Monday, May 29, 2023  |



The Ring 100 (50-25)

Fighters Network

In the 2007 edition of THE RING 100 newly crowned RING cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek – then a former light heavyweight titlist who had just entered the 200-pound division – ranked No. 83. Where does Adamek, fresh off his scintillating world title win over Steve Cunningham, rank in the top 50 of the latest massive pound-for-pound rankings? Read on to find out his ranking as well as the current rankings of Vitali Klitschko, 130-pound phenom Jorge Linares, KO Artist Edwin Valero, and former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor.

Light Heavyweight 27-5 (19)
Last Year’s Ranking: 44
Status Report: “The Magic Man” still talks a good game, but for the third straight year, he slides down in the RING 100 rankings. Fought well against hapless Danny Santiago (KO 4) last December and surprisingly lifeless Clinton Woods (W 12) in April, but 39-year-old looked his age in tough matchup against gifted Chad Dawson (L 12) in October. Just didn’t have the fast-twitch reflexes required to keep up with Dawson.
Future: Can still beat most light heavies, just not the very best. If he wants to fight on, maybe it’s worth trying cruiserweight, where he’ll still be faster than most opponents.

Cruiserweight 36-1 (24)
Last Year’s Ranking: 83
Status Report: Exciting Pole claimed the top spot in the 200-pound division with Fight of the Year candidate victory over titleholder Steve Cunningham to claim THE RING world title in December, after an excellent eighth-round TKO win over former lineal champ O’Neil Bell.
Future: Rematch with Cunningham would be welcome by any real fight fan and network that has a clue.

Junior Lightweight 22-1-1 (15) with 1 no-contest
Last Year’s Ranking: 85
Status Report: After a couple of years of inconsistency, “The Ghost” delivered big-time in both of his bouts over the last 12 months, scoring a pair of knockouts over good, young fighters. Fighting with a heavy heart after learning that his wife had leukemia, wiped out Martin Honorio (KO 1), then prevailed in an entertaining but one-sided fight against Jason Litzau (KO 8). Just as he was establishing himself as perhaps the world’s best featherweight, elected to give up alphabet belt and move up to 130.
Future: Has a spot on Jan. 24th Margarito-Mosley undercard and looks forward to making the televised portion of future HBO shows after recently signing with Golden Boy Promotions.

WBA Super Featherweight Titleholder 24-0 (24)
Last Year’s Ranking: 50
Status Report: Two more fights, two more knockouts, and one piece of very significant news. Venezuelan phenom hammered Zaid Zavaleta (KO 3) last December and Takehiro Shimada (KO 7) in June, but the big breakthrough came when the Texas commission granted him a boxing license despite a questionable brain scan due to an old motorcycling injury. Now training with Kenny Adams, who’s trying to smooth the rough edges before he fights in America.
Future: Moving up to lightweight, where he’ll probably face Antonio Pitalua for an interim belt.

WBC Heavyweight Titleholder 36-2 (35)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: Former RING heavyweight champion can’t quite reclaim his old spot (number 27 in 2005) based on one comeback win, but if you ask us, he looked as good at age 37 against beltholder Sam Peter (KO 8) as he did before retiring. Used his height and reach masterfully, landed every punch in the book, and never overexerted himself, winning every round until the Nigerian quit on his stool. He was the best big man around when he left the sport, and when he healthy, he might still be the best.
Future: Will face WBC mandatory Juan Carlos Gomez in March.

Light Heavyweight 29-0 (17)
Last Year’s Ranking: 43
Status Report: If extending your alphabet title reign by fighting unworthy nobodies on your home turf was an art form, Erdei would be Picasso. Skilled, but apparently reluctant, Germany-based Hungarian added two more defenses this year, one a competitive fight against faded former middleweight contender Tito Mendoza (W 12) and the other a one-sided bout against utterly anonymous DeAndrey Abron (W 12). We guess this sort of matchmaking, which the WBO seemingly supports, pays Erdei’s bills, but it won’t leave him with much of a legacy.
Future: Another meaningless defense against Yuri Barashian on Jan. 10th. (After nearly five years of this nonsense, why should we expect anything to change now?)

