Well fight fans, I must tell you that I am very upset right now. Let me start by saying that I am a long time “The Ring” magazine subscriber and, for the most part, have been happy with their publication. Every now and then, they do tend to be off in my opinion, but I have never been at the brink of having an aneurism. THAT HAS NOW CHANGED! This month, I received both my “The Ring,” and “The Ring Extra,” and it took me a week to be able to hold my food down. I can honestly tell you that I have felt physically ill and have not been able to recover properly. I held off from writing this because it was initially full of profanity and unfit for the pages of SaddoBoxing.com. Well, a whole seven days later, I am able to leave the profanity out, but you can bet I am still thinking of profanity as I am writing this.
The “regular” publication of “The Ring” this month had the top ten pound-for-pound fighters in the world today. “The Ring Extra” had the best one-hundred fighters in the world today. I usually do not get upset at these rankings because they are opinions and everyone is entitled to one. Also, I can usually live with the rankings that “The Ring” organization comes up with because they are as “fair” as possible, in my opinion. Here is why my opinion drastically changed this month. Reading the list of the top ten fighters in the world today, which of course are also the first ten of the top one-hundred fighters in the world today, and this is the way they rank in “The Ring”:
1. Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather: No argument there.
2. Ronald “Winky” Wright: Don’t know if two wins over Shane Mosley and embarrassing Felix Trinidad warrant this high of a rating, but still no problem.
3. Marco Antonio Barrera: His longevity in competing at the highest level of the sport, and wins over fellow pound-for-pound fighters do mean a lot, so he is still a definite top five selection.
4. Erik Morales: Barrera and “El Terrible” are interchangeable so where there is one, the other should always follow as he carries the same credentials as the “Baby Faced Assassin.”
5. Manny Pacquiao: I’m not sure that “The Destroyer” really deserves such a high ranking, since his biggest win is against Barrera and as big as that is, should that one victory grant him consideration as the fifth best fighter in the world today? Still, I may not completely agree, but there is no really problem at this point since he has fought and beaten some solid fighters over the course of his career and is a top-ten selection.
6. Juan Manuel Marquez: Same thinking here as with Manny. A draw with the “Pac-Man” in an instant classic does give you a bigger name, but does not warrant a rating of being the sixth best fighter in the world. Marquez, as Pacquiao, has beaten some solid fighters over the course of his career so, although rated a little high in my opinion, is still a definite top eight selection.
7. Ricky Hatton: I am sorry, but WHAT!? Ok my fellow fanatics; here is where my headache started. No offense to the British contingent, but a win over Kostya Tszyu does not merit a quantum leap of forty-three slots as Hatton ranked at number fifty last year. From last year to this year, he beat Dennis Pedersen, Carlos Vilches, Michael Stewart, Ray Oliveira, and Tszyu. Now, from that list of fighters, can anyone honestly tell me that Hatton deserved to go from number fifty to number seven? Hey, put him in the top twenty because of the Tszyu win alone, and I would have no problem at all, but number seven in the world? I just do not see any justification for that.
8. Diego Corrales: “Chico” has faced and beaten some solid pugilists in his career and completed an impressive tri-fecta in 2004 with a win over Joel Casamayor, made Acelino Freitas pull a “no mas,” and staged one of the most brutal fights ever seen against the lightweight monster known as Jose Luis Castillo. All of these fighters rated in the top one-hundred so Corrales definitely deserves a top-ten rating, as he has literally fought for it. Now, knowing his longevity, and the quality of world-class opposition he has beaten, can anyone really justify Diego’s ranking under Ricky Hatton? I did not think so.
9. Jermain Taylor: Only one word can describe this: YIKES! Forget what I said about Hatton since he rated in the top fifty last year. Taylor was number seventy-six only twelve short months ago and now jumped sixty-seven spots. Why? Because over the course of the past year, he beat two shopworn fighters in Raul Marquez (blown up 154-pounder) and William Joppy, a blown up junior middleweight in Alex Bunema, a C-plus level fighter in Daniel Edouard, and Bernard Hopkins. Of course, the only win of any merit to consider moving Taylor up into the top thirty is the win over Bernard, but all the way to number nine? I don’t think so! Should he repeat his win against Hopkins, then beat at least two solid contender like Felix Strum, and Sam Soliman, then he would definitely be a top fifteen type fighter, but still not a top-ten guy. One name for you people that gives the Hopkins win that much merit: Vernon Forrest. When he beat Mosley, most made him a top pound-for-pound type and, as we now know, that was just not the case. Same thing happened when Mayorga beat Forrest. Moral of this story: one huge win does not make you a top-ten pound-for-pound type fighter. Consistency, longevity, and continued wins over top quality opposition are what should matter the most.
