Ring Ratings Update & Flashback: Kambosos-Haney, Fulton-Roman, 2007 rankings
The Ring Magazine lightweight championship is on the line when George Kambosos Jr. attempts to defend the Ring, WBA, IBF and WBO titles against reigning WBC beltholder Devin Haney at Marvel Stadium in Sydney on Saturday (Sunday in Australia).
Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) shocked the boxing world with his upset split decision over Teofimo Lopez last November. The 28-year-old Australian proved to be as quick and crafty as he is rugged and relentless vs. Lopez in a bruising, bloody fight. His reward for valor is a first defense in his hometown. Haney (27-0, 15 KOs), an American prodigy who is only 23, has climbed to the No. 3 spot in The Ring’s lightweight rankings with quality decision victories over Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz Jr. last year.
Also on Saturday is an excellent 122-pound title matchup between Stephen Fulton and Danny Roman. Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs), a 27-year-old southpaw from Philadelphia, is The Ring’s No. 1-rated junior featherweight and holder of the WBC and WBO belts. Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs) is a former unified (WBA and IBF) titleholder who is No. 3 in The Ring’s rankings.
I’d received some inquiries (mostly via Twitter) on whether the vacant Ring Magazine junior featherweight title would be on the line for Fulton-Roman, so I posed the question to the Ring Ratings Panel:
“Do you think (Fulton-Roman) is worthy of the vacant Ring 122-pound title?
“Fulton is our No. 1-rated junior featherweight (and on quite a streak) and Roman is No. 3. I know our No. 2 (ranked junior featherweight), Murodjon Akhmadaliev, has a head-to-head victory over Roman from a couple years ago (2019), but it was a close split decision (that I thought Roman edged).
“I know MJ is in action later this month vs. Ronny Rios, and it’s probably prudent to wait to see who wins both matchups and then cross our fingers in hopes that the winners face each other, but given the current state of the sport and business we could be waiting a long time for that to happen (if it happens).
“Follow-up questions: Do you think The Ring’s championship policy of No. 1 vs. No. 2 should be amended to allow the Ring title to be on the line more often when quality matchups are made? Or is the fact that it’s so rare that a matchup qualifies for The Ring championships an integral part of what makes it so special?
“Food for thoughts and debate.”
Adam Abramowitz was the first panelist to respond.
“I do not think Fulton-Roman should be for The Ring title,” Abramowitz said. “I do not want The Ring title to be for anything other than No. 1 vs. No. 2 other than unusual exceptions/circumstances.”
Panelist Anson Wainwright agreed with Abramowitz.
“I don’t think The Ring title should be on the line when Fulton faces Roman,” Wainwright said. “I feel to crown a 122-pound Ring champion, Murodjon Akhmadaliev should be involved. To me, The Ring champion is the absolute champion and if we sanction Fulton-Roman there would still be a doubt as to who the man at 122 is. It is unfortunate as Roman gave Murodjon a very tough fight and some felt he won, like you, Doug.
“To the second part of your question: I feel the (Ring title) fights (being) so hard (to make) and rare is what makes (The) Ring (championships) special.”
All of the other panelists who responded to my questions, were in agreement.
Daisuke Sugiura: “I agree with Anson here. I don’t think it’s impossible that the winner of Fulton vs. Roman would face MJ (or Rios) in the relatively near future, as Fulton has publicly stated that he wants to unify and it’s usually easier to make a cross promotion fight with smaller guys. That fight should be The Ring title fight. Difficult, yes, that’s what makes it so valuable.”
Michael Montero: “I absolutely love the Fulton vs Roman match up, and I’m super high on Stephen Fulton, but I don’t think it should be for The Ring title. I believe that Akhmadaliev, who has two of the alphabet titles, should be involved.”
Diego Morilla: “I am with the majority here, in that I don’t think Fulton-Roman should be a Ring title fight given the current ratings. But I do like the idea of having No. 1 and No. 3 fight for our belt under the right circumstances.
“If No. 2 is threatening to move up or down in weight, if he’s openly stalling or refusing offers to fight either one of the other fighters, etc., then I would be in favor of making a 1 vs 3 fight a championship bout.
“So thank you for proposing it and let us all keep doing that whenever it is applicable. I don’t think any rules should be amended, it should remain an exceptional circumstance. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ask the question every time a 1 vs 3 fight happens.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE (May 28):
Cruiserweight – Aleksei Papin remains at No. 5 after stopping unrated Dilan Prasovic in two rounds.
Light heavyweight – Maxim Vlasov exits following an upset TKO loss to unrated Dilmurod Satybaldiev in six rounds. Jean Pascal re-enters at No. 10.
“Take Vlasov, who is also retiring, out of the ratings,” said Wainwright. “I didn’t get any support last week for Jean Pascal (re-entering the ratings). This is another chance to bring him in at No. 10. I understand some people’s reticence though. We did bring Oscar Valdez back after his failed (PED) test. I’m fine with keeping Pascal out. If we do, how about Craig Richards in at No. 10?”