IBF Heavyweight Titleholder 52-3 (46)
Last Year’s Ranking: 55
Status Report: A fairly busy but not a great year for the world’s leading heavyweight from an entertainment standpoint, but that’s not what THE RING 100 is about; in terms of efficiency and in-ring success, it was a productive year for “Dr. Steelhammer.” Added WBO belt to his collection by controlling Sultan Ibragimov (W 12) with his jab, then took care of a mandatory defense against tricky but outgunned Tony Thompson (KO 11), before closing the year out with an embarrassingly one-sided beating of undeserving challenger Hasim Rahman (TKO 7) after unbeaten Alexander Povetkin had to pull out of December date due to an injury.
Future: There is talk of Klitschko facing David Haye in a fascinating matchup sometime in April and then taking on slugger Chris Arreola in August or September, but a) it’s just talk and b) his IBF mandatory with Povetkin still looms.

Flyweight 46-1-1 (20)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: Experienced Thai blasted onto the world-class scene in January with a two-round KO of respected Japanese titleholder Takefumi Sakata, after having faced a steady diet of nobodies since sole career loss to Eric Morel in 2002. Draw against Sakata on the titlist’s home turf in November ’07 was an indication of Thai late-bloomer’s potential.
Future: At age 32, may not have a long shelf life. How about an all-Thai fight against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam?

Flyweight 70-3-1 (37)
Last Year’s Ranking: 34
Status Report: In first year since 2000 without a title belt, five victoriesÔÇöover Rey Migreno (W 8), Jack Amisa (KO 2), Mohammed Akbar (KO 6), Danny Sutton (TKO 2) and Amir Jordan (W 6)ÔÇöall meant nothing, despite serving to keep him sharp and earn him paychecks. Only significant fight came against Daisuke Naito, the man who took WBC belt from long-reigning Thai, and ended in a 12-round draw. Consensus opinion was that Naito deserved the win, but Pongsaklek showed there’s still gas in the tank by at least keeping it close.
Future: Is 2-1-1 against Naito, and still ranked highly by the WBC, so a fifth fight isn’t out of the question.

Junior Middleweight 36-5 (11)
Last Year’s Ranking: 25
Status Report: Not having a lot of luck with the judges lately, and when you have less than a 27 percent knockout rate, you’d better have a little luck with the judges. Followed up last year’s split decision loss to Jermain Taylor with split decision loss to Verno Phillips. That fight was broadcast over the Internet because no TV networks were interested.
Future: Slated to face dangerous prospect Deandre Latimore for vacant IBF belt sometime in March.

IBF Light Flyweight Titleholder 28-1-2 (20)
Last Year’s Ranking: 47
Status Report: Made three more successful title defenses, bringing his total to eight, by whipping journeyman Bert Batawang (KO 9) in December ’07, shutting out the lesser of the Donaire brothers, Glenn, on all three cards in July ’08, and ending the year with a UD over Nerys Espinoza.
Future: March 15th defense against resurging former titleholder Brian Viloria.

Lightweight 36-4-1 (22)
Last Year’s Ranking: 17
Status Report: What a weird down-up-down year it was for the Cuban veteran. Looked totally washed up against Jose Armando Santa Cruz only to retain world lightweight title on one of the most unfathomable decisions in boxing history, looked youthful again in dramatic come-from-behind win over Michael Katsidis (KO 10), and then suffered his first ever knockout loss in a competitive battle with Juan Manuel Marquez (KO by 11).
Future: A downward trajectory appears likely. Still in the title mix at 37, but one more loss would turn him into a gatekeeper.

Flyweight 26-5-1 (19)
Last Year’s Ranking: 41
Status Report: Former RING 108-pound champ had a forgettable 1-1 year, but at least came away sure of which weight class he should be in. Ten-round unanimous decision over faded Kermin Guardia in January was a marking-time affair, and junior fly championship rematch with Ivan Calderon ended in a disappointing seventh-round technical decision loss. It was anticlimactic and left some questions, but it also provided answers on the foolishness of 30-year-old Mexican trying to make 108 pounds anymore.
Future: Officially a flyweight now, and it’s a fairly interesting division. Cazares needs a top-10 win and he’s right in the title mix.

