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August Ratings: Phrank Da Slugger

August Ratings (as of 12 Aug)

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 (Oscar de la Hoya beat Pernell Whitaker who beat Buddy McGirt who beat Simon Brown); and the 2nd is defeating another fighter also ranked in the top 3 in the division - this is how Evander Holyfield is the Champ. There is the exception: Bernard Hopkins is 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: Evander Holyfield (WBA & IBF)
1. Lennox Lewis (WBC)
2. Ike Ibeabuchi
3. David Tua
4. Hasim Rahman
5. Michael Grant (IBC)
6. Andrew Golota
7. Vitali Klitschko (WBO)
8. Larry Donald
9. Kirk Johnson
10. Maurice Harris

Since last time, Klitschko exploded in with his blowout of Herbie Hide, who exits; Brian Nielsen leaves after losing to a journeyman; Grant moves up after his win over Lou Savarese; and Harris enters after his dominant win over Jeremy Williams...Tua remains active...Grant may face Golota in November, a welcome meeting of contenders...Mike Tyson returns in Oct...Larry ³The Legend² Donald is going nowhere. He needs to face 1 of the guys here...And, as with last time, the whole division is on hold till the top 2 fighters get their rematch out of the way. Itıs about time a few of these guys get the title shots theyıve earned.

Crusierweights (195 lbs)
Champion: Fabrice Tiozzo (WBA)
1. Juan Carlos Gomez (WBC)
2. Johnny Nelson (WBO)
3. Vassili Jirov (IBF)
4. Marcelo Dominguez
5. Carl Thompson
6. Arthur Williams
7. James Toney
8. Imamu Mayfield
9. Kenny Keene (IBA)
10. Robert Daniels

Last time, we had 3 new entrants, all gone this month: Ramon Garbey was upset in a close fight, and Tommy Hearns and Stephane Allouane were displaced by more worthy entrants. The replacements: Jirov blasted Williams out and enters a strong #3; Toney returned with a very solid KO of Adolfo Washington; and Daniels finally fought again and so returns...Gomez continues to prove heıs the most talented fighter in this division, lately stopping the capable Bruce Scott in 6 rounds...Nelson and Keene active...The Champion is supposed to finally make it back in Sep after a series of injuries...I hope Toney remains active ‹ he showed that his immense skills and talents are well preserved in the Washington win. If he can stay below the Crusier weight limit, the skyıs the limit for him here.

Lt. Heavyweights (175 lbs)
Champion: Dariusz Michalczewski (WBO)
1. Roy Jones (WBC, WBA & IBF)
2. Michael Nunn
3. Montell Griffin
4. Reggie Johnson
5. David Telesco
6. Clinton Woods
7. Derrick Harmon
8. Antonio Tarver
9. Eric Harding
10. Mohammed Siluvangui

OK, 1 more time: Michalczewski is the Champion (and not Jones) because he beat Virgil Hill who beat Henry Maske, who was the Champion while Jones was still a Super Middleweight. Remember, The Champion held and ditched 2 of the titles Jones now holds (IBF and WBA). Titles mean little in the modern age of boxing - itıs who you beat, and till Jones fights Michalczewski, he ainıt the Champ...Jones and Mich are cleaning out the division (Jones-Rocchigiani and Mich-Griffin are coming up) and the only match left at yearıs end will be Jones-Mich. So letıs get it on!...Lou del Valle inactive and is replaced by Siluvangui...Harmon recently got a good win over fringe contender Ray Berry...Woods and Telesco active...Nunn was very impressive in his blowout of semi-capable ex-titlist William Guthrie in May. So whereıs the follow-up?...Last year at this time, Tarver was rolling. Now heıs stalling, sporadically active at best. In this crappy division, itıs time to make his move.

Super Middleweights (168 lbs)
1. Joe Calzaghe (WBO)
2. Thomas Tate
3. Richie Woodhall (WBC)
4. Mads Larsen (IBO & WBF)
5. Sven Ottke (IBF)
6. Byron Mitchell (WBA)
7. Robin Reid
8. Charles Brewer
9. Frank Liles
10. David Starie

Iım just waiting for Tate to set things right by taking out Ottke next month and (hopefully) bringing some stability to this sorry weight class...Since last time, Mitchell enters and Liles returns after their bout, displacing Glenn Catley and an inactive Dean Francis...Calzaghe hopes to make his US debut on the Oscar de la Hoya-Felix Trinidad undercard on 18 Sep...Woodhall having problems with his promoter that hopefully wonıt leave him idle for too long...Larsen will be out of jail soon and back in the ring in the fall...Hopefully Mitchell will prove as exciting in future defenses as he was in winning the title from Liles...Reid deserves another title shot, but he needs to become active.

