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February Ratings
Phrank Da Slugger

February 25, 2000

February Ratings (as of 15 Feb)

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 (Felix Trinidad beat Oscar de la Hoya who beat Pernell Whitaker); 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 Iım rewarding him for long and meritorious service.

Heavyweights (over 195 lbs)
Champion: Lennox Lewis (WBC, WBA & IBO)
1. Evander Holyfield
2. Michael Grant (IBC)
3. David Tua
4. Vitali Klitschko (WBO)
5. Oleg Maskaev
6. Larry Donald
7. Wladimir Klitschko
8. Andrew Golota
9. David Izon
10. Kirk Johnson

A bascially quiet month here, aside from Derrick Jeffersonıs upset loss to Izon, who enters. If Izon accepts the title shot against Vitali Klitschko being offered, heıll exit soon thereafter...Johnsonıs activity also moves him ahead of Hasim Rahman...Weird that Golota, if heıd just finished the fight against Grant, would be at #2. Instead itıs Grant challenging for the Heavyweight Championship in April...Vitali and his brother have signed contracts with HBO and will appearing on that network as soon as March (in Wladimirıs case). Expect the comp of both to vastly improve...In April, Olympian Lawrence Clay-Bey will take a huge leap in comp when he faces Chris Byrd. The winner will be sure to break into the Top 10...And maybe Mike Tyson will, too, if he fights a live body.

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. Imamu Mayfield
9. Louis Azille
10. Thomas Hearns (IBO)

Jirov takes over the #1 spot with his brutal win over Saul Montana Jirov fought through a lot of pain to get the win over a hungry challenger...Meanwhile, Gomezı stock continues to drop. While heıs probally the most talented fighter in this division, his title challengers are hopeless. The next one is a Lt. Heavyweight. Great...Toney active, as was Robert Daniels, but at 220 pounds...Danielsı exit paves the way for Azille, who fought to a draw with ex-titlist Mayfield...Hearnsı place is tenuous at best, but there is no one else who deserves to be rated now. A fighter to watch for is Wayne Braithwaite, who looked good when he stopped Dale Brown.

Lt. Heavyweights (175 lbs)
Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)
1. Roy Jones (WBC, WBA, IBF, NBA & IBO)
2. Michael Nunn
3. Reggie Johnson
4. Clinton Woods
5. Derrick Harmon
6. Antonio Tarver
7. Eric Harding
8. Ole Klemetsen (IBA)
9. Greg Wright
10. Fred Moore

Same old, same old < Jones defeats another top contender and adds another title to his collection (this time the practically unknown NBA belt). Jonesı challenger, David Telesco, exits after his pathetic performance. Facing a 1-armed Jones, Telescoıs offense amounted to trying to throw Jones over the top rope. Heıs gone...Michalczewski will engage a 4-years later rematch with the chronically inactive Graciano Rocchigiani. Should be good...Klemetsen returns with his best victory yet, a KO of ex-titlist Thulane Malinga...Harmon needs to fight soon...Tarver probally will exit soon as he may challenge Jones this spring...Johnson and Woods active...Wright in with the exit of the inactive Mohammed Siluvangui (who will challenge for a 190-pound title in March)...How can Wright be rated below Harmon when he decisioned him last year? I don't believe in positive displacement < Harmon has 1 loss on his record vs Wrightıs 5 and Harmon has faced better comp. But Wright is improving and if he continues to win, heıll rise quickly.

Super Middleweights (168 lbs)
1. Sven Ottke (IBF)
2. Joe Calzaghe (WBO)
3. Thomas Tate
4. Mads Larsen (WBF)
5. Markus Beyer (WBC)
6. Charles Brewer
7. Byron Mitchell (WBA)
8. Richie Woodhall
9. Bruno Girard
10. Glenn Catley

Little happening in this usual. Calzaghe looked rusty in defeating a reluctant David Starie, Ottke made another defense against another blown-up Middleweight, Mitchell received an unpopular draw against Frenchman Girard and Beyer made the gimme 1st defense against an unknown. Top that off with Tate being inactive and Larsen being injured and things look bleak here...OK, a couple good things: Brewer should get the opportunity to regain his title from Ottke soon and Catley (a solid new entrant) should get a chance to win Beyerıs title this summer. Also, Girard will get a well-deserved rematch against Mitchell in April, something that occurs far too rarely these days.

