April top fighters by division

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

Originally Published: April 13, 2006
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Check out my rankings within each boxing division by clicking on the links below. The 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 April 13:

HeavyweightsLightweights
CruiserweightsJunior Lightweights
Light HeavyweightsFeatherweights
Super MiddleweightsJunior Featherweights
MiddleweightsBantamweights
Junior MiddleweightsJunior Bantamweights
WelterweightsFlyweights
Junior WelterweightsJunior Flyweights/Strawweights

HEAVYWEIGHTS (201 AND UP)
Chris Byrd

1. Chris Byrd (39-2-1)


Now that he has parted ways with promoter Don King, with whom he battled over his purses for years, Byrd says he is more excited to fight than he has been throughout his title reign. He said he is "pumped" about going to Germany to fight a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, despite having been wiped out in their first meeting in 2000.
Next: April 22 vs. Klitschko.



2. Hasim Rahman (41-5-2)

Although he certainly deserved a points win, not a draw, in last month's title defense against James Toney, it's hard to get too worked up over the decision, given how disappointing it was to see "Rock" unable to dominate the totally out-of-shape challenger.
Next: TBA vs. Oleg Maskaev

3. James Toney (69-4-3)

The first time he fought for a heavyweight title, he beat John Ruiz but was stripped after testing positive for steroids. What did Toney do when blessed with a second chance to fight for a title against Rahman? Show up like a blimp and huff and puff his way to a gift draw. He should be ashamed of himself for blowing the second chance because had he been in even reasonable condition, Toney would have won the fight.
Next: TBA

4. Wladimir Klitschko (45-3)

The first time he faced Byrd, Klitschko won a dominant decision in 2000. The second time around probably will prove much more difficult, but we still think Klitschko has the style to beat the much smaller Byrd.
Next: April 22 vs. Byrd

5. Sergei Liakhovich (23-1)

New title holder showed a lot in his impressive April 1 decision victory against Lamon Brewster in a bout that is so far the leading candidate for fight of the year.
Next: TBA

6. Lamon Brewster (33-3)

Given the fact that he suffered a detached retina early in the fight and fought blind in one eye against Liakhovich, you can never question Brewster's heart. It was a tremendous fight and Brewster deserves a rematch as soon as he recovers from his injury.
Next: TBA

7. Nicolay Valuev (43-0)

After a brief change of heart, handlers for the 7-foot, 330-pound Russian giant have decided to go back to Owen Beck as the sacrificial lamb for Valuev's first title defense. What an utter joke that Beck is getting an opportunity to fight for a world title. He has never beaten anything resembling a top opponent and the two solid opponents he did face -- Ray Austin and Monte Barrett -- beat him.
Next: June 3 vs. Beck

8. John Ruiz (41-6-1)

The former title holder is still holding out hope that the WBA will order a rematch with Valuev, who won the belt on a controversial decision in December. For the sake of boxing fans everywhere, hopefully the WBA will make Ruiz wait forever.
Next: TBA

9. Calvin Brock (28-0)

The former U.S. Olympian finally will make his HBO debut this summer on "Boxing After Dark," when he faces fellow undefeated contender Timur Ibragimov (21-0-1). A Brock victory could lead to a title shot.
Next: June 24 vs. Ibragimov

10. Samuel Peter (25-1)

If he gets past 7-footer Julius Long on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights," Peter could then face Malik Scott in the HBO co-feature on the July 22 Carlos Baldomir-Arturo Gatti card. That's one of the fights under consideration.
Next: April 28 vs. Long