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RING Ratings Update: Does Mayweather deserve his RING rankings?

21
Sep

Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s dominating unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez was impressive.

I thought the former five-division titleholder controlled every second of every minute of every round against one of the sport’s elite fighters. However, I never lost sight of the fact that Marquez is a lightweight, which put Mayweather’s win in its proper perspective.

As a comeback fight it was a tremendous victory that demonstrated that Mayweather hasn’t lost any of the speed, reflexes and defensive prowess that made him one of the top fighters of the past two decades. As excellent as Marquez was at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, though, he was nothing special at welterweight.

A victory over Marquez at welterweight should not catapult any fighter up THE RING’s 147-pound and pound-for-pound rankings, but that’s just what happened to Mayweather in this week’s updated RING Ratings.



To paraphrase Roy Jones Jr. — who preceded Mayweather as the American boxer everyone overrated because of uncanny athletic ability and careful matchmaking — I think my colleagues at THE RING “musta forgot” that Marquez is a lightweight (even though he holds the magazine’s 135-pound title).

That’s the only way I can fathom THE RING editorial board’s ranking Mayweather No. 2 at welterweight, which displaced Miguel Cotto, and No. 2 in the magazine’s pound-for-pound Ratings, a spot held by Marquez.

I disagree with both RING ratings, particularly Mayweather’s divisional placement.

Before I go any further, allow me to make a few things clear.

Although I'm the Co-Editor of RingTV.com (the official website of THE RING) I am not part of the magazine's editorial board, which compiles the weekly ratings. RingTV.com Co-Editor Michael Rosenthal and I are part of THE RING Ratings Panel of boxing journalists who are welcome to give their two cents on the magazine's rankings, but we do not have the final word on who goes where in the ratings.

Now that I've cleared that up let me state that I don't think the editorial board is completely out of line for ranking Mayweather where they did. I just don't agree with it.

I’m not saying that Mayweather isn’t an elite fighter or that he shouldn’t be considered a major player at welterweight. He’s definitely one of the best boxers on the planet and one of the top 147-pound fighters.

I just think THE RING is rating him too high after nearly two years away from the sport and after a performance — that I admit was near perfect from a technical aspect — against a boxer who was unproven at the weight the fight took place as well as the division below it.

And I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m disrespecting Marquez or down-playing his ability as a fighter, I’m not.

Let me put this way:

If Chad Dawson, a fabulously talented light heavyweight titleholder who has never fought at cruiserweight or heavyweight, took on THE RING’s No. 10-rated heavyweight, Kevin Johnson, and lost a one-sided decision to the naturally bigger man, do you think Johnson would deserve to shoot up the magazine’s heavyweight rankings?

I don’t. It doesn’t matter how talented and accomplished Dawson is. He’s not a heavyweight.

Cotto is a top welterweight who is also considered to be a pound-for-pound-level fighter, however, he’s never fought at junior middleweight or middleweight. If he challenged middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik and got trounced, would Pavlik’s victory merit his pound-for-pound inclusion?

I don’t think so. I thought the pound-for-pound rankings were for fighters who challenged themselves. That’s usually done by going up in weight and defeating naturally bigger opponents, not by picking on guys who are two weight classes smaller.

Guess what, folks, that’s what Mayweather did by fighting Marquez. He picked on a little guy, and THE RING rewarded him for it.

I don’t think it’s fair to Cotto, who earned his 147-pound ranking by fighting — get this — WELTERWEIGHTS, most of whom are pretty darn good.

I don’t think it’s fair to Marquez, who literally clawed his way up the pound-for-pound rankings by leaving the 126-pound division to fight the best fighters at 130 and 135 pounds and defeating them all with the exception of current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, who he dropped a disputed split decision to last March.

I don’t think it’s fair to the fighters who were moved down the RING’s rankings — or in the case of Paul Williams, who was No. 10 in the magazine’s pound-for-pound ratings, moved OUT — due to Mayweather’s reinstatement.

Think about that for a minute. Williams, a three-division threat who is willing to fight anyone, any time at any weight, was pushed out of THE RING’s pound-for-pound ratings by a boxer who refuses to challenge himself.

How sad.

The weekly RING Ratings updates that are sent to Rosenthal and I from the magazine’s editorial board are usually accompanied by an email of notes and statements from RING Editor Nigel Collins, who had this to say about the new welterweight rankings:

“Floyd Mayweather returns to the divisional rankings as the No. 2 contender at 147 pounds, while his former rival Zab Judah (No. 9 last week), who has gone 4-3 with 1 no-contest in his eight most-recent bouts, exits. Besides his comeback victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, Mayweather’s previous work at welterweight was taken into consideration.”

While I’m glad Judah is finally out of the welterweight picture, I don’t believe that Mayweather’s humiliation of Marquez and his “previous work” at 147 pounds equals what Cotto has done in the division.

