December top fighters by division

What changes were made in the weight class rankings for December? Dan Rafael reveals his new world standings.

Originally Published: December 8, 2005
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Check out my rankings within each boxing division by clicking on the links below. The next rankings will be updated on the second Thursday of each month.

Who is the world's best fighter, regardless of weight class? See my pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results through Dec. 7:

HEAVYWEIGHTS (201 AND UP)
Chris Byrd

1. Chris Byrd (39-2-1)


In the wake of Vitali Klitschko's retirement, longest reigning heavyweight titlist takes over the top spot. But Byrd's ongoing legal duel with promoter Don King has been a huge distraction, and it might cost him a lucrative March title defense against Wladimir Klitschko.
Next: TBA



2. James Toney (69-4-2)

Named mandatory for Hasim Rahman, and they'll probably meet in March, but he and promoter Dan Goossen should be ashamed of themselves for asking for a 50-50 purse bid split rather than the traditional 75-25 in favor of the titleholder. Toney has done nothing to deserve that kind of bump in his pay -- unless testing positive for steroids counts.
Next: TBA vs. Rahman

3. Lamon Brewster (33-2)

If Byrd doesn't come to terms for a Klitschko fight in March, Brewster probably will face Klitschko instead, in a rematch against the man he took the belt from. The fight would be in Germany, where Brewster is familiar with the hostile territory. He knocked out his last opponent, Luan Krasniqi, there.
Next: TBA

4. John Ruiz (41-5-1)

He'll have his hands full with 7-foot, 340-pound mandatory Nicolay Valuev later this month. As if that is not imposing enough, Ruiz has the unenviable task of defending his belt in one of the toughest places on earth for a foreigner to win a decision: Germany. If you've been rooting long and hard to be rid of Ruiz, this might be your best chance.
Next: Dec. 17 vs. Valuev

5. Hasim Rahman (41-5-1)

Had the interim tag dropped from his title when Vitali Klitschko retired but didn't get the much-needed $4.2 million payday he would have gotten had the fight with Klitschko taken place. Now, Rahman must face Toney in a very tough fight for much less money.
Next:TBA vs. Toney

6. Wladimir Klitschko (45-3)

Baby brother of retired champ Vitali Klitschko will get a title shot early next year in an HBO fight in Germany. It will be against either Byrd or Brewster, whichever one comes to terms first.
Next: March 11 or 18 vs. TBA

7. Calvin Brock (27-0)

Returned home to Charlotte to outpoint David Bostice on Nov. 19 in a stay-busy fight while waiting for promoter Main Events to find him something significant. If the much-discussed David Tua bout doesn't come off, Brock could land on the Feb. 25 undercard of the Fernando Vargas-Shane Mosley fight.
Next: TBA

8. Samuel Peter (24-1)

Returns from disappointing September loss to Wladimir Klitschko to face journeyman Robert Hawkins on a small pay-per-view card. We expect nothing less than a big knockout from Peter.
Next: Dec. 15 vs. Hawkins

9. David Tua (44-3-1)

"Tuaman" has posted two wins this year after a two-year layoff while he battled his former managers in court. Now there is talk that he will face Brock, but the fight is on hold for the moment because there is no available TV date for the attractive fight.
Next: TBA

10. Monte Barrett (31-4)

Outclassed by Rahman in a decision loss when they met in August for an interim title, which eventually became a main title when Vitali Klitschko retired. Barrett always has been the kind of fighter to fall just short in a big spot.
Next: TBA