Sunday, June 04, 2023  |


The Ring 100: 75-51

Fighters Network

How far have the mighty fallen?

Where does Oscar De La Hoya, who was No. 15 in 2007, rank in the latest RING 100 after his one-sided TKO loss to Manny Pacquiao? Where is Roy Jones Jr. after his decision loss to Joe Calzaghe?

Where did Southern Californians Sergio Mora and Tim Bradley, both new to the top 100, land after their upset victories last year?

What about Olympians Rocky Juarez (2000) and Daniel Santos (1996), who re-entered the list after fighting up to their potential 2008?

Read on and find out in this second installment of THE RING 100 listing fighters ranked from 75 to 51.

Junior Lightweight 28-4 (20)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: You have to say this for the 2000 U.S. Olympic silver medalist: He isn’t afraid of a challenge. After back-to-back fights against Marco Antonio Barrera in 2006, took on another pound-for-pounder in November ’07, losing to Juan Manuel Marquez via comprehensive decision. After 10-month layoff, took another tough fight, against Jorge Barrios, and overcame an early deficit to score a bloody 11th-round stoppage and pump much-needed life into his career.
Future: Juarez was considering a proposed fight with WBO titleholder Steve Luevano, but will now challenge unbeaten WBA beltholder Chris John in the televised (HBO) co-featured bout to the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz RING lightweight championship headliner in Houston on Feb. 28th, according to’s Dan Rafael.

Junior Middleweight 44-1-1 (24)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: It took almost 11 years as a pro for Spain-based Argentine to get on everyone’s radar, but hooking up with DiBella Entertainment and fighting four times in the U.S. in a 10-month span did just that. Wins over Russell Jordan (KO 4), David Toribio (W 4), and Archak Termeliksetian (KO 7) were useful, but it was one-sided whipping of Alex Bunema (KO 8) on HBO in October that made him a player. Quick-fisted, athletic, and seemingly a well-preserved 33.
Future: Will take on undefeated prospect Joe Greene in the televised (HBO) co-feature to the Andre Berto-Luis Collazo welterweight title bout in Biloxi, Miss. on Jan. 17th.

Welterweight 29-3 (14)
Last Year’s Ranking: 77
Status Report: After an 11-month layoff due in part to a hand injury, came back with a couple of shake-the-rust-off wins over Edvan Dos Santos Barros (W 10) and Russell Jordan (KO 8). Slick 27-year-old lefty still looking for a signature win since losing his two biggest fights, a disputed decision to Ricky Hatton and a decisive one to Shane Mosley.
Future: Jan. 17th challenge to WBC titleholder Andre Berto. He’s probably the underdog, but not by much.

IBF Super Middleweight Titleholder 23-0 (18)
Last Year’s Ranking: 86
Status Report: Proved worthy of the hype coming out of Canada by claiming his first major title last October via brutal 11th-round knockout of Alejandro Berrio. Enjoyed a very soft first defense, barely breaking a sweat against used-up William Joppy (KO 10) in February. Well-rounded southpaw boxer-puncher vaguely reminiscent of a younger Joe Calzaghe in out-boxing relentless Librado Andrade for 11 rounds, but didn’t sport the Welshman’s iron jaw in the nearly disastrous 12th round of their October tussle.
Future: Not quite the heir apparent to Calzaghe’s throne some thought he could be, but the Romanian remains the most talented super middleweight not named Mikkel Kessler.

Junior Middleweight 21-1-1 (5)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: Regardless of the result of his most recent fight, we all now have to admit: “The Latin Snake” is more than just some reality-show creation. Year got off to a bad start with 10-round draw against Elvin Ayala, got better with sixth-round stoppage of Rito Ruvalcaba, and got surprisingly good with a majority decision win over Vernon Forrest to claim WBC 154-pound strap. Though he was dominated by Forrest in the rematch three months later, has to be taken seriously now as not just The Contender but a contender.
Future: Wants a rubber match with Forrest, but struggles making weight for rematch have us wondering if a return to middleweight wouldn’t be wiser.

