A bunch of little shifts in the rankings after a busy weekend around the boxing landscape.
The Departed: Enzo Maccarinelli (8)
Coming In: BJ Flores (10)
Enzo Maccarinelli, ranked No. 8 last time, is out after getting knocked out by Alexander Frenkel. Frenkel moves from No. 10 to No. 9, with Danny Green shifting up a spot to No. 8. BJ Flores comes in at No. 10 to round out the top ten. It's a wide open weight class, really. Steve Cunningham and Marco Huck have to some degree separated themselves from the pack, and Cunningham has a win over Huck. But Huck has, in all honesty, spent 2010 fighting opponents that don't make anyone's eyes pop open, including boiled-down American heavyweight mediocrities Brian Minto and "Swamp Donkey" Richards, but he was dominant in beating up Matt Godfrey last time out, and Godfrey is a fine fighter. Cunningham had some trouble in his last fight against Troy Ross, who in my view is the best fighter to ever come out of "The Contender," and the most notable to have gotten almost no help out of being on the show, which he won.
The Departed: Karo Murat (10)
Coming In: Chris Henry (10)
Murat didn't do too badly against Nathan Cleverly, but it's a competitive back end. This could be nothing more than a blip -- Murat could reclaim his spot with a solid win if Henry does nothing any time soon. I still don't rank one of the four titlists (Juergen Braehmer) and I don't rank Zsolt Erdei, either. Braehmer's status as "champion" is paper-thin, given that he only got to win the title because Erdei found himself fighting for a cruiserweight title, something he wasn't expecting. And Erdei isn't ranked because he hasn't fought since last November and shows no signs of changing that inactivity. Plus, I don't think he'd beat any of the guys in the top ten on an even playing field, even though Erdei has shown legitimate talent over the years. He's 36 and not even what he used to be. Sadly for whatever legacy he could have had, his prime years were spent taking junk fights and getting a few controversial wins over the better fighters he did face, such as Hugo Garay. Nathan Cleverly, despite a career-best win, does not move up from his No. 7 spot.
Nobody in or out, but Matthew Macklin jumps Sebastian Sylvester. They trade the Nos. 8 and 9 spots. Thankfully there is a possibility of getting some good action at 160 soon. Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams (my 1-2) are fighting again on November 20, which is great news. Felix Sturm (4) looks like he's seriously ready to come out of that cave that Universum had him in for years. And the fresh blood in the division -- Dmitry Pirog, Gennady Golovkin, David Lemieux, Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam -- are starting to make some noise about wanting big fights. For those that pay attention to the international game, 2011 could be a great little comeback year for the middleweight division.
The Departed: Sechew Powell (10)
Coming In: Lukas Konecny (10)
This happened because I think Konecny is a better fighter than Powell. Not that a win over Matthew Hall is anything to get terribly excited about, but I thought Lukas had a good shot against Ryan Rhodes (5), too, and he gave Sergiy Dzinziruk (1) a pretty good scrap in 2008. I still cannot fathom The Ring having Dzinziruk ranked behind Powell, Vanes Martirosyan, and Yuri Foreman.
No comings or goings. Shane Mosley drops a spot to No. 4, behind Mayweather, Pacquiao and now Andre Berto. After the Mayweather fight, I still thought there was value in a Berto-Mosley fight. And now I worry that there's the wrong kind of value in a Berto-Mosley fight. Shane is ranked No. 4 mostly because the division splits off so grossly after the top five. Joshua Clottey anchors the first half of my top ten, and I kind of had to decide whether I thought Mosley's sadly faded aggression was better or worse than Clottey's 12-round turtle in his last fight. I can at least say this: Mosley was blown out in May and fought again. Clottey was blown out in March and has apparently gone into the Witness Protection Program. The time to move is now for guys like Kell Brook (6) and Mike Jones (7). Brook got a decent win this weekend, and Jones should notch one of his own on Nov. 13.
The Departed: Kaizer Mabuza (9)
Coming In: Zab Judah (8)
I bit the bullet and ranked Zab now because I think he's better than just about anyone in this division, and indeed I do believe he could beat anyone at 140, including the good young guns. Dropping Mabuza wasn't that tough of a decision, either. The South African was nobody before thrashing a mentally absent Kendall Holt in February, and he hasn't fought since. I'll say right now that Judah is going to make Lucas Matthysse look absolutely awful on Nov. 6. That is just about the worst possible matchup for Matthysse, and I get the sneaking feeling Golden Boy is hoping to work with Judah and Main Events to possibly set up Zab as a name, money opponent next year for Amir Khan, Victor Ortiz, or maybe even Timothy Bradley if they sign him next spring.
Humberto Soto drops a spot to No. 4. It's not that big of a deal, he just hasn't been impressive in a long time. But he is still winning his fights, be they against legitimate competition or not. The worst thing about the Soto situation, which I've discussed in the past at length, is that he's actually good, actually really exciting when the playing field is level, and could be more than he is right now, which is a card headliner in Mexico fighting easy opposition. Miguel Acosta takes his spot at No. 3. Acosta's last two wins have come by KO (not TKO) over Urbano Antillon -- a guy Soto turned down as an opponent after Acosta had knocked him out -- and Paulus Moses, who was unbeaten and fighting at home in Namibia.
The Departed: Antonio Escalante (10)
Coming In: Jhonny Gonzalez (8)
Gonzalez's dominant, destructive stoppage of Jackson Asiku showed the Mexican at his best. His chin is the only thing that has ever stopped him. He's got heart, he's got guts, he fights his ass off, he has power, and he can really box. He was beating Israel Vazquez quite handily before Vazquez made his amazing comeback back in 2006. That fight, by the way, is a must-see, so if you've still never seen it, seek it out. Orlando Salido and Cristobal Cruz slip to 9 and 10 with his arrival. Out, obviously, is Antonio Escalante. That was no freak knockout or lucky blow or "one great punch" or anything like that. Daniel Ponce de Leon beat the living crap out of the brave Escalante. Escalante is a pretty good fighter, but he's got a very dentable chin, part of which comes from his near-refusal to defend himself. He was way out of his league against Ponce de Leon, who holds steady in the rankings at No. 7. Escalante found himself on a different level on Saturday, and the move up did not suit him well. Still, he's 25, and I suspect he's going to give us a lot more good fights in the next few years. This might sound like a mean way to put it, but he's not good enough to not give us good fights, nor is he the type of fighter I believe will be inclined to change his style too much. I was one of the few (it seemed) picking Ponce de Leon to win that fight, but even I was pretty surprised at how easy it was for him. To Ponce de Leon's credit, that was the best he'd looked in a long time.
The Departed: Edrin Dapudong (8)
Coming In: Edgar Sosa (10)
Dapudong's upset loss on Friday to Wilbert Uicab knocked him out of the discussion at 112. Coming in is former long-standing junior flyweight titlist Edgar Sosa, who is more or less biding his time until he can secure a WBC title shot. Currently, lineal champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam holds that strap. I think Pong would beat the hell out of Sosa, but Sosa is a good fighter and it would be a better matchup than Pong's next opponent, or that disgusting mismatch the world flyweight champion took against Rey Megrino after he beat Koki Kameda. I know for a stone cold fact that Wonjongkam can fight and is a legit champion, but you do have to wonder what his career might look like if he hadn't fought 90% pure bums (pureness relative to Wonjongkam's standing at the time of the fights). End of the day, it's just a different boxing culture, and I try to mostly overlook the nature of it -- especially with guys like Pong, who again, are the real deal.