10. Bernard Hopkins: Last year’s number-one fighter dropped nine slots on the heels of a close decision loss to who is now the number-nine ranked fighter in the world according to the publication. So let me get this straight, number-one loses to number- nine, but beat last year’s number-nine, who is also this year’s number eighteen in Oscar de la Hoya, and turns back the top middleweight contender, prior to Taylor, in Howard Eastman, yet still drops all the way to number ten? WOW! Someone must have failed logic class in school.
Now fight fans, I must tell you that the following took a lot of restraint, aided by Zoloft, as I just could not believe what I read. Number eleven and twelve are Antonio Tarver and Zab Judah respectively. Tarver’s biggest win is against Roy Jones Jr. He followed up by splitting a pair of bouts with Glen Johnston. Now, the Jones victory is a quality one and Antonio has beaten some very decent opposition over the course of his career, but number-eleven is not his place. In the top twenty-five, I would agree, but not eleven. Twelve is Judah, which is based on his win over Cory Spinks, whom he also split a pair of fights and blowout of number one contender Cosme Rivera. Now “Super” has always been rated more on his potential, rather than actual accomplishments. Zab belongs within the top thirty fighters in the world, but closer to thirty than twenty-five.
Now, here is where my head exploded and I went face first into the toilet hoping I would drown in its water. Number thirteen on the list is none other than “El Temible” Jose Luis Castillo, who actually fell one slot from last year as he was number twelve only twelve months ago. I will now quote “The Ring’s” write up on Castillo. “Status Report: Made no advance in “The Ring” one-hundred since last year, but made a giant leap in terms of name recognition and respect. Turned away Joel Casamayor (W 12) in a close fight in December ’04, and bludgeoned Julio Diaz (KO 10) in March ’05, and fell one punch short in a modern classic against Diego Corrales (KO by 10) in May. It’s hard to do much better in defeat than Castillo did in losing to Corrales.”
Ok! What is wrong with this picture people? In the past twelve months, Castillo beat Joel Casamayor (rated number-twenty by The Ring), Juan Lazcano (rated number-fifty-five by “The Ring”), Julio Diaz (rated number-seventy-one by “The Ring”), and “fell one punch short in a modern classic,” against Diego Corrales (rated number-eight by “The Ring”), yet dropped a slot and is rated under Ricky Hatton, Jermain Taylor, Antonio Tarver, and Zab Judah? WHAT!? “El Temible” has more quality wins over top opposition in the course of his career than any of the aforementioned. He has beaten the likes of a prime Stevie Johnston, a prime Cesar Bazan, gave Mayweather Jr. hell for twenty-four rounds, even winning the first fight, though not on the cards, and he is the number thirteen guy on the list. BS!
To add insult to injury, Casamayor, whom Castillo beat, actually gained three slots, from twenty-three to twenty, because as “The Ring” states, “He lost a narrow decision to lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo last December, and came away with a draw in June against unbeaten prospect Almazbek Raiymkulov. On TV, most thought Raiymkulov won; in press row, most sided with Casamayor.” Well, in the first fight against “Pretty Boy” Floyd, most of the TV and press row sided with Jose Luis Castillo, but that did not help his rating with “The Ring” then, and it sure is not helping him now! Include the fact that last year both Julio Diaz (rated sixty-seven), and Juan Lazcano (rated forty-five) had better ratings when they lost to Jose Luis and the logic behind it just completely evaporates into thin air. Diego Corrales and Erik Morales are the only other fighters in the top thirteen who, in the past year, beat three top one-hundred rated fighters. “Chico’s” accomplishments warranted a jump from number-sixteen to number-eight, and Morales’ moved him from six to four, but Castillo’s labors earned him a drop from twelve to thirteen.
What can you say? If Ricky Hatton, Jermain Taylor, Antonio Tarver, and Zab Judah warrant a higher raking than Jose Luis Castillo, then they should also include Laila Ali in there for beating the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Christy Martin. Hey, it worked for Taylor and Hatton, so why not for Ali. At least she has the name for it.
Contact Sergio Martinez at email@example.com