Martin Mulcahey wasn’t in favor of Pascal returning.
“I am still for not including Pascal or Valdez, they should serve at least one year out of the rankings,” he said. “Not sure if we want that from the date of suspension or the date of a bad sample test. Not much out there to choose from, but I think ‘The Bully’ Bektemir Melikuziev has recovered well from his upset kayo at hands of Gabriel Rosado for No. 10 consideration.”
Abramowitz, Morilla and Sugiura (with reservations) co-signed on Pascal re-entering.
Super middleweight – Billy Joe Saunders exits due to inactivity. Vladimir Shishkin (13-0, 8 KOs) enters at No. 10.
Middleweight – Erislandy Lara enters at No. 10 following an eighth-round stoppage of Gary O’Sullivan.
Wainwright had suggested that Lara enter at No. 8, but other members of the Panel disagreed with the former junior middleweight titleholder entering that high.
“I think No. 8 is too high,” said Abramowitz. “O’Sullivan and (Thomas) LaManna don’t warrant anything higher. Meanwhile (No. 9 Sergiy) Derevyanchenko has proven he can compete with the best in the division. I think No. 10 is more appropriate for Lara at this time.”
Junior middleweight – Lara and Jarrett Hurd exit. Michel Soro and Carlos Ocampo enter at No. 9 and No. 10.
“Take out Lara, he’s at middleweight,” said Wainwright. “I think we can also take out Jarrett Hurd, who says he’s returning later this year. We can look to re-rank once he has returned. Jesus Ramos outworked Luke Santamaria over 10 rounds. Looks like he has a bright future and Santamaria will probably go back to 147. Move everyone up a place and bring in Michel Soro at No. 9 and Carlos Ocampo at No. 10.”
Added Mulcahey: “Yes, please let’s get rid of Hurd. I have been hoping for this for months. Always been a Michel Soro backer, so I am good with him re-entering and that stoppage by Madrimov was quirky at best! Though I thought Madrimov was on way to winning. No problem with Carlos Ocampo either, but take a look at Abass Baraou (a very good German amateur who lost a controversial split decision to Culcay) if you have time. He is not a bad shout either IMO. Last consideration is Souleymane Cissokho. I mentioned him a couple times before. Unlike other divisions, there’s plenty of talent for the bottom 10 at junior middleweight.”
Junior welterweight – Shohjahon Ergashev remains at No. 7 after an eight-round decision over unrated Luis Alberto Veron.
Lightweight – Gervonta Davis remains at No. 4 following a sixth-round KO of unrated Rolando Romero.
Junior lightweight – Eduardo Ramirez remains at No. 9 after edging past unrated Luis Melendez via 10-round majority decision.
Since the lightweight and junior featherweight weight classes will be in the spotlight this weekend with Kambosos-Haney and Fulton-Roman, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at who was on top of those divisions (and who were the top contenders under them) 15 years ago.
Joel Casamayor was on top of the lightweight rankings after winning the Ring and WBC titles by outpointing rival Diego Corrales in their underwhelming rubber match in October 2006.
Rafael Marquez was on top of the junior featherweight rankings after winning the Ring and WBC titles with a seventh-round technical stoppage of Israel Vazquez in March 2007, the first of their epic three-bout series at 122 pounds.
RING RATINGS FLASHBACK (as of June 2007):
Champ: JOEL CASAMAYOR
Miami, FL 34-3-1 (21)
Houston, TX 32-0 (16)
2. JULIO DIAZ
Coachella, CA 34-3 (25)
3. DAVID DIAZ
Chicago, IL 32-1-1 (17)
4. NATE CAMPBELL
Jacksonville, FL 31-5-1 (25)
5. MICHAEL KATSIDIS
Australia 23-0 (20)
6. ALMAZBEK RAIYMKULOV
Las Vegas, NV 25-1-1 (14)
7. ZAHIR RAHEEM
Las Vegas, NV 28-2 (16)
8. JOSE SANTA CRUZ
Mexico 24-2 (13)
9. YURI ROMANOV
Belarus 19-2 (13)
10. ANTHONY PETERSON
Washington, DC 23-0 (17)
Champ: RAFAEL MARQUEZ
Mexico 37-3 (33)
1. CELESTINO CABALLERO
Panama 26-2 (18)
Mexico 41-4 (31)
3. SOMSAK SITHCHATCHAWAL
Thailand 52-2-1 (42)
Mexico 31-1 (28)
5. STEVE MOLITOR
Canada 24-0 (10)
6. REY BAUTISTA
Philippines 23-0 (18)
7. SERGIO MANUEL MEDINA
Argentina 28-1 (16)
8. TAKALANI NDLOUVU
South Africa 27-4 (17)
9. POONSAWAT KRATINGAENGGYM
Thailand 29-1 (19)
10. BERNARD DUNNE
Ireland 24-0 (14)
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