Abner Mares debuts at No. 3 in the super bantamweight rankings this week. (Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime)
Abner Mares is out as the top bantamweight in the Bad Left Hook boxing rankings this week, replaced by Anselmo Moreno. Mares debuts in the super bantamweight division following his WBC title-winning effort against Eric Morel on Saturday, and there's a new guy in at 118 to replace Mares in the top ten, so let's get on with it.
Mares (24-0-1, 13 KO) comes in at No. 3, behind Toshiaki Nishioka and Nonito Donaire, but ahead of Guillermo Rigondeaux. I make no bones about the fact that I'm not as in love with Rigondeaux's talent as some seem to be, and I have serious reservations about how great he would look against any of the three guys mentioned here, or plenty of other fighters. I think someone like Rafael Marquez would still give him a tough night. Rigondeaux hates aggressive fighters and hates having to work at much of a pace. He's a front-runner in a lot of ways. He looks great when he's allowed to be in control. Not so great when he isn't.
I would pick Mares over Rigondeaux if they went head-to-head, which they won't unless Top Rank decides they don't care much about the guy who sells 300 tickets and they were willing to bow out of his career. Rigondeaux's best win is, I guess, over Rico Ramos, who isn't good and basically got to that fight on the stretch of a fluke punch against Akifumi Shimoda. Ramos' 15 minutes of fame turned into a pumpkin (mixed nonsense!!!) against Rigondeaux as he stood there like a deer in the headlights (more!!!) and let Rigondeaux dictate not just the pace, but literally every step of the fight (literally!!!).
Does anyone really see Rigondeaux doing what he did to Rico freaking Ramos to the likes of Donaire or Mares? Are they just going to let Rigondeaux run roughshod over them at his preferred snail's pace, exploding every now and again to keep them at bay?
I guess I'm just not quite so wowed by Rigondeaux over Ramos. I mean, yeah, it was impressive and showed what he can do, but the other time he fought someone decent, when he faced Ricardo Cordoba, he wasn't quite so good, and he was booed out of Texas for stinking out the joint. It's like that fight never happened when you hear the way some folks swoon over Rigondeaux these days.
Anyway, that's how I've got the top four, and until Rigondeaux does something more than slip past a declining Cordoba or smack around a lousy Ramos, it's going to stay that way. Literally (literally!!!) nothing Rigondeaux can do against Teon Kennedy on June 9 will change this, either.
I also took the chance to move Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Akfiumi Shimoda down to Nos. 9 and 10, respectively. They'd been hanging around higher than they needed to be without fighting real competition. At this point both are sort of there because there's no one better to replace them, really.
Anselmo Moreno (32-1-1, 11 KO) is the new No. 1 man at 118 pounds, and I think the only guy in the division I could see possibly troubling him right now would be Joseph Agbeko, but I doubt we see that one any time soon. Leo Santa Cruz may someday get there, but putting him in a ring with Moreno any time in the next year (at least) would run the risk of not just Santa Cruz losing and losing badly, but giving him too much of a mental check and sort of ruining his confidence. Moreno's that kind of good.
Moreno moves up with Mares' exit, of course, because of his one-sided win over David De La Mora this past Saturday night on Showtime. De La Mora wasn't in our top ten (or anyone's except a sanctioning body's), but he's a guy who gave Koki Kameda (No. 5) a solid run for his money not long ago, and Moreno thrashed him.
Everyone else moves up a spot, with Jorge Arce sort of placeholding since he's almost surely going back to 122 for good, and there's a new No. 10 in the rankings, which is England's Jamie McDonnell (19-2-1, 8 KO). I considered a handful of guys, but McDonnell's recent run has been as strong as anyone's, and he's dropped his European title to target a fight with WBC titleholder Shinsuke Yamanaka.
No other divisions had movement this week.
Ranked Fighters in Action This Weekend
Light Heavyweight: No. 1 Bernard Hopkins (, 52-5-2, 32 KO) vs No. 2 Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KO)
Welterweight: No. 9 Vyacheslav Senchenko (32-0, 21 KO) vs Paulie Malignaggi (30-4, 6 KO)
Welterweight: No. 10 Carson Jones (33-8-2, 23 KO) vs Allen Conyers (12-6, 9 KO)
Super Featherweight: No. 4 Juan Carlos Salgado (24-1-1, 16 KO) vs Martin Honorio (32-6-1, 16 KO)
Featherweight: No. 6 Jhonny Gonzalez (51-7, 45 KO) vs Elio Rojas (23-1, 14 KO)
Junior Flyweight: No. 1 Roman Gonzalez (31-0, 26 KO) vs No. 6 Ramon Garcia (16-3-1, 9 KO)
Other Notable Fights: Light heavyweight Ismayl Sillakh main events on Friday Night Fights this week against Denis Grachev. If Sillakh is impressive, there's a good chance he replaces Zsolt Erdei next week. ... Super middleweight Thomas Oosthuizen is in the ShoBox main event against Marcus Johnson, who's looking to get some of his old prospect shine back. Oosthuizen has been briefly ranked a couple of times and is just barely outside the top ten right now. ... Heavyweight Seth Mitchell faces Chazz Witherspoon on HBO on Saturday.