Middleweights (160 lbs)
Champion: Bernard Hopkins (IBF)
1. Keith Holmes (WBC)
2. William Joppy (WBA)
3. Hassine Cherifi
4. Raymond Joval (WBU)
5. Rito Ruvalcaba
6. Antwun Echols
7. Jason Matthews (WBO)
8. Agostino Cardamone
9. Andrew Council
10. Silvio Branco

The fighters here are, overall, active but not against each other. This month, for example, Branco, Council, Ruvalcaba and Joppy all fought but against unnoteworthy opponents...Speaking of Joppy, heıll make his 1st title defense in over a year against.....Julio Cesar Green. Good God, how ridiculous. The WBA continually proves it is the most contemptable of all sanctioning bodies...The more active Ruvalcaba moves ahead of Echols...Matthews surprises as he slammed Ryan Rhodes in 2 rounds. The new WBO titlist enters a solid #7...The entrance of Joval (who defeated Cardamone in June) and Matthews allows me to get rid of some dead weight: inactive Robert McCracken and Dana Rosenblatt...Perhaps the most disappointing thing in the division is the Champion: Hopkins is one of the best fighters in the world, but after scoring the most impressive win of his career last February, he hasnıt been heard from.

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

In my mind at least, Vargas proved who the best fighter in this division is when he destroyed ex-titlist Raul Marquez. (Compare that to Reidıs performance against an unknown challenger). Reid gets a chance to up his status when he defends against ex-Champion Mullings later this month...Linton replaces Marquez, coming back after much idle time with a good win, a 1-round KO of Ray Lovato...Castillejo is scheduled to defend against de la Hoya in December if the latter defeats Trinidad. Thatıll be the end of the Spanairdıs title reign.

Welterweights (147 lbs)
Champion: Oscar de la Hoya (WBC)
1. Felix Trinidad (IBF)
2. Ike Quartey
3. James Page (WBA)
4. Oba Carr
5. Vernon Forrest
6. Pernell Whitaker
7. Jose Luis Lopez
8. Shannon Taylor
9. Ahmed Kotiev (WBO)
10. Michele Piccirillo (WBU)

Next month the ratings in the sportıs best division could look very different - the de la Hoya-Trinidad and Shane Mosley-Wilfredo Rivera fights should have ramifications...Talk about from hot to cold: Page looked great last Dec vs. Lopez (and whereıs he, by the way?), but this year heıs looked shaky against 2 lesser opponents. Whatıs up?...Lopez fell a notch, but the man who passed him, Whitaker, is also nowhere to be seen...Piccirillo continues to be active...Forrest bitches that no one wants to give him a title shot. So why not fight a fellow contender - say, Carr or Taylor?...Below the ratings, Edgar Ruiz lost on a TKO to David Kamau. Ruiz was winning the bout , even dropping Kamau, till a major cut ended it. Ruiz is a tough, powerful fighter, but his tender brows will probally keep him from hitting the big time. A shame.

Jr. Welterweights (140 lbs)
1. Kostya Tszyu (WBC)
2. Julio Cesar Chavez
3. Miguel Angel Gonzalez
4. Antonio Diaz (IBA)
5. Sharmba Mitchell (WBA)
6. Thomas Damgaard
7. Randall Bailey (WBO)
8. Terronn Millett (IBF)
9. Zab Judah
10. Reggie Green

A quiet month here, but thereıs mucho coming up: Tszyu-Gonzalez (postponed, I think, 17 times now) will be over by the time you see this - and weıll have a Champion in this division for the 1st time in over 2 years; Bailey makes his 1st defense vs. tough veteran Hector Lopez; Judahıs mandatory shot against Millett is on the horizon; and Diaz and Damgaard are ready to make a move...Millett made his initial title defense against mandatory (but undeserving) challenger Virgil McClendon...After Tszyu-Mago, the winner will face Chavez. A division where the top fighters face each other - what a concept!

