Boxing: A quick look at the rankings

Paul WilliamsBy César Pancorvo: Checking the most recent pound-for-pound rankings can be a surprising and interesting experience. The presence of many Mexicans in The Ring’s P4P ratings was unexpected, but the disappearance of Americans from that list was astonishing: only two Americans (Pavlik and the old Hopkins) in the list. And this drought of elite, uber talented American boxers is not exclusive of the P4P rankings.

Who are the best Americans in the sport? If we consider prime American boxers, and therefore not Hopkins, De la Hoya, Roy Jones or Mosley, we have Kelly Pavlik, who had a meteoric rise to fame, Paul Williams, the unpopular Jermain Taylor and another rising star, Chad Dawson.

Which division is dominated by an American? Certainly not the lower weight divisions –from 105 to 126–; they are mostly dominated by Japanese, Mexicans and Filipinos. Jr. Lightweight, a division with no official champ, because Pacquiao vacated, has only one American (Rocky Juarez) in the Top 10. The man at lightweight is the Cuban Casamayor, and light welterweight is currently dominated by Britain’s Ricky Hatton. Welterweight has a couple of Americans as top contenders, Williams and Mosley, but the men there are Margarito and Cotto (Clottey also, and he was born in Ghana, Africa). Light Middleweight, an anarchic category in comatose state since Winky Wright left, indeed has three Americans at the top: 38 year-old Verno Phillips, Sergio Mora and Oscar de la Hoya.

Pavlik, probably one of the newest figures that has become one of the faces of boxing, is the man at 160, but he has been talking about campaigning at 168 since last year, which would leave 160 with a dispute between two germans: Arthur Abraham, who deserved his shot a long time ago, and Felix Sturm, whose performance as belt holder has been, at least, suspicious. 168, with Kessler, Bute and Mundine as the elite, is definitely not part of the American zone of influence, and 175 has Calzaghe at the top, although Dawson has been climbing the rankings spectacularly and should beat Tarver in his next fight.

Cruiserweight, without Steve Cunningham, has a cosmopolitan Top10, and heavyweight is basically a division for eastern euros: seven men born in the former USSR, one Nigerian and two Latinos.

Should this be seen as a mediocre era of American boxing, as the end of the American hegemony or as the globalization of the sport?

-Last week I wrote that Margarito isn’t the welterweight champion. He isn’t. Not yet. Arguments were clear; however, I got very generous and cheerful responses like: “Cesar Pancorvo…You just wrote a bullshit article”, “the person that wrote this article must be high”, etc. Margarito is not the welterweight champion. That title is vacant, and for the moment we have this:

Champion: Vacant
1. Antonio Margarito (the #1 could very well be Paul Williams)
2. Paul Williams
3. Miguel Cotto
4. Shane Mosley
5. Joshua Clottey

The conclusion is that the welterweight title is vacant, Margarito is not the welterweight champion and the fight to define that championship is Margarito vs. Williams II.

Article posted on 21.08.2008

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