Numerous RING-rated fighters were in action this past weekend, including heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, undefeated light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly, unbeaten super middleweight Thomas Oousthuizen, heavyweight contender Robert Helenius and once-beaten flyweight veteran Juan Carlos Reveco, however none of these standouts faced opponents who were rated by the magazine.
There were four RING-rated fighters in action on Saturday who faced each other:
Abner Mares, the magazine’s No. 4-rated junior featherweight, defended his WBC 122-pound title against Anselmo Moreno, THE RING’s No. 1-rated bantamweight; and No. 4-rated junior middleweight Erislandy Lara took on No. 5-rated 154 pounder Vanes Martirosyan.
Lara-Martirosyan ended in a disappointing technical split draw after an accidental clash of heads produced an awful gash over Martirosyan’s left eye that halted the uneventful bout early in the ninth round. Both junior middleweights, who were fighting for the right to face WBC titleholder Saul Alvarez, remain where they stood in THE RING’s 154-pound rankings.
Mares retained his WBC 122-pound title with a unanimous decision over WBA bantamweight beltholder Anselmo Moreno in a grueling rough-and-tumble fight. With the victory, which was more competitive than the official scorecards indicated, Mares moved from No. 4 to No. 3 in the junior featherweight rankings, replacing Toshiaki Nishioka, who recently announced his retirement.
Moreno, whose loss snapped a 27-bout win streak, remains THE RING’s No. 1-rated bantamweight, however, his No. 10 place in the magazine’s pound-for-pound rankings was overtaken by Mares.
With Nishioka’s departure, Victor Terrazas enters the junior featherweight rankings at No. 10. The 29-year-old Guadalajara, Mexico native has won nine in a row since losing to Rendall Munroe, including decisions over former contender Nehomar Cermeno and three-division beltholder Fernando Montiel.
On the Mares-Moreno undercard, unbeaten bantamweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz retained his IBF belt with an eighth-round stoppage of Victor Zaleta. The victory moved Santa Cruz up one spot in THE RING’s bantamweight ratings to No. 4, knocking Koki Kameda down to No. 5.
Cleverly also fought on the Mares-Moreno undercard. The 25-year-old Welshman defended his WBO light heavyweight title against Shawn Hawk, stopping tough but unheralded late substitute in the eighth round. Cleverly’s relentless, high-volume attack made for a fast-paced fight, and it included some entertaining exchanges with the game Sioux fighter, but the ease that Hawk sometimes returned fire left some observers underwhelmed by his performance.
On the suggestion of the Ratings Panel, former titleholder Gabriel Campillo moved up to No. 3 in the light heavyweight rankings, dropping Cleverly to No. 4. Although Cleverly is undefeated, Campillo has faced better opposition and the southpaw’s split decision losses to current titleholders Tavoris Cloud and Beibut Shumenov were highly controversial.
The only other change in the ratings took place at cruiserweight. Rakhim Chakhkiev’s victory over Andres Taylor was not enough to keep him in the top 10 rankings. He is replaced at No. 10 by Dmytro Kucher, who had a more impressive win over Steve Helenius.
At heavyweight, Klitschko defended his RING title against Mariusz Wach on Saturday in Germany, scoring a unanimous decision over the outclassed but very game iron-chinned Polish giant.
Robert Helenius beat Sherman Williams although he was rocked in the middle rounds. He remains at No. 6.
Oousthuizen outpoined former title challenger Fulgenico Zuniga but his win was not enough to warrant movement in the 168-pound rankings. The South African remains the No. 3-rated super middleweight.
There were no changes in the middleweight division rankings although Patrick Nielsen is starting to build a good resume as a ranked prospect and merits keeping an eye on.
Alfredo Angulo made a successful return to the ring on the Mares-Moreno undercard with a one-punch first-round KO of Raul Casarez, but the former contender remains unranked in THE RING’s junior middleweight rankings.
Reveco, who beat a late replacement over the weekend, remained at No. 7 in the flyweight rankings.