Robert Helenius is one of 17 ranked fighters in action this week. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Not a lot of big updates here, but a little movement at 154 that is up for debate. This weekend is going to be a big, big, big one for ranked fighters: 17 are in action this week, and there are four fights where ranked fighters face one another.
I've moved Canelo Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KO) up to No. 3 from No. 5. I did this simply comparing what he'd done against what the guys previously above him have done. Those men are Austin Trout and Carlos Molina.
I've taken a cautionary stance when it comes to ranking Canelo so far, but honestly his 2011 resume is as good as anyone else has done at the weight, if not better. He beat a guy who was top ten at the time (Ryan Rhodes), plus the wins over Gomez, Hatton and Cintron, while not unexpected or earth-shattering, hold up just fine to Molina's win over Cintron and draw with Erislandy Lara, and Trout's wins over Rigoberto Alvarez, David Lopez and the hopeless Frank LoPorto.
Simply put, this entire division, and trying to rank it, is a game of inches. Nobody has separated themselves from the pack at 154 pounds. Miguel Cotto has the best overall resume, but at 154 he's beaten Yuri Foreman, who was never all that good, and Ricardo Mayorga, who hasn't been any good in years. Antonio Margarito has sort of the same issue -- good overall record, little at 154 of note. Everyone else has question marks even with their biggest wins: Was Lara's robbery loss to Paul Williams (we count it a win) all that impressive, or is Williams a severely damaged fighter? Was Kirkland's win over Angulo really all that great, or was Angulo massively overrated and overhyped? What has Martirosyan ever really done? Or Wolak?
But I really do love this weight class, for now. It's right on the line where it could be a great division instead of a division with a bunch of pretty good fighters all not fighting each other.
Adrien Broner stays at No. 6. He's a decent win or two away from rising, but right now, what are we really talking about? Martin Rodriguez was badly overmatched and Jason Litzau is nothing to write home about either. I can't get out of my head his bad struggle with Daniel Ponce De Leon when it comes to dreaming on Broner's potential. He's got talent, and like Canelo he's in a weight class that helps him look better when it comes to rankings. But he's really not proven much just yet. Make no mistake: There are a lot of good fights for him at this weight, and many where he could have a hell of a hard time.
Jorge Arce (6) drops out to move back down to 118 pounds for now, so veteran Rafael Marquez is in at No. 10. Marquez didn't look bad or uncompetitive in October against the division's No. 1 man, and I'd probably still pick him to beat Takalani Ndlovu or even Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym or Akifumi Shimoda.
Arce slides in at No. 6 here, behind the clear top five (Donaire, Mares, Agbeko, Moreno and Darchinyan) and right on top of the second tier, with guys like Koki Kameda and Yonnhy Perez.
In Action This Week
It is a pretty loaded weekend for ranked fighters in action. Here's everybody!
Heavyweight: No. 5 Alexander Povetkin (22-0, 15 KO) vs Cedric Boswell (35-1, 26 KO)
Heavyweight: No. 7 Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KO) vs Dereck Chisora (15-1, 9 KO)
Cruiserweight: No. 6 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (45-2-1, 32 KO) vs No. 9 Danny Green (31-4, 27 KO)
Super Middleweight: No. 5 Sakio Bika (28-5-2, 19 KO) vs Alfredo Contreras (11-12-2, 5 KO)
Middleweight: No. 2 Felix Sturm (36-2-1, 15 KO) vs Martin Murray (23-0, 10 KO)
Junior Middleweight: No. 2 Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KO) vs No. 6 Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KO)
Junior Middleweight: No. 10 Pawel Wolak (29-1-1, 19 KO) vs Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-3, 14 KO)
Welterweight: No. 9 Mike Jones (25-0, 19 KO) vs Sebastian Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KO)
Lightweight: No. 2 Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KO) vs John Murray (31-1, 18 KO)
Featherweight: No. 2 Chris John (45-0-2, 22 KO) vs Stanislav Merdov (32-7, 24 KO)
Featherweight: No. 6 Jhonny Gonzalez (50-7, 44 KO) vs Roinet Caballero (31-10-1, 22 KO)
Bantamweight: No. 2 Abner Mares (22-0-1, 13 KO) vs No. 3 Joseph Agbeko (28-3, 22 KO)
Bantamweight: No. 4 Anselmo Moreno (31-1-1, 11 KO) vs No. 5 Vic Darchinyan (37-3-1, 27 KO)