Chuck Giampa

Ring Ratings Upatde: Rigondeaux seizes RING 122-pound title


This was a relatively quiet week of boxing except for THE RING’s junior featherweight championship between Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux in New York, which was impressively won by the challenger, Rigondeaux.

At cruiserweight, No. 6-rated Mateusz Masternak scored a ninth-round TKO over Sean Corbin in Denmark. The 25-year-old Pole has an impressive record (30-0, 22 knockouts) but this victory (over an ordinary opponent) does not move him up THE RING’s rankings.

At light heavyweight, Cedric Agnew won a unanimous decision over veteran gatekeeper Yusef Mack; and Marcus Oliveira stopped Ryan Coyne in the 11th-round of a battle of unbeaten fighters vying for the WBA’s mandatory position. Neither winner has done enough to break into the top 10.

At junior middleweight, undefeated prospect Demetrius Andrade will replace James Kirkland in the rankings. Kirkland, who hasn’t fought since last March, was dropped due to inactivity. Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) will enter the No. 10 spot with Zaurbek Baysangurov and Ishe Smith moving up one spot each to make room for the 2008 U.S. Olympian.

Andrade is scheduled to challenge Baysangurov for the undefeated Russian’s WBO title on July 6.

At featherweight, No. 1-rated Chris John’s WBA title defense against Satoshi Hosono ended in a third-round technical draw due to a bad cut John received from an accidental head butt.

Daud Yordan was stopped in the 12th and final round against Simpiwe Vetyeka after being ahead on points. There was a discussion among THE RING’s Ratings Panel about replacing Yordan with Vetyeka. The Editorial Board agreed that Yordan will be removed from the rankings, but former beltholder Juan Manuel Lopez will re-enter at No. 10, while Evgeny Gradovich, Billy Dib, Nicholas Walters and Javier Fortuna move up one spot. Vetyeka is a solid former title challenger, but the 32-year-old South African was only one fight removed from dropping an eight-round decision to journeyman Klaas Mboyane going into the fight with Yordan.

At junior featherweight, Rigondeaux outboxed Donaire to capture THE RING’s 122-pound title. Donaire, who had a stellar 2012 in the junior featherweight division, drops to No. 1 in the rankings.

At bantamweight, former 115-pound beltholder Tomas Rojas stopped green prospect Jadares Padua in the sixth round. No change in the rankings.

Pound-for-pound rankings: There was some discussion by the Panel regarding Rigondeaux’s pound-for-pound placement following his victory over Donaire, who was No. 5 in the mythical ratings going into their showdown.

Some felt that Rigondeaux should enter the pound-for-pound rankings based on his strong performance against Donaire, and the fact that he beat an elite fighter in only his 12th pro bout. These Panelists looked at the pound-for-pound rankings of Adrien Broner, Robert Guerrero and Timothy Bradley, and suggested that Rigondeaux could replace either one, entering the list anywhere from No. 8 to No. 10.

However, the Editorial Board decided against ranking Rigondeaux in the pound-for-pound top 10 at the present time, which in no way is meant to dismiss the Cuban amateur legend. Rigondeaux has proven to be the best 122-pound boxer in the world, however, the other fighters in the pound-for-pound top 10 have proven themselves in multiple weight classes.

Both Broner and Guerrero have fights scheduled with pound-for-pound implications. Guerrero faces pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather next month. Broner, the magazine’s No. 1-rated lightweight, challenges welterweight titleholder Paul Malignaggi in June.

Bradley is coming off a tough fight against a fighter most expected him to dominate, but the two-division titleholder is undefeated and he does own a victory over Manny Pacquiao, however controversial it may have been. 

The Editorial Board and the Panel will revisit the argument to rate Rigondeaux in THE RING’s pound-for-pound rankings after Mayweather-Guerrero, and if need be after Malignaggi-Broner or after Rigondeaux’s next fight.

If the class he exhibited during the Donaire fight is any indication of his potential it’s only a matter of time before the savvy southpaw breaks into the mythical rankings.

In the meantime, Donaire, who performed poorly against Rigondeaux, drops to the No. 10 spot on the pound-for-pound list.

There was a discussion among the Editorial Board to replace Donaire with Rigondeaux – or perhaps another accomplished ultra-talent, such as undefeated WBA junior flyweight titleholder Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez – but it was decided to keep the 30-year-old veteran, who had a banner year iin 2012, on the list.

The loss to Rigondeaux was Donaire’s first in 12 years. In that time, he’s won major titles at flyweight (by knocking out then-undefeated and pound-for-pound-rated Vic Darchinyan), bantamweight (by knocking out then-pound-for-pound-rated Fernando Montiel) and junior featherweight, where he unified two major belts and earned THE RING title.



Photo / Naoki Fukuda

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