ESPN.com's divisional rankings
Dan Rafael reveals his new world standings for boxing's weight classes
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 July 4. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com's division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.
1. Wladimir Klitschko (55-3)
They've gone back and forth for the past couple of years, but at long last it looks like we will see Klitschko face mouthy titleholder David Haye in a unification bout that the world has wanted to see. Next to Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, it's the biggest fight in boxing. Let's just hope Haye doesn't back out again like he did the last time he signed a contract to face Klitschko.
Next: June 25 or July 2 vs. Haye.
2. Vitali Klitschko (42-2)
Klitschko was winning the first round of his March 19 title defense when mandatory challenger Odlanier Solis took a grazing shot to the head, stumbled back and fell to the canvas, injuring his right knee. The fight was called off and Klitschko had an easy win that was wholly unsatisfying to fight fans everywhere. Not his fault, though. There was talk about a possible June 4 interim bout, but Klitschko plans to wait until the fall to defend against Tomasz Adamek.
Next: Sept. 10 vs. Adamek.
3. David Haye (25-1)
It's about time the deal with the Klitschkos got done. But remember one thing: Haye has previously agreed to fight each brother and pulled out both times -- once after signing a contract to face Wladimir and once after agreeing to fight Vitali, but refusing to ultimately sign the deal. We'll believe the fight is for real when the bell rings.
Next: June 25 or July 2 vs. W. Klitschko.
4. Tomasz Adamek (44-1)
In his final tuneup before a fall title shot in his native Poland against Vitali Klitschko, Adamek dominated Kevin McBride to win a lopsided decision. On to the big one.
Next: Sept. 10 vs. V. Klitschko.
5. Alexander Povetkin (21-0)
Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist who gave up a mandatory shot against Wladimir Klitschko and a career-high $2 million-plus payday in September, is coming off an unimpressive decision against journeyman Nicolai Firtha on Dec. 18. In Povetkin's defense, he did injure his right hand early in the bout.
6. Ruslan Chagaev (27-1-1)
Chagaev, a former titlist, is the mandatory challenger for Haye. But because of his history of hepatitis, Chagaev was not medically cleared to fight in England, where the rules are stricter than in Germany. That allowed Haye to take the unification fight with Klitschko.
7. Tony Thompson (35-2)
Thompson will open an ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" card against Maurice Harris (24-14-2) -- who has won four in a row since a layoff of more than two years -- in a title eliminator that will push the winner a step closer to a mandatory shot against Wladimir Klitschko.
Next: May 27 vs. Harris.
8. Eddie Chambers (36-2)
In Chambers' first fight back since suffering a massive 12th-round knockout loss to Wladimir Klitschko, he scored a knockdown and outpointed Derric Rossy on Feb. 11 in a rematch of a 2007 fight Chambers won by knockout. The win moved Chambers a step closer to another mandatory title shot, although he would have no prayer in a rematch with Klitschko.
9. Alexander Dimitrenko (31-1)
Dimitrenko, whose only loss was by decision to Chambers in a July 2009 title eliminator, has won two in a row since that defeat, including a spectacular 12th-round knockout of former title challenger Albert Sosnowski on March 26.
10. Cristobal Arreola (30-2)
Since losing a tight decision to Adamek in April 2010, Arreola has won two fights in a row, including a first-round knockout of Joey Abell on Jan. 28. He will be back to face Nagy Aguilera (16-5) on the undercard of the Andre Ward-Arthur Abraham fight in the Super Six semifinals.
Next: May 14 vs. Aguilera.
1. Steve Cunningham (24-2)
Cunningham's mandatory defense against Enad Licina was delayed from Jan. 22 to Feb. 12, but it made no difference to Cunningham, whose better skills carried the day in a unanimous decision victory in the first defense of his second title reign.
2. Marco Huck (32-1)
Germany's Huck was supposed to make his sixth defense against former titlist Giacobbe Fragomeni, but Fragomeni withdrew because of an injury. So Huck instead faced Ran Nakash on April 2, handing him his first defeat. Huck won a decision in what turned out to be a highly entertaining scrap.
3. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (45-2-1)
On April 2, in his second defense of his second title reign, Wlodarczyk won a split decision at home in Poland against mandatory challenger Francisco Palacios of Puerto Rico in an absolutely wretched fight. Enough said.
4. Troy Ross (24-2)
In June, Ross suffered a bad cut and lost via fifth-round TKO to Cunningham in a vacant title bout. Ross returned to action Oct. 30 in his native Ontario and easily outpointed sparring partner Carl "Kojak" Handy for a virtual 10-round shutout decision.
5. Danny Green (30-3)
Australia's Green and former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver have tried time and again to make a match, but they could never make it happen. Finally, they have reached an agreement: Tarver (28-6), whose last fight was at heavyweight, will drop down to cruiserweight and head Down Under to face Green in an interesting fight.
Next: July 20 vs. Tarver.
6. Denis Lebedev (21-1)
Lebedev, a dangerous fighter who lost a close fight to Huck in December, will be at home in Moscow when he faces onetime great Roy Jones Jr. The fight was originally scheduled for May 22, but it was moved up a day because of Russian television considerations.
Next: May 21 vs. Jones.
7. Giacobbe Fragomeni (27-3-1)
Italy's Fragomeni, a 41-year-old former titleholder, suffered a training injury and withdrew from an April 2 title opportunity against Huck.
