RING Ratings Update: Real-life Rocky
Joe Smith Jr. demonstrated how a fighter can go from unknown to major player overnight.
Smith was only a regional attraction in Long Island, New York, when he stepped into the ring to face light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara on Saturday in Chicago on NBC. He stepped out a contender himself after stunning Fonfara and the boxing world by stopping the Pole in the first round.
As a result, Fonfara (No. 8 last week) drops out of the ratings. Smith enters at No. 10.
The Editorial Board had to put some thought into the latter decision. Members of the Ratings Panel had suggested we consider for No. 10 talented young 175-pounders like Oleksandr Gvodzyk and Dmitry Bivol, who might have more upside than Smith.
However, the editors decided that Smith’s decision victory over the competent Will Rosinsky in December and the knockout of a Top 10 opponent superseded the potential of his younger counterparts.
In other divisions:
Carlos Molina (No. 10 last week) has fought at welterweight in his last three fights and hasn’t had a decent 154-pound victory since he narrowly outpointed Ishe Smith in 2013. Thus, he was removed from the junior middleweight ratings.
He is replaced by German-Ecuadorian Jack Culcay, who enters at No. 10.
Rau’shee Warren (unrated last week) took a big step in his career on the Smith-Fonfara card, defeating Juan Carlos Payano (No. 2 last week) in their rematch by a majority decision to win his first world title.
As a result, Payano drops to No. 5 and Warren enters at No. 4. Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (No. 10 last week) drops out to make room for Warren.