April top fighters by division
What changes were made in the weight class rankings for April? Dan Rafael reveals his new world standings.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
1. O'Neil Bell (26-1-1)
The detestable IBF took one of his title belts because he is injured and unable to fight mandatory challenger Steve Cunningham on May 6 as planned, just another scummy move in an ever-growing list of scummy moves by the foul organization. But at this point, who really gives a damn about the nauseating IBF? In this era of dirty sanctioning bodies, the IBF has actually separated itself from the pack as the most wretched of all, and when you have the WBC around, that's saying a lot.
2. Guillermo Jones (33-3-2)
With Bell out of the fight with Cunningham, Jones will face him on Showtime for the now-worthless IBF trinket that was stolen from Bell.
Next: May 6 vs. Cunningham
3. Steve Cunningham (19-0)
He's deserved a title shot for awhile, so it is unfortunate that instead of fighting for the real championship, he's instead going to fight for a bogus belt against Jones, a guy he eked out a 10-round split decision against when they first met in April 2005.
Next: May 6 vs. Jones
4. Johnny Nelson (45-12-2)
Long-reigning British titlist is out for an extended period -- and may be forced to retire -- after having knee surgery. That means countryman Enzo Maccarinelli, against whom Nelson was supposed to defend his title before he was injured, will probably fight for an interim title July 8 on Joe Calzaghe's undercard.
5. Jean-Marc Mormeck (31-3)
After the beating that Bell put on him in January, can you blame the former champion for taking a nice, long rest?
6. Dale Brown (35-4-1)
He's probably off sulking somewhere after backing out of a March 24 ESPN2 fight with Felix Cora because he was still in a snit about not getting a rematch of his controversial decision loss to Bell last year.
7. Virgil Hill (50-5)
After winning yet another title belt with an outstanding performance against Valery Brudov in January, wouldn't it be great if the 42-year-old Hill could just walk off into the sunset? Sure, but don't hold your breath.
8. Wayne Braithwaite (21-2)
Former titlist should look on the bright side: After losing both of his fights (and his title) in 2005, this year probably can't be any worse.
9. Carl Thompson (34-6)
Thompson, one of the most exciting British fighters of this era, is 41 and near the end. But he deserves some kind of significant fight before bowing out. After all the blood he has spilled for our entertainment, it's the least he deserves.
10. David Haye (16-1)
In first defense, British puncher -- all of his wins are by knockout -- retained the European title with an eighth-round TKO of Denmark's Lasse Johansen on March 24; former European champ Pietro Aurino of Italy could be next.
1. Antonio Tarver (24-3)
He's taken to calling himself the "Legend Killer," given that he knocked out Roy Jones. Now Tarver says he will do the same against Bernard Hopkins. Perhaps Tarver should be more concerned about taking off all that weight he put on while filming the sixth "Rocky" movie instead of predicting a knockout against a fighter who, in more than 50 pro fights, has only been down twice and never been stopped.
Next: June 10 vs. Hopkins
2. Glen Johnson (44-10-2)
As the mandatory challenger for titlist Clinton Woods, Johnson is entitled to the next shot, and if the deplorable IBF ever orders the fight, Johnson will be the big favorite. He already owns a win against Woods, not to mention a draw that most observers think he really won.
3. Zsolt Erdei (23-0)
He'll defend his belt next month in Germany against Paul Murdoch (25-5-1) of Australia, certainly not the kind of opponent who should put too much fear into the hearts of Erdei fans.
Next: May 6 vs. Murdoch
4. Tomasz Adamek (30-0)
Although Adamek is a title holder and the best fighter you've probably never seen, he's been an afterthought to promoter Don King, which is exactly why Adamek is suing His Hairness. He claims King has breached their contract by not offering him the minimum number of fights that he is owed.
5. Fabrice Tiozzo (47-2)
The inactive title holder from France -- 14 months without a fight and counting -- continues to talk about a unification with Erdei. If Erdei wins his May 6 fight, the unification bout could happen in July.
6. Roy Jones Jr. (49-4)
Discussions with Showtime about a potential deal are at a standstill and HBO has shown no inclination to continue financing the former pound-for-pound king's fights. That leaves the 37-year-old Jones, who is coming off three consecutive losses (two by brutal knockout), few options. He needs to realize that it's over.
