The Ring Magazine first introduced its divisional ratings in 1925 and 95 years later they’re still going strong. It is no exaggeration to claim that these independent rankings are the most respected and accurate in world boxing today.
The ratings panel is made up of a dozen experts from around the world. Opinions are shared, debate takes place, and the final decision on who should be ranked where is decided democratically. It sounds easy but it can be an arduous and time-consuming process.
During the past few weeks, the sport of boxing, like the rest of us, has been on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It therefore makes sense for The Ring to use this time to revisit each and every division, analyze the fighters who are ranked and predict what they’re likely to do in the future.
Up next is welterweight. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.
No. 1 ERROL SPENCE JR.
RECORD: (26-0, 21 KOs)
THE PAST: Spence, a 2012 Olympian, proved his mettle by stopping Kell Brook (TKO 11) to win the IBF welterweight title. The 30-year-old has since made four defenses: Lamont Peterson (RTD 7), Carlos Ocampo (KO 1), Mikey Garcia (UD 12) and Shawn Porter (SD 12). The Porter bout, a Fight of the Year nominee, saw him add the WBC title to his collection.
THE FUTURE: In October, Spence was involved in a high-speed car accident, while under the influence of alcohol. The unified titleholder was thrown from the vehicle but, miraculously, sustained superficial injuries. Had talked about returning in the summer, but his comeback will now be put off until later in the year. Danny Garcia looks like being his next assignment.
No. 2 TERENCE CRAWFORD
RECORD: (36-0, 27 KOs)
THE PAST: The talented switch-hitter has won titles at 135, 140 and 147. However, it’s his body of work at junior welterweight, where he became undisputed champion, that helped separate him from the rest. Since moving to welterweight, he has claimed the WBO strap and made three successful defenses. In recent times, the 32-year-old Nebraska native has beaten Viktor Postol (UD 12), Julius Indongo (KO 3), Jose Benavidez (KO 12), Amir Khan (TKO 6) and Egidijus Kavaliauskas (TKO 9).
THE FUTURE: There are rumors of Crawford defending against Kell Brook or Shawn Porter, and a move up to face WBO junior middleweight titleholder Patrick Teixeira has also been mentioned.
No. 3 MANNY PACQUIAO
RECORD: (62-7-2, 39 KOs)
THE PAST: Pacquiao is boxing’s only eight-weight world titleholder (112, 122, 126, 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154). Went 6-2-1 against Mexican triumvirate, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez before moving through the weights in earnest. Owns wins over Oscar De La Hoya (RTD 8), Ricky Hatton (KO 2), Miguel Cotto (TKO 12), Antonio Margarito (UD 12), Tim Bradley (UD 12 twice) among others. More recently, the legendary Filipino rolled back the years with wins over Lucas Matthysse (TKO 7), Adrien Broner (UD 12) and Keith Thurman (UD 12).
THE FUTURE: Appears to be leaning toward a fight with Mikey Garcia.
No. 4 KEITH THURMAN
RECORD: (29-1, 22 KOs)
THE PAST: Thurman scored impressive wins over former world titleholders Carlos Quintana (TKO 4) and Jan Zaveck (UD 12) before securing the WBA 147-pound title. Has since edged Shawn Porter (UD 12) and unified with WBC titleholder Danny Garcia (SD 12). Lost his unbeaten record to Pacquiao, but “One Time” has been blighted by persistent hand injuries and inactivity.
THE FUTURE: Looking to return after undergoing surgery on his left hand. Potential comeback fight before taking aim at one of the big names in the division.
No. 5 SHAWN PORTER
RECORD: (30-3-1, 17 KOs)
THE PAST: Porter outhustled Devon Alexander (UD 12) to win the IBF title and stopped Paulie Malignaggi (TKO 4) in his first defense. Dropped the title to Kell Brook (MD 12), rebounded to beat fellow-Ohio native Adrien Broner (UD 12), then lost the close decision to Thurman. Displayed his persistence once again when he beat Danny Garcia (UD 12) for the vacant WBC title and squeezed past Yordenis Ugas (SD 12). Porter then looked to unify with Spence but, despite giving him his toughest test, dropped a split decision.
