Sergio Martinez left with all the hardware on Saturday, and made clear that he's the true top dog at 160 pounds. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
It was quite a weekend for the sport of boxing, as several highly-rated fighters either made statements or had statements made at their expense. Let's run down the changes in this week's rankings, a far busier post than usual.
Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KO) obviously keeps his No. 1 spot thanks to his largely dominant win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr on Saturday night, and more than just keeping it, I think he's made clear that at 37, he's a class above the rest of this decision. No disrespect to Daniel Geale, a hard-working fighter who has earned his two titles with road wins in Germany, and is a talent, but does anyone really see Geale giving Martinez real problems? And if not Geale, then could anyone at 160 do it besides maybe the offensive dynamo that is Gennady Golovkin? If Golovkin had any hope of landing a Martinez fight, I think I'd consider that one a little, but Sergio has earned the right to say he's the true class of this division.
Chavez Jr (46-1-1, 32 KO) drops from his inch-by-inch climb up to No. 3 down to No. 6, behind Geale, Golovkin, Felix Sturm, and another of this weekend's winners, Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20 KO), who demolished Joachim Alcine in the first round.
I still think this is a really interesting division, particularly if these guys behind Martinez keep mixing together. We've seen the climate of the weight class really change this month, starting with Geale's win over Sturm on September 1, as well as Golovkin crushing Grzegorz Proksa that night. And next month, we'll get to see No. 7 (Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam) face No. 10 (Peter Quillin), assuming that fight doesn't fall apart.
I'll mention this since some might wonder: I know I have Dmitry Pirog No. 7, and that some people might even have him as high as, like, No. 2 or 3. But I'm just not in love with Pirog -- I don't think much of his post-Jacobs level of competition, and his performances have seemed fairly pedestrian to me, in that way that a good fighter can be pedestrian. Pirog is a quality fighter, but his internet/press name value has largely been built on a win from over two years ago against a guy who was himself an unproven prospect, talked up but lacking cold, hard results in the ring.
Canelo Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KO) wiped out poor Josesito Lopez on Saturday. Lopez is arguable as a welterweight with his frame, and the fears that he would be grossly overmatched in a physical sense pushing his body to junior middleweight were realized. It was pretty apparent right away that it was going to get ugly. No game plan in the world -- and Lopez seemed to have as good a plan as he could have -- was going to save him against Alvarez, who ripped off body and head shots like a professional marksman against a slow, underpowered opponent.
I'm not saying the win for Alvarez means as much as it could in pure boxing terms. Frankly, I think it's clear that we got a fight that really shouldn't have been approved, but it's a lovemaking time between Golden Boy and Showtime, so they can probably pass whatever they want through that system right now. Lopez was, and is, a great story, an underdog with the heart of a fuckin' lion who didn't want to give up on himself even as Canelo tore him to pieces. But you can romanticize and spin it six ways from Sunday, and it doesn't change that all Canelo proved is he can beat the shit out of a junior welterweight.
And I mean, I like Canelo Alvarez. And he stays at No. 2 in the 154-pound rankings.
With Lopez (30-5, 18 KO) the victim of a Mack truck attack in the division up, I reshuffled the 147-pound rankings this week as well. There was always room for change here past the top three guys at the moment (Mayweather, Pacquiao, Bradley), and Kell Brook is pretty well dug in at No. 4 for the time being, but beyond that it gets a little messier.
The new five through ten is Devon Alexander, Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero, Lopez, Victor Ortiz, and Randall Bailey. It's an interesting group -- frankly I could see any of them beating any of the others if they fought, and the neat thing is, literally all of those fights could happen.
Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KO) maintains his No. 4 ranking after his technical decision victory over Johnny Gonzalez. Gonzalez (52-8, 45 KO) trades places with Mikey Garcia, moving from No. 5 to No. 6. Not much was really settled with that fight, the lone true disappointment of the weekend, and even then it was a fine fight.
Rocky Martinez got by Miguel Beltran Jr in a great fight on Saturday, and this division gets a bit of a remix, too. Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KO) stays at No. 5, but Beltran (27-2, 17 KO) goes from just barely not ranked into the mix at No. 8. Jorge Solis falls from No. 6 to No. 10 as he's hanging on by a thread here -- he hasn't fought since December, and he's lost two straight, albeit to Yuriorkis Gamboa and Takashi Uchiyama. Someone could make a statement in this division and knock Solis on out of here.
Leo Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 12 KO) stays put at No. 6, but imagine there's a little fire .gif by his name, because talent-wise, I think there might be nobody in this division better than him, except for Anselmo Moreno, who is on his way out. It's just hard for me to jump him up more at the moment considering Eric Morel hasn't exactly been a serious contender in years, and never at this weight. It was an impressive performance, though.
Yoan Pablo Hernandez drops from No. 2 to No. 4, as his performance was iffy against Troy Ross on Saturday. I don't care about titles so much -- any of them -- with these rankings, it's about quality. Ross, who is a good fighter but had been inactive, is in at No. 6. Denis Lebedev and Ola Afolabi move ahead of Hernandez.
This Week's Ranked Fighters in Action
Cruiserweight: No. 5 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (46-2-1, 33 KO) vs Francisco Palacios (21-1, 13 KO)
Junior Middleweight: No. 10 Gabriel Rosado (20-5, 12 KO) vs Charles Whittaker (38-12-2, 23 KO)
Junior Welterweight: No. 10 Denis Shafikov (29-0-1, 17 KO) vs James Onyango (9-4-1, 9 KO)
Lightweight: No. 3 Ricky Burns (34-2, 9 KO) vs No. 5 Kevin Mitchell (33-1, 24 KO)
Super Bantamweight: No. 6 Jorge Arce (60-6-2, 46 KO) vs Mauricio Martinez (36-12-1, 24 KO)
Super Flyweight: No. 7 Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr (14-1-1, 7 KO) vs No. 10 Rodel Mayol (31-5-2, 22 KO)
Flyweight: No. 9 Rocky Fuentes (33-6-2, 20 KO) vs Myung Ho Lee (15-1, 5 KO)