7. Clinton Woods (38-3-1)
Although he is supposed to defend his belt against mandatory challenger Johnson, who actually deserves the title shot, the disgraceful and warped IBF is incapable of simply doing the right thing. Rather than immediately mandate the Johnson fight, the repugnant organization is considering approving an interim defense first. That wouldn't be so horrific if it were against someone other than Jason DeLisle, an opponent who is vomit-inducing for two reasons: 1. DeLisle is coming off a loss in his last fight, an IBF eliminator against Julio Gonzalez! Doesn't losing an "elimination" bout "eliminate" you from next fighting for that organization's title? 2. Woods already knocked DeLisle out in an October 2004 IBF elimination bout.
Next: May 13 vs. DeLisle
8. Julio Gonzalez (39-3)
If Johnson is forced to wait to fight Woods, Gonzalez promoter Dan Goossen hopes to make a Gonzalez-Johnson rematch on the May 11 "Best Damn Sports Show Period" card. In the first fight, Gonzalez won a controversial decision in 2003.
9. Paul Briggs (24-2)
If you saw Briggs' epic battle with Adamek in May 2005, you undoubtedly want to see a rematch. Unfortunately, with Adamek tied up in litigation with King, it is doubtful that it will happen in the immediate future.
10. Montell Griffin (48-6)
In his first fight with new promoter Joe DeGuardia on March 31, the former champ scored a near-shutout of journeyman Norman Jones that probably put to sleep every single person struggling to watch it on ESPN2.
1. Joe Calzaghe (41-0)
The unified champ, who destroyed Jeff Lacy in March, is planning on a summer return, which Showtime is hoping to televise. Obviously, the best fight would be to further unify the division with Mikkel Kessler, the dynamic title holder from Denmark.
Next: July 8 vs. TBA
2. Mikkel Kessler (37-0)
If American fans could see him fight, they would fall in love with this powerful titlist from Denmark. He has star potential. His handlers are arranging a title defense for the first or second week of June, but it won't be against newly appointed French mandatory challenger Jackson Chanet. It could be a massive mismatch against former middleweight titlist William Joppy.
3. Markus Beyer (34-2)
Before facing new mandatory Librado Andrade this fall, German titlist will defend against Sakio Bika (20-1-1), who is now based in Australia after representing Cameroon in the 2000 Olympics.
Next: May 13 vs. Bika
4. Danny Green (21-2)
After suffering back spasms in training, his much-anticipated showdown with countryman Anthony Mundine originally scheduled for April 19 has been pushed back for a month to allow Green to make up for the training time he missed.
Next: May 17 vs. Mundine
5. Anthony Mundine (25-3)
He's waited this long to get Green in the ring, so we guess he -- and the expected crowd of almost 50,000 at an outdoor soccer stadium -- can wait an extra month to see the biggest fight in Australian history.
Next: May 17 vs. Green
6. Jeff Lacy (21-1)
Although Lacy is still taking it easy after being crushed by Calzaghe, his team is starting to plan for a fall comeback. One name popping up as a potential opponent is Peter Manfredo Jr., the former "Contender" Season 1 contestant who recently blasted out Scott Pemberton, who had been previously knocked out by Lacy.
Next: Oct. 7 vs. TBA
7. Librado Andrade (23-0)
Shook off a 14-month layoff by going to hostile turf and dominating Otis Grant for a seventh-round TKO in his hometown of Montreal on April 8 to earn a mandatory title shot against Beyer this fall. Beating Grant, and doing it in such overwhelming fashion, is most impressive.
8. Robin Reid (38-5-1)
At least when Reid loses, it's only to the best. Four of the former belt holder's defeats have come in world title fights (Lacy, Calzaghe, Sugar Boy Malinga and Sven Ottke). The other loss was to Silvio Branco, who later won a world title.
9. Carl Froch (18-0)
British and Commonwealth champ faces a stern test in the form of Irishman Brian Magee when they meet next month in London.
Next: May 26 vs. Magee
10. Lucian Bute (16-0)
As a 6-foot-2 southpaw, the Romanian-born, Montreal-based rising contender is going to give a lot of fighters trouble. Despite just 16 fights, he has already fought and easily defeated several good opponents.
Next: May 16 vs. Lolenga Mock
1. Jermain Taylor (25-0)
During the initial media tour announcing his title defense against Winky Wright, Taylor was way too nice and cordial. We'd like to see him with just a little more of an edge. He is, after all, promoting a fight, not computer software.
Next: June 17 vs. Wright
2. Winky Wright (50-3)
The fight with Taylor is finally on, but we haven't completely forgotten that he acted as disloyally as any fighter we have ever seen with the way he tried to stab promoter Gary Shaw in the back during negotiations.
