Rankings Update: Junior Welterweight

Amir Khan joins the top ten party at 140 pounds after winning the WBA title from Andriy Kotelnik. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

I don't want to do a full, long post like I usually do for divisional rankings, but 140 has seen some changes since the last time we did it, just after Hatton-Pacquiao.

Rank Fighter Record (KO) Last Rank
1 Manny Pacquiao 49-3-2 (37) 1
2 Timothy Bradley 24-0 (11) 2
3 Ricky Hatton 45-2 (31) 3
4 Junior Witter 37-2-2 (22) 4
5 Nate Campbell 33-5-1 (25) 5
6 Marcos Maidana 26-1 (25) 10
7 Amir Khan 21-1 (15) NR
8 Kendall Holt 25-3 (13) 8
9 Juan Urango 21-2-1 (16) 7
10 Andriy Kotelnik 31-3-1 (13) 6

 

The top five stay the same for now, but that might well change after August 1 when Bradley and Campbell meet on Showtime, and No. 4 ranked Junior Witter faces rising contender Devon Alexander for the vacant WBC strap that same show.

This is yet another division that is far better than the over-glorified welterweights, as pretty much all of the guys in the top ten are solid fighters, and there's a good list of guys you could sub in for a few of them.

Maidana gets a big jump because his loss to Kotelnik was really close and you could argue he won, and then he pulled a minor upset in a great fight that showed a lot of guts in June when he forced Victor Ortiz to quit. Amir Khan moves in, obviously, because he routed Kotelnik on Saturday and looked really good in the process. Freddie Roach has made troublesome guys with a lot of natural skill into pretty special fighters before by accentuating their positives. Khan has the exact right trainer, a promoter that dotes on him, and even though he's never going to be a Ricky Hatton (or even Joe Calzaghe) level beloved fighter in the UK, I think he'll make some fans and a good bit of money if he can stay off the canvas.

I dropped Juan Urango two spots not particularly because he lost to welterweight titlist Andre Berto in late May in a disappointing snoozer of a fight, but because it once again showed just how one-dimensional and limited he is. If he can't get to a guy, he's going to lose. Still, he holds a title that he won against a legit opponent and is taking a pretty promising mandatory defense with Randall Bailey on ESPN2 in late August. Given Urango's wild brawling and rock solid chin and Bailey's KO record (39-6, 35 KO, including a sensational one-shot stoppage of Frankie Figueroa in April), that could be a barnburner.

Ricardo Torres dropped out because he moved up to welterweight. I kept Kotelnik in because he's still quite a good fighter, he just got physically overmatched against an Amir Khan that didn't go out trying to be a cowboy. Khan went out to box and win, and that's what he did.

Honorable Mentions: Paulie Malignaggi doesn't get too much love from a lot of folks, but he's still fringe top ten material. He'll take a catchweight (138.5 pounds) fight with Juan Diaz on August 22. A win boosts him; a loss rather kills him as a viable contender. ... Mike Alvarado was supposed to fight Malignaggi on June 27, but pulled out with an injury. ... Lamont Peterson is the "lesser" Peterson brother by most estimations, but still a solid rising contender. ... I have no idea yet what to make of Devon Alexander, but you can consider me surprised if he winds up beating Junior Witter on Aug. 1. ... There's been no official word on Victor Ortiz yet, but boxing was immediately unforgiving, and it kind of got to a point where I felt bad for the guy. I hope he comes back strong, but you can't really teach heart. He's an exciting, mega talented fighter though, and even if that's the only reason to wish him the best and hope for a strong return to action, it's a good enough reason. ... File Herman Ngoudjo under "never getting over the hump." ... I'd spread more of my "I don't think Demetrius Hopkins even likes boxing" propaganda, but honestly, why bother? He's a non-factor. ... There may be yet another murderous-punching Argentinian on his way up: Lucas Matthysse (24-0, 22 KO). ... Souleymane M'baye recently won a split decision over Colin Lynes to claim the EBU title, but is pretty much a regional fighter at this point.

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