Lightweights (135 lbs)
1. Stevie Johnston (WBC)
2. Israel Cardona
3. Angel Manfredy
4. Cesar Bazan
5. Ivan Robinson
6. Stefano Zoff (WBA)
7. Artur Grigorijan (WBO)
8. Colin Dunne
9. Julien Lorcy
10. Jean-Baptiste Mendy

Wow, LOTS happening here. 1st, though, I canıt begin without mentioning a fight that occured a mere 2 days after these ratings were done. Shane Mosley abdicated his throne, but a new Champion was promptly crowned when #1 Johnston defeated #3 Manfredy, and thus ascends...Manfredy did well and I think he would beat anyone else here...Zoff came out of nowhere to upset Lorcy. He replaces a moving-up-in-weight Arturo Gatti...2 quality fighters here - Bazan and Dunne - need to get busy. Each is a potential titlist but they are MIA...Another late result is Paul Spadaforaıs domination of Cardona in winning the IBF title. Cardona offered nothing and Spadafora showed he may have what it takes to challenge Johnston.

Jr. Lightweights (130 lbs)
Champion: Floyd Mayweather (WBC)
1. Lakva Sim (WBA)
2. Derrick Gainer
3. Acelino Freitas (WBO)
4. Goyo Vargas
5. Yongsoo Choi
6. Anatoly Alexandrov
7. Saul Duran
8. Dennis Holbaek Pedersen (IBC)
9. Jesus Chavez
10. Robert Garcia (IBF)

What a shock! I knew Freitas was a solid up-and-comer, but I never dreamed he (or anyone) would blowout Alexandrov. Freitas did just that, and shoots up to #3...Takanori Hatakeyama retired after his big loss to Sim...Gainer continues to be most active fighter here and, still, richly deserves a title shot...Mayweather will defend against ex-Top 10 contender Carlos Gerena in Sep...Whatıs up with Garcia? After ducking out of a defense against Gainer, he has nothing scheduled. Inactive since Jan, heıll fall out of here next month unless he fights.

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

Soto will face Hamed in late Oct - this is the best fight in the division and the winner will not only be Champion, but also undisputably the best fighter here...Kudos to Norwood: heıs facing the guy Hamed wonıt fight (Marquez). Oh yeah, this should be an excellent bout as well...Since last time, Norwood won the title back from Cermeno, but didnıt look great doing it. Cermeno, however, did, and rose to #4. If Norwood gets past Marquez, a rematch with Cermeno is definitely in order...Espadas rose from 122 lbs to replace Victor Polo here...Whereıs Rios?...Medina is set to make his annual title defense in Nov...Vazquez didnıt challenge 122-lb titlist Marco Antonio Barrera in Aug because of an injury. Unclear if heıll try again for the Barrera fight or continue here.

Jr. Featherweights (122 lbs)
1. Erik Morales (WBC)
2. Marco Antonio Barrera (WBO)
3. Nestor Garza (WBA)
4. Vuyani Bungu
5. Nana Konadu
6. Enrique Sanchez
7. Carlos Navarro
8. Michael Brodie
9. Lehlo Ledwaba (IBF)
10. Marcos Licona

Lots going on in one of boxingıs premiere divisions. Youıll notice the titleıs vacant for the 1st time in years. Kennedy McKinney hasnıt fought at 122 in nearly 2 years and has been inactive (at any weight) since last year. I hate to do it, but heıs retired in my book (and Iıll bet he never fights at this weight again)...Good news is that Morales and Barrera (both of whom defended their titles this month) are in talks to meet in Jan. This would fill the vacancy at the top...More vacancies as Danny Romero and Guty Espadas exit, going to other weight classes. Entering are new IBF titlist Ledwaba and Licona, who defeated the solid Israel Vazquez earlier this year...Konadu entered as well after an impressive win over Hector Acero-Sanchez...Ex-titlists Bungu and Sanchez have evidently disappeared. If they donıt fight thereıs plenty of other worthy Jr. Feathers who can come in.

