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Ratings Update: Lopez, Gamboa cause featherweight shakeup

25
Jan

Juan Manuel Lopez (right) cracks Steven Luevano with a powerful right hook en route to stopping the respected featherweight titleholder in the seventh round of their fight in New York City on Saturday. Lopez's impressive victory vaulted the popular junior featherweight from THE RING's 122-pound ratings and into the magazine's featherweight rankings. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

Bob Arum’s doubleheader featuring Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa caused the shakeup in the featherweight hierarchy that most expected it would.

Junior featherweight beltholder Lopez (28-0, 25 knockouts) stopped respected featherweight vet Steven Luevano in seven rounds to claim a 126-pound title in the main event of Saturday’s Boxing After Dark broadcast. Gamboa (17-0, 15 KOs) blasted the normally rugged Rogers Mtagwa in two rounds to solidify his claim as the featherweight division’s most dynamic fighter in the co-featured bout at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater in New York City.

Lopez crashed THE RING’s featherweight ratings with his methodical destruction of Luevano (37-2-1, 15 KOs), a crafty southpaw who was unbeaten in his previous nine fights — which included six title bouts — and had never been knocked out.



Gamboa was already among the magazine’s Top 10 featherweights but the former Cuban amateur star’s explosive annihilation of Mtagwa raised his standing in the 126-pound rankings.

Arum, who promotes Lopez and co-promotes Gamboa, envisions an eventual high-profile showdown between the two punishing featherweights but only after they clean out the 126-pound division.

After Saturday’s HBO-televised fights, the veteran promoter told the ringside press that Chris John (THE RING’s No. 1-rated featherweight), Celestino Caballero (THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior featherweight who is also No. 8 in the magazine’s Pound-for-Pound rankings), Elio Rojas (No. 9), and the winner of the Feb. 13 featherweight match between Mario Santiago (No. 6) and Bernabe Concepcion were all potential opponents for both Lopez and Gamboa before they face each other.

If Arum is serious about his plans, fans can expect the featherweight division to heat up into one of the sport’s premiere weight classes.

So where do Lopez and Gamboa rank among THE RING’s Top-10 featherweights after Saturday’s performances? Check out the magazine’s Ratings Update and find out:

FEATHERWEIGHTS:

Lopez moves up from junior featherweight and debuts at No. 2 following his TKO of Luevano, who fell from No. 2 to No. 5. Rocky Juarez (No. 5 last week) tumbles to No. 10. Gamboa (No. 10 last week) advances to No. 7 on the strength of his stoppage of Mtagwa. The shakeup also causes Martin Honorio to slip from No. 7 to No. 8, while Ryol Li Lee (No. 8 last week) exits.

“Due to the realignment prompted by Juan Manuel Lopez’s victory over Steven Luevano, we took a close look at every rated featherweight’s record,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine. “This examination resulted in Juarez’s significant demotion. Although he fought to a draw with top-rated Chris John in early 2009, he lost the rematch by a wide margin and has not beaten a featherweight since May 2007.”

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS:

With Lopez (No. 2 last week) now campaigning as a featherweight, there was also movement at 122 pounds. All fighters rated below Lopez last week move up one spot each, while Satoshi Hosono, who lost a close fight to second-ranked Poonsawat Kratingaenggym in his most recent bout, is new at No. 10.

JUNIOR FLYWEIGHTS:

Carlos Tamara’s upset stoppage of Brian Viloria (No. 1 last week) allows Tamara to debut at No. 3, while Viloria falls to No. 5. Giovana Segura (No. 2 last week) moves to No 1 and Rodel Mayol (No. 3 last week) advances to No. 2. Everybody rated No. 5 or below last week drops one spot each, while Milan Melindo (No. 10 last week) exits.

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