Light Heavyweight 48-12-2 (32)
Last Year’s Ranking: 46
Status Report: Just when we think the 40-year-old Jamaican might be slowing down, he gives a prime titleholder like Chad Dawson life and death en route to a disputed decision loss. Prior to that, he easily handled blown-up welterweight Hugo Pineda (KO 8) in an off-TV bout. After the Dawson fight he stayed busy with a win over overmatched Aaron Norwood (TKO 4). “The Road Warrior” is the classic grizzled vet who refuses to act his age, and he remains a threat to any light heavyweight out there.
Future: Left out of the big-time fights at 175, so a time-marking rematch with Daniel Judah is being considered for February.

WBA Minimumweight Titleholder 22-0 (20)
Last Year’s Ranking: not rated
Status Report: Four reasons to get excited about “El Chocolatito”: He’s only 21, he’s a natural puncher, he needed only four rounds to bludgeon long-reigning Yutaka Niida in September, and it was his fifth fight of 2008, which was followed by a sixth fight, a non-title bout with journeyman Miguel Tellez (RTD 3), in December. Nicaraguan doesn’t have many other quality names on his resume, but the two best, Eriberto Gejon and Jose Luis Varela, both met the same fate, falling in a single round.
Future: There’s still a ton to prove, but in terms of potential to capture the imagination, he’s the best strawweight to come along since Ricardo Lopez.

Heavyweight 22-1 (21)
Last Year’s Ranking: 100
Status Report: A bit tricky to rank because he’s technically a heavyweight now and we don’t even know if he’s world-class as that weight, but his exceptional year at cruiserweight accounts for a massive jump in THE RING 100. Rose from a knockdown to starch world cruiser champ Jean-Marc Mormeck (KO 7) last November, then brushed aside the supposedly dangerous challenge of Enzo Maccarinelli in just two rounds in March. Brash Brit’s second foray into heavyweight-land was an expected stoppage of former contender Monte Barrett (TKO 5) last November.
Future: Challenged Vitali Klitschko, who was ringside at the Barrett fight, but might wind up facing Wladimir sometime in April.

Junior Bantamweight 32-3 (27)
Last Year’s Ranking: 30
Status Report: “El Explosivo” made two successful defenses in his second title reign, turning back inexperienced Kuniyuki Aizawa (W 12) and former titlist Katsushige Kawashima (W 12), before running into the magnificent Cristian Mijares and losing clearly but competitively by decision in an alphabet unification bout. Venezuelan’s punches were simply too wide and slow against a crafty sharpshooter like Mijares.
Future: Can still beat anyone at junior bantam except for the most superbly skilled boxers. If he could land a fight with a slugger like Jorge Arce, that would be perfect for him.

IBF Welterweight Titleholder 35-2 (20) with 1 no-contest
Last Year’s Ranking: 74
Status Report: It was a strong year all-around for this Ghanaian strongman, who went 3-0, grabbed his first alphabet belt (for what that’s worth), and got extra credit when Antonio Margarito beat Miguel Cotto because Clottey had given Margarito such difficulty two years ago. Wins over Shamone Alvarez (W 12) and Jose Luis Cruz (KO 5) were both noteworthy, but the biggie was his victory over Zab Judah (Tech. Win 9) in an entertaining fight.
Future: As you might expect, the bigger names aren’t dying to fight him. IBF mandatory vs. former titlist Kermit Cintron is being discussed.

WBC Flyweight Titleholder 34-2-3 (22)
Last Year’s Ranking: 33
Status Report: The man who ended Pongsaklek Wonjongkam’s lengthy title reign continued his winnings ways, more or less, the last 12 months. He easily handled popular Daiki Kameda (W 12) last October, looked unlucky to have to settle for a 12-round draw in March in his fourth fight with Pongsaklek, came from behind to kayo novice Tomonobu Shimizu (KO 10) in July, and grinded down Shingo Yamaguchi (TKO 11) in December. At age 34, struggle in putting away both Shimizu and Yamaguchi makes you wonder if Naito has peaked.
Future: A fight against Koki Kameda, Daiki’s undefeated brother, would be huge in Japan.

