Another Sunday, another update to the rankings.
Divisions Affected: Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Junior Middleweight
Heavyweight: Obviously, the Valuev-Haye fight on Saturday was between two top ten guys. Haye I had at No. 6 and Valuev at No. 8 -- I had Valuev at No. 8 because he stinks. He's deserved to lose a couple of fights he won, including one over an Evander Holyfield who was 46 and frankly older than that after all the punishment he's taken in his career. As I've said plenty since starting the rankings, I don't do this the "normal" way, because I think the normal way doesn't really work for boxing. Wins and losses aren't #1; you can look good losing and look bad winning. You can raise your stock with a loss and lose some with a win. It just is the way it is. And wins and losses in boxing aren't always fair either. You don't simply score more points than your opponent, it's judged.
But despite all that, nothing really changes here. Haye stays at No. 6 (behind the Klitschkos, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev and Cristobal Arreola) and Valuev drops one spot to No. 9. I keep Valuev in despite my opinion of him, because as lame as I think he is, he's still a terrible matchup for basically anybody. Haye looked bad against him, to be honest, but no one looks good against Valuev. That is a fair assessment. Name the last guy that looked good against Valuev.
You could have Haye a little higher if you put any stock into his title belt, which I don't. The WBA's heavyweight title has been devalued to the point of irrelevance. I'm not saying Haye doesn't matter, I'm saying I hope he restores some of the luster. Since he'll fight eternal WBA No. 1 contender John Ruiz, that might have to wait.
Speaking of Ruiz, his ring return on the Valuev-Haye undercard has him back in my rankings at No. 10. I wanted to put him higher, honestly, but I don't see it. The division has actually gotten a fair bit better in the 15 months he's been out of the ring. I had him as high as No. 6 in 2008. I know he's nobody's favorite, but at 37 he's still better and smarter than most guys out there.
As for guys knocking on the door to get rid of a few of these old guys, there's Kevin Johnson (fighting Vitali on Dec. 12), Denis Boytsov (23 years old, 26-0 with 21 KO) and Odlanier Solis. Solis may never get into peak fighting shape, but even heavy he's got a boatload of talent.
Light Heavyweight: Chad Dawson doesn't move, but his win over Glen Johnson was an impressive boxing performance. He looked like a guy who's really at the top of his sport this time, by which I mean he looked fully like a guy that belongs there. Not only is he a great talent, but he has matured and become very smart. Clearly he's clicking with trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Dawson stays at No. 2, behind Bernard Hopkins.
Glen Johnson does drop down from No. 3 to No. 6. He just was not in that fight. The judges' scorecards (two of them at 115-113) really surprised me. Glen clearly lost that fight, no matter how much celebrating he did after. His own corner knew they were down huge, and they had to convince him of that by exaggerating and saying, "Oh, Glen, it's because that always want to job you out!" Johnson has had plenty of losses in his career that were arguable or even robberies, but there have been some that were very legit, too. Last night was quite legit. Dawson made him look 40.
Honestly, I think there's a pretty big gulf between Hopkins and Dawson and the rest of the field.
Junior Middleweight: I flip-flop Alfredo Angulo up to No. 5 and Daniel Santos down to No. 6. I know, I know -- Santos hasn't lost this week. Keep your wigs on. I'm more impressed by what Angulo did to Harry Joe Yorgey than I will be by anything that Santos does to Yuri Foreman next Saturday. I also didn't see Cintron over Angulo as clearly as a lot of people did. That fight wasn't a blowout. It was surprising that Cintron fought perhaps his best-ever fight, but Angulo wasn't outclassed. Honestly, junior middleweight is one of the strangest divisions there is. It's competitive, in a sense, but the top guys aren't fighting each other, and there isn't a single great fighter there.