Another week of intriguing action. Another week of tough decisions to make.
Members of the dutiful Ring Ratings Panel had a variety of opinions on a number of fighters who either made strong statements or suffered setbacks over a busy weekend on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Among the questions that had to be answered:
Let’s start with Huck. The cruiserweight titleholder gave the No. 2-rated heavyweight all he could handle in spite of the official scorecards: 114-114, 116-113 and 116-112. THE RING scored it 115-113 for Huck, who landed the more-damaging blows.
Huck certainly looked like a legitimate heavyweight contender.
However, could we really justify rating a heavyweight who has never won a heavyweight fight? If the decision were an obvious robbery, perhaps that would make sense. It wasn’t, though. Huck lost a close fight.
Plus, Huck could very well announce any day now that he plans to give up his heavyweight dreams and return to cruiserweight. Then where would we be?
Thus, as much as it pains us after the admirable effort Huck gave, THE RING Editorial Board decided to leave the heavyweight ratings as is.
Alexander? The case against him is that he beat a natural 140-pounder who was not rated as a welterweight, which is a reasonable argument.
This is an unusual situation, though. One, Maidana was a highly rated junior welterweight with a reputation for being as tough as any fighter in the world. Two, Alexander did exactly what Maidana did – jump up to 147 for their fight.
Alexander tore Maidana apart, which no one else has done. The performance was striking.
And, finally, we considered the fight in the No. 10 position: Shane Mosley, who in his last three fights looked horrible in losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao and struggled to a draw with Sergio Mora.
The decision really wasn’t difficult in the end. Alexander replaces Mosley at No. 10.
As for Maidana, THE RING must acknowledge an unfortunate mistake: We removed both Maidana and Alexander from the 140-pound ratings even though only Alexander said his intention was to remain at 147.
Thus, we decided that Maidana shouldn’t be punished for our mistake and should return to the junior welterweight ratings.
The question was where? The fact is that he was pummeled by a fighter who also was moving up a weight class, which we can’t ignore. With that in mind, we were comfortable inserting Maidana at No. 9, pushing Vernon Paris (No. 9 last week) down a notch and Humberto Soto (No. 10 last week) out.
Now on to Broner, who looked positively ferocious against an overmatched Perez (No. 9 last week) en route to a fourth-round knockout.
The Cincinnati product looked so spectacular that several members of the Advisory Panel suggested we elevate him to the No. 2 position, behind No. 1 Takashi Uchiyama and ahead of Juan Carlos Salgado (No. 2 last week), Roman Martinez (No. 3 last week) and Takahiro Ao (No. 4 last week).
In the end, we decided to slide Broner in at No. 3, behind only the unbeaten Uchiyama and Salgado, who is more accomplished than Broner at this point.
Perez leaves the ratings after his one-sided loss, leaving room for a newcomer.
Among those we considered were Bryan Vazquez, an unbeaten fighter from Costa Rica, and Gary Buckland, the British junior lightweight titleholder.
Neither fighter has great accomplishments on his resume but we decided upon Vazquez because of his one-sided decision over solid Santos Benavides for the interim WBA title.
Also in the 130-pound division, Juan Carlos Burgos (No. 10 last week) outpointed veteran Cristobal Cruz on Friday. He leapfrogs Jorge Solis (No. 8 last week) into the No. 8 position, pushing Solis down to No. 9.
Vazquez enters at No. 10.
The only other change we considered was in the light heavyweight division, in which Nathan Cleverly (No. 4 last week) shut out journeyman Tommy Karpency on Saturday.
After all, Tavoris Cloud (No. 3 last week) was fortunate to slip past Gabriel Campillo (No. 7 last week) in his most-recent fight.
However, we didn’t feel a victory over Karpency was meaningful enough to lift Cleverly over Cloud.
Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)
Heavyweight: Wladimir Klitschko (C) vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck (Saturday)
Cruiserweight: Ola Afolabi (No. 6) vs. Valery Brudov (Saturday)
Super middleweight: Thomas Oosthuizen (No. 6) vs. Serge Yannick (Saturday)
Bantamweight: Malcolm Tunacao (No. 8) vs. Yuki Takemoto (Saturday)
Flyweight: Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (C) vs. Sonny Boy Jaro (Friday)
Strawweight: Moises Fuentes (No. 3) vs. Michael Landero (Saturday)
Pound for pound: Wladimir Klitschko (No. 7) vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck; Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (No. 8) vs. Sonny Boy Jaro