The Cyber Boxing Zone
Phrank Da Slugger's May Ratings

Ratings as of May 17, 2000

There are 3 criteria I use to rate fighters: Quality of Opposition, Performance and Activity. I am ranking the best from 1 to 10; this is to see who deserves a title shot. I rate all 18 divisions, a time-consuming activity to say the least. Therefore, commentary only appears every 3rd month.

Some mistakingly think the Champion in each division is the guy who I think is the best. This is not the case. There are 2 criteria by which I determine Champions: the 1st is lineage (Dariusz Michalczewski beat Virgil Hill who beat Henry Maske); and the 2nd is defeating another fighter also ranked in the top 3 in the division. There is the exception: Bernard Hopkins is one of those rare titlists who has reigned a long time and defeated many contenders. He is the dominant fighter in his weight class and has won, mostly via KO, against a number of different contenders. You could say I¹m rewarding him for long and meritorious service.

Heavyweights (over 195 lbs)
Champion: Lennox Lewis (WBC, IBF, IBO)

1. Evander Holyfield
2. David Tua
3. Chris Byrd (WBO)
4. Oleg Maskaev
5. Wladimir Klitschko
6. Michael Grant
7. Andrew Golota
8. Larry Donald
9. Vitali Klitschko
10. David Izon
Well, that was definitive. The Champion was his most impressive in years in dispatching Grant. Grant, who needs some more seasoning, doesn't fall far; it's a hard argument to rate him below anyone from 7 on down. And that says a lot about the current state of the division...Of course Lewis no longer holds the WBA title, so when you see a fighter in the future here wearing that belt, you¹ll know how worthless it is...Note the date of these ratings (a few days later and I would have put Maskaev ahead of the questionable Byrd. The new WBO titlist was on his way to losing till V. Klitschko quit. Hey, Vitali, grab a tape of Derrick Jefferson¹s losing effort against Maskaev). He plummets to #9...While one brother declines, the other shines: Wladimir Klitschko won twice recently, most impressively a 1-round blowout of Paea Wolfgramm. He continues to rise, moving up a notch, as does Golota...Byrd¹s ascension displaces Kirk Johnson...Lots of action coming up, with Tua and Holyfield in separate bouts, Mike Tyson with another walkover and Lewis defending against Frans Botha this summer.

Crusierweights (195 lbs)
Champion: Fabrice Tiozzo (WBA)

1. Vassili Jirov (IBF)
2. Juan Carlos Gomez (WBC)
3. Johnny Nelson (WBO)
4. Carl Thompson
5. Marcelo Dominguez
6. James Toney
7. Arthur Williams
8. Wayne Braithwaite
9. Louis Azille
10. Saul Montana
This may be a moribund division, but at least the guys at the top are active. Tiozzo, Jirov, Nelson, Thompson and Dominguez (twice) all were active recently. And Gomez destroyed ex-titlist Imamu Mayfield. Now if these guys could get around to facing each other!...Mayfield's exit welcomes back Montana...Williams needs to fight...An interesting match-up in the works for this summer would pit Dominguez against up-and-coming Braithwaite.

Light Heavyweights (175 lbs)
Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)

1. Roy Jones (WBC, WBA, IBF, NBA, IBO)
2. Clinton Woods
3. Reggie Johnson
4. Derrick Harmon
5. Graciano Rocchigiani
6. Greg Wright
7. Antonio Tarver
8. Eric Harding
9. Montell Griffin
10. Fred Moore
Well, they finally did it: 4 years after their intial, and controversial, fight, Michalczewski and Rocchigiani fought a rematch. The Champion was very impressive against the ever-pressing ex-titlist. "Rocky" climbs back to #5, maybe a bit high, but no one below him is proven...Michael Nunn exits after a year of inactivity...Woods moves to a solid #2 with his KO of Ole Klemetsen, who leaves. I think we have a real contender in the 175-pound class...Another good looking contender is the steadily rising Wright, who remains active and scoring solid wins...Griffin returns with a good showing, and Harmon continues to win...Oh, yeah, Jones fought as well. He dominated his opponent, Richard Hall, but the challenger showed he may have a future here.

Super Middleweights (168 lbs)

1. Sven Ottke (IBF)
2. Joe Calzaghe (WBO)
3. Thomas Tate
4. Mads Larsen (WBF)
5. Glenn Catley (WBC)
6. Bruno Girard (WBA)
7. Charles Brewer
8. Richie Woodhall
9. Markus Beyer
10. Byron Mitchell
An active month as 2 titles changed hands. 1st, Girard righted things as he decisively decisioned Mitchell, and then Catley impressively stopped Beyer...Tate and Woodhall active...What is up with Calzaghe? He pulled out of his 3rd fight in a year, the latest a gimmee over Omar Sheika on HBO...Ottke should give Tate a rematch. But 1st, it looks like Brewer will get his chance for revenge...The ever-unimpressive and inactive Mitchell's position is tenuous; just below him is the powerful James Butler, who's ready to blast his way in.