Junior Middleweight 39-6 (30)
Last Year’s Ranking: 15
Status Report: Prior to absorbing a brutally one-sided beating to perceived pipsqueak Manny Pacquiao, “The Golden Boy” had been ranked 15 for three consecutive lists. Staying on his stool after the eighth round prevented him from hitting the canvas on Dec. 6th but it couldn’t prevent his fall in the RING 100. Before his stoppage loss to Pacquiao, which garnered 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, the most of any PPV in ’08, De La Hoya was solid but unspectacular in a clinical win over undersized Stevie Forbes (W 12) that drew an impressive crowd of 27,000. Those numbers, like his past top 20 rankings in the RING 100, are likely a thing of the past.
Future: He should retire but there is already talk a “farewell” bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Mexico City.

WBA Middleweight Titleholder 31-2-1 (13)
Last Year’s Ranking: 70
Status Report: As time goes on, it gets harder to fathom how Oscar De La Hoya struggled so much against him in 2004. Not that the German is a bad fighter, but the fact that he could only manage a draw and the a close 12-round decision over fringe contender Randy Griffin suggests he’s a notch or two below the elite. In between Griffin fights, dispatched anonymous Jamie Pittman in seven rounds, before ending ’08 with a unanimous decision over countryman Sebastian Sylvester.
Future: More title defenses in Germany but never a unification bout with fellow Germany based titlist Arthur Abraham.

Junior Welterweight 25-2 (5)
Last Year’s Ranking: 72
Status Report: “The Magic Man” had a disappointing year tallying two very close title defenses against a pair of solid, world-class challengers, Herman Ngoudjo in January and Lovemore Ndou in their May rematch, before being soundly outclassed (TKO by 11) by Ricky Hatton in a failed bid for the Brit’s RING world title in November.
Future: Wait around for contenders of the division – Tim Bradley, Kendall Holt, Juan Urango, Ngoudjo, Andres Kotelnik and Junior Witter – to sort things out before making self available.

WBA Super Welterweight Titleholder 32-3-1 (23) with 1 no-contest
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: Inconsistent Puerto Rican southpaw, who’s sometimes an exciting puncher and sometimes a defensive stinker, had a strong comeback year, beating up aging Jose Antonio Rivera (KO 8) and scoring a mild upset over undefeated Joachim Alcine (KO 6) to claim his third alphabet belt. Alcine fight was pretty much even until Santos’ power produced a sudden finish.
Future: If he’s really lucky, he can make some money if Antonio Margarito wants to move up in weight to avenge disputed 2004 loss. Otherwise, there aren’t any particularly scintillating options for him at 154.

Bantamweight 53-6-2 (36)
Last Year’s Ranking: 68
Status Report: Comebacking Filipino had trouble finding the right fights and didn’t build much on his momentum, only entering the ring once in the past year. Looked pretty good in that one appearance, though, halting fellow veteran Ratanachai Vorapin in eight rounds.
Future: At age 36, probably can’t afford another unproductive year. Unbeaten prospect Abner Mares is his WBO mandatory and that would be a toss-up crossroads fight. Has also been mentioned as a potential opponent for power-punching 122-pound titlist Juan Manuel Lopez.

Junior Welterweight 37-2-2 (21)
Last Year’s Ranking: 37
Status Report: After years of unsuccessfully calling out Ricky Hatton, grew stale either physically or mentally (or both) and lost a shocker to unproven Timothy Bradley in Nottingham, England in May. Tasted the canvas in round six and defeat for the first time in eight years, losing a split decision that should have been unanimous. Finished the year with stoppage (TKO 3) of Argentine vet Victor Hugo Castro.
Future: Maybe losing will help him finally land a big fight. For now, there’s talk of a European title fight against Gianluca Branco, which Witter ought to win if he isn’t totally used up, and an interesting crossroads match with undefeated prospect Devon Alexander for the “interim” WBC title.

