Now that Maskaev has beaten Rahman, I'm trying to figure out my heavyweight top ten. It's a fool's errand, really. The lack of any standout star is still there, though the depth has improved. It's just that the depth is all similarly unimpressive.
Here's what I've got:
1. Sergei Liakhovich (23-1)
Probably wouldn't be a popular pick, but he's the one I have the least problems with when I really get into thinking about how they'd do against the other fighters.
2. Wladimir Klitschko (46-3)
I figure most people have Wlad No. 1 nowadays, and he did look great against Byrd, but Brent and I have the same problem with him: He was once knocked the shit out against Corrie Sanders, it wasn't all that long ago, and nothing he's done since (including being knocked the shit out by Lamon Brewster) has really been all that impressive. Frankly, if Klitschko had lost to Byrd, he would've been done in my eyes, because physically and stylistically there's no way that he shouldn't dominate Chris Byrd. He proved that years ago. I rank Klitschko this high because, well, who else? And if I were Wlad, I'd be very cautious with Shannon Briggs come November.
3. Samuel Peter (26-1)
Peter's lone loss is to Klitschko, and I see him getting a win against Toney.
4. Lamon Brewster (33-3)
Brewster lost to Liakhovic in his last fight, but he went the distance. And obviously I don't think there's anything to be ashamed of there. Since 2000, he's lost one fight. I could have Brewster higher.
5. James Toney (69-4-3)
I like Toney. I really do. And I hate to harp on his weight because it's such a common and predictable thing to do, but really, if Toney didn't show up fat, would he have beaten Rahman? Probably. If he didn't show up fat, would he be the No. 1 heavyweight in the world? It's quite possible. I don't like his chances against Peter, but again, who else?
6. Oleg Maskaev (33-5)
Beat Rahman again, gets here almost by default. He is tough, but he's never going to be a money fighter.
7. Calvin Brock (29-0)
Brock was almost going to be The Next Next Next Next Next Great Hope for the Heavyweights, and then he put on a real stinker against Ibragimov. Brock won that fight easily, but it definitely showed what can be done to slow Brock way down, and a better fighter than Ibragimov might have been able to employ that strategy to get a win.
8. Nicolay Valuev (44-0)
Yes, he's basically a freak attraction, but he's 44-0. I could see Monte Barrett beating Valuev.
9. Hasim Rahman (41-6-2)
The Rock is about as unpredictable as it gets. It's hard to even talk about him, because you just never know.
10. I don't know, take a pick between has-beens, never-weres and won't-bes