s hope that they are then headed towards each other…Who wouldn’t love a Munoz-Darchinyan battle while the dust settles on other fronts.  Or Arce-Darchinyan?  Or…You get the point.  This weight class is all that.  Do people still say “all that.”

Flyweight

World Flyweight Champion: Daisuke Naito (32-2-2, 20 KO, Lineal/WBC)   

Lineage Descends From: Miguel Canto (1978-79*)   

Top Ten Contenders                                     Total

1 Nonito Donaire (19-1, 12 KO, IBF)            6.05 

2 Takefumi Sakata (31-4-2, 15 KO, WBA)     11.135 

3 Omar Narvaez (25-0-2, 16 KO, WBO)        11.537 

4 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (65-3, 34 KO)     38.044 

5 Denkaosan Kaovichit (40-1-1, 16 KO)        56.536 

6 Koki Kameda (16-0, 11 KO)                      63 

7 Roberto Vasquez (24-2, 17 KO)                 63.077 

8 Abdrea Sarritzu (27-3-4, 10 KO)                67.647 

9 Jose Lopez (35-7-2, 29 KO)                      74.182 

10 Wandee Singwancha (54-8-1, 11 KO)       80.135 

* Canto, a WBC champion, became clear champion when twice defended against foe Betulio Gonzalez became WBA champ on 08/13/1978   

Ratings Notes…Flyweight finally began to live up to its potential in 2007…The talent has long been there.  Now we’re getting the action to go with it…Naito will be hard pressed to hold onto his crown with a fourth fight all but certain against former champion Wonjongkam.  Lighting won’t strike twice…Sakata’s career year, including the rematch win over Vasquez, should result in a career payday against Japanese mega-star Kameda sometime this year as well…Donaire has the U.S. market almost to himself, which isn’t a good thing when the rest of the division is in Asia.  He needs someone like Hugo Cazares to move up or he needs to move up and go after what will likely be a relatively bigger cash pot three pounds higher.

Jr. Flyweight

World Jr. Flyweight Champion: Ivan Calderon (30-0, 6 KO, Lineal/ Ring/WBO)   

Lineage Descends From: Cazares TKO10 Dieppa, 09/30/2006   

Top Ten Contenders                                 Total

1 Ulises Solis (26-1-2, 20 KO, IBF)           1.6 

2 Edgar Sosa (30-5, 16 KO, WBC)            11.143 

3 Hugo Cazares (25-4-1, 19 KO)              27.15 

4 Giovanni Segura (19-0-1, 15 KO)           33.025 

5 Brahim Asloum (23-2, 9 KO, WBA)         36.08 

6 Brian Violria (19-2, 12 KO)                   52.095 

7 Omar Salado (18-0-2, 10 KO)               57.55 

8 Juan Landaeta (24-6-1, 18 KO)             66.21 

9 Omar Nino (24-2-1, 10 KO)                  69.093 

10 Cesar Canchila (25-1, 20 KO)              71.038 

Ratings Notes…Remarkably lots of activity here the last couple years…Calderon is rumored to be headed towards Solis and that is as it should be.  Solis’s all-lists-low score indicates just how deserving his is…Sosa has already fallen at the fists of Solis but is making noise of his own with a victory over the inconsistent Viloria last year…Segura is coming fast and, with his Top Rank connections, could easily line up for a Calderon-Solis winner…Cazares is too big for this class and should move up.  I want to see Cazares-Donaire. 

Strawweight

 

World Strawweight Champion: Vacant   

Vacant Since: Ricardo Lopez vacated in October 1999   

Top Ten Contenders                                         Total

1 Florante Condes (22-3-1, 20 KO, IBF)           4.135 

2 Oleydong Sithsanerchai (25-0, 9 KO, WBC)   8 

3 Yutaka Niida (22-1, 8 KO, WBA)                  8.096 

4 Donnie Nietes (22-1-3, 13 KO, WBO)           28.096 

5 Eagle Kyowa (18-2, 6 KO)                           34.100 

6 Muhammad Rachman (61-6-5, 31 KO)           46.118 

7 Juan Palacios (24-2, 19 KO)                        53.077 

8 Roman Gonzalez (16-0, 16 KO)                    56 

9 Katsunari Takayama (19-3, 7 KO)                 62.136 

10 Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym (20-1, 15 KO)  70.048 

Ratings Notes…No unifications fights since Ricardo Lopez rose in weight almost a decade ago; don’t look for many when we get closer to two decades…Condes versus Gonzalez would be the most exciting fight in this class and Kyowa-Niida is long overdue unless Kyowa tries to reclaim his recently lost belt from Sithsanerchai first…And that’s all folks.

Next Ratings: Full ratings April 1st, 2007 with updates for championship changes along the way.

Semantics

The scores here are derived from the sources noted above and the list is fairly self-explanatory.  However, it must be noted that not all rankings rate a champion in each division.  In cases where a lineal champion is also ‘ranked,’ the fighters below them in a given ratings system are elevated one spot.  In most cases where a division has interim champions, that champion is assessed as that sanctioning bodies #1 contender and everyone below drops a spot. 

You will also note the regular use of the number 11.  11 is a substitution for any fighter ranked in the top ten by one body but not another.  While some systems do rate fighters numerically at higher numbers than ten, this list is a comparative analysis of top ten lists and 11 shall do.  Alphabelt champions are assigned a zero for all organizations because ratings bodies don’t rate each others titlists.  Finally, ESPN ratings are not used at 105 and 108 lbs. because those divisions are not rated extensively enough; their top five ratings from 122-112 are used with 11 substituted thereafter.

The entire detailed list will be posted by this Friday.

Finally: Love the new ratings?  Hate them?  Log on to the BoxingScene message boards and feel free to hash them out.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com