Lightweight 36-4 (26)
Last Year’s Ranking: 35
Status Report: “The Kidd” isn’t a kid anymore; if anything, at age 28, his prime appears to be in the rearview mirror. Granted, Juan Diaz is a tough nut for anyone, but Julio looked particularly impotent against him in October of ’07 en route to surrendering at the start of the ninth round. Took a nine-month layoff and got back to his winning ways last June against undefeated but untested David Torres (KO 5) before finishing year with a one-sided decision over Fernando Trejo (W 10).
Future: Doesn’t belong in the ring with the very best lightweights, like Juan Manuel Marquez, Nate Campbell, or Manny Pacquiao. But this is a deep division, and fights against David Diaz or Michael Katsidis would be fun.

Light Heavyweight 52-5 (38)
Last Year’s Ranking: 64
Status Report: Former pound-for-pound king only advanced one spot by doing the expected in his first fight of the past year, comfortably outpointing the inactive and smaller Felix Trinidad in January, and then getting outworked and outclassed en route to a unanimous decision loss to Joe Calzaghe, after dropping the Welshman in the first round of their November showdown in Madison Square Garden.
Future: Should seriously consider retirement but will likely stick around in hopes of luring Bernard Hopkins into unnecessary rematch.

IBF Junior Middleweight Titleholder 42-11-1 (21) with 1 no-contest
Last Year’s Ranking: 94
Status Report: Winning a decision over Cory Spinks in St. Louis isn’t easy, but Denver veteran did precisely that in MarchÔÇöand he didn’t even have to dominate the hometown fighter to do it. Somehow, in a close fight, the decision went Phillips’ way, propelling him back to the upper echelon of the 154-pound division at age 38. Unfortunately, Paul Williams was waiting for him there. Phillips’ was game as always but the relentless towering southpaw beat him to an eighth-round surrender, the first stoppage the Belizean had suffered in 20 years.
Future: Back to the drawing board but retirement should be considered.

Flyweight 27-2 (20)
Last Year’s Ranking: 58
Status Report: Bounced back from upset decision loss to Takefumi SakataÔÇöhis first defeat since his pro debutÔÇöby recording three straight quickie kayo wins over limited opposition. Jesus Lora (KO 2), Cesar Singo (KO 3), and Felipe Zapata (KO 1) all did their part to pad Vasquez’ record and confidence, as “La Arana” tested out his body in the junior bantam and bantamweight divisions.
Future: With a 1-1 record in two close bouts against Sakata, a rubber match would make sense, assuming 25-year-old Panamanian can still make 112 pounds.

Flyweight 33-5-2 (15)
Last Year’s Ranking: 39
Status Report: After defending his WBA title against second-rater Shingo Yamaguchi (W 12) and third-rater Hiroyuki Hisataka (W 12) once-hot Japanese beltholder was iced in two rounds by Thai challenger Denkaosan Kaovichit, who had held him to a draw in November of ’07.
Future: Could push for a third fight with Kaovichit or get back in line and lobby for a shot at WBC titlist and countryman Daisuki Naito.

Junior Middleweight 36-0 (22)
Last Year’s Ranking: 61
Status Report: After a majority decision win last April over Czech Lucas Konecny, Germany-based Ukrainian southpaw turned some heads in the U.S. with a solid unanimous decision over heavy handed Colombian Joel Julio in November. Reputation helped also enhanced by the fact that the man from whom he took the WBO title, Daniel Santos, had a good year and grabbed a title belt himself.
Future: Currently lobbying for a showdown with WBO “interim” titlist Paul Williams.

Super Middleweight 34-3 (23)
Last Year’s Ranking: 71
Status Report: Aussie didn’t have much interest in a rematch with the last man to beat him, Mikkel Kessler, so he went ahead and tallied five wins over mixed opposition and eventually gave up his alphabet belt. Jose Alberto Clavero (KO 4), Nader Hamdan (W 12), Crazy Kim (W 10), and Rafael Sosa Pintos (W 10) were all easy, while Sam Soliman (W 12) presented a little bit more of a challenge.
Future: Backed out of a November bout against The Contender alum Miguel Espino and now set to fight countryman Shannan Taylor in February.