Next: June 17 vs. Taylor
3. Bernard Hopkins (46-4-1)
The longtime middleweight champ is moving all the way up to light heavyweight for his final fight, in which he hopes to do what his boxing idol Sugar Ray Robinson fell a round short of accomplishing: winning the light heavyweight crown.
Next: June 10 vs. Antonio Tarver
4. Felix Sturm (25-1)
As expected, he won an easy decision over Maselino Masoe on March 11 in Germany to claim a title more tainted than an envelope filled with anthrax. Sturm's new trinket isn't worth the crappy plastic it is made of.
5. Arthur Abraham (20-0)
Makes second defense of paper title against rugged Kofi Jantuah, a clear underdog whose best days were as a longtime junior middleweight contender. But Jantuah (30-2) certainly has a puncher's chance.
Next: May 13 vs. Jantuah
6. Sam Soliman (32-8)
Australian contender who is willing to fight anyone, anywhere at any time, is taking a short break from the ring to film his role in an Egyptian action movie. We don't make this stuff up. Promoter Dan Goossen hopes to have him back in the ring in July.
7. Edison Miranda (26-0)
Scored an impressive seventh-round TKO against veteran contender and former title challenger Howard Eastman on March 24 to earn a mandatory shot against Abraham. Miranda is a tremendous puncher and, oh, so fun to watch.
Next: TBA vs. Abraham
8. Kingsley Ikeke (23-2)
Coming off a knockout loss to Abraham, there had been talk that Ikeke would face fellow African Kofi Jantuah in his return. But with Jantuah headed to Germany to face Abraham, Ikeke's comeback plans are up in the air.
9. Raymond Joval (35-4)
Sitting out for a couple of months while recovering from the flare-up of an old neck injury he suffered a few years ago in a car accident.
10. Kelly Pavlik (27-0)
Pavlik figures to be one of the Top Rank fighters who will benefit most from the new set of television dates it will have as part of the new Comcast/OLN deal.
1. Roman Karmazin (34-1-1)
Won his title in impressive fashion last summer and has been on ice for the past ninth months for no apparent reason. Now he's stuck facing mandatory challenger Rodney Jones next, and if their handlers -- Don King for Karmazin and Artie Pelullo for Jones -- don't reach an agreement by April 18, there will be a purse bid.
Next: TBA vs. Jones
2. Kassim Ouma (23-2-1)
Former titlist will be featured on the Oscar De La Hoya-Ricardo Mayorga HBO PPV undercard against hard-punching, but slow, Marco Antonio Rubio. If Ouma comes in shape, he should box circles around Rubio.
Next: May 6 vs. Rubio
3. Shane Mosley (42-4)
Slowly, but surely, the deal is coming together for Mosley to face Fernando Vargas in a July 15 HBO PPV rematch. Looking as good as he has in years, Mosley won the first fight via 10th-round TKO in February. We see little reason to think a second fight would be much different.
4. Ricardo Mayorga (27-5-1)
Defends paper title against De La Hoya in a fight that is the classic black hat vs. white hat, with De La Hoya the people's darling and Mayorga the ultimate villain. Let's hope the fight is as good as the promotion.
Next: May 6 vs. De La Hoya
5. Sergei Dzindziruk (31-0)
For his first title defense, the German-based Ukrainian will face Sebastian Lujan of Argentina. For those who don't remember, Lujan is the guy who challenged welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito in February 2005 and lost by TKO when his bloody ear nearly came off the side of his head in one of the most gruesome ring scenes ever.
Next: April 29 vs. Lujan
6. Fernando Vargas (26-3)
He's lost his three biggest fights by knockout to De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Mosley. The proposed July 15 rematch with Mosley figures to end the same way as those previous losses.
7. Daniel Santos (29-3-1)
Although he lost belt to Dzindziruk in December, there has been talk that he may find himself in another title bout against Karmazin, who, like Santos, is promoted by Don King. But only if Karmazin beats Rodney Jones first.
8. Ike Quartey (37-2-1)
The former welterweight champ was supposed to face another former welterweight champ, Vernon Forrest, on April 15 at New York's Madison Square Garden Theater. However, Forrest suffered an arm injury and the fight was postponed, leaving HBO to find a summer date.
