The easy decision was to remove Giovani Segura from THE RING pound-for-pound Top 10 after his eighth-round knockout loss to Brian Viloria on Sunday in the Philippines.
The difficult decision was to determine a replacement on the list.
Members of the Ratings Advisory Panel had a number of ideas:
— Viloria. The Hawaiian flyweight had a big year, outpointing Julio Cesar Miranda to win a third major title and then stopping the former junior flyweight champion.
— Carl Froch. The rugged Briton has gone 5-1 against an unheard-of gauntlet of big-name opponents since 2008, beating Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham and Glen Johnson while losing only a disputed decision to Mikkel Kessler.
— Lucian Bute. No fighter has had a more-dominating stretch than the gifted Romanian-born Canadian the past few years.
— Yuriorkis Gamboa. The Cuban defector has profound all-around ability and seems to be blossoming.
— And Vitali Klitschko. Some believe the elder brother of Wladimir Klitschko is the better of the two. He has barely lost a round since his TKO loss to Lennox Lewis in 2003.
And, after a lot of back-and-forth discussion, the winner is …
Klitschko, who enters at No. 10.
Viloria probably is another big victory or two away from cracking the Top 10.
Froch is worthy of consideration now but has his fate in his own hands: If he beats No. 9 Andre Ward on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., it will be difficult to keep him out of the Top 10.
Bute’s one-sided decision over Johnson on Dec. 5 was the biggest of his career. He needs at least one more important vicotry on his resume, which could come if he faces the Ward-Froch winner.
Gamboa has the tools but also needs a defining victory or two.
That leaves us with Klitschko, who has been untouchable for years against the best a relatively weak division has to offer. Absolutely no one has been as consistent as he has been.
One could argue that his inclusion on the list is long overdue.
Ward, No. 10 last week, moves up to No. 9.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Cruiserweight: Troy Ross (No. 6 last week) drops out of the ratings because he hasn’t fought since October of last year and has no fight scheduled. He is replaced by unbeaten Lateef Kayode, who enters at No. 10.
Middleweight: We felt we needed to find a place in the Top 10 for unbeaten Gennady Golovkin, a huge puncher with unlimited potential. The Kazakastani stopped Lajuan Simon in one round Friday, his ninth straight KO.
The question was: Who drops out?
The answer is Marco Antonio Rubio (No. 9 last week), although the decision wasn’t easy. The hard-punching Mexican entered the ratings because of his upset of then-rated David Lemieux, who now appears to have been overrated.
The Canadian lost a majority decision to Joachim Alcine on Saturday, giving him two consecutive losses.
Golovkin enters at No. 10. That pushes Martin Murray (No. 10 last week) up one notch.
Junior welterweight: Lamont Peterson’s upset split-decision victory over Amir Khan (No. 1 last week) on Saturday in Washington, D.C., shook up the top of the division.
Timothy Bradley (No. 2 last week) moves up to No. 1, Peterson leaps from No. 6 to No. 2 and Khan drops to No. 3. That pushes Marcos Maidana (No. 3 last week), Devon Alexander (No. 4 last week) and Lucas Matthysse (No. 5 last week) down one position each.
Matthysse stopped Sergio Omar Priotti in four rounds Friday in Buenos Aires in nothing more than a stay-busy fight.
Junior bantamweight: Tepparith Kokietgym (No. 7 last week) jumps to No. 5 after his unanimous decision over Daiki Kameda (No. 9 last week) on Wednesday in Japan.
Kameda drops out of the ratings, making room for Rodrigo Guerrero to enter at No. 10.
Flyweight: Viloria (No. 3 last week) changes places with Moruti Mthalane (No. 2 last week) after his impressive victory.
Super middleweight: No. 1 Andre Ward (No. 9 pound for pound) vs. No. 2 Carl Froch (Saturday)
Welterweight: No. 6 Kell Brook vs. Luis Galarza