Boxing Views: The Alphabet Ratings – Comedy or Tragedy?

18.07.07 – By Paul McCreath: A few days ago, I decided to do something I don’t very often do, that is take a look at the boxing ratings of the various sanctioning bodies for the heavyweight division. The reason for my foolish dalliance was that I wanted to get some ideas of whom these clowns might be inclined to name as the participants in the next eliminators they order. As I started to read through the listings, I did not know whether to laugh or cry..

Now let me make it clear, I am not one of those people who like to nitpick over somebody being rated at #7 when I think he should be #5 or something like that. Ratings are, after all, a matter of opinion and we cannot usually prove that we are the one who is right. I think anything within five places or so is not worth arguing about but some of these ratings are ridiculous.

Let us just look at some of the worst examples starting with the IBF. Now overall their listings are not that bad. I don’t agree with some but they are not that far out. My principle problem here is that they have nobody listed at #1 or #2. Now, I don’t know about you but when I was learning how to count to 10, were the first two numbers we learned not one and two? These ratings came out before the Klitschko-Brewster rematch, so they had Lamon at #3. If he was the best, they could find should he not have been number one at that time? I can understand that the top contender may not be automatically named as the mandatory challenger, and I guess that is what is behind all this, but to me it defies all logic. Any list has to start with one and two. Other than that, I have to wonder how Shane Cameron qualifies at #15. Who did he ever beat?

The WBC have a couple of strange ones as well. #8 is Donnell Holmes, who has a 27-0-2 record. That sounds pretty good, except he has never beaten any name fighters. His best win was over Stacy Frazier in 2005. Last year, he drew with the mighty Earl Ladson who was coming off three strait losses and went on to lose his next three. None of the other alphabet boys have Holmes rated in their top 15, and boxrec had him at #53 the last time I looked. What were they thinking? Their #15, JD Chapman, is just as bad. While he may be 27-0, he is little more than a preliminary boy with no names on his record at all.

The WBA list makes one wonder if maybe they used a dart board to do their picks. Would you believe that Davarryl Williamson is the 4th best heavyweight in the world? They seem to think so. The fact that he had not fought in over a year until his recent tune up win over Mo Wheeler does not seem to matter. His last win before that was over #6 rated Mike Mollo. For his part, Mollo apparently gets #6 on the strength of his KO of Kevin McBride, who in turn outlasted a washed up and out of shape Mike Tyson. Other than the mentioned bouts, who did either Mollo or McBride ever beat to deserve a ranking? McBride was KO’d by Louis Monaco, along with several other nobodies for gosh sakes. Other notable listings for the WBA are Taras Bidenko at #7 and Kali Meehan at #11. Are they serious?

Finally, we come to the WBO as if anybody took them seriously in the first place. Their #2 is Alexander Dimitrenko. Now I would be the first to admit that Alex is a pretty good looking prospect, but #2 in the world? His best wins are over old trial horses Vaughn Bean in 2005 and Ross Puritty in 2004. Until last weekend, he was only #3 in his own Universum stable. It seems that it doesn’t matter much with any of the alphabet boys who it is you beat as long as you have a long list of victims. Stiffs and bums are just as good as real fighters when it comes to these guys.I am amazed that Faruq Saleem’s name does not appear on one of these lists.

The WBO also lists Vitali Klitschko at #9. Now I like Vitali, and I think he is one of the best, but he hasn’t fought in almost three years. Are the ratings not for active fighters? Let him fight again first, then rate him off his performance, not what he did years ago. At #11 is Shane Cameron, another prospect who has not yet done anything. At #14 is Josue Blocas, an unknown. I can only guess how he got in the ratings.

In conclusion, I can only say that it appears that these organizations are either too politically motivated or just plain incompetent. They seem to put too much importance on the number of wins rather than the quality of the opponents the fighters face and often give too much credit for one fluke win that is entirely out of character. In my opinion, a fighter should have to earn a ranking by either defeating someone who is already ranked or at the very least by beating two or three boxers who are close to the listings. Consistency of performance should also be important.

I guess the best thing to do is go back to ignoring the alphabet lists, because they’re of little value as far as I am concerned. If you need another opinion on a fighter’s worth, I would suggest the Ring Magazine and their rankings. They are not perfect but they are a whole lot better than most others.

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