Middleweights (160 lbs)
Champion: Bernard Hopkins (IBF)
1. William Joppy (WBA)
2. Keith Holmes (WBC)
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

The best Middleweight fight in years occured in December when Hopkins defeated Echols. I contend that Echols would be wearing a belt if heıd challenged anyone but the Champion that night. Echols has since fought and Hopkins has a relatively easy defense coming up in May when he defends against Brian Barbosa...2 big recent upsets as Krajnc came out of nowhere to defeat Matthews and Perugino did the same to Joval...Silvio Branco and an inactive Agostino Cardamone were displaced by these new entries...Good bout coming up when Joppy defends against Ruvalcaba. Itıll be Joppyıs best opponent after a litany of typical WBA challengers...Nice to Cherifi active again, fighting twice in a month.

Jr. Middleweights (154 lbs)
Champion: Javier Castillejo (WBC)
1. Fernando Vargas (IBF)
2. David Reid (WBA)
3. Harry Simon (WBO)
4. Winky Wright
5. Laurent Boudouani
6. Tony Marshall
7. Bronco McKart (IBA)
8. Luis Ramon Campas
9. Keith Mullings
10. Emmett Linton

Everyone is holding their breath till Marchıs fight between Reid and Felix Trinidad. I expect the Welterweight Championıs challenge to be successful...April features another ex-147-pound titlistıs ascent when Ike Quartey comes out of 15 months of inactivity to challenge Vargas. (Now how the hell does that work?). This time, though, I believe the Jr. Middleweight will keep his belt, in fact giving the African his 1st KO loss...Castillejo continues the sham that is his title reign, defending against yet another no-name who mysteriously just appeared in the WBCıs ratings...What happened to Marshall and Mullings? Both are MIA...Campas returns to action next month when he faces Oba Carr at a midway weight (something like 151). Should be good...And Iım sorry to report the retirement of Boudouani (after these ratings were compiled). The French ex-titlist was a solid fighter who lost his title in a decision to Reid last year and holds 2 wins over Castillejo. He will be missed.

Welterweights (147 lbs)
Champion: Felix Trinidad (IBF & WBC)
1. Oscar de la Hoya
2. Shane Mosley
3. James Page (WBA)
4. Oba Carr
5. Vernon Forrest
6. Shannon Taylor
7. Michele Piccirillo (WBU)
8. Ahmed Kotiev (WBO)
9. Kofi Jantuah
10. Edgar Ruiz

This will certainly be the last month for the Champion here. After 9 years in the 147-pound Top 10, Trinidad plans to move to Middle, whether he wins or loses his title challenge next month. A megafight between de la Hoya and Mosley later this year would fill the vacancy...Speaking of Sugar Shane, I was (again) extremely impressed with him as he destroyed Willy Wise. Mosley has SPEED, is a great finisher and uses angles better than anyone in the game right now. Did I mention the body attack? Wow...Forrest is gonna get wasted unless he keeps ducking decent comp. Old Vince Phillips pressed him and made him look ordinary. Forrest has height but that wouldnıt keep Mosley off of him...Carr, Taylor and Piccirillo all active...Page finally comes back in April...And Ruiz reenters, replacing Wise.

Jr. Welterweights (140 lbs)
Champion: Kostya Tszyu (WBC)
1. Antonio Diaz (IBA)
2. Thomas Damgaard
3. Randall Bailey (WBO)
4. Zab Judah (IBF)
5. Sharmba Mitchell (WBA)
6. Terronn Millett
7. Shea Neary
8. Diobelys Hurtado
9. Hector Camacho, Jr.
10. Miguel Angel Gonzalez

As usual, lots happening here. 1st up, Tszyu and Chavez continue to build toward their showdown, each winning against soft opposition...Millett, very inactive and as bogus a titlist as you can find in the sport, was stripped of his title so the IBF could hand it on a silver platter to Judah (which they did by matching him with no-hoper Jan Bergman)...Diaz and Damgaard continue to win impressively and a fight between these 2 would be a barnburner...Bailey impressive, being the 1st fighter to stop tough veteran Hector Lopez. Now, time to up the level of competition...Neary will engage in an attractive bout in March against Micky Ward (displaced this month by Camacho)...Hurtado active while Gonzalez seems to have disappeared...And Camacho impressively enters with a 1-round demolition of Harold Warren. True, Warren is a career Jr. Light, but the speed and power Junior displayed made me take notice.

