Rankings: Enough with the catch weights
Sometimes, I think boxers negotiate catch weights simply because they have the power to do so. It’s gotten ridiculous.
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, who are Nos. 1 and 5 in the October Yahoo! Sports ratings, are fighting for Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Though the welterweight limit is 147 pounds, by contract neither fighter is allowed to weigh more than 145.
On Dec. 3, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito will rematch at New York’s Madison Square Garden for Cotto’s World Boxing Association super welterweight title. Though the division limit is 154 pounds, their contracted weight is 153.
It’s happening all too often, stars attempting to use their leverage to gain an edge, real or imagined.
It’s high time this stopped. Boxing has 17 weight classes already, and adding catch weights on top of that creates confusion in the marketplace. It has no point.
Marquez is not a welterweight; he’s a brilliant fighter, but it was obvious when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. at welterweight in 2009 that he’s not nearly big enough for the division. He’s a lightweight, plain and simple.
He fought a pair of brilliant matches against Pacquiao, at featherweight in 2004 and at super featherweight in 2008. Pacquiao has gotten bigger since then and is now a full-fledged welterweight.
Marquez, though, has not gotten bigger, and is best at lightweight. If he wants to go up in weight to challenge Pacquiao, it’s admirable, but he should do it at the champion’s weight. It just gnaws at history.
Sugar Ray Robinson, the greatest fighter ever, held the middleweight title when he moved up to challenge Joey Maxim for the light heavyweight belt in 1952. Maxim weighed in two pounds under the light heavyweight limit at 173 pounds.
Robinson, though, weighed under the middleweight limit, coming in at 157½. And despite the 15½ pound disadvantage, he would have won the famous bout at Yankee Stadium had he not succumbed to heat stroke after 13 rounds. Robinson was far ahead on all three judges’ cards.
These catch weights confuse the marketplace and dilute history. It’s time they ceased.
With that, let’s move on to the new Top 10:
1. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 279 (18 of 29 first-place votes)
Record: 53-3-2 (38 KOs)
Title: WBO welterweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Shane Mosley on May 7
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: Nov. 12 vs. No. 5 Juan Manuel Marquez
Analysis:Pacquiao arguably game’s best offensive fighter
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Points: 267 (11 of 29 first-place votes)
Record: 42-0 (26 KOs)
Title: WBC welterweight champion
Last outing: KO4 over Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17
Previous ranking: 2
Up next:Nothing scheduled
Analysis:Can he be convinced to take on Pacquiao in a 1 vs. 2 fight in the spring?
3. Sergio Martinez
Record: 48-2-2 (27 KOs)
Title: Ring, WBC middleweight champion emeritus
Last outing: KO11 Darren Barker on Oct. 1
Previous ranking: 3
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Doesn’t have a lot of great options to face at middleweight
4. Nonito Donaire Jr.
Record: 27-1 (18 KOs)
Title: WBC, WBO bantamweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Omar Narvaez on Oct. 22
Previous ranking: 4
Up next:Nothing scheduled
Analysis:Inability to finish Narvaez dropped him in some voters’ minds, but not enough to lose the fourth spot.
5. Juan Manuel Marquez
Record: 53-5-1 (39 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO, Ring lightweight champion
Last outing: TKO1 over Likar Ramos on July 16
Previous ranking: 5
Up next: Nov. 12 vs. No. 1 Manny Pacquiao
Analysis:If he can stay off the canvas, may have style to defeat Pacquiao
6. Andre Ward
Record: 24-0 (13 KOs)
Title: WBA super middleweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Arthur Abraham on May 14
Previous ranking: 6
Up next: Dec. 17 vs. Carl Froch for Super Six championship
Analysis: Ward now recovered from cut that postponed Froch fight
7. Wladimir Klitschko
Record: 56-3 (49 KOs)
Title: Ring, IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion
Last outing: W12 over David Haye on July 2
Previous ranking: 7
Up next:Dec. 10 vs. Jean Marc Mormeck in Germany
Analysis: Punches like a heavyweight, agile like a middleweight
8. Lucian Bute
Record: 29-0 (24 KOs)
Title: IBF super middleweight champion
Last outing: KO4 Jean Paul Mendy on July 9
Previous ranking: 10
Up next: Vs. Glen Johnson in Quebec City on Nov. 5
Analysis:One of boxing’s best body punchers
9. Timothy Bradley
Record: 27-0 (11 KOs)
Title: WBO super lightweight champion, WBC super lightweight champion in recess
Last outing: TD10 over Devon Alexander in Pontiac, Mich., on Jan. 29
Up next:Vs. Joel Casamayor on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas
Analysis:Could get Pacquiao in May if both men win on Nov. 12
10. Vitali Klitschko
Record: 43-2 (40 KOs)
Title: WBC heavyweight champion
Last outing: TKO10 over Tomasz on Sept. 10
Previous ranking: NR
Up next:Nothing scheduled
Analysis:Not as fluid as younger brother, but has been more dominant and a better finisher
Others receiving votes: Yuriorkis Gamboa, 27; Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, 26; Amir Khan, 25; Bernard Hopkins, 23; Carl Froch, 14; Miguel Cotto, 8; Marco Huck, 5; Giovani Segura, 3; Chris John, 1; Toshiaki Nishioka, 1.
Voting panel:Al Bernstein, Showtime; Ron Borges, Boston Herald; Damian Calhoun, Orange County Register; Steve Cofield, Yahoo! Sports; Mike Coppinger, BoxingScene; Gareth A. Davies, London Telegraph; Andrew Eisele, About.com; Steve Farhood, Showtime; Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin; Randy Gordon, Sirius/XM; Lee Groves, Ring Magazine; Thomas Hauser, Seconds Out; Keith Idec, The Record; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Scott Mallon, Boxing Digest; Rich Marotta, Fox Sports; Franklin McNeil, ESPN.com; Gunnar Meinhardt, Die Welt; Robert Morales, Los Angeles Daily News; Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters; Santos Perez, Miami Herald; Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports; Cliff Rold, BoxingScene.com; Lem Satterfield, RingTV.com; Tim Starks, The Queensbury Rules; Don Steinberg, Philadelphia Inquirer/Wall Street Journal; T.K. Stewart, BoxingScene.com; Dave Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City; George Willis, New York Post.
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