Wednesday, December 07, 2022  |


Ring Ratings Update: Cruiserweight controversy?


It’s not often that a fighter advances in THE RING’s rankings following a stoppage loss but that’s what happened to cruiserweight contender Troy Ross, who suffered a fifth-round technical knockout to Steve Cunningham in what was shaping up to be a competitive bout for a vacant title Saturday in Neubrandenburg, Germany.

Ross (24-2, 17 knockouts) dropped Cunningham to the seat of his pants with a straight left one minute into the fourth round, but the Philadelphia native got up and landed a right hand that caused a nasty jagged cut under the Canadian southpaw’s left eyelid 30 seconds later. Ross and Cunningham went tit for tat, as they had during the first three rounds of the bout, until the end of the round. But at the start of the fifth, referee Bill Clancy took the Canadian to the ringside physician, who deemed the game lefty unable to continue.

It was a disappointing ending to what could have heated up into a memorable bout. But the German television replay of the right hand Cunningham (23-2, 11 KOs) landed in the fourth round added an element of controversy. It appeared that the thumb part of Cunningham’s glove caught Ross’ eye.

It’s no accident that Cunningham busted up the left eye of Ross, who is best known for winning the fourth season of The Contender reality TV series. Cunningham's trainer, Naazim Richardson, asked him to target the swelling eye between the third and fourth rounds of the bout. However, the inadvertent manner in which Cunningham, THE RING’s No. 1-rated cruiserweight, might have inflicted the damage that ended the bout leaves an asterisk by the official outcome.

“We promoted Troy Ross from No. 5 to No. 4 despite the fact he lost to Steve Cunningham via fifth-round TKO,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “According to most accounts, the alleged punch that opened a cut on the lower eyelid of Ross’ left eye was probably a thumb. Moreover, Ross was giving a good account of himself and had knocked down Cunningham earlier in the fourth. Both of those factors, plus Zsolt Erdei’s lack of activity since beating Giacobbe Fragomeni on November 21, 2009, prompted our decision to advance Ross.”

Ross believes the cut he suffered was caused by an accidental foul, and thus the bout should have gone to the scorecards instead of ending in a TKO loss.

Cunningham says the punch was clean and the officials made the correct call.

Rematch anyone?



Cunningham retains his No. 1 ranking with a TKO of Ross, who entered the fight ranked No. 5 but trades places with inactive Zsolt Erdei (No. 4 last week) because of a good showing and a somewhat controversial conclusion to the bout.


Miguel Cotto enters at No. 4, thanks to his ninth-round TKO of Yuri Foreman, who slips from No. 6 to No. 7. Cotto’s debut at junior middleweight also causes Ryan Rhodes (No. 4 last week), Sechew Powell (No. 5 last week), Joachim Alcine (No. 7 last week), Vanes Martirosyan (No. 8 last week) and Sergei Dzinziruk (No. 9 last week) to fall one place each. Saul Alvarez (No. 10 last week) is forced out for the time being.

“Following his victory over Yuri Foreman, Miguel Cotto said he would fight at either 154 or 147 pounds in the future, depending on what fights he was offered. Therefore, THE RING has allowed him to retain his No. 5 position at welterweight, along with his new No. 4 spot at junior middleweight,” said Collins. “If Cotto fights his next bout at junior middleweight or announces he is leaving the welterweight class permanently, we will drop him from the 147-pound rating. In the meantime, THE RING believes Cotto has earned the right to be ranked in both divisions.”


Silence Mabuza (No. 8 last week) exits because he has not fought since May 29, 2009, and currently has no bout scheduled. Mabuza’s departure elevates Sasha Bakhtin (No. 9 last week) and Eric Morel (No. 10 last week) one rung each, and makes room for streaking Filipino veteran Michael Domingo to debut at No. 10.