Next: TBA vs. Forrest
9. Alex "Terra" Garcia (25-1)
He's willing to walk into the lion's den of Jose Antonio Rivera's hometown of Worcester, Mass., to defend his title on Showtime in what we can't imagine being anything less than an all-action fight. It's just too bad it will get virtually no attention because the media and fans will be so focused on Mayorga's fight with De La Hoya the same night in Las Vegas.
Next: May 6 vs. Rivera
10. Rodney Jones (37-3-1)
How did beating the utterly ordinary Raul Frank on a decision -- four months after a dreadful draw with him -- earn Jones a mandatory title shot against Karmazin? By getting that dreck sanctioned by the repulsive IBF, that's how.
Next: TBA vs. Karmazin
1. Carlos Baldomir (42-9-6)
He was the ultimate underdog when he beat Zab Judah in January to win the welterweight championship, and now he's cashing in. We don't blame him one iota for grabbing as much money as he can -- $1.45 million -- to defend against folk hero Arturo Gatti this summer on Gatti's Atlantic City turf.
Next: July 22 vs. Gatti
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (36-0)
After spending a few rounds figuring out Judah, he laid a devastating beating on the former undisputed champion in an impressive performance that reinforced his pound-for-pound best standing. Now, if he could just keep his uncle Roger from coming into the ring in the middle of a round.
3. Antonio Margarito (33-4)
Promoter Bob Arum now has his work cut out for him, which is to make a Margarito-Mayweather fight for this summer. He's got Margarito on board, a July 29 pay-per-view date carved out, and the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on hold. Now, if Arum can convince Mayweather to get on board, we'll have ourselves a sweet little fight this summer.
4. Luis Collazo (26-1)
He's getting the opportunity of a lifetime to defend his belt against junior welterweight champ Ricky Hatton on a major HBO card in Boston, and we're pretty confident that the New York southpaw will give him a tough fight.
Next: May 13 vs. Hatton
5. Zab Judah (34-4)
He did well for the first four rounds against Mayweather. The problem is that it was a 12-round fight. From Rounds 5 through 10, Judah absorbed a massive beating, one that came to a halt only because of the ridiculous melee sparked by Roger Mayweather. The bottom line is this: Judah is a very good fighter but way too flawed to be a great one. And don't expect to see Mayweather-Judah II.
6. Arturo "Thunder" Gatti (40-7)
Despite being left for dead following last summer's obliteration at the hands of Mayweather in a junior welterweight title bout, Gatti has found new life at 147 pounds. He beat Thomas Damgaard just a couple of weeks after Baldomir upset Judah, leading to the most unlikely of championship fights: Baldomir-Gatti. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, this is the one and only true welterweight title fight.
Next: July 22 vs. Baldomir
7. Cory Spinks (34-3)
It's been 14 months since he last fought, when he lost the undisputed title to Judah. Since then we don't know exactly what he has been doing, but we are pretty sure he's been eating well. We saw him in Las Vegas at Mayweather-Judah and he looked like he was getting ready to fight for the super middleweight title.
8. Kermit Cintron (25-1)
Cintron, returning to the spotlight for the first time since last spring's knockout loss to Margarito, will face David Estrada (18-2) on ESPN2's "Wednesday Night Fights" in an elimination bout that, on paper, looks like an all-action scrap. We can't wait for this one.
Next: April 19 vs. Estrada
9. Oktay Urkal (36-3)
If you have any doubt that sanctioning organizations make up their rules as they go along, look no further than the case of Urkal and the WBA. Urkal has been awaiting a long overdue mandatory shot against Collazo. The fight had gone to a purse bid, yet the WBA is allowing Collazo to bypass Urkal to defend against Ricky Hatton instead. We like the Collazo-Hatton fight better than Collazo-Urkal, but that is not the point.
10. Joel "Love Child" Julio (27-0)
A proposed tune-up fight in Mexico has been scrapped, so the "Love Child" will go directly to his HBO "Boxing After Dark" title eliminator against Carlos Quintana, a fight that we've been looking forward to since the day it was first discussed.
Next: June 24 vs. Quintana
1. Ricky Hatton (40-0)
The ESPN.com 2005 fighter of the year and unified champion is moving up to welterweight to challenge beltholder Luis Collazo in Boston in the first fight of Hatton's new gazillion-dollar multi-fight contract with HBO. Hatton is on an obvious collision course with Floyd Mayweather Jr. We just hope greed on both sides doesn't get in the way of making this super fight.
Next: May 13 vs. Collazo
2. Miguel Cotto (26-0)
Thanks to promoter Bob Arum's relentless promotional campaign, Cotto's summer showdown at Madison Square Garden against slick New Yorker Paulie Malignaggi already has the feel of one of the biggest fights of the year, even though it isn't.
