Ring Ratings Update: Bute still No.1 at super middleweight
Andre Ward’s second bout in Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic, a unanimous decision over tournament newcomer Allan Green on Saturday in Oakland, Calif., was so one-sided that many fans and boxing writers consider the 26-year-old 168-pound titleholder to be the best super middleweight in the world.
In fact, Ward’s 12-round shutout of Green, an athletic boxer-puncher who some considered to be a threat to the Bay Area native, was so dominanating that many observers see pound-for-pound potential in the undefeated beltholder.
Some believe that Ward (22-0, 13 knockouts), a calculating technician with superb athleticism and underrated grit, deserves to be in the pound-for-pound Top 10 right now.
Ward will probably get there soon but he’ll have to settle for being the second-best super middleweight in THE RING’s ratings.
For now, the magazine’s No. 1 super middleweight rating still belongs to Lucian Bute. The only change in the 168-pound rankings is that Green (29-2, 20 KOs) exited the Top 10 following his lackluster performance against Ward.
Some will argue that Ward is more deserving of THE RING’s No. 1 rating than Bute, a talented Canada-based Romanian who has held a title belt since October of 2007. Others will argue that Bute, a versatile southpaw boxer-puncher, deserves his top spot.
The 30-year-old Romanian has been close to the top of the magazine’s super middleweight rankings since the division’s last RING champion, Joe Calzaghe, vacated his title to campaign as a light heavyweight in early 2008.
With Calzaghe’s absence, Danish star Mikkel Kessler was the consensus choice as the best super middleweight. The talented titleholder earned THE RING’s No. 1 spot with his respectable showing against Calzaghe, his only loss at the time, and his dominanating victories over Librado Andrade, Anthony Mundine, Markus Beyer, Manny Siaca and Eric Lucas.
Bute was right behind Kessler at No. 2 on the strength of his victories over Top-10 contenders Sakio Bika, Alejandro Berrio and Andrade.
Ward debuted in THE RING’s ratings at No. 9 following his unanimous decision over Edison Miranda last May. Six months later, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist shocked the boxing world by beating Kessler in his first Super Six bout.
Ward’s dominanating ninth-round technical decision over the Dane vaulted him from No. 9 to No. 1 in THE RING’s rankings. However, the American’s status was short lived as Bute took the top spot with a fourth-round rematch KO of Andrade one week after the Ward-Kessler fight and further solidified his No. 1 status with an impressive third-round KO of Miranda in April.
But more than a few fans and fight scribes believe Ward’s near-flawless showings against Kessler and Green are more impressive than the Romanian’s respectable body of work.
The debate as to who’s No. 1 at super middleweight will probably continue for the duration of the Super Six tournament, of which Bute is not a part. Ward has already qualified for the tournament’s single-elimination semifinals, where he could face the winner of the up-coming Arthur Abraham-Carl Froch showdown. He is scheduled to face THE RING’s No. 6-rated contender, Andre Dirrell, next.
Bute, who is scheduled for a tune-up fight in his native Romania on July 25, is considering high-profile showdowns with Bernard Hopkins and Kelly Pavlik.
If Ward and Bute continue to win, both will likely make a case for being the world’s best super middleweight. The only way to settle the debate is for the two to meet in the ring.
Hopefully, that’s exactly what will happen once the Super Six is concluded.
Ward retained his No. 2 rating with his one-sided decision over Green (No. 8 last week). Green’s departure elevates Robert Stieglitz (No. 9 last week) and Librado Andrade (No. 10 last week) one spot each and makes room for Brian Magee of Northern Ireland to debut at No. 10.
Luis Collazo (No. 7 last week) departs because he has not fought in more than a year. This allows Rafal Jackiewicz (No. 8 last week), Jan Zavek (no. 9 last week) and Vyachwslav Senchenko (No 10) last week to climb one ring each. Selcuk Aydin is new at No. 10.
Omar Nino (No. 10 last week) zooms to No. 2 on the strength of his decision win over Rodel Mayol, who slips form No. 2 to No. 3. Nino’s advancement also pushes down everybody rated No. 3 through No. 9 last week one notch.