Lightweights (135 lbs)
Champion: Stevie Johnston (WBC)
1. Paul Spadafora (IBF)
2. Angel Manfredy
3. Ivan Robinson
4. Cesar Bazan
5. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
6. Julien Lorcy
7. Julio Alvarez
8. Gilberto Serrano (WBA)
9. John-John Molina
10. Jean-Baptiste Mendy

Upset as Alvarez comes out of nowhere to KO longtime contender Israel Cardona. With that he qualifies for a title shot against Champion Johnston in March...Lorcy continues to impress since losing his title last year. He should get another chance soon...Spadafaora, Bazan and Molina active, as were Manfredy, Grigorijan and Molina, again, after these were done...Mendy also active, but it was a draw. Weıll see if he remains next time.

Jr. Lightweights (130 lbs)
Champion: Floyd Mayweather (WBC)
1. Acelino Freitas (WBO)
2. Derrick Gainer
3. Diego Corrales (IBF)
4. Jong Kwon Baek (WBA)
5. Lakva Sim
6. Robert Garcia
7. Yongsoo Choi
8. Goyo Vargas
9. Anatoly Alexandrov
10. Kyu Chul Choi

Clarifications and good upcoming stuff...Freitas survived a gut check in stopping ex-titlist Barry Jones. Jones, who had never been down in his career, was dropped 6 times by the titlist...#2 and #3 are slated to meet in March for would be for the Championship if that slot were not already filled...Speaking of Mayweather, he finally returns next month when he defends against Vargas...Dennis Holbaek Pedersen was upset and is replaced by KCChoi, who emerged when he fought with Baek to a draw...Ex-titlists Sim, Alexandrov and YChoi active, rounding out this strong division.

Featherweights (126 lbs)
Champion: Naseem Hamed (WBO)
1. Fred Norwood (WBA)
2. Luisito Espinosa
3. Juan Manuel Marquez
4. Cesar Soto
5. Carlos Rios
6. Paul Ingle (IBF)
7. Guty Espadas
8. Angel Vazquez
9. Mbulelo Botile
10. Cassius Baloyi (WBU)

The WBC shot itself in the foot (again) in stripping the new Champion (or, to put it another way, the man who beat their title holder). What a sin it would be for the WBC to allow Hamed to keep ahead of Espinosa with an impressive title defense win...Rios active, but an idle Baloyi continues to drop...Espinosa and Espadas will meet this spring to pick up the vacant OBC title off the floor.

Jr. Featherweights (122 lbs)
1. Erik Morales (WBC)
2. Marco Antonio Barrera (WBO)
3. Nestor Garza (WBA)
4. Danny Romero
5. Manny Pacquiao
6. Michael Brodie
7. Carlos Contreras (WBU)
8. Lehlo Ledwaba (IBF)
9. Antonio Cermeno
10. Yober Ortega

Boxingıs best division is packed so full, I have to leave deserving fighters out (like Israel Vazquez and Marcos Licona)...The Fight of The Year occurred after these were done, but repercussions to follow...Garza, Barrera, Romero and Ortega all active...Contreras in with an upset of Carlos Navarro, who then went up 2 weight classes to win a minor title...Vuyani Bungu out after a year of inactivity < heıll challenge Naseem Hamed next month...Another former titlist, Nana Konadu, also exited due to too much inactivity...Ledwaba also idle...Ex-112-pound Champ Pacquiao stormed in with an impressive 3-round KO of Renante Jamili, a guy who went 6 rounds with Morales. Watch for this hard-hitting Filipino.

Bantamweights (118 lbs)
1. Paul Ayala (WBA)
2. Johnny Tapia (WBO)
3. Veeraphol Sahaprom (WBC)
4. Johnny Bredahl (IBC)
5. Jorge Julio
6. Cuahtemoc Gomez
7. Tim Austin (IBF)
8. Adan Vargas
9. Mauricio Martinez
10. Arthur Johnson

Tapia was extremely impressive in decisioning Julio, who doesnıt fall far, staying at #5...Tapiaıs win over Julio screwed up things as Ayala (#1) and Bredahl (previously #3) were set to fill the Championship vacancy here. I was tempted to leave Bredahl at #3 couldnıt justify it, especially with Sahaprom winning 2 non-title bouts last month...Sahaprom defends aginst Vargas, also active, next month...Austin finally back in the ring, but against another no-hoper...Gomez staying busy but Martinez needs to as well...Danny Romero exits as he returned to Jr. Feather and an inactive Julio Gamboa leaves, but heıll resurface soon at 115 pounds.

