The bantamweight division gave us two compelling fights on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif.
Abner Mares didn’t need low blows in his rematch with Joseph Agbeko, which Mares won by identical scores of 118-110. And Anselmo Moreno dominated veteran Vic Darchinyan in his U.S. debut.
Now the question is: How do those results impact THE RING Ratings?
One member of the Ratings Advisory Panel suggested that Mares (No. 3 last week) leap frog Moreno (No. 2 last week) because Agbeko (No. 4 last week) was rated higher than Darchinyan (No. 5 last week). Plus, Mares also beat Darchinyan.
Plus, one could argue that Agbeko remains at least near his prime while Darchinyan is fading to some degree at 35.
In the end, though, we decided to leave the two positions below champion Nonito Donaire as is for a simple reason: Moreno fought too well to be demoted.
The Panamanian, who holds the WBA title, dominated a still-capable former champion with superb skills and obvious toughness to win a well-deserved one-sided decision and serve notice that he could be a force in the 118-pound division.
Mares also fought well, beautifully blending his superior skills with controlled aggression to win convincingly, but wasn’t as dominating as Moreno.
What about Agbeko and Darchinyan?
The Ghanaian stays put because of those below him. Darchinyan drops only one spot, switching places with Eric Morel (No. 6 last week), who outpointed unrated Jose Silveira on the Mares-Agbeko undercard.
We have the feeling there will be more adjustments ahead as these little warriors engage one another in the ring.
RING RATINGS UPDATE:
Heavyweight: Robert Helenius (No. 5 last week) received a gift split-decision over Derek Chisora on Saturday in Helenius’ home country of Finland, by most accounts. One member of the advisory panel said Chisora (unrated) won nine of the 12 rounds.
Thus, we’re dropping Helenius to No. 6 and lifting Alexander Dimitrenko (No. 6 last week) to No. 5.
We considered putting Chisora in the Top 10 but the Briton has not done enough in his career to merit inclusion.
No. 3 Alexander Povetkin holds his position after stopping Cedric Boswell in eight rounds on Saturday.
Cruiserweight: We considered elevating Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (No. 4 last week) after he rallied to stop unrated Danny Green in the 11thround Saturday in Australia but decided against it.
Green, while still capable, is 38 and had been stopped by Antonio Tarver in his previous fight.
No. 3 Steve Cunningham is coming off a loss to No. 2 Yoan Pablo Hernandez but the fight was stopped because of a cut, which made it inconclusive.
Super middleweight: No. 6 Sako Bika holds his position after stopping Alfredo Contreras in the third round on the Mares-Agbeko undercard.
Middleweight: We had a tough decision to make at 160 pounds.
Felix Sturm (No. 1 last week) was awarded a dubious draw against unrated Martin Murray on Friday in Germany. That followed a disputed split-decision victory over Matthew Macklin, also in front of a friendly crowd.
We wouldn’t hesitate to drop him under normal circumstances. The problem was that No. 2 Daniel Geale doesn’t have the credentials to make it a slam dunk.
The Aussie has won six consecutive fights – including victories over Sebastian Sylvester and Roman Karmazin – but is still building his resume.
In the end, we felt Sturm’s shaky performances spoke for themselves and flopped him with Geale, who has only a split-decision loss to Anthony Mundine 2½ years ago on his record.
Meanwhile, Paul Williams (No. 8 last week) drops out of the Top 10 because he hasn’t fought at middleweight for more than a year and apparently will face Erislandy Lara again at 154 pounds.
That leaves room for the unbeaten Murray to enter at No. 10.
Junior middleweight: Delvin Rodriguez (unrated last week) easily outpointed Pawel Wolak (No. 10 last week) in their rematch on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito undercard Saturday.
Thus, Wolak drops out and Rodriguez enters at No. 10.
Meanwhile, Cotto retains his No. 1 rating with a 10th-round stoppage of Margarito (unrated).
Welterweight: Mike Jones (No. 8 last week) easily outpointed unrated but tough Sebastian Lujan on the Cotto-Margarito undercard, allowing him to change places with Jan Zaveck (No. 7 last week). Zaveck is coming off a loss to Andre Berto.
Lightweight: No. 1 Brandon Rios, who brutally stopped John Murray (No. 8 last week) in the 11thround on the Cotto-Margarito undercard, apparently intends to move up to 140 pounds.
However, he’ll remain in the lightweight ratings until he takes a fight at junior welterweight.
Murray took a brutal beating but we felt he deserved to remain in the ratings – dropping to No. 10 – because Rios came in overweight.
Featherweight: No. 2 Chris John retains his position after a unanimous decision over Stanyslav Merdov on Wednesday in Australia.
Also, No. 8 Jhonny Gonzalez stays put after stopping Roinet Caballero in the second round Saturday in Mexico.
Bantamweight: Moreno and Mares retain their Nos. 1 and 2 positions after their victories on Saturday.