Next: June 10 vs. Malignaggi
3. Kostya Tszyu (31-2)
If the former champ and future Hall of Famer returns to the ring, he could find himself moving up to welterweight to face Mayweather. Representatives for both fighters have discussed the possible match. At this stage of Tszyu's career, it would be a very difficult fight, but a great payday.
4. Junior Witter (33-1-2)
European champ from England was supposed to defend his crown April 28 in Italy against mandatory challenger Giuseppe Lauri. However, Lauri's handlers are trying to delay the fight in the hopes that Witter will give up the belt and go straight to a summer fight with DeMarcus Corley for the world title belt that Mayweather recently relinquished.
5. DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley (31-4-1)
Former titlist and Mayweather's chief sparring partner will fight for the belt Mayweather vacated so he could move up to welterweight.
Next: TBA vs. Witter
6. Carlos Maussa (19-3)
Since losing his belt via knockout to Hatton last fall, he's been enjoying himself and taking it easy. But his handlers assure us that the wild man will be back, just not in April as originally thought. More like June or July on a Telemundo card.
7. Vivian Harris (26-2-1)
Former titlist will fight on promoter Gary Shaw's July HBO "Boxing After Dark" card, probably against "Mighty" Mike Arnaoutis (17-0-2). That's a very interesting fight if it comes off.
Next: July 8 vs. TBA
8. Ricardo Torres (28-1)
The big puncher from Colombia, who pushed Cotto to the brink last fall, is recovering from right hand surgery and is expected back on a Telefutura card this spring or early summer.
9. Juan Lazcano (35-3-1)
A broken finger suffered during his Feb. 24 victory against Ben Tackie cost him an HBO appearance and a big payday to fight Hatton. Tough break. Now promoter Golden Boy hopes to put him on the June 10 Antonio Tarver-Bernard Hopkins HBO PPV undercard.
10. Stevie Johnston (39-3-1)
After two-year layoff, the former two-time lightweight champ picked up the fourth win of his comeback, a fifth-round TKO of Roberto Ortega on March 31.
Next: May 26 vs. Herman Ngoudjo
1. Jose Luis Castillo (54-7-1)
As Castillo struggles to get down to 135 pounds, which he failed to do for their rematch last fall, the weigh-in for the third fight with Diego Corrales could be as dramatic as the bout itself.
Next: June 3 vs. Corrales
2. Diego "Chico" Corrales (40-3)
With the amount of punishment he took in the first two fights with Castillo, can Corrales be effective in their much-anticipated lightweight title rubber match? That's just one of the many intriguing subplots of the fight.
Next: June 3 vs. Castillo
3. Juan Diaz (29-0)
He sure didn't look like a guy who had been out of the ring for nine months, as he retained his title by outpointing previously undefeated Jose Cotto in a sensational action fight on the Mayweather-Judah undercard. Diaz, who is just 22, has terrific hand speed and stamina and should be involved in some terrific fights for the next few years.
4. Acelino "Popo" Freitas (37-1)
Former two-division champ has fought just two low-level bouts since suffering his first loss to Corrales in August 2004. But now the Brazilian national hero is primed for his big-time return to face the skilled Zahir Raheem for a vacant belt on HBO.
Next: April 29 vs. Raheem
5. Joel Casamayor (32-3-1)
Former junior lightweight champ got in good work and an impressive fifth-round knockout of Antonio Ramirez on Feb. 24, Casamayor's first fight since last June's draw against Almazbek Raiymkulov.
6. Julio Diaz (32-3)
With titleholder Jesus Chavez recovering from a serious arm injury, Diaz will face Ricky Quiles (39-6-3) for an interim belt on pay-per-view. The winner will have to fight Chavez when he is able to return.
Next: May 18 vs. Quiles
7. Zahir Raheem (27-1)
Returns from upset decision victory against Erik Morales last fall to face Freitas for a vacant belt in the headline fight of HBO's revamped "Boxing After Dark." It's a tough fight, but Raheem's skills and slickness could carry the day.
Next: April 29 vs. Freitas
8. Jesus Chavez (43-3)
Had to pull out of a March title defense against Marco Antonio Barrera because of a severe arm injury -- two tears in his left shoulder and a tear in his left biceps -- so let's hope he can recover and come back soon.