Middleweights (160 lbs)
Champion: Bernard Hopkins (IBF, IBC)

1. Keith Holmes (WBC)
2. William Joppy (WBA)
3. Antwun Echols
4. Hassine Cherifi
5. Armand Krajnc (WBO)
6. Antonio Perugino (WBU)
7. Raymond Joval
8. Rito Ruvalcaba
9. Jason Matthews
10. Andrew Council
Again, please check the date of these ratings. I moved Holmes ahead of Joppy based on his good win over Robert McCracken, but then Joppy blew out Ruvalcaba a couple days after these were done. Such is the nature of doing ratings. Now, at least, I have a full month to search for a replacement for Ruvalcaba...Hopkins showed even against a guy who's crude and just intent on lasting the distance, he's still the best. The Champ also picked up his 2nd title (the inconsequential IBC)...Echols and Cherifi active...Hopefully the Echols-Council bout can be rescheduled.

Jr. Middleweights (154 lbs)
Champion: Javier Castillejos (WBC)

1. Fernando Vargas (IBF)
2. Felix Trinidad (WBA)
3. Harry Simon (WBO)
4. Winky Wright 
5. David Reid
6. Bronco McKart (IBA)
7. Tony Marshall
8. Ike Quartey
9. Emmett Linton
10. Jason Papillion
Vargas just keeps getting better and better. His win over the 4th ex-titlist in his reign made moving him ahead of Trinidad mandatory. A potential match-up between the 2 titlists late this year is, in my opinion, the most attractive match-up in the sport...Quartey was beaten but proved as solid as ever, and enters a strong #8. Hopefully he'll fight again before the year is over...McKart up a spot as he remains active and is rumored to be getting a shot at Simon's title...The Champion (who, unfortunately, is no better than the 7th best fighter in the division) stays busy with 2 non-title fights...Papillion in with a surprise upset of Anthony Jones, who exits. Papillion will rematch with McKart next month...Ex-Champion Keith Mullings also exits after nearly a year of inactivity.

Welterweights (147 lbs)

1. Oscar de la Hoya (WBC)
2. Shane Mosley
3. Oba Carr
4. James Page (WBA)
5. Vernon Forrest
6. Shannon Taylor
7. Michele Piccirillo (WBU)
8. Kofi Jantuah
9. Daniel Santos-Pena (WBO)
10. Thomas Damgaard (IBC)
Lots going on here recently. 1st, the Champion, Felix Trinidad, left and won a title at 154. Then the WBC gave de la Hoya their belt. (What the hell is up with that? De la Hoya wins a fight with Derrell Coley while Trinidad is still the Champ, then 2 weeks later, after Tito wins the Jr. Middle belt, the festering WBC bestows their title on Oscar). All this means, belts or no, that when de la Hoya meets Mosley next month, it will be for the vacant World Championship. Who cares what titles are at stake ‹ the best are fighting each other!...WBO titlist Ahmed Kotiev was blown out by Santos-Pena and exits. The new title holder enters below Jantuah, who KOed him last year. Jantuah also is active...Edgar Ruiz displaced as Damgaard moves into the division...Taylor active but needs to step up the comp...And Arturo Gatti moved up to 147, but until he meets a live body at these higher weights I can't see him entering the Top 10.

Jr. Welterweights (140 lbs)
Champion: Kostya Tszyu (WBC)

1. Antonio Diaz (IBA)
2. Randall Bailey (WBO)
3. Zab Judah (IBF)
4. Sharmba Mitchell (WBA)
5. Micky Ward
6. Diobelys Hurtado
7. Reggie Green
8. Hector Camacho, Jr.
9. Ray Oliveira
10. Shea Neary
There are many new faces here this time. With Thomas Damgaard and Arturo Gatti moving up in weight and Terronn Millett exiting due to going MIA, Hurtado and those below him benefit by moving up, and Green (with 2 recent wins), Oliveira and Neary enter (really, re-enter)...The aforementioned Hurtado scored a good win this month in decisioning Hector Quiroz...Diaz cemented his top position with an impressive bodywork display, stopping top-rated Lightweight Ivan Robinson...Bailey defended his title...And the buzz here is Tszyu's imminent title defense over a way faded Julio Cesar Chavez. Now beyond Chavez' slim chances at this point in his career ‹and that he hasn't even fought at 140 pounds in over 2 years‹ the real question is what the hell is the Champion defending against him for? With so much talent in this weight class, and so many excellent match-ups, Tszyu's just wasting time.