THE FUTURE: Would like a rematch with Spence and has also talked about facing Crawford. However, will likely have to settle for a lesser-named opponent while awaiting a title opportunity.
No. 6 DANNY GARCIA
RECORD: (36-2, 21 KOs)
THE PAST: Garcia had major success at 140 pounds; annexing Ring Magazine, WBC and WBA titles, and posting wins over Erik Morales (UD 12 and KO 4), Amir Khan (TKO 4), Zab Judah (UD 12) and Lucas Matthysse (UD 12). The Philadelphia-born fighter then moved up to welterweight and claimed the vacant WBC title at the expense of Robert Guerrero (UD 12). Lost to Thurman (SD 12) in a unification bid and was unable to regain the same title, dropping the close decision to Porter. Has won two fights since.
THE FUTURE: Earmarked for a fight with Spence this fall.
No. 7 YORDENIS UGAS
RECORD: (25-4, 12KOs)
THE PAST: Cuban amateur standout won gold at the 2005 World Championships and bronze at the 2008 Olympics. Turned professional at 140 pounds and initially struggled with the transition, losing three times. However, Ugas has since flourished at welterweight, beating the likes of Jamal James (UD 10), Bryan Perrella (TKO 4), Thomas Dulorme (UD 10) and Ray Robinson (TKO 7) to earn a long overdue title opportunity. He gave then-WBC titleholder Porter all he could handle but dropped a split decision. Has rebounded with two wins.
THE FUTURE: Will stay active and await a second title shot.
No. 8 KUDRATILLO ABDUKAKHOROV
RECORD: (17-0, 9 KOs)
THE PAST: The Uzbekistan native developed as a pro in Southeast Asia. Shocked Charles Manyuchi (TKO 1) and was too strong for Dmitry Mikhaylenko (UD 12) and Laszlo Toth (UD 12). He has since signed with Top Rank and fought twice in America, beating Keita Obara (UD 12), in an IBF eliminator, and former titleholder Luis Collazo (TD 10).
THE FUTURE: Had been scheduled to face Sergey Lipinets in an IBF interim title fight on May 9 in Los Angeles. That looks like being rescheduled for some time in the next few months.
No. 9 SERGEY LIPINETS
RECORD: (16-1, 12 KOs)
THE PAST: This rugged former kickboxer has refined his skills, first under the tutelage of Buddy McGirt and, more recently, Joe Goossen. The Kazakh-born fighter took Haskell Rhodes unbeaten record (UD 10), stopped Lenny Zappavigna (KO 8) and won the IBF 140-pound title against Akihiro Kondo (UD 12). Lost his title in his first defense against Mikey Garcia (UD 12) and subsequently decided to move north to welterweight. Has won three fights, including a stoppage over former world titleholder Lamont Peterson (TKO 10).
THE FUTURE: Will face Abdukukhorov for the right to fight for the IBF title.
No. 10 MIKEY GARCIA
RECORD: (40-1, 30 KOs)
THE PAST: Garcia won world titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140. The 32-year-old Mexican-American, a tremendous counterpuncher, holds wins over Orlando Salido (TD 8), Juan Manuel Lopez (TKO 4), Roman Martinez (KO 8), Dejan Zlaticanin (KO 3), Broner (UD 12), Lipinets (UD 12) and Robert Easter Jr. (UD 12). His only loss was when he attempted to become a five-weight world titleholder against 147-pounder Errol Spence, which proved to be a bridge too far. Got back to winning ways against Jessie Vargas (UD 12).
THE FUTURE: Looks likely to be facing Pacquiao for the WBA title.
ON THE CUSP: David Avanesyan, Jaron Ennis, Jamal James, Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Vergil Ortiz Jr.
THE RING RATINGS – Pound-for-Pound
THE RING RATINGS – Strawweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Flyweight
THE RING RATINGS – Flyweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Bantamweight
THE RING RATINGS – Bantamweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Featherweight
THE RING RATINGS – Featherweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Lightweight
THE RING RATINGS – Lightweight
THE RING RATINGS – Junior Welterweight
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