9. Isaac Hlatshwayo (24-0)
South African technician came to the United States and looked good winning a well-deserved split decision against tough Nate Campbell April 7 on ESPN2; next bout will be on the Jermain Taylor-Winky Wright undercard.
10. Lakva Sim (21-4-1)
Former titlist remains the mandatory challenger for Juan Diaz, but that rematch has been called off so many times that we've lost count. If it eventually happens, Sim will be the underdog, but a dangerous one.
1. Manny Pacquiao (41-3-2)
Filipino superstar set to face former junior featherweight champ Oscar Larios, who is moving up two divisions and going to the Philippines for a very difficult bout with the hometown hero. If Pacquiao wins, he's supposed to meet Erik Morales in a fall rubber match. But if it falls apart over a disagreement about the weight limit, perhaps we will see a fall rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera instead.
Next: July 2 vs. Larios
2. Marco Antonio Barrera (61-4)
Unified champ defends against 2000 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Rocky Juarez, who is moving up in weight for the title shot. But Barrera will probably be one belt lighter by the time the fight happens because the vile IBF is at it again, insisting that he face undeserving mandatory Manuel Medina instead. When will the madness end?
Next: May 20 vs. Juarez
3. Erik Morales (48-4)
Picked up his option for a third fight against Pacquiao this fall, but unless Morales agrees to fight at 130 pounds -- not the 132-pound catch weight he desires -- there won't be a trilogy.
Next: Sept. 16 vs. Pacquiao
4. Jorge Barrios (45-2-1)
Mandatory defense against Janos Nagy was supposed to happen on Barrera's March 24 HBO undercard in Las Vegas. But when Barrera opponent Jesus Chavez was injured, Barrera wound up on a new date (May 20) against a new opponent (Rocky Juarez) at a new venue (the Staples Center in Los Angeles), and the Barrios-Nagy fight went along with him.
Next: May 20 vs. Nagy
5. Carlos Hernandez (41-6-1)
Former titlist had opportunity to face former featherweight champ Kevin Kelley on the undercard of Cotto-Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden, but Hernandez priced himself out of the fight, according to promoter Top Rank.
6. Vicente Mosquera (23-1-1)
Although Mosquera has won two fights (both by knockout) since winning his title from Yodsanan Nanthachai in April 2005, both were non-title bouts in his native Panama; mandatory with massive knockout puncher Edwin Valero looms.
7. Yodsanan Nanthachai (46-3-1)
Former titlist scored a second-round TKO of Fernando Montilla in Thailand on March 24 to tune up for a title eliminator against Robbie Peden, which will wind up either May 31 on ESPN2 or in June on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period".
Next: TBA vs. Peden
8. Alex Arthur (22-1)
The exciting European champ, who outpointed Ricky Burns on Feb. 18, returns to action quickly to defend his title against George Ashie (13-1-1) at home in Scotland.
9. Robbie Peden (25-3)
The date for the fight has floated around a bit, but excellent match with fellow former titlist Nanthachai is slated to happen in May or June, depending on which TV network it lands on.
Next: TBA vs. Nanthachai
10. Manuel Medina (65-14)
Former five-time featherweight titlist easily outpointed Javier Alvarez of Argentina in a title eliminator, thus becoming one of the mandatory challengers for unified champ Barrera. But don't count on Medina ever facing Barrera. Instead, Medina is more likely to fight for what will eventually be a vacant belt.
1. Chris John (37-0-1)
Some say his title victory against Juan Manuel Marquez last month was legit, others say he got a gift. We're still waiting for the tape, so we can't say for sure. But based on what we have previously seen of John, he is very good, having cleanly beaten Derrick Gainer and Oscar Leon.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez (44-3-1)
His two-year descent into obscurity reached its nadir with a loss to John, Marquez's first since 1999. Now, he has reunited with Forum Boxing promoter John Jackson in the hopes of salvaging a badly damaged career.
3. Scott Harrison (25-2-2)
Three postponements later, mandatory Joan Guzman bailed on their fight, so his handlers are looking for a replacement opponent.
Next: May 20 vs. TBA
4. Humberto Soto (39-5-2)
Word is that the interim titleholder can no longer make 126 pounds, so he is planning to move up in weight. If he stays at featherweight, let's see if the rancid WBC follows its rules and mandates that he fight full titleholder Takashi Koshimoto. Don't bet on it.
5. Takashi Koshimoto (39-1-2)
Newly crowned title holder from Japan will face Rudy Lopez of Mexico this summer in his first defense. If Koshimoto wins, he should give Injin Chi, the deposed champ, a rematch.
