Once upon a time the so called "Bible of Boxing", Ring Magazine had standards, prestige, and the type of credibility rarely seen in the sweet science. But as of late, the magazine has gone from boxing's publication standard to politically motivated and "jump the gun" irrational posturing. From Adrien Broner being the #6 best p4p fighter in the world according to their ratings, to Kell Brook being the #3 welterweight in the world despite having ran through less than stellar opposition than that of Devon Alexander, Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto, and Paul Malignaggi, to their most recent flub: Awarding the highly skilled newly crowned WBO 126 pound champion Mikey Angel Garcia with the Ring Featherweight title.
I like Mikey Garcia, I love his talent and I love his personality which is very quiet and humble. I absolutely believe in what he did to Orlando Salido on Saturday; that was no fluke performance. But at the same time, while the boxing world takes notice to this methodical, tactical, boxer puncher, one must step forth into reality and be reminded of such: Orlando Salido wasn't the top dog at 126 pounds. That title belongs to and had always belong to the great hall of fame bound champion Chris John of Indonesia.
John is the kind of fighter that has always been good, yet fails to really get the credit he deserves. Some of this is based on American boxing fans and media simply overlooking a fighter that goes about his business in his native country; some of it has to do however with the lack of career defining wins on John's record. Yes he beat Juan Manuel Marquez, and yes he wants to fight Marquez one more time, even though JMM, who has campaigned between 140-147 pounds for the past two years, has not been involved with the featherweight division for almost a decade.
Rocky Juarez, Daud Yordan, and Marquez are all good wins but they don't warrant the kind of attention Mikey Garcia received this weekend. Still, if you go by longevity and accomplishments how can Ring Magazine give their belt to Garcia over a fighter in Chris John who has defended his WBA title 17 times and is undefeated at 48-0-2?
Mikey Garcia should forget about fighting Yuriorkis Gamboa who at the moment is operating between delusion and arrogance as he chases money in divisions which he ought not venture into. Fighting Timothy Bradley is a mistake that could shift the once seemingly unbeatable "Cyclone of Guantanamo" into the kind of career setback 30 year old fighters can't afford to embrace. Timothy Bradley might be short at 5'7 but he's taller than the 5'3 Gamboa, as well as stronger and more technically polished. Gamboa's career would be in shambles if he decides to move up four weight divisions to fight a guy in Bradley who despite his skill brings nothing to the table in terms of big money.
I would like to see Mikey Garcia fight Chris John in a unification bout (WBO/WBA) and the rightful ownership of the Ring featherweight title. Until then you can't argue Mikey as the number one at featherweight as long as Chris John is still an active champion occupying the same space.
Other than that you have Celestino Caballero the WBA "regular" champion, you also have Billy Dib who holds the IBF crown. I follow Billy Dib on Twitter, he's a nice and was calling out Mikey Garcia over the weekend. I would advise he stay away from Mikey because with all due respect to Billy I think he's not only the most vulnerable featherweight champion out there, but I would tap Caballero, Garcia, or Chris John in a fight with Billy Dib.
People know how I feel about Gary Russell Jr., I think he's going to be the greatest featherweight of all time when his career is done. And that's a fight that had been talked about by Robert Garcia for Mikey. That's a bit too soon for both fighters because even though Mikey has a belt, both guys are still sort of up and coming, especially Gary Russell Jr. Maybe in a year when Russell Jr. has a belt of his own that fight could happen.
What do you guys think? I personally want to see Mikey Garcia fight Chris John, provided of course John wants to fight in the United States which he rarely has done throughout his career.
My current featherweight rankings: (As of January 21st, 2013)
1. Chris John (WBA)
2. Mikey Garcia (WBO, The Ring)
3. Daniel Ponce De Leon (WBC)
4. Orlando Salido
5. Celestino Caballero
6. Gary Russell Jr.
7. Billy Dib (IBF)
8. Jhonny Gonzalez
9. Daud Yordan (IBO)
10. Juanma Lopez