WBC Super Lightweight Titleholder 23-0 (11)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: “Desert Storm” made a sudden and unexpected leap from ShoBox prospect to major beltholder with upset decision win in May over Junior Witter for the WBC trinket. Most experts thought it was too soon for 25-year-old Californian, but sixth-round knockdown made the difference in a close fight. Looked sharp in first defense, comfortably outpointing fringe contender Edner Cherry. Not a fighter where any one attribute leaps off the TV screen at you, but very solid and well-schooled all around.
Future: Will take on fellow titleholder Kendall Holt in a Showtime-televised April 4th unification bout.

Flyweight 28-0-2 (17)
Last Year’s Ranking: 57
Status Report: 2000 Olympian has turned into a fine, long-reigning WBO titlist, but the close watch on his pursuit of Carlos Monzon’s record for title defenses by an Argentine has to stop. Monzon was a true world champion, whereas Narvaez has never tangled with anyone in his division’s top five. But he has been busy, making defenses this year against Marlon Marquez (KO 4), Carlos Tamara (W 12), Ivan Pozo (KO 8), and Alejandro Hernandez (W 12) to run his total to 14.
Future: Seems comfortable fighting in Argentina and occasionally Europe without ever calling out any fellow titlists. So expect another year of the same.

Welterweight 37-6 (25) with 2 no-contests
Last Year’s Ranking: 36
Status Report: To his credit, “Super” Judah is now 2-4 with 1 no-contest in his last seven fights and remains a contender. That’s because the losses have all come against quality fighters and have generally been competitive, as was the case with his most recent defeat, a close ninth-round technical decision loss to tough Joshua Clottey. Before that, Judah cruised in an off-TV tune-up bout against clubfighter Ryan Davis (W 12). He closed the year out with an unimpressive showing against unheralded Ernest Johnson (W 10) on the Calzaghe-Jones undercard.
Future: Only weighed 143 for the Clottey fight and says he can make junior welter. Things aren’t working out well for him at welterweight anymore, so why not drop down to a less talent-packed division?

Welterweight 26-2 (20)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: Lots of fighters had up-and-down (or down-and-up) years, but perhaps none was more extreme than the year “El Indio” had. Skillful Puerto Rican southpaw outsmarted and outhustled previously undefeated Paul Williams (W 12) in February en route to one of the year’s biggest upsets, but came crashing back to earth in the rematch, tasting the canvas twice on his way to a first-round kayo loss in June. Probably fair to say he isn’t as good as he looked in the first fight or as bad as he looked in the second one. Closed ’08 out with stoppage of journeyman Joshua Onyango (TKO 4).
Future: Is considering a move up to 154, a thinner division where he can make some noise.

WBA Bantamweight Titleholder 24-1-1 (8)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: Panamanian southpaw may not be a big banger, but he appears to have the rest of the package. Surprised previously unbeaten Wladimir Sidorenko via unanimous decision on the defending titlist’s turf in Germany in May, then was shutting out Cecilio Santos in first defense in September before settling for a seven-round technical win due to a clash of heads, before outclassing Rolly Matsuhita (W 12) last October. Only loss came by four-round decision in ’02 and was twice avenged.
Future: At just 23 years old, should be a player for years to come. There’s been talk of a defense against Eric Morel, which would be a nice veteran name to get on his resume.

Junior Bantamweight 12-1 (7)
Last Year’s Ranking: 42
Status Report: A very peculiar case, Japanese prospect was rushed into a title shot and won and lost belt within his first 10 fights, and has since taken a slower road. Fought three times in the past year, beginning with two insignificant third-round knockouts of Petchklongpai Sor Thantip and Sairung Suwanasil. Then won a one-point split decision over little-known Kohei Kono to claim a bogus vacant belt.
Future: Kono scare suggests he could use some more on-the-job training before tangling with the division’s best again.

Cruiserweight 21-1 (11)
Last Year’s Ranking: 67
Status Report: Philadelphian proved that he is one the world’s best cruiserweights with David Haye leaving the division after an exciting 12th-round TKO of previously unbeaten Marco Huck in Germany in ’07, but lost his IBF title in a Fight of the Year candidate against Tomasz Adamek that he lost by split decision after getting up from no less than three knockdowns in a bid for the vacant RING championship last December.
Future: A large audience hopefully watched Cunningham’s valiant effort against Adamek on Versus and will clamor for a rematch, which is what he wants and deserves.