Next: TBA vs. Lopez
6. Injin Chi (30-3-1)
Lost by the closest of margins to Koshimoto and deserves a rematch as soon as possible, especially because the margin of victory came about because of a lame point deduction. Without it, Chi would have retained the title on a draw instead of losing it on a split decision.
7. Rocky Juarez (25-1)
Opportunity knocks, but at junior lightweight, not featherweight. The recent injury to lightweight titlist Jesus Chavez left junior lightweight champ Marco Antonio Barrera looking for a new opponent, and when Juarez got the call, he accepted. He'll move up in weight to face Barrera on a major HBO card at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Next: May 20 vs. Barrera
8. Joan Guzman (24-0)
Talk about a change of direction in a career. After three postponements of a mandatory challenge to Harrison, Guzman decided to scrap the May 20 fight, move up to 130 pounds and agree to a co-promotional deal with Golden Boy, which becomes partners with Sycuan Ringside Promotions. In the first fight of the new deal, Guzman faces ex-lightweight titlist Javier Jauregui (51-12-2) on the HBO PPV undercard of the Ricardo Mayorga-Oscar De La Hoya fight.
Next: May 6 vs. Jauregui
9. Victor Polo (34-5-3)
It's been almost a year since he lost to Marquez in a title fight, Polo's fifth unsuccessful try (0-4-1) at a world title. Perhaps he will try to make another run.
10. Nicky Cook (26-0)
Exciting Brit and Mexico's Gamaliel Diaz will meet in London in a title eliminator with a shot at Koshimoto at stake.
Next: July 16 vs. Diaz
1. Israel Vazquez (39-3)
Unified champion, who might appear on the June 10 Antonio Tarver-Bernard Hopkins HBO PPV undercard, is on verge of being stripped of one of his trinkets. By which corrupt organization? You guessed it, the contemptible IBF. The reason: For not wanting to fight a meaningless mandatory against Steve Molitor, who is 22-0 but has never faced anyone of remote note and deserves a title shot as about much as you do.
2. Somsak Sithchatchawlan (46-1-1)
Thai veteran went to hostile territory in France and pulled of the upset, knocking out long-reigning titlist Mahyar Monshipour in the 10th round of an epic, fight-of-the-year candidate on March 18. After the brutal affair, Monshipour (28-3-2) announced his retirement.
3. Oscar Larios (56-4-1)
Former champ has a formidable task ahead: Jumping up two weight classes to face junior lightweight star Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines. The $500,000 payday makes the substantial risk worth it.
Next: July 2 vs. Pacquiao
4. Celestino Caballero (24-2)
For what purpose did the repugnant WBA allow him to fight for an interim title when the full champion, previously Monshipour and now Sithchatchawlan, was not injured and was wholly capable of defending the title? It's nothing more than a scam so the organization can collect two sanction fees in the same division. Doesn't it make you sick to see these organizations destroying the sport?
5. Daniel Ponce De Leon (27-1)
Clubbing puncher from Mexico will make first title defense on the Jhonny Gonzalez-Fernando Montiel undercard, but, unfortunately, it won't be part of HBO's "Boxing After Dark" telecast.
Next: May 27 vs.Alejandro Barrera
Other contenders: Yoddamrong Sithyodthong, Sergio Manuel Medina, Ricardo Cordoba
1. Rafael Marquez (35-3)
Along with brother Juan Manuel, Rafael Marquez has returned to Forum Boxing promoter John Jackson in the hopes that he can help get their careers back on track after brutal mismanagement by trainer/manager Nacho Beristain over the past few years.
2. Jhonny Gonzalez (32-4)
Defends his belt against junior bantamweight titlist Fernando Montiel in a meaningful HBO "Boxing After Dark" main event. This is just the kind of fight that "BAD" used to be all about -- a high-risk, high-reward match between lesser known, but exciting fighters, looking to make their names. We're absolutely thrilled to see HBO going back to this formula with the gem of a series.
Next: May 27 vs. Montiel
3. Hozumi Hasegawa (20-2)
Validated his April 2005 title victory against Veerapol Sahaprom by knocking the veteran former champ out in the ninth round of their rematch March 25 in Japan.
4. Genaro Garcia (35-4)
Had a tougher than expected time in scraping by with a 12-round majority decision against Arturo Bracamontes March 24 in native Mexico, Garcia's first fight since the sickening IBF bypassed him when he got the flu and he had to back out of a title eliminator against Ricardo Vargas in January.