Jr. Bantamweights (115 lbs)
Champion: In-Joo Cho (WBC)
1. Mark Johnson (IBF)
2. Samson Toyota-Thailand (3K Battery) (WBF)
3. Gerry Penalosa
4. Mauricio Pastrana (IBO)
5. Hideki Todaka (WBA)
6. Eric Morel
7. Julio Gamboa
8. Joel Luna-Zarate
9. Jesper Jensen (IBC)
10. Adonis Rivas (WBO)

Expect Johnson to be gone next month and his title vacated. Jeez, what a waste...Cho defeated Penalosa in their rematch, but it was a hometown decision so Penalosa stays put at #3. He has a chance to take over the #1 position if his proposed bout with Samson comes off. This is a great match-up, the best in the division...Yet another name change and another win vs. a no-hoper. This will be forgotten if Samson (Iım referring to him by his 1st name from now on) does indeed face Penalosa...Morel continues to win, but whatıs happened to Luna-Zarate?...Julio Gamboa returned to this division with a win. Heıll next vie for Johnsonıs soon-to-be-vacant belt...Gamboaıs return displaces ex-titlist Diego Morales...Pastrana moved up to 118 and lost for the 1st time (in his 2nd fight this month) after these were done. He said heıs coming back to 115 to stay.

Flyweights (112 lbs)
Champion: Medgoen 3K Battery (WBC)
1. Chartchai Sasakul
2. Alejandro Montiel
3. Sornpichai Singwancha (Kratingdaeng) (WBA)
4. Isidro Garcia (WBO)
5. David Guerault
6. Jose Lopez
7. Ruben Sanchez-Leon
8. Leo Gamez
9. Saen Sow Ploenchit
10. Irene Pacheco (IBF)

Big changes as 2 of the previous top 3 are gone this month. 1st, a huge upset as ex-WBO titlist Jose Antonio Lopez-Bueno was taken out in 2 rounds by an unknown fighter. 2nd, former Champion Manny Pacquiao exited, jumping up 2 divisions to Jr. Feather...Another name change: Sornpichai Kratingdaeng is now Sornpichai Singwancha. He also fought, winning a non-title bout...Garcia reenters with a decision over Lopez, winning the vacant OBO belt on a few days notice...Lots of activity: Montiel, Guerault (back after an injury), Ploenchit and Sanchez-Leon all fought. Ploenchit in with the exit of Lopez-Bueno and Sanchez-Leon back after many months of idle time...Pacheco also entered with a decent win...An excellent match-up on the horizon as ex-Champ Sasakul will face solid up-and-comer Alex Baba. Canıt wait!

Jr. Flyweights (108 lbs)
Champion: Yeosam Choi (WBC)
1. Ricardo Lopez (IBF)
2. Pichit Chor Siriwat (WBA)
3. Saman Sorjaturong
4. Melchor Cob-Castro (IBA 112#)
5. Will Grigsby
6. Jorge Arce
7. Hawk Makepula (WBU)
8. Yura Mon Dima
9. Chana Porpaoin
10. Daniel Reyes

Another huge upset as ex-tislist Ratanapol Voraphin was blasted in 2 rounds by newcomer Dima. Dima is a novice, but is active and the win over Voraphin was impressive...Michael Carbajal retired, thus leaving the WBO title vacant. A huge and long-awaited match with Lopez might bring him back. But Lopez is also talking retirement...The Makepula-Jake Matlala match took place after these were done...Siriwat finally returned after a long layoff. His rumored defense against Rosendo Alvarez is supposed to happen this spring or summer...Ex-Champ Sorjaturong fought, as did another former title holder, Porpaoin, who also returned to the Top 10.

Strawweights (105 lbs)
1. Rosendo Alvarez
2. Noel 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

Upset as solid Aguirre held on to win the title from Singwancha. Aguirre replaced outgoing Lindi Memani and Songkram Porpaoin, both of whom are solid fighters, but were too inactive...Porpaoin conqueror Matsumoto also ascends to fill the gaps...What is it with Strawweights and inactivity? At least the best fighter here, Alvarez, returned with a win.

World Champions: 13 (of 17)


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