Ring Ratings Update: Mauricio Lara crashes featherweight, Brian Castano advances
There was nothing sweet or lovey-dovey about Valentine’s Day weekend for two of The Ring’s top contenders – No. 1-rated featherweight Josh Warrington and No. 3-rated junior lightweight Joseph Diaz Jr.
Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs) suffered the first loss of his professional career, a brutal ninth-round stoppage at the heavy hands of unrated and unheralded Mauricio Lara (22-2, 15 KOs) at Wembley Arena in London on February 13. On February 12 in Indio, California, Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KOs) lost his IBF junior lightweight title on the scales (coming in 3½ pounds over the division limit) at the weigh-in for his defense against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12 KOs). The following evening, Diaz had to settle for a draw (115-113, 114-114, 114-114) after going 12 competitive rounds with the unbeaten prospect from Tajikistan.
Warrington’s shocking loss elicited a range of reactions from the Ring Ratings Panel. Some suggested that he drop to the bottom of the 126-pound rankings (one even wondered if the Leeds, Englishman should drop out). Others suggested Warrington drop to the middle of the top 10.
“Josh Warrington didn’t look right from the beginning and paid the ultimate price losing to unknown Mauricio Lara,” stated panelist Anson Wainwright. “He was badly hurt in the fourth and [the fight] could have been stopped, [Warrington] showed a ton of heart before getting knocked out in nine rounds.
“[It’s a] really bad loss and I’m not sure what we do with Warrington. I think the loss was more [about] him than losing to a top opponent, and it was a beatdown. I could even see Warrington out [of the rankings] altogether but that may be too harsh given his previous work at the weight. However, he did not look top 10. I take nothing away from Lara, he was on it from the opening bell, excellent win that will change his life.
“My suggested new featherweight line-up: 1. Russell 2. Can 3. Kid Galahad 4. Navarrete 5. Nyambayar 6. Magdaleno 7. Lara 8. Warrington 9. Joet Gonzalez 10. Magsayo.”
Panelist Tris Dixon suggested: “Lara at No. 3 and Warrington at No. 4.”
Managing Editor Tom Gray opined: “Just crazy stuff in the Warrington fight. I’ll meet Anson and Tris, almost near the middle, and vote for Lara at No. 4 and Warrington to No. 5. Given Warrington’s excellent victories over (Lee) Selby and (Carl) Frampton, and the close call against (Kid) Galahad, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. A seven-point drop is way too much in my eyes. We’ll find out very quickly what Warrington has left because I expect him to put the foot down for a direct rematch in the summer.”
Added panelist Michael Montero: “I like Lara at No. 4 but I’d put Navarrete at No. 5 and Warrington at No. 6. I rate the Mexican’s victory over Ruben Villa last year higher than Warrington’s recent work. I felt he received a gift over Kid Galahad. What a shame Gary Russell Jr was advised to turn down Hearn’s $1M offer to fight Warrington, he must feel pretty silly right now.”
Added panelist Diego Morilla: “I’d like to see Lara higher and Warrington lower than that: Nos. 4 and 9 respectively seems OK. I appreciate Warrington’s great career, but this was a great performance by Lara and an inexcusable defeat for Warrington, who seemed motivated and fit but still failed terribly.”
Added panelist Adam Abramowitz: “I’d make Lara No. 4 and Warrington No. 5.”
Panelist Martin Mulcahey agreed with Wainwright’s featherweight order.
I agreed with Gray and Abramowitz’s suggestions.
There was less back-and-forth in regard to Diaz and Rakhimov, but still some heated debate.
Wainwright suggested that Diaz remain at No. 3 and Rakhimov to re-enter the rankings at No. 4. Other panelists suggested that Diaz drop in the rankings based on his performance and/or failure to make weight.
“I had Rakhimov winning by two rounds but have no objection to the draw decision,” said Mulcahey. “I think Diaz should drop a spot for missing weight at the very least, and I like Rakhimov to come in just behind JoJo wherever we put him. I would not argue against Rakhimov being put above JoJo given he was fighting a guy who entered ring with a cheated advantage of sorts.”
Panelist Abramowitz was against Rakhimov entering in the top five.
“I’d bring Rakhimov in at No. 6. (Jamel) Herring and (Tevin) Farmer have done more than Rakhimov in the division.”
Panelist Daisuke Sugiura supported Mulcahey’s motion to demote Diaz.
“I agree with Martin, JoJo Diaz should drop a spot or even more for missing weight,” said Sugiura. “I’m extremely uncomfortable to rank a fighter who came 3.6 pounds over the required limit (thus losing his title) in the top three of the division. He didn’t fight at junior lightweight and he needs to pay the price. We talked about this last week too, but some fighters don’t care about missing weight, and one of the reasons, I think, is because the penalties are not harsh enough.”
Retorted Gray: “I’m against JoJo dropping a spot. I dislike the fact that he didn’t make weight, but it’s his first time and he cited outside factors as playing a part. Also, David Benavidez is our No. 1-rated super middleweight and he’s lost two titles outside of the ring.”
Wainwright supported Gray’s motion.
There was other action involving Ring-rated fighters on Saturday, February 13, including junior middleweight contenders Brian Castano and Patrick Teixeira, who clashed for Teixeira’s WBO title, with Castano winning a lop-sided decision in impressive fashion; and former IBF lightweight titleholder Richard Commey finally rebounded from his quickie KO loss to Teofimo Lopez with a sixth-round stoppage of Jackson Marinez.
Wainwright suggested Castano advance from No. 5 to No. 3, and No. 9-rated Teixeira to drop out of the 154-pound rankings, with towering unbeaten prospect Sebastian Fundora replacing the Brazilian by entering at No. 10. Most of the panel agreed with Wainwright.
“Castaño’s win over Teixeira was more than enough to put ‘El Boxi’ at No. 3 (Footnote: his nickname is inspired by ‘El Boxitracio,’ a boxing kangaroo in a cartoon here in Argentina, and after throwing 930-some power punches out of a total of 1130-something against Teixeira, I think you’d pick the same nickname too). And yes, Teixeira’s performance was bad enough to drop him altogether. At least Fundora knows how to use his height and reach advantage. Teixeira had 10 inches more than Castaño in his reach, and yet fought from a crouch and in close range all night. He needs a strategist, and a Portuguese-speaking one if possible (he seemed to understand about a third of the instructions he received in Mexican Spanish in his corner).”
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Junior middleweight – Brian Castano advances to No. 3. Patrick Teixeira exits the rankings. Sebastian Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) enters at No. 10.
Lightweight – Richard Commey remains at No. 4.
Commented Abramowitz: “I’d move Commey up one spot, he’s done more in the division than (Devin) Haney.”
Junior lightweight – Joseph Diaz Jr. remains at No. 3. Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov re-enters the rankings at No. 6.
Featherweight – Josh Warrington drops to No. 5. Mauricio Lara enters at No. 4.
Junior Featherweight – Azat Hovhannisyan remains at No. 9 after stopping Enrique Bernache in eight rounds. Ronny Rios enters at No. 10 after outpointing Oscar Negrete.
Bantamweight – Oscar Negrete exits the rankings. Gary Antonio Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) enters at No. 10.
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