Lightweights (135 lbs)
Champion: Steve Johnston (WBC)

1. Angel Manfredy 
2. Paul Spadafora (IBF)
3. Cesar Bazan
4. Julien Lorcy
5. John-John Molina
6. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
7. Gilberto Serrano (WBA)
8. Jean-Baptiste Mendy
9. Ben Tackie
10. David Tetteh
He just keeps doing it again and again. Johnston faced tough contender Julio Alvarez and destroyed him. Alvarez came out aggressive and cut Johnston, and the Champ responded with a 2nd round KO. Wow...Manfredy wins twice in 2 months and Spadafora puts in his 2nd unimpressive title defense in a row (both against unrated challengers) and we have a new #1 contender...KO losses by Alvarez and Ivan Robinson cause both of them to drop out. Replacements are Tackie, who defeated Golden Johnson and seems to be a solid up-and-comer, and Tetteh who took out Victor Paz in 4...Bazan, Lorcy and Mendy all active...And Molina up a few notches with his very solid win over Emanuel Burton. Old man Molina averaged over a hundred punches a round! He's still formidable and could very well win another title.

Jr. Lightweights (130 lbs)
Champion: Floyd Mayweather (WBC)

1. Diego Corrales (IBF, IBA)
2. Acelino Freitas (WBO)
3. Jong Kwon Baek (WBA)
4. Lakva Sim
5. Robert Garcia
6. Yongsoo Choi
7. Derrick Gainer
8. Anatoly Alexandrov
9. Kyu Chul Choi
10. Robbie Peden
With his stoppage of Gainer, Corrales becomes the undisputed #1 contender here. Match that with Mayweather's less than spectacular win over Goyo Vargas and we have an excellent match-up in this division!...Vargas was so outfought that he exits, but as Gainer's KO was a tad premature and he remains active, he stays, at #7...Garcia will finally return next month, but it looks like at 135 pounds...Peden replaces the departing Vargas, but expect that not to last ‹ after these were done, Joel Casamayor destroyed Baek and will enter high next month...Freitas keeps winning (and winning by KO) and I eagerly look forward to seeing him on HBO's June edition of "KO Nation."
Featherweights (126 lbs)
Champion: Naseem Hamed (WBO)
1. Guty Espadas (WBC) 2. Fred Norwood (WBA) 3. Paul Ingle (IBF, IBO) 4. Juan Manuel Marquez 5. Cesar Soto 6. Luisito Espinosa 7. Juan Carlos Ramirez 8. Angel Vazquez 9. Mbulelo Botile 10. Hector Lizarraga
A basically quiet month here with 2 very big exceptions: 1st, Espadas moves to #1 with his surprising and pretty dominant win over ex-Champion Espinosa. Espadas is the goods. And 2nd, Ingle scored a good KO of Junior Jones. Ingle had to rise from the canvas to get the win, making it all the more impressive...Ramirez and Vazquez also won, but that's it here...Upcoming we have Norwood in a tough defense, again on foreign soil, Hamed vs TBA this summer and Lizarraga travelling to South Africa to challenge ex-contender Cassius Baloyi.

Jr. Featherweights (122 lbs)
Champion: Erik Morales (WBC)

1. Marco Antonio Barrera (WBO)
2. Bones Adams (WBA)
3. Danny Romero
4. Manny Pacquiao
5. Lehlo Ledwaba (IBF)
6. Michael Brodie
7. Nestor Garza
8. Carlos Contreras (WBU)
9. Antonio Cermeño
10. Yober Ortega
Well, it seems as though all talk of rematch is past as the Champion is moving north to eventually challenge Naseem Hamed and the man who perhaps should be Champion (Barrera, of course) is sticking at 122. Too bad...Ledwaba up a few notches with a dominant KO of the tough Ernesto Grey...Romero also active, but to what end? This guy turns down title shots like no one I've ever heard of...This is a very solid division up and down, full of solid talent. Even below #10, there's guys like Israel Vazquez, Sergei Devakov and Kozo Ishii who, if they were 70 pounds heavier, would be half way up the Crusier ratings.

