Commentary

ESPN.com's divisional rankings

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

Originally Published: February 23, 2009
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below.

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

Note: Results through Feb. 23. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com's division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Monday.

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

HEAVYWEIGHTS (201 AND UP)
Wladimir Klitschko

1. Wladimir Klitschko (52-3)


Now that big brother Vitali won't be facing David Haye (22-1) next, it's likely Wladimir will defend his belts against Haye instead. Target date: June 20 in London, with HBO televising in America. That's a huge fight, even if Klitschko figures to knock him out cold.
Next: TBA.



2. Vitali Klitschko (36-2)

When Klitschko makes his mandatory defense against Juan Carlos Gomez in Stuttgart, Germany, there's good news for American fight fans -- it will be live on ESPN. Isn't it great to have a serious heavyweight fight on basic cable?
Next: March 21 vs. Gomez.

3. Ruslan Chagaev (25-0-1)

After overcoming a variety of injuries and illness, Chagaev returned for his first fight since January 2008, a sloppy sixth-round technical decision win on Feb. 7 against Carl Davis Drummond. The fight ended when Chagaev was busted open over his eye because of a bad accidental head butt. Assuming Chagaev isn't looking at another long layoff, he's mandated to face Nikolai Valuev to clean up the WBA's monumental heavyweight mess.
Next: TBA.

4. Alexander Povetkin (16-0)

Wladimir Klitschko's mandatory challenger is planning his return from a foot injury that cost him a Dec. 13 title shot. The 2004 Russian Olympic gold medalist will face American Jason Estrada (15-1) while awaiting his mandatory shot, which is expected to be in September.
Next: April 4 vs. Estrada.

5. Samuel Peter (30-2)

In his comeback fight after losing his title via one-sided destruction to Vitali Klitschko in the fall, Peter will face slick Eddie Chambers (33-1) in an outstanding ESPN2 main event. It'll be a must-win fight for Peter.
Next: March 27 vs. Chambers.

6. Oleg Maskaev (35-6)

While the former titleholder waits for an absurd mandatory fight against the winner of Klitschko-Gomez, Maskaev will stay busy in his father's homeland of Mordovia against journeyman Rich Boruff.
Next: March 14 vs. Boruff.

7. Cristobal Arreola (26-0)

Arreola is likely to appear on HBO on the proposed Paul Williams-Winky Wright card in April. However, finding a solid opponent for him is tough in such a thin heavyweight division.
Next: TBA.

8. Nikolai Valuev (50-1)

He turned in a dreadful performance against Evander Holyfield on Dec. 20 to retain his belt in a horrible fight that had a worse decision. Now, the 7-foot, 300-plus-pounder from Russia, who apparently wants a rematch with Holyfield, also must make a mandatory defense against Chagaev. Does anyone want to see either of those dreadful matches?
Next: TBA.

9. John Ruiz (43-8-1)

Although Ruiz has some quality victories on his résumé and has twice won versions of the title, he's also lost twice to Valuev. In light of Valuev's performance against Holyfield, it sure makes Ruiz look bad.
Next: TBA.

10. Juan Carlos Gomez (44-1)

The former cruiserweight titleholder is the mandatory challenger for Vitali Klitschko's title, and the sides have come to an agreement for the fight, which will take place in Germany, where the Cuban-born Gomez and Ukraine's Klitschko are based.
Next: March 21 vs V. Klitschko.