I'll admit something straight up as the biggest reason I'm putting this up and asking opinions: I need your help.
The Bad Left Hook weekly rankings are going up on Monday, as always, and one of the things that influences my rankings for the last five years that I've been tinkering with a format has been the opinions of people here. I've had my mind changed about fighters for good and bad, given fighters I've written off second looks, learned more about a lot of worldwide prospects and contenders, and just become a better boxing fan thanks to having this site and having so many well-informed, knowledgeable readers.
I'm having a crisis in the featherweight division though. Right now, I have Juan Manuel Lopez ranked No. 1, which I have for a while now. Yuriorkis Gamboa is my No. 2. After last night, with Gamboa thrashing Jorge Solis the way he did, I admit I'm having second thoughts.
For those of you who have been here a good while, particularly a few of you I can think of immediately, you know I've never been totally on the Gamboa bandwagon. I am now. You also know I admit to being a huge Lopez fan, which some of you are and some of you aren't.
But I try to be unbiased in the rankings, and just honestly assess who I think are the best fighters in the weight classes. This time it isn't so much about who I think would win between Lopez and Gamboa; after last night, and knowing Lopez's faults and limitations pretty well by now, I heavily favor Gamboa. But there's one area where I can't make up my mind.
Who has the better record right now? Who has faced and beaten the stronger opposition? Here's how I'm seeing it, and I'd appreciate input from all of you.
For Lopez, his best win to date is still the star-making TKO-1 over Daniel Ponce de Leon. Not only was the win sensational at the time, but it looks better now that PDL has trucked on and found further success after the win. I also give him good, solid credit for wins over Steven Luevano and Rafael Marquez, and I realize some of you will disagree with the Marquez credit. I have respect for his win over Gerry Penalosa, who was fighting heavy but was still good. Other wins (Lontchi, Concepcion, etc.) were, frankly, "no shit"-type wins.
He struggled in a dumb fight with Mtagwa -- by which I mean Lopez fought dumb. I give him no credit for that farce against Sergio Medina or the post-Ponce de Leon win over Cesar Figueroa. His pre-PDL record is solid build-a-record stuff.
For Gamboa, I struggle to pinpoint an exact best win, but it just might be the Solis fight. Combined with the fact that Solis is a pretty good fighter, the manner in which Gamboa dispensed of him was eye-opening. Full credit for wins over Orlando Salido and Jonathan Victor Barros. He demolished Mtagwa, but I think we all expected that -- a true "styles make fights" sort of thing, and Mtagwa was made-to-order for Yuriorkis. Lots of solid wins over gatekeeper-types, and I give a particular nod to his first semi-reality check against Darling Jimenez, who really was a solid fighter (and hasn't fought since).
Who do you like for résumé?