THE RING Editorial Board had to make some tough decisions this week because of some unusual circumstances.
Let’s start with cruiserweight Antonio Tarver, who tested positive for steroids after his draw against Lateef Kayode on June 2 in Carson, Calif. We decided to leave him where he is (at No. 6) until this plays out. He has the right to appeal.
Then, if the positive test is upheld, we’ll have another decision to make.
Then there’s the welterweight division. Victor Ortiz (No. 3 last week) was beating Josesito Lopez on all three cards Saturday in Los Angeles when, after the ninth round, he said he could no longer fight because of a broken jaw. He has since had surgery.
Opinions on the Ratings Panel ranged from dropping him completely because of consecutive losses to cutting him some slack because he was winning when misfortune struck.
The Editorial Board decided to drop Ortiz to No. 10, which reflects his losses but isn’t overly punitive.
Lopez? Yes, he was losing on the cards but everyone who saw the fight would agree that he gave Ortiz all he could handle. I had him leading by a point when the fight was stopped. And he deserves some credit for breaking his opponent’s jaw, as odd as that might sound.
We were very impressed. Thus, Lopez enters the 147-pound ratings at No. 9, which pushes everyone from No. 4 to No. 9 last week up one notch each. Selcuk Aydin (No. 10 last week) drops out.
The rest of the Ratings Update wasn’t complicated.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Junior welterweight: Lucas Matthysse (No. 6 last week) retains his position after stopping unrated Humberto Soto on the Ortiz-Lopez card Saturday.
Some members of the Ratings Panel suggsted we flop Matthysse with No. 5 Zab Judah but the Board decided against it because Judah beat Matthysse (although many thought it was a gift decision) and looked good in his last fight, a ninth-round knockout of Vernon Paris.
Lightweight: John Molina (No. 6 last week) stays put after shutting out Miguel Munguia on Saturday in Studio City, Calif. Molina is scheduled to face WBC titleholder Antonio DeMarco on Sept. 8.
Junior featherweight: Rico Ramos (No. 10 last week) bounced back from his horrible KO loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux by outpointing then-unbeaten Efrain Esquivias on Saturday in Studio City but didn’t do enough to move up.
Junior flyweight: Ryo Miyazaki (No. 7 last week) remained where he is after easily outpointing unrated Michael Landero on Wednesday in Japan.
Strawweight: We had to make a tough decision here. Most members of the Ratings Panel thought Kazuto Ioka (No. 2 last week) should supplant No. 1 Nkosinathi Joyi after decisioning Akira Yaegashi (No. 9 last week) to unify the WBC and WBA titles Wednesday in Japan.
Joyi is undefeated but has been relatively inactive in recent years, another thing that was working against the South African.
The argument for Joyi was that he defeated talented Katsunari Takayama (No. 8 at the time) by a unanimous decision in March.
In the end, the Editorial Board decided to flop Kazuto for the above reasons and in part because of a comment made by panel member Martin Mulcahey: “Taking chances like this should be rewarded.”
Indeed. Ioka, who has only 10 fights, does not face soft touches.
“I would move Kazuto Ioka to No. 1 given the way he is challenging himself by unifying two titles at 10 pro fights!” Mulcahey said. “This is almost a Wilfred Benitez-type record (although Ioka is 23 though). Ioka beat a very underrated Oleydong Sithsamerchai to get the title. And remember he moved down in weight to do all this.”
Yaegashi drops to No. 10.
Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)
Junior middleweight: Cornelius Bundrage (No. 9) vs. Cory Spinks; Erislandy Lara (No. 5) vs. Freddy Hernandez (Saturday)