5. Veerapol Sahaprom (52-3-2)
Former champ had a great run, going unbeaten from 1996-2005 and making 14 title defenses until losing back-to-back title fights to Hasegawa. At age 37, Sahaprom might be done.
Other contenders: Ratanachai Sor Vorapin, Silence Mabuza, Wladimir Sidorenko, Cruz Carvajal, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym.
1. Martin Castillo (30-1)
Now that cuts have healed from his January victory against Alexander Munoz, Castillo manager Frank Espinoza says his man is ready, willing and able to defend title against flyweight star Jorge Arce. Top Rank promotes both guys and is interested in the fight for July.
2. Fernando Montiel (32-1-1)
Title holder moving up in weight to challenge 118-pound titlist Jhonny Gonzalez in a terrific matchup on HBO's "Boxing After Dark".
Next: May 27 vs. Gonzalez
3. Masamori Tokuyama (32-3-1)
Two-time champ regained title in rubber match with Katsushige Kawashima last summer and then outpointed former U.S. Olympian Jose Navarro in a February defense. But he told the media before the Navarro fight that he planned to retire, win or lose. Let's see if he sticks his plan.
4. Luis Perez (23-1)
Was supposed to make mandatory defense against Dimitri Kirilov of Russia on the April 1 Lamon Brewster-Sergei Liakhovich undercard, but the fight didn't come off for various reasons. Now, it might wind up on the May 6 Alejandro Garcia-Jose Antonio Rivera undercard.
Next: TBA vs. Kirilov
5. Alexander Munoz (28-2)
The good news: Former champ from Venezuela put up a terrific fight in January rematch with Castillo. The bad news: Although he made it a lot closer than the first fight was, he still lost.
Other contenders: Jose Navarro, Katsushige Kawashima, Masibulele "Hawk" Makepula
1. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (60-2)
Veteran Thai champion can match Hall of Famer Miguel Canto's division record of 14 title defenses by defeating Daigo Nakahiro, a Japanese fighter coming off a loss to Daisuke Naito, who lost a seven-round technical decision to Wonjongkam in 2005. It's pretty obvious at this point that Wonjongkam has no intention of fighting mandatory Jorge Arce, and it's also pretty obvious that the corrupt WBC has no intention of enforcing its own rules.
Next: May 1 vs. Nakahiro
2. Jorge Arce (44-3-1)
Although his interim title wasn't at stake because Rosendo Alvarez was overweight, Arce looked outstanding in giving Alvarez a beating until knocking out his nemesis with a sixth-round body shot. If Arce's mandatory fight with full champion Wonjongkam isn't going to be made -- and it doesn't look like it ever will be -- then Arce should move up to junior bantamweight and go after someone like Martin Castillo. That's a realistic fight since they are both with Top Rank.
3. Lorenzo Parra (27-0)
When he retained his title by outpointing Brahim Asloum in France in December, the bout was on the same card as fellow titlist Omar Narvaez's 11th-round TKO of Bernard Inom, perhaps setting the stage for a unification later this year in Narvaez's native Argentina.
4. Vic Darchinyan (25-0)
As an encore to his impressive one-punch knockout of Diosdado Gabi on March 3 on "ShoBox," Darchinyan will defend his title on Showtime's Corrales-Castillo III undercard against undefeated, but relatively untested, Luis Maldonado (33-0-1) in a very interesting fight.
Next: June 3 vs. Maldonado
5. Omar Narvaez (20-0-2)
There was serious discussion about Narvaez meeting Darchinyan in a unification bout on Showtime in June, but Narvaez passed on it, making a unification fight with Parra more likely.
Other contenders: Victor Burgos, Irene Pacheco, Rosendo Alvarez
1. Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon (25-0)
The best pure boxer in the game will make ninth defense of his 105-pound crown against Miguel Tellez at home in Puerto Rico in the debut of Top Rank's exclusive pay-per-view series with DirecTV.
Next: April 29 vs. Tellez
2. Roberto "The Spider" Vasquez (21-1)
Exciting titleholder's third 108-pound defense against Venezuela's Noel Arambulet (21-5-1), a former strawweight titlist who has lost three of his last four, has been delayed from its original April 29 date.
Next: May 20 vs. Arambulet
3. Hugo Cazares (22-3-1)
108 titlist slated to defend for the third time against Domingo Guillen (36-7-1) in the main event of a Telefutura card in Tucson, Ariz.
Next: June 30 vs. Guillen
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