This past Saturday night's Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley fight was one of the most controversial, attention-grabbing results in years, as Timothy Bradley scored a split decision win that few agreed with, picking up the WBO welterweight title in the process.
This week's rankings update is a bit "bigger" than the usual, because I had to decide on a few major things: Does Bradley rank ahead of Pacquiao at 147? If not, where does Bradley debut in a new weight class? And who's the new No. 1 man at 140 pounds?
No, Manny Pacquiao does not drop. I do not feel he truly lost on Saturday. So he stays at No. 2 in the division, because I still think he's the No. 2 man in the division. Wins and losses just do not mean in boxing what they mean in other sports. A loss does not automatically drop you from where you were before, and to pretend that must be the case is ridiculous. That idea works under the belief that boxing is fair or like other sports in any way. It's not, really, in either case. Losing isn't always losing.
I settled on debuting Timothy Bradley at No. 3, behind only Floyd and Manny. I believe Tim Bradley's performance was strong, actually, I just don't think he won. That should be the story right now, but isn't. Bradley proved he belongs in the ring with the top fighters, in my opinion, but also that he's just a little below that very, very top level. His performance against Pacquiao is better than Victor Ortiz did last year against Mayweather, and it's better than anything the likes of Andre Berto or Kell Brook have done to date. I couldn't figure a way to rank him below anyone except for Floyd and Manny, and maybe Ortiz, though I chose to put him over Ortiz for now.
Also debuting at welterweight this week is 37-year-old veteran Randall Bailey, coming in at No. 10. Bailey, who won the IBF belt with a sensational knockout of Mike Jones (after a boring fight), remains a one-trick pony, but it's a good trick. Would I pick him to beat Carson Jones, who drops out from No. 10? Honestly, I'd probably pick Jones, but Bailey's one right hand away from ending anyone's night, and the win over Jones (who was ranked No. 6 last week) is a good, credible victory.
Mike Jones is now unranked.
With Timothy Bradley out, there's a new No. 1 junior welterweight in the world for the first time in a long time. This was an interesting decision, and there were three viable candidates in Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson, and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Truthfully, I eliminated Peterson first. Until we know the exact details of his testosterone case, it's hard for me to say he's the world's best at 140 pounds. It just doesn't seem right.
But also seeming not right was the idea of ranking Amir Khan at No. 1 despite the fact that he's coming off of a loss, which was debatable in the first place, and now it's unclear exactly what we should make of the loss at all, if anything.
So I just gave it to the guy I think is the best fighter currently plying his trade at 140 pounds, and that's Juan Manuel Marquez. I have Khan second, and Peterson third. If we get some news about Peterson that makes sense to do so, he'll re-flip with Khan and go back to No. 2.
Bradley's exit opened a spot for a new No. 10 in the division, and I gave it to Humberto Soto.
Despite a superb performance in outclassing Teon Kennedy, Guillermo Rigondeaux stays put at No. 4. Kennedy hasn't won in his last three fights and probably shouldn't have been challenging for any title belt in the first place, and the difference in their ability was very clear, very quickly. The performance was impressive, but the win was easy to see coming, and it doesn't make Rigondeaux any better than I thought he was on Saturday morning.
The division does get a jumble, though. Jorge Arce, who went to a two-round no-contest with Jesus Rojas, is back in here at No. 6. That's simply because Arce is clearly staying in this division and not returning to bantamweight, where he won a title belt he never defended last year. All the targeted fights for him are at 122 pounds, so he's back in the rankings at 122 pounds, instead of 118.
The No. 7 man last week was Fernando Montiel. Lost in the Pacquiao-Bradley shouting is the fact that Montiel also won on Saturday, with a disputed split decision in Mexico over Arturo Santos. Santos was outraged by the decision and has demanded a rematch. At this point, Montiel is 33 years old and just hasn't been looking too good since Nonito Donaire flattened him last year. He's out this week, because this is just such a hyper-competitive division that I think he's simply fallen out of the top 10.
Two more I've decided to remove: Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Akifumi Shimoda. Both are good fighters, but frankly aren't proving it anymore. Since being knocked out by Rico Ramos, Shimoda has fought two scrubs. Poonsawat's reputation is still largely derived from a win over Bernard Dunne in 2009, and defenses against Shoji Kimura and Satoshi Hosono. He's gone 6-0 since losing to Ryol Li Lee, but not against good opposition.
In at Nos. 9 and 10 are Takalani Ndlovu and Scott Quigg, who get there for different reasons. Ndlovu is a quality veteran who has kept a strong schedule over the last three years, and has some good wins. Quigg is a rising potential star who will either strengthen his case this Saturday against Rendall Munroe, or lose and give up that spot to Munroe. I also considered Alexander Bakhtin, a good Russian fighter who will never thrill anyone but can box.
With Arce back out, OPBF champ Rolly Matsushita enters at No. 10.
This Week's Ranked Fighters in Action
Heavyweight: No. 4 Tomasz Adamek (45-2, 28 KO) vs Eddie Chambers (36-2, 18 KO)
Middleweight: No. 8 Martin Murray (23-0-1, 10 KO) vs Karim Achour (13-2-2, 2 KO)
Middleweight: No. 9 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (45-0-1, 31 KO) vs Andy Lee (28-1, 20 KO)
Super Bantamweight: No. 10 Scott Quigg (24-0, 17 KO) vs Rendall Munroe (24-2, 10 KO)