Yoan Pablo Hernandez’s controversial victory over No. 1-rated Steve Cunningham on Saturday in Germany has shaken up THE RING cruiserweight ratings.
Hernandez took the IBF title from Cunningham by a split-technical decision after their fight was stopped because of cuts suffered by Hernandez that were caused by accidental head butts.
The Germany-based Cuban put Cunningham down and hurt him in the first round and won fairly consistently on two cards (58-55 and 59-54) while barely losing on the third (56-57).
Thus, Hernandez (25-1, 13 knockouts) must be included in the ratings. The question is: Where?
Several members of the RING Advisory Panel suggested that Hernandez enter at No. 1 with Cunningham (24-3, 12 KOs) slipping only to No. 2 because of the unusual victory. A few thought that No. 2 Marco Huck should be elevated to No. 1, with Hernandez coming at around No. 4.
In the end, the RING Editorial Board decided that Hernandez didn’t prove enough in the abbreviated fight to overtake all 10 200-pounders in the ratings and claim the top spot.
We also couldn’t leave Cunningham at No. 1 after a loss, however controversial it was. That opened the door for Huck to move to the top of the list.
The Serbian’s only loss came against Cunningham, who won by a 12th-round knockout, but that was four years ago. Huck (33-1, 24 KOs) is 14-0 since against solid opposition. And the WBO titleholder has made seven successful defenses.
Huck’s body of work certainly is better than that of Hernandez, who is just beginning to make his mark.
The saving grace for a very frustrated Cunningham might be a rematch with Hernandez, which certainly is appropriate after the painful manner in which he lost his title and No. 1 rating. If he gets the rematch and wins convincingly, then we’ll have to revisit the thought process that resulted in today’s changes.
Meanwhile, a few members of the advisory panel suggested that Darren Barker’s performance against Sergio Martinez on Saturday was good enough to propel him into the middleweight ratings.
The Englishman gave Martinez a tougher-than-expected challenge before he was stopped in 11th round in Atlantic City, N.J.
However, the editorial board couldn’t justify replacing any of the Top 10 by a fighter who was losing on all three cards and ultimately was knocked out.
Barker demonstrated that he’s a very good boxer. He’ll undoubtedly get more opportunities to take part in major fights. If he wins the next time, he’ll have a good chance of claiming a spot in the ratings.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Yoan Pablo Hernandez (unrated last week) enters at No. 2 after defeating No. 1 Steve Cunningham, who drops to No. 3. Marco Huck (No. 2 last week) ascends to No. 1.
Everyone No. 3 and below drop one spot and Danny Green (No. 10 last week) drops out.
Grzegorz Proksa of Poland enters the ratings at No. 4 after stopping Sebastian Sylvester (No. 4 last week) in three rounds. Sylvester, 1-2-1 in his last four fights drops out. Everyone No. 5 and below drops one position.
Ryol Li Lee of Japan drops out because he has moved up in weight. He is replaced by Masaaki Serie of Japan, who enters at No. 10.
Juan Alberto Rosas is out because he moved up. He is replaced by Daiki Kameda, who enters at No. 10.
Takefumi Sakata and Denkaosan Kaovichit drop out, Sakata because of inactivity (he hasn’t fought in more than a year) and Kaovichit because he moved up in weight. Juan Carlos Reveco and Wilbert Aicab come in at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.
Rated fighters in action this past weekend (with ratings at the time)
Cruiserweight – Yoan Pablo Hernandez dec. (technical) No. 1 Steve Cunningham
Light heavyweight – No. 8 Karo Murat draw No. 9 Gabriel Campillo
Middleweight – Champion Sergio Martinez KO 11 Darren Barker
Junior lightweight – No. 5 Rocky Martinez TKO 6 Daniel Attah
Featherweight – No. 4 Juan Manuel Lopez KO 2 Mike Oliver
Junior featherweight – No. 1 Toshiaki Nishioka dec. No. 7 Rafael Marquez
Junior flyweight – No. 6 Roman Gonzalez KO 2 Omar Soto
Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)
Welterweight — No. 7 Rafal Jackiewicz vs. No. 10 Kell Brook
Jr. Flyweight— No. 8 Ramon Hirales vs. Donnie Nietes