Super Flyweight 36-4-2 (15)
Last Year’s Ranking: 31
Status Report: Masterful Mexican looked like “the truth” before meeting the powerful fists of Vic Darchinyan in a November unification bout that he lost by one-sided stoppage (KO 9). Prior to that upset, his 2008 campaign indicated that the classy southpaw might be pound-for-pound top 10 worthy as he whipped hapless Franck Gorjux (KO 1), outboxed solid Jose Navarro (W 12), unified two alphabet belts against Alexander Munoz (W 12), and hammered veteran Chatchai Sasakul (KO 3).
Future: He’s only 26. He can make a successful comeback and will likely do so at bantamweight.

WBC Junior Lightweight Titleholder 46-7-2 (29) with 1 no-contest
Last Year’s Ranking: 26
Status Report: Combination-punching Mexican lost a 12-round decision to slick Joan Guzman, scored a get-well win over Carlos Urias (KO 5), then suffered the ultimate screwjob at the hands of referee Joe Cortez via fourth-round DQ against Francisco Lorenzo, before bouncing back to easily beat Gamaliel Diaz (KO 10) and decision Lorenzo in a harder-than-expected December rematch that earned him the vacant WBC strap.
Future: While the rest of the best 130-pounders scamper up to 135, we’d love to see him deal with the incoming talent like Jorge Linares and Robert Guerrero.

Lightweight 29-0 (17)
Last Year’s Ranking: 27
Status Report: This two-division former titlist may be growing rapidly, but his fan club is not. His only fight in ’07, a dull but convincing points win over dangerous Humberto Soto, said good things about the Dominican’s pound-for-pound potential. But he let himself get woefully out of shape afterward (reports had him blowing up from 130 pounds to the 180-190 range), and failed to make weight for a lightweight bout against Nate Campbell, cancelling the fight. Was his usual slick and elusive self in only fight of ’08 against ordinary Ameth Diaz (W 12) in December, a bout in his native Dominican Republic that was sadly a title eliminator.
Future: Undeserved alphabet rankings aside, it will be a long road back to restoring faith and regenerating interest. The talent is there, but the professionalism needs to catch up.

WBC Super Welterweight Titleholder 41-3 (29) with 1 no-contest
Last Year’s Ranking: 22
Status Report: After an easy and meaningless win over Michele Piccirillo (KO 11) in December ’07, suffered a seemingly career-derailing upset loss to Sergio Mora (L 12) in June ’08ÔÇöonly to undo the damage with a dominant display (W 12) in the September rematch. A reasonably well-preserved 37, former lineal welter champ can still make a run for the Hall of Fame if he has a few more performances like the Mora rematch in him.
Future: Not many options at 154 for a money fight. May have to take on a dangerous younger fighter Sergio Martinez or James Kirkland to get back on HBO or Showtime.

Super Middleweight 28-2-1 (17)
Last Year’s Ranking: 12
Status Report: Went 1-1 in ’08, fighting on nearly even terms with middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik in their non-title rematch in February only to get hurt by a bodyshot late and drop a close 12-round decision, and then looking solid and mature in out-classing faded former Olympic teammate Jeff Lacy (W 12) in November.
Future: Victory over Lacy was a WBC eliminator, which puts Taylor in line for a shot at beltholder Carl Froch, but Arkansas native’s team is exploring other options, which have included talks with the representatives of Roy Jones, Glen Johnson and Andre Ward.

WBA Super Featherweight Titleholder 26-0 (17)
Last Year’s Ranking: 75
Status Report: This is one ranking based much more heavily on perceived ability and potential than actual accomplishment. Has many tests to pass, but at 23, seems to have a world of talent and a great boxing brain. Venezuelan “Golden Boy” only fought twice in the past 12 months due to ankle and shoulder injuries, but looked typically spectacular handling tough Gamaliel Diaz (KO 8) in December of ’07 and overmatched Whyber Garcia (TKO 5) in November of ’08
Future: A low-profile defense of his 130-pound belt, probably in Japan where he and his promotional company, Teiken Boxing Promotions, is based in March or April.