Paul Williams is back in the rankings at 154 pounds. (Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime)
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Paul Williams (41-2, 27 KO) is back in the rankings for the first time in a long time, after he had some limbo between Sergio and Lara, and then the robbery win over Erislandy Lara that kept him out of my top ten. His win on Saturday over Nobuhiro Ishida wasn't a win over a top fighter, necessarily, but Ishida knows what he's doing in a ring and Paul pretty well dominated the fight. As I said in the recap, he may never really be a top guy again, but he can certainly be a contender, and he is a contender again. He got the win, maybe got some confidence back if he was doubting himself.
I've slotted him in at No. 10 in the division for now -- knocking Vanes Martirosyan out. Martirosyan's level of competition has been so awful that I just can't see keeping him in over the back-end guys here (Paul, K9 Bundrage, Delvin Rodriguez). It's not that I wouldn't give Vanes a decent chance of beating, well, all of them, but they've earned the spots more than he has right now.
I have no doubt that Paul Williams will go after the best fights he can find, but with some limitations. Unless he absolutely cannot land a fight with one of the bigger names between 147 and 160, I don't expect him to rematch Erislandy Lara, which I wish he would, or fight someone like James Kirkland, whose name he sidestepped on Saturday when asked about potential next opponents. As much as he's been an "I'll fight anyone" type of guy (and compared to most, he really has been that guy), he's also 30 years old and has expressed a desire to make his money, achieve his goals, and leave the sport before it's too late. That mindset may not hold (it almost never does), but if that's where he's at, he's got plenty of options.
I'd honestly love to see him fight any of those three guys mentioned before -- Vanes, K9, or Delvin would all be good for both sides right now, I think.
I've moved Gabriel Campillo up to No. 3 following his robbery loss to Tavoris Cloud. This is not a win-loss competition -- this is about actual ability and what really happens, and boxing records often don't reflect what really happens. Campillo clearly beat Cloud and if the Texas commission had an ounce of dignity they'd do something about the scorecards on Saturday, which were a travesty, but they don't and won't.
If you take away the three bullshit decisions dragging him down -- loss to Cloud, loss to Shumenov, draw with Murat last year -- there is, I think, a fairly decent argument that Gabriel Campillo might be the best light heavyweight fighter in the world right now. Old man Hopkins and Sortabad Chad might get the attention fighting for "the crown," but that doesn't automatically make them the true best. Would anyone not give Campillo a good shot to beat either one of them? And I mean beat them as in clearly beat them, not just win scorecards.
A bit of shuffling, one guy out, and a new guy in.
The new guy in is Adonis Stevenson (17-1, 14 KO), who iced Jesus Gonzales bad in the first round on Saturday night. I thought before the fight that if one of them was truly impressive in the win, they had a case for top ten. Stevenson is a destroyer, a guy who can really punch and has had one little misstep in his career, from which he's recovered nicely. Now training under Emanuel Steward, he's primed to make a move in the division.
The dropped fighter is Glen Johnson, which will probably offend someone or something, but I just don't think Glen Johnson is any better than a lot of these guys. In recent years, Johnson has the habit of beating mid-tier or worse guys and then losing when he steps up against a top fighter. He then whines about the loss no matter how clear it was, including his pathetic display in November when he didn't even try to beat his buddy Bute. He's lost two in a row, both clear losses, and didn't give an honest effort in the last fight he had. So he's out.
Brian Magee slips from No. 7 to No. 10 despite a win on Saturday over Rudy Markussen in Denmark. I still think Magee's a quality fighter, but he's looking like he's slowing down physically, which is no surprise given he's 36 years old. And anyway, having him at 10 is higher than just about anyone else has him.
Ranked Fighters in Action This Week
Heavyweight: No. 4 Alexander Povetkin (23-0, 16 KO) vs No. 1 cruiserweight Marco Huck (34-1, 25 KO)
Light Heavyweight: No. 6 Nathan Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO) vs Tommy Karpency (21-2-1, 14 KO)
Welterweight: No. 4 junior welterweight Marcos Maidana (31-2, 28 KO) vs No. 6 junior welterweight Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KO)
Note: Chances are good both fighters will come in at the 147 rankings if the fight is competitive and good. Maidana isn't totally putting his eggs into the welterweight basket, though Alexander is, so it's going to be a judgment call. But if they'd had a recent halfway notable fight at 147, either one would be ranked over Alfonso Gomez, Senchenko, or Shane Mosley, who will probably drop next week simply because he's moving up, as much as the fact that he's not been very good lately.
Super Featherweight: No. 6 Adrien Broner (22-0, 18 KO) vs Eloy Perez (23-0-2, 7 KO)
Super Featherweight: No. 7 Juan Carlos Burgos (28-1, 19 KO) vs Cristobal Cruz (39-12-3, 23 KO)