Josesito Lopez's upset of Victor Ortiz this past Saturday gave me reason to take a deeper look at today's welterweight division for this week's rankings, and that's the focus of the update this week.
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Josesito Lopez (30-4, 18 KO) is in at No. 6 this week, with Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 23 KO) dropping down to No. 7. The Ring has them 9/10, but there's a lot about the Ring's rankings that I don't agree with. I'm not saying what they've done in this case is wrong, and they have a full panel and all that stuff, I'm just saying it's not the way I choose to do things.
The dropped fighter to make room for Lopez isn't Randall Bailey, who sat No. 10 last week, but Jan Zaveck, who was No. 7. I'll break down my thought process here.
Let's go past the top five (Mayweather, Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Andre Berto, Kell Brook) and look at the rest:
- Lopez beat Ortiz (#4 coming in), and it was no fluke. He busted his jaw and Ortiz quit the fight. That's a legitimate win. I also personally thought Lopez was winning that fight, period. It was a terrific fight, but I felt Lopez looked like the better man on the night. He didn't just happen to break his jaw and win. It was legit. So Lopez comes in at #6, with Ortiz dropping to #7. I don't think they're far apart, but on the one night they had to prove what they had with one another, Lopez was better.
- Devon Alexander (#7 last week) had a very impressive win over Marcos Maidana in February, looking like a guy who'd gotten his head on straight for the first time in a few fights.
- Paulie Malignaggi (#9 last week) decimated Vyacheslav Senchenko in April. It was an eye-opener and told us that Senchenko wasn't very good at all, frankly, but the fact is that Senchenko was top 10 for everyone going into that fight, was favored by a majority to win over a supposedly faded Malignaggi, and he got smoked.
- Randall Bailey (#10 last week) knocked the shit out of Mike Jones on June 9 and won the IBF title. Jones was ranked #6 going into that fight. It was a pretty sizable upset.
What about Zaveck? Well, Zaveck was a Senchenko sort when he had the IBF belt, defending against perhaps slightly better opposition, but not a ton better -- it was still a fairly weak title reign, and included a defense against Paul Delgado, which was absurd. But Zaveck did show he's a legit fighter last year against Andre Berto, putting on a good show and losing after five rounds due to a cut.
In short, here's how I see it: Zaveck is a pretty good fighter. So are Alexander, Malignaggi, and Bailey. But what Alexander, Malignaggi, and Bailey have done recently trumps a good loss from Zaveck, I believe. Those guys beat good opponents -- none as good as Berto, in my opinion, but I also don't think any of them would really do worse against Berto than Zaveck did, either. In this instance, it's about resume, and wins and losses. Zaveck's last fight was a win over a decent fight (Bethuel Uushona), but nothing to write home about. Alexander, Malignaggi, and Bailey all beat ranked fighters, though Alexander's win was over a guy ranked at 140 -- still, it was also Alexander's welterweight "debut," and he broke Maidana into pieces out there.
You could disagree here and I won't argue much. This is just an explanation of how I arrived to this conclusion for the rankings. The closest one out is Bailey, who is actually a worse matchup for any of the guys ahead of him than is Malignaggi. Boxing is a weird fucking sport to try and rank. That's why I try to make clear you can't take ANY rankings all that seriously. They're just a best effort, and in most cases, pure guesswork. You can analyze all you want, but everything has so many ways it could go, and then some nights, Malignaggi whips someone's ass, and Ortiz gets his jaw broken by Lopez, and you have to start considering Jessie Vargas, and it's all just crazy as hell, man.
(Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime)
I almost moved Lucas Matthysse up to No. 3 after his win over Humberto Soto, but that can wait until we get something clear about the Lamont Peterson ordeal. I could honestly hear an argument for Matthysse to be No. 1 if, like me, you think he got shafted against both Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, but of course had he gotten the win over Judah, who knows where his career would have taken him from that point? Whole different ballgame. Like I said, fucking guesswork. It's never as simple as A-B-C 1-2-3. Ever. Every single that could've happened but didn't takes you in 10 more possible directions. "Well what if," "such as," "henceforth..." (this sounds like Victor Ortiz interview).
I didn't drop Humberto Soto. I know I've been critical of him, but if you actually read the words I write, you also know I think he's very talented. He got overpowered by Matthysse, who is a very good fighter. If there was a guy I could have slotted in that I think is truly better than he is, then I would make a switch. But the guys I considered were Denis Shafikov, Khabib Allakhverdiev, Mercito Gesta, Mike Dallas Jr, Mauricio Herrera, Karim Mayfield, and my man Chop Chop Corley.
Being serious, would you really pick any of them to beat Soto? And do any of them really have the resume to say they've done something to deserve it? This isn't like the welterweight decision. That was a tight group of guys where one guy got squeezed out. This is about trying to squeeze someone in, basically. I don't believe that to beat "the champion" you really have to beat him, like kick his ass so hard every round that it can't POSSIBLY go to "the champion" (this is honestly the stupidest idea in all of sports to me), but with the rankings, in this particular situation, I feel like someone should have to earn it. Soto's done more than those guys and I still view him as a better fighter. Now if one of them does something impressive, then sure, they get in.
Mostly the spot is basically being warmed for Brandon Rios, whenever he gets around to fighting at 140.