THE RING will crown a new champion when Nos. 1 and 2 cruiserweights Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham face off Saturday in Frankfurt, Germany, barring a draw or no-contest.
The cruiserweight title has been vacant since Tomasz Adamek gave it up early in 2009 to campaign at heavyweight.
Adamek defeated Cunningham by a split decision a few months earlier to win the vacant RING 200-pound belt.
Hernandez defeated Cunningham by a sixth-round technical decision to retain the IBF title in October when the Cuban was cut and couldn’t continue.
“THE RING editors are excited to fill a championship vacancy, particularly when the two contenders are as deserving as Hernandez and Cunningham,” said Michael Rosenthal, editor of the magazine. “I think consensus is that these are the two best 200-pounders in the world.”
No. 10-rated Mateusz Masternak faces unrated Michael Simms on the same card.
The cruiserweight division isn’t the only weight class that could look different after this weekend.
No. 5 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. faces a test in middleweight Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday in San Antonio. On the same card, pound-for-pound rated Nonito Donaire moves up to junior featherweight to face No. 8 Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., a significant challenge for the Filipino-American.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
There were no changes in the ratings this week. Only three rated fighters were in action.
Heavyweight: No. 7 Denis Boytsov stopped unrated Darnell Wilson in four rounds last Saturday in Hamburg, Germany.
On the same card, No. 8 Ruslan Chagaev outpointed unrated Kertson Manswell in an eight-round fight.
Boytsov and Chagaev retain their positions.
Flyweights: No. 4 Milan Melindo knocked out Juan Esquer in seven rounds Saturday in Cebu City, Philippines to retain his rating.
Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)
Cruiserweights: Yoan Pablo Hernandez (No. 1) vs. Steve Cunningham (No. 2); Mateusz Masternak (No. 10) vs. Michael Simms (Saturday)
Middleweights: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (No. 5) vs. Marco Antonio Rubio (Saturday)
Junior middleweights: Vanes Martirosyan (No. 3) vs. Troy Lawry (Saturday)
Junior featherweights: Nonito Donaire vs. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (No. 8) (Saturday)
Pound for pound: Nonito Donaire (No. 4)