Sergio Martinez continues to make his case for being one of the top elite fighters in the world.
THE RING middleweight champ knocked Sergei Dzinziruk down five times en route to stopping the undefeated junior middleweight beltholder in the eighth-round of their HBO-televised bout from Mashantucket, Conn., on Saturday.
Dzinziruk, an experienced technician known for his piston-like jab, was believed to be a live underdog. At the very least, the 6-foot-tall southpaw was expected to trouble Martinez and make for an uneventful distance fight.
Yeah, right. Not against a talent as special as Martinez (47-2-2, 26 knockouts), who outmaneuvered Dzinziruk and beat the challenger to the jab before overwhelming the Ukrainian amateur standout with his superior power.
Martinez’s performance was impressive enough to regain his No. 3 spot in THE RING’s pound-for-pound ratings. The 36-year-old veteran earned that spot last year along with Fighter of the Year accolades by dethroning middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik and by blasting Paul Williams out in the second round of their rematch.
However, he was displaced by Nonito Donaire when the ultra-talented Filipino bantamweight knocked out Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19. Donaire jumped from No. 5 to No. 3 in THE RING’s pound-for-pound ratings with his sensational second-round stoppage of Montiel, the magazine’s No. 1-rated bantamweight who was No. 7 on the pound-for-pound list at the time.
With the momentum Martinez and Donaire already have at the start of the year it’s a fair bet that the two dynamic boxers will continue to battle for pound-for-pound position on their way to the top of the mythical ratings.
“The race for pound-for-pound supremacy is heating up due to the recent outstanding performances by Sergio Martinez and Nonito Donaire,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine. “Moreover, the standings could very well change again in the near future. That’s the reason we update THE RING ratings every week.”
Donaire has an advantage over Martinez in that he currently campaigns in one of the deepest divisions in the sport. Bantamweight is home to many talented and accomplished boxers, such as Anselmo Moreno, Joseph Agbeko, Abner Mares and Yonnhy Perez. Donaire also has the frame to be able to fight in the junior featherweight and featherweight divisions, where anticipated showdowns with the likes of Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriokis Gamboa await.
However, if you think Martinez’s only options to advance in the pound-for-pound rankings is by fighting Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in very unlikely dream matches, guess again.
Their hold on the top two spots in teh magazine’s pound-for-pound ratings is not as secure as the future hall of famers might believe.
“An even more significant change could occur (in the pound-for-pound ratings) if Floyd Mayweather, who is currently No. 2, does not sign for a fight by May 1, the one-year anniversary of his bout with Shane Mosley,” said Collins. “If that happens, it will be a three-man contest between Manny Pacquiao, Martinez, and Donaire for the top spot.
“Pacquiao is also vulnerable due to the fact that his three most recent opponents—Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, and Shane Mosley—have not been particularly daunting. If, however, Pacquiao becomes the first to stop Mosley, it would certainly help his cause.”
Ring ratings update: Miguel Cotto assumes the No. 1 spot in the junior middleweight rankings.
Junior middleweight: Miguel Cotto advances from No. 3 to No. 1, which forces down Kermit Cintron (No. 1 last week) and Alfredo Angulo (No. 2 last week) one spot each. Yuri Foreman (No. 6 last week) exits due to his TKO loss to Powel Wolak, who enters at No. 7. The realignment also boosts Vanes Martirosyan (No. 7 last week) to No. 6.
“Although Miguel Cotto’s TKO of Ricardo Mayorga contributed to his rise to the No. 1 contender position, the inactivity of Kermit Cintron and Alfredo Angulo also played a significant role,” said Collins. “Cintron hasn’t fought since July 17, 2010, and Angulo has been inactive since May 8, 2010.”
Welterweights: Cotto (No. 4 last week) departs because he hasn’t fought as a welterweight since Manny Pacquiao stopped him on November 14, 2009. All rated No. 5 and below last week climb one rung each and Mike Jones debuts at No. 10.
Pound-for-pound: Martinez (No. 4 last week) moves up to No. 3, thanks to his TKO of previously undefeated Dzinziruk, which drops Nonito Donaire (No. 3 last week) to No. 4.