The Ring Magazine Ratings Reviewed: Junior Lightweight
The Ring Magazine first introduced its divisional ratings in 1925 and 95 years later they’re still going strong. It is no exaggeration to claim that these independent rankings are the most respected and accurate in world boxing today.
The ratings panel is made up of a dozen experts from around the world. Opinions are shared, debate takes place, and the final decision on who should be ranked where is decided democratically. It sounds easy but it can be an arduous and time-consuming process.
During the past few weeks, the sport of boxing, like the rest of us, has been on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It therefore makes sense for The Ring to use this time to revisit each and every division, analyze the fighters who are ranked and predict what they’re likely to do in the future.
Up next is junior lightweight. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.
No. 1 MIGUEL BERCHELT
RECORD: (37-1, 33 KOs)
THE PAST: Berchelt became WBC 130-pound champion, stopping Francisco Vargas (KO 11) in January 2017. The big punching Mexican has since tallied six defenses, notably besting former titleholder Takashi Miura (UD 12), Miguel Roman (TKO 9), Vargas (RTD 6) and, most recently, Jason Sosa (KO 4).
THE FUTURE: The details of his mandatory defense against countryman Oscar Valdez were being worked out when the coronavirus struck. It looks to be a cannot-miss all-action fight. However, “El Alacran” may have an interim non-title fight in Mexico on June 27.
No. 2 JOSEPH DIAZ JR.
RECORD: (31-1, 15 KOs)
THE PAST: The 2012 U.S Olympic representative was an amateur standout before switching to the professional ranks. Lost in his first world title attempt, when he challenged WBC 126-pound titleholder Gary Russell Jr. (UD 12) in 2018. The talented southpaw moved up to 130-pounds and outboxed Tevin Farmer (UD 12) to become the IBF titleholder.
THE FUTURE: Mandatory defense against big punching Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov looms.
No. 3 JAMEL HERRING
RECORD: (21-2, 10 KOs)
THE PAST: The former U.S marine, who served two tours of Iraq, boxed in the military and represented the U.S at the 2012 Olympics. After turning professional at 135 pounds, he elected to drop to 130 after losing two fights. When Herring resurfaced, he teamed up with Brian McIntyre, famed for his work with Terence Crawford, and beat Masayuki Ito (UD 12) for the WBO title and Lamont Roach (UD 12) in his maiden defense.
THE FUTURE: Herring was due to face Carl Frampton in Belfast on June 13. Those plans were changed by the Coronavirus. It was rumored that the bout may now happen in New York, but another option is that both take an interim fight.
No. 4 TEVIN FARMER
RECORD: (30-5-1, 6 KOs)
THE PAST: Farmer had baptism by fire during the embryonic stages of his pro career, going 7-4-1. However, he earned experience in training camps with the likes of Vasiliy Lomachenko and posted 18 wins to secure an IBF title shot. The quick-fisted southpaw went to Australia and outboxed Billy Dib (UD 12) for the vacant title and made four defenses before losing to Diaz.
THE FUTURE: Possible move up to lightweight.
No. 5 RENE ALVARADO
RECORD: (32-8, 21 KOs)
THE PAST: The twin brother of IBF junior flyweight titleholder Felix, went 4-6 after moving his career to the U.S midway through the last decade. After losses to Joseph Diaz (UD 10), Andrew Cancio (KO 8) and Yuriorkis Gamboa (UD 10), he removed the shackles of gatekeeper, winning seven fights to earn a rematch with Cancio, this time for the WBA title. Alvarado exacted revenge, stopping Cancio at the end of seven rounds.
THE FUTURE: Had been scheduled to face Roger Gutierrez on April 25, as part of Golden Boy Promotions show. Potentially rescheduled for a later date.
No. 6 MASAYUKI ITO
RECORD: (26-2-1, 14 KOs)
THE PAST: Ito won the vacant WBO 130-pound title against Christopher Diaz (UD 12). He stopped Evgeny Chuprakov (TKO 7) in his lone title defense before losing to Herring (UD 12). He won a comeback fight and was forced to cancel a fight with Yongqiang Yang on February 2 due to a muscle injury.
THE FUTURE: Capable of making another title run. Interesting to see what path he plots and whether his team revisit the Yang fight upon his return.
No. 7 ANDREW CANCIO
RECORD: (21-5-2, 16 KOs)
THE PAST: The blue-collar fighter, who works a day job as a line-worker for a Southern California gas company, was a long-time fringe contender. Cancio was given an improbable WBA title shot at previously unbeaten Alberto Machado (KO 4), recovering from a first round knockdown to sensationally stop the Puerto Rican. He repeated the victory over Machado (KO 3) before losing his title to Alvarado (RTD 7).
THE FUTURE: Was due to face Tyler McCreary in a crossroads fight on April 25 on the undercard of Naoya Inoue-John Riel Casimero.
No. 8 MIGUEL ROMAN
RECORD: (62-13, 47 KOs)
THE PAST: Roman has contended for years and holds wins over former titleholders Juan Carlos Salgado (TKO 11), Daniel Ponce De Leon (TKO 9), Orlando Salido (TKO 9) and Tomas Rojas (UD 12). However, he is 0-4 in world title fights, losing to Jonathan Barros (UD 12), Antonio DeMarco (KO 5), Takashi Miura (KO 12) and Berchelt (TKO 9).
THE FUTURE: Is the grizzled Mexican warrior capable of pulling one more title run out of his body?
No. 9 SHAVKATDZHON RAKHIMOV
RECORD: (15-0, 12 KOs)
THE PAST: An unknown commodity in a deep division. He has stopped former world titleholder Malcolm Klassen (TKO 8) and longtime gatekeeper Robinson Castellanos (TKO 2). The 25-year-old traveled to South Africa for an IBF eliminator and rallied from behind on the scorecards to stop Azinga Fuzile (TKO 8).
THE FUTURE: The big-punching Tajikistan fighter is Diaz’s mandatory challenger.
No. 10 CHRIS COLBERT
RECORD: (14-0, 5 KOs)
THE PAST: The 23-year-old New Yorker has made his way from prospect to contender and holds impressive wins over Austin Dulay (TKO 7), Mario Briones (TKO 2) and Jezreel Corrales (UD 12).
THE FUTURE: Appears to be leaning toward the WBA title route. Would be interesting to see him face promotional stablemate and fellow up-and-comer Jaime Arboleda.
ON THE CUSP: Jono Carroll, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Oscar Valdez and Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov. The Ring recognizes Frampton, Santa Cruz and Valdez as world-class fighters, however, the panel believe that their 130-pound resume is lacking.
THE RING RATINGS – Pound-for-Pound
THE RING RATINGS – Strawweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Flyweight
THE RING RATINGS – Flyweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Bantamweight
THE RING RATINGS – Bantamweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Featherweight
THE RING RATINGS – Featherweight