Doug Fischer

Ring Ratings Update: Darchinyan still No. 1 junior bantamweight

Vic Darchinyan’s decision to be a part of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament added some much-needed spice to the anticipated showdown of 118-pound standouts that begins on Dec. 11, especially after Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire declined to participate in the tourney.

Darchinyan (35-2-1, 27 knockouts) is currently THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior bantamweight. The 34-year-old veteran is unbeaten in the 115-pound division, where he’s won three major titles.

Some believe Darchinyan’s up-coming bantamweight schedule — he’s locked into two major 118-pound bouts as part of Showtime’s tournament — should preclude him from being ranked at junior bantamweight.

If the vicious-punching Australia-based Armenian wins his first bout in the tournament, against Abner Mares, he will earn a Top-10 bantamweight ranking in THE RING.

However, the magazine’s Editorial Board has decided to take a wait-and-see approach in regard to Darchinyan’s 115-pound ranking.

“Some members of the Ratings Advisory Panel suggested removing Vic Darchinyan from the No. 1 junior bantamweight spot because he is going to be part of Showtime’s upcoming bantamweight tournament,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “If we had done this, No. 2 contender Hugo Cazares, who stopped Alberto Rossel this past weekend, would be the logical replacement for Darchinyan.

“In the end, however, we decided to wait until Darchinyan fights in the bantamweight tournament before removing him from the junior bantamweight class. While THE RING hopes the 118-pound tournament is a success, history tells us that it is usually best to wait until something actually happens before making a serious move.”

Hopefully, Showtime’s four-man tournament for bantamweights doesn’t experience the constant setbacks that the Super Six World Boxing Classic, the network’s six-man super middleweight tourney, has suffered.

The single-elimination, two-show format for the bantamweight tournament, which includes Yonnhy Perez and Joseph Agbeko, ensures fewer complications than fans have witnessed with the Super Six.

But it’s probably still a good idea to keep Darchinyan ranked at junior bantamweight. The last time the unorthodox southpaw banger ventured to bantamweight he was outworked and out-boxed by Agbeko in a 12-round title bout last July.

Darchinyan immediately dropped back down to 115 pounds, where he scored two consecutive victories after the somewhat embarrassing loss to Agbeko.

Darchinyan, who out-pointed Eric Barcelona for a vacant minor bantamweight title in May, is confident that he’ll beat Mares and whoever he meets in the tournament final, which he hopes is a revenge bout against Agbeko.

If he’s right, bantamweight will likely become his new home and THE RING will rank him accordingly. If he’s wrong, there’s always the 115-pound division, where a potentially explosive showdown with No. 2-ranked Hugo Cazares would be for the magazine’s vacant junior bantamweight title.

RING RATINGS UPDATE

CRUISERWEIGHTS:

Zsolt Erdie (No. 5 last week) trades places with Denis Lebedev (No. 6 last week) because Erdie has not fought since he won a majority decision over Giacobbe Fragomeni to capture an alphabet belt on Nov. 21, 2009. While there have been rumors about Erdie fighting again and perhaps going back down to light heavyweight, he has nothing scheduled and is in danger of being dropped out of the Top 10 if he doesn’t fight or sign for a fight before November 21, 2010.

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