Changing of the Guard

31.10.03 – By Keith Terceira: Rumors are flying around the boxing world that Lennox Lewis is not going to box again. In the next couple of months we will see fights in the Heavyweight ranks between several of the top ten contenders.What few realize is that already the pendulum is swinging from old to new. The problem is the change is taking place before a punch is thrown and a position being earned.

World Boxing Council in their infinite wisdom has determined that Joe Mesi has fought such stiff opposition that he ranks eighth in their rankings. Mesi jumping to eighth in the WBC smacks of the “Great White” mentality. Just what Boxing doesn’t need again. All personal feelings aside and everyone knows how I feel about Mesi, but give me a break. Should Mesi defeat Barrett and rise in the rankings it will further pollute peoples thoughts on his career.

Lamon Brewster and David Tua will rumble for Sanders vacated title but Brewster has never fought a top ten contender. He earns his shot based on his holding of NABO belt. Purely Political perhaps! There is no way he has out earned Klitschko for a title shot. Sanders is running over to the WBC to position himself for a bout against Vitaly for the soon to be vacated spot. That is unless a wrench gets thrown into the current mix.

Jumping into the top ten for the WBO is McCline at fifth, Gomez at seventh, Guinn at eighth and Mesi ninth. Juan Gomez defeated Samil San who ranked fifth in September at “Night of the Young Heavyweights” and is fairly understandable. How Guinn and Mesi get these rankings so soon is rather odd. Time was that you had to beat somebody to be somebody. If you propel Guinn so high based on his match with Dokiwari then why isn’t Duncan at least in the top 15. Tyson according to the WBO has dropped to thirteen, and Holyfield is out of the Top 15. As advanced in their careers as these two are they have at least earned more respect than this.

The only way Mesi, Guinn, Gomez get rated this high is based on drawing power, politics and media contracts. The Gomez performance against San in the past would have dropped them both out of any top ten in the last 30 years. While Gomez won, his opponent was not of a caliber to propel him into top ten status. I rather agree with the WBC that ranks him 12th and San 16th.

McCline-Boswell showed us all again just what power and potential Jameel has, but it was obvious he was losing to that point. If the McCline win puts him into a 5 spot position in the WBO then Boswell earns at least top 20 but he is nowhere to be seen in any organizational charts.

Fres Oquendo ranks 10 by the WBO and 14 by the WBC with the IBF the only organization giving him any props after his fight with Byrd at fourth.

The next couple of months should shuffle out a lot of fighters from the ranks of the top ten. Rahman-Ruiz might see the end of the Quietman if he doesn’t pull off a victory. Tua-Brewster will crown a new champ but Tua at least has paid his dues in a big way. A wild ride is in store for boxing fans in 2004 and it may be the most active year in the last decade. Is the possibility of an again unified Heavyweight title is looming large in the not to distant future?

All eras must end, we fans feel a sense of loss as our favorite warriors retire and fade off into fond memory, or as they battle and go out in a blaze of glory. But to watch them fade away on paper, without the courtesy of a battle is insulting. These sanctioning bodies have failed to force competition by their Champs and hurt the sport. Trying to pencil in contenders rather than mandating fights is one of the reason we lose spectators. There is plenty of truly great match-ups out there currently that can make this an era to remember.

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Boxing News Changing of the Guard