Let’s take a quick look at what both men have accomplished at welterweight.

Since entering the 147-pound division in December of 2006, Cotto has fought eight times against six RING-rated welterweight contenders — including Carlos Quintana, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, and Joshua Clottey (all of whom are still rated). Cotto’s record against the RING-rated contenders is 5-1, the lone loss being his 11th-round TKO to Margarito last July that is now in question following the Mexican’s hand-wraps scandal from earlier this year.

Since entering the 147-pound division in November of 2005, Mayweather has fought six times against two fighters who were rated by THE RING at welterweight, Judah and Carlos Baldomir (neither of whom are currently rated). Mayweather defeated Baldomir for the RING’s welterweight title and defended it once, against Ricky Hatton, THE RING’s 140-pound champ who was unrated at 147 pounds.

Between Mayweather’s fights with Baldomir and Hatton, he took on and defeated Oscar De La Hoya at junior middleweight. While, the combination of winning the welterweight title, beating a legend for a 154-pound belt, and then knocking out a then-undefeated 140-pound champ fueled Mayweather’s case for being the sport’s pound-for-pound king, it did little to enhance his standing as the 147-pound champ.

Leaving the ring for 21 months and returning to beat the lightweight champ shouldn’t be enough for him to unseat Cotto in THE RING’s No. 2 spot.

It says here that crushing Quintana (who was undefeated at the time and went on to upset Williams), wearing down Judah to a late stoppage, outpointing Mosley, going to war with Margarito (who possibly had loaded gloves) for 10¾ rounds and beating Clottey with one eye is more meaningful at 147 pounds than decisioning Judah, Baldomir, De La Hoya (then THE RING’s No. 5 junior middleweight) and stopping Hatton late.

Again, it’s not that I don’t think that Mayweather is one of the best welterweights in the world; I just don’t believe he’s beaten enough quality 147 pounders to unseat Cotto.

I would have put Mayweather at No. 3, which would have displaced Clottey, or better yet at No. 4, which would replace Margarito (who shouldn’t even be rated given his situation).

I’m sure my opinion on Mayweather’s 147-pound ranking will be interpreted as more “May-hatin'” by his delusional hardcore following but I want to clarify that I’m not saying the former welterweight champ is not as good as Cotto, or even Mosley, the magazine’s No. 1-rated contender. He might be better than both.

However, before I rank him above those two I want him to prove it by beating them in the ring or by taking on the number of RING-rated welterweight contenders they did in earning their placement.

Is that unreasonable?

Read on for the rest of THE RING Ratings updates, most of which are reasonable:

WELTERWEIGHTS:

Floyd Mayweather returns to the divisional rankings as the No. 2 contender at 147-pounds, while his former rival Zab Judah (No. 9 last week), who has gone 4-3 with 1 no-contest in his eight most recent bout, exits. Besides his comeback victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, Mayweather’s previous work at welterweight was taken into consideration.

The shakeup also moves Miguel Cotto (No. 2 last week) to No. 3, Joshua Clottey (No. 3 last week) to No. 4, Antonio Margarito (No. 4 last week) to No. 5, Andre Berto (No. 5 last week) to No. 6, Carlos Quintana (No. 6 last week) to No. 7, Luis Collazo (No. 7 last week) to No. 8, and Isaac Hlatswayo (No. 8 last week) to No. 9.

LIGHTWEIGHTS:

Michael Katsidis (No. 4 last week) advances to No. 3 on the strength of his comprehensive decision over Vincente Escobedo. Rolando Reyes (No. 3 last week) slips to No. 4.

FEATHERWEIGHTS:

Chris John retains his No. 1 status with a unanimous decision over Rocky Juarez, who fell from No. 4 to No. 5. Replacing Juarez at No. 4 is Jorge Solis (No. 5 last week).

JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHTS:

Simphiwe Nongqayi enters the 118-pound ratings at No. 4, thanks to his wide decision over Jorge Arce (No. 4 last week). The loss dropped Arce to No. 10, which forces out Marvin Sonsona (No. 10 last week).

POUND-FOR-POUND:

Floyd Mayweather is back at No. 2, following his one-sided decision over Juan Manuel Marquez (No. 2 last week), who slides down to No. 5. The realignment advances Shane Mosley (No. 5 last week) to No. 3. Paul Williams (No. 10 last week) is forced out to make room for Mayweather.

“A few Ratings Panel members thought that Floyd Mayweather should be reinstated at No. 1, the position he held when he retired,” said THE RING Editor Nigel Collins. “But the majority of those responding, as well as THE RING editorial board, felt that considering Mayweather’s size advantage over Juan Manuel Marquez and the fact that Mayweather failed to stop him, it would make more sense to keep Manny Pacquiao in the top spot until he fights Miguel Cotto.”

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]

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