Ring Ratings Update: Adamek vacates, Pacquiao holds on to RING title
Two RING champions have recently begun campaigns in weight classes above their title divisions, and one of them has decided that he won’t be coming back down.
After two victories in the heavyweight division, world cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek has decided to relinquish THE RING title he won with a thrilling split-decision victory over Steve Cunningham in December of 2008 in order to campaign full-time above 200 pounds.
Adamek (40-1, 27 knockouts), who annihilated fellow Pole and former title challenger Andrew Golota in five rounds last October, out-pointed 2004 Olympian Jason Estrada (16-3, 4 KOs) over 12 competitive rounds on Saturday and now plans to challenge RING-rated heavyweight Chris Arreola in April.
Manny Pacquiao, who won THE RING world junior welterweight title when he knocked out Ricky Hatton last May, is coming off a 12-round technical stoppage of 147-pound beltholder Miguel Cotto and is scheduled to defend that title against welterweight contender Joshua Clottey on March 13. However, the Filipino icon is not ready to let go of his RING 140-pound title.
“After the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey welterweight fight was signed, THE RING contacted Team Pacquiao to ask if he would voluntarily relinquish the world junior welterweight championship he won by knocking out Ricky Hatton,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine. “Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz, discussed the situation with Manny, who requested that he be allowed to keep THE RING 140-pound title until after the Clottey fight.
“THE RING granted that request, but informed Pacquiao that if his next fight after Clottey is not a defense of the junior welterweight title, THE RING will consider it tantamount to relinquishing the title. Pacquiao and Koncz agreed to these terms.
“THE RING magazine cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek has informed us that he will be relinquishing the title in the very near future in order to continue his heavyweight campaign. As soon as the announcement becomes formal, the title will become vacant.”
When that happens, the door will be open for Cunningham, THE RING’s No. 1-rated cruiserweight, to claim the vacated world title if engages in a rubber-match with his other Polish rival, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, the magazine’s No. 2-rated 200 pounder.
Cunningham dropped a split-decision to Wlodarczyk in November of 2006 in Poland, and then returned to Adamek’s native country to defeat the nation’s second best cruiserweight by majority decision in May of 2007.
Both Adamek and Pacquiao should be commended for their decisions.
The big-money bouts for Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) are at welterweight, where a super event with the winner of the May 1 showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley awaits, but there is a particularly fan-friendly fight for the pound-for-pound king that could take place at junior welterweight.
Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 KOs), THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight, who stopped contender Antonio DeMarco in impressive fashion on Saturday, has been mentioned as a potential opponent for Timothy Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs), the magazine’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight.
Should the fascinating 140-pound matchup between Bradley and Valero take place, the winner of the can’t-miss barnburner would not be as marketable as the Mosley-Mayweather winner, but there isn’t a single hardcore fan worldwide who wouldn’t want to see him challenge Pacquiao. And if Pacquiao were to take on the Bradley-Valero winner, shouldn’t THE RING junior welterweight title be up for grabs?
Adamek’s confidence in his chances at heavyweight should also be admired. The prudent move would be to hold onto the cruiserweight title in case things don’t work out with the big boys.
After all, Adamek didn’t have an easy time with Estrada, a 29-year-old fringe contender who lacks world-class power and can be downright reluctant to let his hands go in the ring. At times during Saturday’s bout, Estrada — who lost to Adamek by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and an unrealistic 118-110 — out-jabbed and cleanly counter-punched the Polish star. Estrada also periodically utilized his 17-pound weight advantage (237 to 220) to force the smaller man to give ground, much to the dismay of the 10,000-plus who gathered inside the Prudential Center to cheer on Adamek in his adopted hometown of Newark, N.J.
Adamek’s hard-fought victory over Estrada begs the question of what will happen when he faces Arreola, an even bigger heavyweight known for his heavy hands and high punch output?
Let’s give Adamek credit for having the courage to want to find out for himself.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
There was plenty of movement in THE RING’s divisional ratings after a busy weekend of boxing.
Vadim Tokarev (No. 6 last week), whose last fight was on in late November of 2008, exits due to inactivity. All rated cruiserweights below Tokarev last week move up one spot each and Russia’s Denis Lebedev (19-0, 14 KOs) debuts at No. 10.
Glen Johnson (No. 3 last weeks) advances to No. 2 following his sixth-round kayo of Yusaf Mack (No. 7 last week). Johnson’s elevation also forces down Bernard Hopkins (No. 2 last week) to No. 3. Mack departs, which advances everybody below seven last week one position and makes room for 22-year-old British standout Nathan Cleverly (18-0, 8 KOs) to enter at No. 10.
“Before choosing Nathan Cleverly as the new man at 175-pounds, we gave consideration to the more experienced Jurgen Brahmer,” said Collins. “But because Brahmer has been sentenced to 16 months in prison, we decided it would be best not to rank the German until his legal problems are resolved.”
Edwin Valero maintained his No. 1 rating with a ninth-round TKO of Antonio DeMarco (No. 9 last week), who falls out of the Top 10. DeMarco’s departure allows David Diaz to jump from No. 10 to No. 9, and Kevin Mitchell to re-enter at No. 10.
Jorge Solis, who won an interim 130-pound belt with his seventh-round KO of Likar Ramos on Saturday, has moved up from the featherweight division, where he replaces Vitali Tajbert at No. 10.
Solis’ (No. 4 last week) move up to junior featherweight bumps up all fighters rated below him last week one slot each and makes room for Japan’s Ryol Li Lee (15-1-1, 8 KOs) to return at No. 10.
Daiki Kameda’s decision over Denkaosan Kaowichit (No. 3 last week) allows Kameda to enter at No. 4, while Kaowichit slips to No. 5. The shakeup also moves Daisuke Naito (No. 4 last week) to No. 3, based on his win over Daiki in October 2007. Julio Cesar Miranda (No 10 last week) departs due to the realignment.