Monday, March 27, 2023  |



Ring Ratings Update: Hopkins demoted


The rematch between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. on Saturday was an often ugly, grappling affair. Although Hopkins (right) won a unanimous decision, his performance caused him to drop in THE RING's light heavyweight rankings. The demotion opened the door for the Aug. 14 showdown between young standouts Chad Dawson and Jean Pascal to be for vacant THE RING light heavyweight title. Photo / Chris

Something good may come out of the unnecessary rematch between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr.: a universally recognized light heavyweight champion.

Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 knockouts) won the ugly, foul-filled 12-round bout by a lopsided unanimous decision on Saturday, but in doing so the 45-year-old contender dropped in THE RING’s 175-pound ratings, paving the way for the upcoming bout between Chad Dawson and Jean Pascal to possibly be fought for the magazine’s light heavyweight championship.

Hopkins, THE RING’s No. 3-rated light heavyweight last week, dropped to No. 6 in the magazine’s updated rankings following his lackluster and uneven performance against the unranked and badly faded Jones (54-7, 40 KOs).

The Philadelphian’s demotion allowed Pascal (25-1, 16 KOs), a Montreal-based beltholder who owns two decision victories over contender Adrian Diaconu, to advance from No. 4 to No. 3.

Dawson (29-0, 17 KOs), a two-time titleholder who has twice defeated former champs Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, is currently THE RING’s No. 1-rated light heavyweight.

Dawson's showdown with Pascal on August 14 will likely be the antithesis of what fans witnessed in Las Vegas Saturday night: two young (both are 27), athletic light heavyweights engaged in a highly competitive and entertaining contest.

If they happen to fight for THE RING title, it’s just what the doctor ordered for the light heavyweight division: a young, talented champion to lead the weight class into the new decade.

Normally, RING championship vacancies are filled by the winner of a fight between the Nos. 1 and 2 contenders. However, in certain instances a box-off between the Nos. 1 and 3 contenders can determine the magazine’s new champ.

“Although Bernard Hopkins beat Roy Jones by a wide margin, his performance was way below expectations,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine. “Bernard has surprised us many times in the past and may do so again in the future, but the way he fought against a washed up Jones merits a demotion.

“Jean Pascal’s advancement means that it is possible that his August 14 bout with No. 1 contender Chad Dawson could be for THE RING magazine light heavyweight title, which has been vacant since Joe Calzaghe retired. THE RING will make a final decision and an announcement closer to the fight.”

Last week featured more (and certainly better) action outside of the light heavyweight division, some of which impacted the standings in THE RING’s rankings.


David Haye (No. 3 last week) changes places with Alexander Povetkin (No. 2 last week) as a result of Haye’s emphatic TKO of John Ruiz.


Denis Lebedev (No. 10 last week) moves to No. 8, which pushes down Matt Godfrey, who slips from No. 8 to No. 10.

“Although the circumstance were a bit confusing for all concerned, Matt Godfrey’s withdrawal from a match with Steve Cunningham, who was ready to fight Godfrey for the vacant IBF 200-pound crown, coupled with Lebedev’s greater activity prompted the change,” said Collins.


Rocky Juarez (No. 8 last week) falls out of the ratings after his loss to Jason Litzau at junior lightweight. His exit allows Mario Santiago (No. 9 last week) and Daniel Ponce De Leon (No. 10 last week) to climb one rung each and makes room for Miguel Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) to debut at No. 10.


Hopkins (No. 4 last week) falls to No. 6 after his unimpressive win over Jones. This moves up Juan Manuel Marquez from No. 5 to No. 4 and Nonito Donaire from No. 6 to No. 5.

“With so many of those currently ranked in THE RING’s pound-for-pound ratings (Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Juan Manual Marquez, Miguel Coto, Dawson, Paul William, and Celestino Caballero), having important matches scheduled, expect a major shakeup as the summer progresses,” Collins said.