Big shake-up at 154 pounds this week, as some major happenings took place on Saturday and gave the division a new outlook. Here's the revised top ten (last week's ranking in parentheses):
- Sergiy Dzinziruk (1)
- Miguel Cotto (4)
- Austin Trout (8)
- Carlos Molina (-)
- Alfredo Angulo (3)
- Saul Alvarez (5)
- Antonio Margarito (6)
- Erislandy Lara (-)
- Vanes Martirosyan (9)
- Pawel Wolak (10)
The two fighters dropping out were Kermit Cintron (2) and Lukas Konecny (7). Cintron drops for obvious reasons, as he was outclassed by Carlos Molina on Saturday night and in a division where fighters are this close -- I think any matchup of 1-10 is a fight worth giving second thoughts -- losses can be big. Cintron looked awful in that fight and doesn't deserve a spot in the top ten anymore. Konecny is more a victim of bad timing than anything. He's a solid fighter, but I thought about Konecny vs Pawel Wolak, and I'd pick Wolak in that fight every time. They're similar, but I think Wolak is a little bit better than Konecny.
You'll notice the lack of Paul Williams being ranked. Last week, Williams was still No. 3 at 160 pounds, but moved back down and got the snot beaten out of him by Lara, only to receive a disgusting joke of a gift decision win from the three pathetic judges in New Jersey. I'm not going to pretend that win means anything, because it doesn't. And no, I wouldn't pick Paul Williams to beat any guy on this list -- not one of them. Not with those limp punches and that horrid inaccuracy. He didn't beat Erislandy Lara no matter what any official record tells you, and I'm not going to enter the fairytale world of make believe and act like he did just because it says W on his sheet. He's not in the top ten, and frankly I don't think he'd make my top 15 in this division right now. He was awful.
Dzinziruk holds on at No. 1, but you can argue for others. I still worry about Cotto's limitations at the weight, and fact is his wins over Yuri Foreman (an injured Yuri Foreman at that) and Ricardo Mayorga aren't worth going nuts over, though they were OK enough.
Austin Trout jumps up to No. 3 because I truly feel he might be the best in this division right now, but he's just a hair shy on resume. Actually, if he really dominates Anthony Mundine in August, I think you have to start thinking about him being the best at 154. He's really, really good. It's no joke. If he had been signed by a power promoter, he'd have been all over your TV by now.
Molina comes in at No. 4 because he deserves it. I felt he did enough to beat Lara in March, which looks way better now than it did before, and he just walked all over Kermit Cintron. Molina simply keeps winning, and keeps doing it when he's not expected to win. And remember -- he lost two years of his career due to a contract dispute with Don King, and came right back and gave as good as he got (at least) with Lara in March, then trounced Cintron in July. That's pretty impressive.
Alfredo Angulo will be officially inactive on July 17, but right now he has a tentative return date on August 20 in Mexico, so he'll stay in the rankings. I'm just not as wild about Angulo's actual upside as some are. Saul Alvarez and Antonio Margarito basically hold firm, and Lara comes in at No. 8 thanks to his whomping of Tall Paul. I'd have considered putting him a spot or two higher, but frankly I think part of that fight's outcome was the result of Paul Williams having, top to bottom, arguably the most delusional team in boxing. Martirosyan and Wolak stick in at the back end and Wolak fights this week on Friday Night Fights.
I debated long and hard about who to put in at No. 10 with Paul Williams exiting the middleweight rankings, and settled on Andy Lee, who has quietly, slowly, and effectively rebuilt his career since that upset loss to Bryan Vera. I almost went with Vera, but as much as I like Vera, I just don't think he'd beat Lee again. Luckily they look likely to sort that out in a rematch on October 1.
I bumped Brandon Rios to No. 2 from No. 4, switching spots with Humberto Soto. I cannot for the life of me imagine Soto standing up to a Rios attack, given that Soto had a lot of trouble with Urbano Antillon and then bailed on a rematch with Antillon in May. After this weekend, Rios will be the No. 1 ranked fighter in the division, as Juan Manuel Marquez moves up to fight Likar Ramos in a tune-up for Manny Pacquiao. I kept Robert Guerrero steady at No. 3 since he's moving up to 140 pounds in August anyway. Soto is also on his way out of the division, and lightweight is about to get pretty damn light.
Antillon doesn't budge from his No. 8 ranking, but if John Murray is really impressive this weekend, he'll probably jump a couple spots from No. 10.
I know he was losing before the knockout, but the knockout was a doozy and it counts, so Rico Ramos comes in all the way up at No. 2, where Akifumi Shimoda (now No. 3) was last week. It's a competitive division, sort of like 154, but with a clearer top guy in Toshiaki Nishioka.
This Week's Ranked Fights
Cruiserweight: No. 2 Marco Huck (32-1, 23 KO) vs Hugo Garay (34-5, 18 KO)
Junior Middleweight: No. 10 Pawel Wolak (29-1, 19 KO) vs Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-2, 14 KO)
Junior Welterweight: Juan Manuel Marquez (No. 1 Lightweight, 52-5-1, 38 KO) vs Likar Ramos (24-3, 18 KO)
Lightweight: No. 10 John Murray (31-0, 18 KO) vs Kevin Mitchell (31-1, 23 KO)
Super Featherweight: No. 3 Ricky Burns (31-2, 8 KO) vs Nicky Cook (30-2, 16 KO)
Featherweight: No. 5 Rafael Marquez (39-6, 35 KO) vs Eusebio Osejo (19-9-2, 7 KO)
Junior Flyweight: No. 1 Roman Gonzalez (28-0, 23 KO) vs Omar Salado (22-3-2, 13 KO)