Boxing Rankings for January 2014: Keith Thurman replacing Adrien Broner in more ways than one?

Ronald Martinez

Adrien Broner's bubble was burst on December 14. Is Keith Thurman the real Golden Boy welterweight of the future?

The big boxing story in December, of course, was not Adrien Broner suffering his first official career defeat to Marcos Maidana on December 14 in San Antonio, finding himself on the canvas twice and outpointed by a rugged, still rather crude, but determined and heavy-handed brawler. The flash was gone and the skill seemed non-existent. For all the hype, Adrien Broner fizzled on that night, and now he's out of most welterweight top 10s, except perhaps the one in Chuck Giampa's heart, and that includes ours.

[ Full Rankings Here ]

We weren't nuts on Broner the welterweight even beforehand, as we had him ranked ninth in the December listings. And the win hasn't vaulted Maidana up, either. He was No. 8 last month, and stays No. 8 this month. The knee-jerk reaction might have been to thrust him up into the top five, but is his resume really any better than that of the guys in front of him in Shawn Porter (5), Robert Guerrero (6), and Kell Brook (7)? If we accept that Broner was not what he was sold to be, then yes, Maidana's win is a major story, because people giving a damn makes a story in most cases, but boxing-wise, how big of a deal is it? A big deal, sure, but did it really change the welterweight landscape any? I argue it did not, other than we now see Broner, at least for the time being, as more pretender than contender at 147 pounds. The story is more that the hypejob lost, and with all due respect, less that Maidana beat him. And in boxing terms, it's Maidana putting the icing on a cake that was already fairly exposed -- that's a shitty comparison, but whatever. You get what I mean. A job that Paulie Malignaggi started in June was finished by Maidana in many respects.

Perhaps the real welterweight to watch on December 14 was Keith Thurman, who again showed a patient, dynamic style, plenty of power, good boxing skills, and a smooth soul attitude that one can only get from fighting street gangs in my Keith Thurman detective fan fiction. What Broner was hyped to be, Thurman might actually be. I mean an elite fighter, not a Mayweather clone. Thurman doesn't fight or act like Mayweather. Broner acts like Mayweather, or at least an extra cartoon version of Mayweather that may only exist in Broner's head.

("Stop being mean!")

Shut it up, you.

Broner's 24 years old and has a lot of time to "right the ship," as it were, to get his groove back, to find himself as a welterweight, to make adjustments. He's got the physical talent to do a lot in boxing. Now he's at the stage where the mental strength either kicks in or doesn't. This is where hyped prospects either become top fighters or bust. Broner has lost a fight, but he hasn't lost his career. It's up to him now, though. For now, he's no top 10 welterweight.

Cruiserweight

Alexander Alekseev has retired from boxing, which means he's out of the rankings. In his place is Poland's Grigory Drozd (37-1, 26 KO), who enters at No. 10. The European champ enters largely on the strength of an October stoppage of Mateusz Masternak.

Light Heavyweight

Eleider Alvarez is out, but he could impress on January 18, when he's slated to face Thomas Oosthuizen, and return to the rankings, depending on what all shakes out and how everyone looks. That night also features Jean Pascal (currently No. 9) and unranked but dangerous Lucian Bute, who's more between divisions rankings-wise than anything. Alvarez is out because he was ranked 10th, and Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KO) is once again active after a December 14 smashing of Tamas Kovacs, which appears to be setting up a fight with Bernard Hopkins (No. 3).

Middleweight

Hassan N'Dam (28-1, 17 KO) makes his way back in after finally returning to action on December 14. Beating Anthony Fitzgerald isn't any big deal, but N'Dam gave Peter Quillin (No. 3) all he could handle in October 2012 in a wild fight. He's a quality contender still.

Featherweight

Chris John finally lost a fight, and with that, he's decided to call it a career, not desiring any revenge or a bunch of fights where he sticks around too long. He goes out proud, having just finally been overwhelmed by time and a guy who came out hard in Simpiwe Vetyeka. Luis Franco (11-1-1, 7 KO) is back in at No. 10.

Super Bantamweight

Kiko Martinez knocked out Jeffrey Mathebula in nine rounds on December 21 in Spain, so Martinez is up to No. 4, while Mathebula is out of the rankings. It's a really competitive division and there's just no room for him right now. (Well, it's competitive after Rigondeaux.) 326-year-old Vic Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28 KO) returns to the rankings replacing Mathebula.

Super Flyweight

Former titleholder Tepparith Kokietgym is moving up in weight and he's out of the rankings. Argentina's Roberto Domingo Sosa (24-1, 14 KO) replaces him.

Strawweight

Ryo Miyazaki is gone after a three-round blitzing at the hands of Fahlan Sakkeerin Jr on New Year's Eve in Osaka. Miyazaki is moving up in weight, too.

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