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Ring Ratings Update: Alexander drops, Kotelnik advances

09
Aug

Sometimes in boxing a victory doesn’t advance the winner and a loss isn’t necessarily a step back for the loser — at least not where ratings are concerned.

Junior welterweight contenders Devon Alexander and Andreas Kotelnik are examples of this rule. Alexander defeated Kotelnik via hard-fought unanimous decision in his hometown of St. Louis on Saturday, but more than a few observers thought the 32-year-old former titleholder deserved the nod.

Even those who thought Alexander won the fight admit that the 23-year-old dual beltholder had an off night.

THE RING’s editorial board and ratings panel concur with the general consensus, and as a result Alexander (21-0, 13 knockouts) has dropped slightly in the magazine’s junior welterweight rankings, while Kotelnik — who gave a spirited effort against the talented young southpaw — climbed a few notches.



Alexander, THE RING’s No. 2-ranked junior welterweight since his eight-round demolition of Juan Urango in March, switched places with titleholder Amir Khan, who occupied the No. 3 spot in the ratings.

Kotelnik (31-4-1, 13 KOs), who dropped a legitimately one-sided decision to Khan last July, advanced from No. 7 to No. 5.

“While it is unusual for the winner of a fight to drop down in the rankings and the loser to advance, that’s what happened this week in the 140-pound weight class,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “Amir Khan overtook Devon Alexander because his decision victory over Andreas Kotelnik was far more emphatic than Alexander’s questionable nod over the Ukrainian boxer.”

What are the implications of this shake up in the junior welterweight rankings? There really aren’t any. Alexander’s tougher-than-expected fight with Kotelnik was probably just a bump on his road to greater success. In fact, the young man needed a hard fight under his belt before challenging the best of the deep and talented division.

THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight Timothy Bradley grew from hard 12-round bouts against Kendall Holt and Lamont Peterson. Alexander will likely grow from his experience with Kotelnik, which is a good thing given the St. Louis native wants to fight Bradley next.

Bradley-Alexander could happen as soon as January. HBO, which has an interest in the fight, has been dealing independently with Bradley’s representative Gary Shaw and Alexander’s promoter Don King in hopes of finalizing the showdown for January 29. Shaw has told numerous members of the boxing media that negotiations for the bout have reached “final phases.”

If it happens, fans will finally get the high-stakes junior welterweight fight they have been clamoring for. The winner of the bout would be universally regarded as the best 140-pound fighter, however vacant THE RING title may not be up for grabs due to Alexander’s recent demotion in the ratings.

RING championship vacancies are filled by the winner of a box-off between the magazine’s No. 1 and No. 2 contenders. Although, in some instances a box-off between the No. 1 and No. 3 contenders can fill the vacancy.

Whatever happens between now and the end of January — Khan is scheduled to fight in December — THE RING’s 140-pound title doesn’t figure to stay vacant for very long. The top three junior welterweights have all publicly expressed a desire to fight one another.

The junior welterweight division wasn’t the only weight class that experienced some reshuffling. Thanks to King’s triple-header in St. Louis, which stacked the Tavoris Cloud-Glen Johnson light heavyweight title match (won by Cloud via unanimous decision) and the Cory Spinks-Cornelius Bundrage junior middleweight title bout (won by Bundrage via fifth-round stoppage) under the Alexander-Kotelnik fight, there’s much to recap in this week’s Ring Ratings Update:

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS:

Cloud’s close 12-round decision over Glen Johnson elevates Cloud from No. 5 to No. 3, while Johnson slips from No. 2 to No. 4. The realignment pushes up Jean Pascal (No. 3 last week) to No. 2, while Bernard Hopkins (No. 4 last week) drops to No. 5.

Number-one contender Chad Dawson will fight Pascal for the vacant RING light heavyweight championship this Saturday, August 14, in Montreal, Canada. Unless the bout ends in a draw THE RING belt will be presented to the winner in the ring immediately after the fight by the magazine’s Editor-In-Chief Nigel Collins.

JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS:

Bundrage enters at No. 10, thanks to his TKO of Cory Spinks to annex a 154-pound title, which pushes out Saul Alvarez (No. 10 last week).

“Although Cory Spinks had been dropped from THE RING ratings for inactivity, we felt that Cornelius Bundrage is more worthy of a ranking than Saul Alvarez because of Bundrage’s one-sided victory over Spinks and overall better resume in the 154-pound division,” said Collins.

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS:

Despite his controversial decision over Kotelnik, Alexander slips from No. 2 to No. 3, while Khan (No. 3 last week) takes over the No. 2. spot. Due to his impressive showing against Alexander, Kotelnik advances from No. 7 to No. 5. Kotelnik’s rise also shoves down Kaizer Mabuza (No. 6 last week) and Juan Urango (No. 5 last week) one rung each. Mike Alvarado (No. 9 last week) is removed because he is currently incarcerated, which pushes up Lamont Peterson (No. 10 last week) one slot and makes room for Paul McCloskey to debut at No. 10.