Now that 2009 is getting close to wrapping up, it means this decade is almost over. Before the end of the year, I hope to get through all the weight classes, presenting to you some choices for the best fighter in a given weight class in the decade. I'm not going in any particular order here, but we'll get through all 17 weight classes.
When voting, please only consider the time that the fighter was in the specified weight class during this decade. Also, I'm not going to count obvious ballot stuffing when I tally these up at the end of the year.
Light Flyweight is often one of those go-between divisions, where a lot of the top fighters really split time between 108 and either 105 or 112. Despite this, there have been a number of titlists in the weight class who were able to string together long title defense streaks. Unlike the divisions around it, most of the best fighters came from one area of the world, meaning that the best often did fight the best. There are several names that stick out, but several of them are better known for their work in other weight classes, or for their work before the start of the decade.
Jorge Arce - Arce spent the earlier half of the decade at 108, putting together a string of 8 title defenses and going 11-0 at the weight. His best wins include Juanito Rubillar (twice), Yo Sam Choi, Joma Gamboa and Melchor Cob Castro. It was somewhat of a shock how hard Arce has fallen lately, but considering his actual competition was weaker than that of the other titlists in the weight class, one has to wonder whether he was really that good, or whether he was just matched that carefully.
Ivan Calderon - Iron Boy has gone 10-0-1 in the weight class, including five defenses of a light flyweight title. Key victories come over Hugo Cazares (twice), Nelson Dieppa, Juan Esquer and Rodel Mayol. The lone draw came against Mayol, in a bout that was shortened by a cut and ended up being a technical draw.
Hugo Cazares - Cazares went 14-2 in the decade at junior flyweight, including five title defenses. Key victories include Nelson DIeppa (twice), Domingo Guillen, Wilfrido Vasquez and Alex Sanchez. Both losses came to Ivan Calderon, who had moved up from his lengthy reign at 105 to win two close fights over his much larger opponent.
Nelson Dieppa - Dieppa went 9-4-1 in the decade in the weight class, with a string of strong wins and five title defenses earlier in the decade and most of his losses coming later on as he's slowed down a bit. Wins include Ulises Solis, Fahlan Sakkreerin, Kermin Guardia and Alex Sanchez (twice). Losses came to Hugo Cazares (twice), Daniel Reyes and Ivan Calderon.
Ricardo Lopez - Finito was at the VERY tail end of his career in the 2000's, but he probably deserves a mention since some would even say that a faded, overweight Lopez was a better boxer than most of the guys on this list. He went 2-0 in the decade, with wins over Ratanapol Sor Vorapin and Zolani Petelo.
Ulises "Archi" Solis - Solis has a record of 27-2-2 at 108, which included a run of eight title defenses. Key victories included Edgar Sosa, Omar Soto, Will Grigsby (twice), Jose Antonio Aguirre, Rodel Mayol, Bert Batawang and Glenn Donaire. The losses came to Brian Viloria and Nelson Dieppa.
Edgar Sosa - Sosa has gone 32-6 in the weight class, although the losses are extremely deceptive. Five of his losses came within his first 16 fights, and somehow, all five fighters he lost to have gone on to at least get a title shot. After those early losses, he ran off a six year undefeated streak, including winning a title and making 10 defenses of it. Key wins include Brian Viloria, Francisco Rosas, Luis Lazarte, Lorenzo Trejo, Takashi Kunishige, Juanito Rubillar and Omar Soto. The early losses came to Ulises Solis (twice), Isaac Bustos, Manuel Vargas and Omar Nino. Most recently, he has an official loss on his record to Rodel Mayol for a fight where his orbital was broken by a headbutt.
Roberto Vasquez - Vasquez went 14-1 at the weight, with the only loss coming in his pro debut as a result of a cut. His best wins were over Jose Antonio Aguirre, Noel Arambulet, Beibis Mendoza and Edgar Velasquez.
Others for consideration: Brian Viloria, Will Grigsby, Rosendo Alvarez, Beibis Mendoza, Victor Burgos, Yo Sam Choi, Koki Kameda