Boxing fans were treated to two high-profile co-main events on Saturday, each show featuring four of the best fighters in one of boxing’s deepest divisions.
In Las Vegas, Amir Khan defended a junior welterweight belt against Marcos Maidana while young 140-pound standouts Victor Ortiz and Lamont Peterson fought to a draw. In Tacoma, Wash., Joseph Agbeko outpointed Yonnhy Perez to regain the bantamweight title he lost to the Colombian last year after Abner Mares outworked Vic Darchinyan to earn a hard-fought split-decision victory.
As can be expected, Saturday’s action caused changes within THE RING’s junior welterweight and bantamweight rankings. However, the Khan-Maidana showdown, considered by many to be the most significant bout of the night, did not affect the rankings of either fighter.
Khan (24-1, 17 knockouts), who boxed brilliantly before almost getting stopped in the 10th round and hanging on for dear life for the rest of the bout, remained THE RING’s No. 2-rated junior welterweight. Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs), who rallied courageously in the late rounds after being dropped in the first round and soundly outboxed, remained the magazine’s No. 4 junior welterweight. Khan won the bout by scores of 114-111, 114-111 and 113-112.
“We kept both Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana in the same positions as last week, No. 2 and No. 4, respectively,” said Nigel Collins, editor in chief of THE RING magazine. “It was a close, hard-fought bout, and even though Khan won, he didn’t do enough to overtake No. 1 contender Timothy Bradley. Moreover, Maidana (No. 4 last week) made such a strong showing, we didn't think he should be penalized, especially as Andreas Kotelnik (No. 5) has lost his last two fights.”
Ortiz (28-2-2, 22 KOs) didn't beat Peterson (29-1-1, 14 KOs), who was rated No. 9 prior to their majority draw verdict, but he dropped the talented Washington, D.C. native twice in the third round and did enough quality punching to deserve the nod in the eyes of some observers. His effort, though not perfect, was enough to merit a No. 10 rating in THE RING’s crowded junior welterweight rankings
Peterson’s determination and consistent offense over the second half of the 10-rounder enabled him to hold on to his No. 9 ranking.
Ortiz and Peterson were not the only fighters in action who earned (or kept) a rating based on a non-winning performance. Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) grabbed the No. 10 spot in THE RING’s bantamweight rankings despite dropping a hotly contested split-decision to Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs).
Mares, who pressured the No. 1-rated junior bantamweight throughout the fight, held on to his No. 4 bantamweight rating with the most-significant victory of his young career.
Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs), who put on a boxing clinic for the majority of his rematch with Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs), advanced in THE RING ratings more than the other seven contenders in action on Saturday. He climbed from No. 5 to No. 3 in the bantamweight ratings on the strength of his impressive unanimous-decision victory.
Perez, who scored a unanimous decision over Agbeko last year, dropped from No. 3 to No. 6.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Ortiz enters at No. 10 because of his hard-fought draw with Peterson, who retains his No. 9 slot. Ortiz’s entrance pushes out Paul McCloskey (No. 10) last week.
Agbeko (No. 5 last week) jumps to No. 3 following his one-sided decision over Perez (No. 3 last week), who slides to No. 6. Nonito Donaire (No. 6 last week) moves up to No. 5. Vic Darchinyan debuts at No. 10, which pushes out Malcolm Tunacao (No. 10 last week).
Darchinyan (No. 1 last week) departs to campaign as a bantamweight. His departure elevates Hugo Cazares to the top spot. Cristain Mijares enters at No. 8, thanks to his decision over Juan Alberto Rosas, who falls from No. 8 to No. 10. Rosas’ demotion also pushes up Cesar Seda No. 9 (last week) and Yota Sato (No. 10 last week) one rung each.