Last week was another fairly quiet one for boxing.
Junior welterweight standout Johan Perez scrapped past a shopworn Stevie Forbes with a majority decision win on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla.
Perez (16-1-1, 12 knockouts) is perhaps a top 15 contender, but not accomplished enough to break into THE RING’s 140-pound rankings.
It’s possible that Denis Shafikov, currently THE RING’s No. 8-rated junior welterweight, may drop down five pounds to the lightweight division. If he does, we will look at him closely for possibly ranking as a lightweight.
John Molina scored an impressive fourth-round KO over Dannie Williams on Friday in the lightweight division in Santa Fe, N.M., on Friday. A win or two more and the 30-year-old Californian puncher could possibly get back into THE RING’s top-10 rankings. However, that first-round TKO loss to Antonio DeMarco is going to be difficult for Molina (25-2, 20 KOs) to overcome in order to gain a ranking. The win over Williams was certainly not the one to do it.
Undefeated prospect Ronny Rios had a solid unanimous decision over Rico Ramos in the featherweight division in Indio, Calif., on Friday. THE RING had previously ranked Rico Ramos No. 4 in the junior featherweight division. It was the recommendation of the Ratings Panel that Ramos, who has lost two of his last three bouts, be dropped from the top-10 rankings altogether.
The speedy Californian was lucky to beat Akifumi Shimoda for the WBA title in 2011, getting handily beaten until he landed a one-punch KO; he was then ruined by the looks of it in losing to Guillermo Rigondeaux one year ago. Ramos (21-2, 11 KOs) then struggled mercifully with prospect Efrain Esquivias last June, so his recent form doesn’t justify inclusion the top 10 rankings any more.
In replacing him in the top 10, the Panel was careful not to just move everyone down a spot. For example, it did not make sense to move Carl Frampton down since the budding British star became ranked a just few months ago. So with Ramos’ departure, everyone rated under him was moved up one spot and Victor Terrazas (36-2-1, 21 KOs), who has won 10 consecutive bouts – including decisions over Nehomar Cermeno and Fernando Montiel – entered the junior featherweight rankings in the No. 10 spot.
Adrian Hernandez, currently THE RING’s No. 3-rated junior flyweight, had a nice solid unanimous decision win over journeyman Dirceu Cabarca. No movement in the 108-pound rankings.
There was a lengthy debate among the Panelist about whether to consider the proposed lightweight unification bout between WBO beltholder Ricky Burns and IBF titleholder Miguel Vazquez for THE RING’s vacant 135-pound championship.
Panelist Martin Mulcahey opined that both No. 2-rated Vazquez and No. 4-rated Burns were more accomplished at 135 pounds than THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight, Adrien Broner, who has only one significant 135-pound victory – his eighth-round TKO of the magazine’s previously top-rated lightweight Antonio DeMarco. (He then opined that if it was OK to skip over No. 2-rated featherweight Chris John to make this Saturday’s showdown between No. 1-rated Orlando Salido and No. 3-rated Mikey Garcia a RING championship bout, it shouldn’t be a problem to skip over Broner to make the March 16 Burns-Vazquez matchup for THE RING belt.)
Panelist Mike Coppinger pointed out that both Vazquez and Burns were offered fights with Broner and both turned the opportunity down. There was a lot of back-and-forth opinions about the legitimacy of those offers, whether Vazquez and Burns are in Broner’s class, and how styles play out in the ring, but the general consensus among the Panel was that the undefeated American needs to be in the matchup if THE RING’s lightweight title is to be on the line.
Most of the Panel agreed that the Burns-Vazquez winner should be considered the top lightweight – provided their bout comes to a decisive, non-controversial conclusion – and a bout between the winner and Broner will determine who the true/RING champ of the division is.