Bantamweights (118 lbs)
1. Paul Ayala (WBA)
2. Johnny Bredahl (IBC)
3. Veeraphol Sahaprom (WBC)
4. Johnny Tapia
5. Jorge Julio (WBO)
6. Julio Gamboa (NBA 115#)
7. Tim Austin (IBF)
8. Danny Romero
9. Joichiro Tatsuyoshi
10. Cuahtemoc Gomez

This is a rich weight class - Romero dropping down displaced a very solid contender in Adan Vargas. Also Akihiko Nago and Oscar Andrade are not quite Top 10, but worthy nonetheless...Since last time, Ayala shot to the top with his stirring win over Tapia. Tapia now will challenge Julio. Add the Sahaprom-Tatsuyoshi rematch and youıve got a division where the guys actually fight each other!...Nana Konadu left to fight at 122 lbs and was replaced by Gomez...Bredahl continues to be the busiest fighter here. Past time for him to receive a title shot.

Jr. Bantamweights (115 lbs)
Champion: In-Joo Cho (WBC)
1. Mark Johnson (IBF)
2. Samson 3K Battery (Dutch Boy Gym) (WBF)
3. Mauricio Pastrana (IBO)
4. Gerry Penalosa
5. Joel Luna-Zarate
6. Hideki Todaka (WBA)
7. Diego Morales (WBO)
8. Jesus Rojas
9. Eric Morel
10. Jesper Jensen (IBC)

Much going on. Todaka won his rematch with Rojas, moving him up a few motches...Johnson and 3K Battery active, as is Luna Zarate...Penalosa back in the ring, a good sign from this excellent fighter...Morel continues to campaign for a title shot...Yokthai Sit Oar inactive and is replaced by Morales, who has since moved up with an impressive stoppage of Ysaias Zamudio...Penalosa will get a chance to regain his title when he gets the winner of Cho and Keiji Yamaguchi.

Flyweights (112 lbs)
Champion: Manny Pacquiao (WBC)
1. Leo Gamez (WBA)
2. Chartchai Sasakul
3. Jose Antonio Lopez-Bueno (WBO)
4. Alejandro Montiel
5. David Guerault
6. Jose Bonilla
7. Ruben Sanchez-Leon
8. Jose Lopez
9. Isidro Garcia
10. Peter Culshaw

Lots of solid contenders here: Sasakul is expected to be given a shot at regaining his belt from Pacheco in the fall; Montiel just ravaged former 108-lb contender Edgar Cardenas; and most of the other challengers here have lately been active...Michael Carbajal exits after he went down to win a title at Jr. Fly. Replacing him is Culshaw...Lopez will challenge Lopez-Bueno in Sep...A fight Iıd like to see is Pacheco-Gamez.

Jr. Flyweights (108 lbs)
Champion: Saman Sorjaturong (WBC)
1. Pichit Chor Siriwat (WBA)
2. Jake Matlala (IBA)
3. Michael Carbajal (WBO)
4. Melchor Cob-Castro (IBA 112#)
5. Jorge Arce
6. Joma Gamboa
7. Will Grigsby (IBF)
8. Hawk Makepula (WBU)
9. Juan Domingo Cordoba
10. Yeosam Choi

Whoıd have thought weıd see Carbajal back on top here? You can never count power like that out...Arce looked great, and doesnıt fall far. Heıll be back...Gamboa is a legitimate contender (as he showed in his close loss to Siriwat) but he needs to get back in the ring...Ditto Cordoba, Matlala and Makepula, although the latter 2 have fights scheduled...Ratanapol Voraphin exits with the ascension of Carbajal. The Thai hasnıt fought since Jan...The now-postponed fight between Grigsby and Strawweight Champion Ricardo Lopez will happen in Oct. No matter who wins, weıll have a new entrant here this fall.

Strawweights (105 lbs)
Champion: Ricardo Lopez
1. Rosendo Alvarez
2. Wandee Singwancha (Chor Chareon) (WBC)
3. Zolani Petelo (IBF)
4. Songkram Porpaoin
5. Lindi Memani
6. Ronnie Magramo
7. Kermin Guardia (WBO)
8. Satoru Abe
9. Wolf Tokimitsu
10. Andy Tabanas

This division is a great argument against having more than the traditional 8 weight classes. All concerned would be better off if we could just fold it into the 108-lb class...Lopez will be vacating when he challenges Will Grigsby at 108 in Oct...Porpaoin stripped of his WBA for the unpardonable sin of not paying the sanctionning fee to the cancerous WBA in a non-title fight...Alvarez inactive and word is heıll be campaigning at 108 from here on...Magramo also inactive...The only relief here would be if Petelo and Chareon faced off.

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