Apart from Juan Manuel Marquez, who scored an easy first-round KO in a tune-up bout for his November showdown with Manny Pacquiao on Saturday, the elite fighters of the sport were not in action over the weekend.
However, three entertaining bouts that took place resulted in substantial movement within THE RING’s divisional ratings.
The best fight of the weekend was the 10-round junior middleweight bout between RING-rated Pawel Wolak and former welterweight contender Delvin Rodriguez that took place in New York City on Friday. Wolak, who was rated No. 8 coming into the ESPN2-televised fight, and Rodriguez fought to a brutal and exciting majority draw.
While Wolak, who fought with a grotesquely swollen right eye, did not lose, the streaking Polish pressure fighter failed to win his ninth consecutive bout against a huge underdog that he was expected to beat. The slight setback caused him to drop one notch in THE RING’s 154-pound rankings.
“Despite the fact that Powell Wolak engaged in a thrilling 10-round draw with Delvin Rodriguez, it should be remembered that Rodriguez was 1-3 in his previous four fights, had not fought in almost a year, and was making his junior middleweight debut,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “Therefore, a slight demotion for Wolak was in order.”
The British lightweight showdown between John Murray and Kevin Mitchell that took place in Liverpool, England on Saturday was another good scrap. Mitchell upset the odds and rebounded from his first career loss — a third-round TKO to Michael Katsidis last May — by handing Murray, THE RING’s No. 4-rated lightweight, his first pro defeat via eighth-round stoppage.
The stirring victory earned Mitchell reentry into THE RING’s lightweight rankings at No. 5, right behind the only man to have defeated him in the pro ranks. Murray, who was lobbying for a shot at WBA beltholder Brandon Rios, dropped to No. 10.
“The reason that Kevin Mitchell did not take over the No. 4 ranking that John Murray held prior to their match is because Mitchell had been stopped by Michael Katsidis is his previous fight,” said Collins. “THE RING and the majority of Ratings Advisory Panel members responding this week felt it was only fair that Katsidis remain above Mitchell.”
The third notable bout of the weekend, Brian Viloria’s challenge to WBO flyweight beltholder Julio Cesar Miranda in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday, probably went unnoticed by most fans (living outside of Hawaii), but it was the most significant of the three.
Viloria, who was THE RING’s No. 5-rated junior flyweight going into the fight, scored a unanimous decision over Miranda, the magazine’s No. 7-rated 112-pound contender.
The victory made Viloria, who previously held two major 108-pound belts, a three-time, two-division titleholder. It also earned the 30-year-old veteran the No. 6 spot in THE RING’s flyweight rankings.
Ring ratings update:
Junior middleweights: Wolak (No. 8 last week) slips to No. 9 following his action-packed draw with Rodriguez, while Sergiy Dzinziruk (No. 9 last week) moves up to No. 8.
Lightweights: Mitchell reentered the rating at No. 5, thanks to his upset knockout of previously undefeated Murray, who entered the bout at No. 4. Murray tumbles to No. 10 following his loss. Murray’s demotion also pushes out Jorge Linares (No. 10 last week). The realignment also allows Michael Katsidis to advance from No. 5 to No. 4.
Flyweights: Viloria crashes the 112-pound ranks at No. 6 with a hard-fought decision over Miranda, who falls to No. 10. Miranda’s demotion also bumps out Juan Carlos Reveco (No. 10 last week).
Junior flyweights: Viloria (No. 5 last week) departs to campaign at flyweight. His exits allows all rated No. 6 and below last week to climbs one rung each and makes room for Ryo Miyazaki to debut at No. 10.