Bantamweights (118 lbs) Champion: TITLE VACANT

1. Paul Ayala (WBA)
2. Johnny Tapia (WBO)
3. Veeraphol Sahaprom (WBC)
4. Johnny Bredahl (IBC)
5. Jorge Julio
6. Cuahtemoc Gomez
7. Adan Vargas
8. Tim Austin (IBF)
9. Mauricio Martinez
10. Arthur Johnson
A very quiet month -- only Tapia and Martinez saw action. But one of boxing's most talented divisions is getting ready to shake itself up. Tapia says he's fought at 118 pounds for the last time, and will skip Jr. Feather to compete at 126 (although just this week he turned down a fight with Naseem Hamed). Also mentioned for Hamed was Ayala, though this was denied. Still, it could indicate that Ayala will be moving north as well...Don King has been shopping around a Austin-Johnson fight, although no one seems interested. Hell, any fight for the perenially inactive Austin would be good...Another x-factor to consider is that Mark Johnson will likely leave prison this fall and probally will compete at 118 or 122 when he returns. That could mean everyone in this division will be worrying by year's end.

Jr. Bantamweights (115 lbs)
Champion: In-Joo Cho (WBC)

1. Samson Toyota-Thailand (WBF)
2. Gerry Penalosa
3. Hideki Todaka (WBA)
4. Jorge Lacierva (IBA 118)
5. Mauricio Pastrana (IBO)
6. Joel Luna-Zarate
7. Eric Morel
8. Julio Gamboa
9. Jesper Jensen (IBC)
10. Adonis Rivas (WBO)
Lots of activity, but little going on here. The most significant move is Todaka's rise after his impressive KO of ex-titlist Yokthai Sit Oar...Cho, Samson, Luna-Zarate, Jensen and Rivas all won recently...Gamboa fought to a draw with Felix Machado, after these were done, for Mark Johnson's vacant IBF title...What happened to Morel? He scored some nice wins and was supposedly poised to vie for a title. Nothing from him for some months now...Lacierva and Pastrana should rematch...The on-and-off match between Samson and Penalosa may indeed happen this summer. Let's hope so, because it'll be good.

Flyweights (112 lbs)
Champion: Medgoen 3K Battery (WBC)

1. Chartchai Sasakul
2. Alejandro Montiel
3. Sornpichai Singwancha (WBA)
4. Isidro Garcia (WBO)
5. David Guerault
6. Jose Lopez
7. Ruben Sanchez-Leon
8. Saen Sow Ploenchit
9. Peter Culshaw
10. Irene Pacheco (IBF)
It happens all too often in this modern age of boxing, but after these were compiled the Champion was knocked out by someone unrated here. Malcolm Tunacao is a solid fighter and I pegged him as an up-and-comer, but didn't think he'd be able to take the title from Medgoen. Alas...Leo Gamez exits after too much idle time and the worthy Culshaw replaces him...Sornpichai and Guerault active, as was Sanchez-Leon, although at 118. The top 2 contenders here are overdue for title shots.

Jr. Flyweights (108 lbs)
Champion: Yeosam Choi (WBC)

1. Ricardo Lopez (IBF)
2. Pichit Chor Siriwat (WBA)
3. Saman Sorjaturong
4. Hawk Makepula (WBU)
5. Jake Matlala
6. Jorge Arce
7. Will Grigsby
8. Yura Mon Dima
9. Chana Porpaoin
10. Melchor Cob-Castro (IBA 112#)
There are many good fighters here, but rarely do they face each other. Lopez is set to return in June on a PPV undercard, but it won't be against any of these guys. And Choi will make his initial defense, but against TBA...The rare exception was the Makepula-Matlala bout a few months ago, and a rematch is certainly in order. Both men reappear this month...What happened to Sorjaturong? Did he retire?...Unfortunately we know what Grigsby has been up to. A domestic violence charge will probally keep him away from the ring for a while longer yet...Arce active...Cob-Castro won and then dropped a decision to a nobody last month, dropping him down to #10. The guess is he'll win the rematch and then lose again before the year's out.

Strawweights (105 lbs)

1. Rosendo Alvarez
2. Nohel Arambulet (WBA)
3. Joma Gamboa
4. Jose Aguirre (WBC)
5. Zolani Petelo (IBF)
6. Wandee Singwancha
7. Kermin Guardia (WBO)
8. Wolf Tokimitsu
9. Satoru Abe
10. Hiroshi Matsumoto
Alvarez finally climbed back into the ring, but got a gift decision against a nobody. Still, it's tough to drop him below anyone else here. What a shame he isn't holding a belt and dominating the division...Gamboa also active and nearing a rematch with Arambulet...There's just nothing else going on in this division ‹ Petelo has his annual defense scheduled, and that's it. Folding this weight class into the Jr. Flys would be a grand idea. It's only 3 freakin' pounds!

World Champions: 13 (of 17)

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