8. Guillermo Jones (37-3-2)
After a 25-month layoff, Panama's Jones returned in October to make his first defense, an 11th-round knockout of Valery Brudov. Now promoter Don King is trying to sell a fight between Jones and the vastly inexperienced Ryan Coyne (16-0) to a network.
9. Yoan Pablo Hernandez (24-1)
Hernandez, a 2004 Cuban Olympian who defected to Germany, stopped Steve Herelius in the seventh round Feb. 12 to claim an interim belt in a very solid performance.
10. Ola Afolabi (16-2-3)
Fighting on the Vitali Klitschko-Odlanier Solis undercard on March 19 in Germany, Afolabi defeated Lubos Suda in the fifth round when a severe cut over Suda's left eye forced a stoppage.
1. Jean Pascal (26-1-1)
Pascal had a choice: Either face Chad Dawson in a contractually obligated rematch and give up his alphabet title or fight a WBC-ordered rematch with Bernard Hopkins and risk a lawsuit from Dawson. But the problem was solved when a deal was worked out under which Pascal will face Hopkins in an HBO-televised rematch of their disputed December draw. The winner will have to face Dawson in the next fight, assuming Dawson doesn't lose his interim bout.
Next: May 21 vs. Hopkins.
2. Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2)
Hopkins, the uncrowned champion after dominating most of his fight against Pascal in December, will have a chance to set the record straight in a rematch. A win would make the 46-year-old Hopkins the oldest champion in boxing history. And if Hopkins wins, he would be obligated to face Chad Dawson next.
Next: May 21 vs. Pascal.
3. Tavoris Cloud (22-0)
On Dec. 17, Cloud made his second defense, outpointing Fulgencio Zuniga for a lopsided decision. He belongs on HBO or Showtime, just not against retread Yusaf Mack, who is unfortunately his mandatory challenger.
4. Chad Dawson (29-1)
Dawson and his team cut a deal to allow Pascal-Hopkins II to take place and for Dawson to get a spot on the HBO-televised undercard. He will face former titlist Adrian Diaconu on Diaconu's turf in Montreal. If Dawson wins, he will get a title shot against the winner of the main event.
Next: May 21 vs. Diaconu.
5. Zsolt Erdei (32-0)
The former light heavyweight titleholder from Hungary claimed a cruiserweight belt in November 2009 and then briefly retired. After winning with ease in his November return to the ring, he is now slated for the undercard of the Carl Froch-Glen Johnson Super Six semifinal in Atlantic City, N.J., unless a significant fight (perhaps against Cloud) materializes.
Next: June 4 vs. TBA.
6. Adrian "The Shark" Diaconu (27-2)
Diaconu, a former titleholder, survived a second-round knockdown and easily outpointed Omar Sheika on Oct. 15. Now Diaconu faces a very tough fight against former titlist Chad Dawson on HBO, but at least he will be fighting at home in Montreal.
Next: May 21 vs. Dawson.
7. Gabriel Campillo (20-3)
The former titlist, who was robbed of his belt in a January 2010 rematch against Beibut Shumenov, was supposed to fight former title challenger Dmitry Sukhotsky (17-1) of Russia on April 15. However, the fight fell apart because of financial reasons.
8. Beibut Shumenov (11-1)
Shumenov, a Kazakhstan native and Las Vegas-based titleholder, was unhappy with the way promoter Dan Goossen handled his two title defenses. The fighter has not only terminated their contract but is suing Goossen, who says he did nothing wrong and is fighting it. The legal mess could lead to a lengthy layoff.
9. Nathan Cleverly (21-0)
Wales' Cleverly claimed an interim title by outpointing Nadjib Mohammedi on Dec. 11 in a struggle. Now he will get a shot at the full belt against Germany's Jürgen Brähmer in the biggest test of his career, although the bout was moved from its original date of April 2.
Next: May 21 vs. Brähmer.
10. Jurgen Brahmer (36-2)
Germany's Brähmer pulled out of a January unification fight in Shumenov's native Kazakhstan a few days before the bout, claiming "acute gastrointestinal illness." Now Brähmer is headed to England to defend against Cleverly, assuming Brähmer doesn't skip town again.
Next: May 21 vs. Cleverly.
1. Andre Ward (23-0)
Ward has no weaknesses in his game right now. He looked very good in soundly outpointing the extremely tough Sakio Bika on Nov. 27, retaining his belt in a fight outside the Super Six tournament. Next, Ward will be in the semifinals. He's due to face Arthur Abraham (32-2), who was taken to the woodshed by Carl Froch in their tournament fight on the same night.
Next: May 14 vs. Abraham.
2. Lucian Bute (28-0)
With his hometown Montreal crowd cheering him on (as usual), Bute put on a body-punching and uppercut clinic in a 10th-round knockout of Brian Magee in their March 19 fight, the first on Bute's contract with Showtime. Although a fight with former titlist Mikkel Kessler is being discussed, Bute plans to return this summer in his native Romania for a fight outside of his Showtime deal.
Next: July 9 vs. TBA.
3. Carl Froch (27-1)
On Nov. 27, Froch rebounded from a tight loss to Mikkel Kessler to turn in the best performance of his career, a stunning shutout of Abraham in Group Stage 3 of the Super Six tournament. The win earned Froch a vacant belt, the one stripped from the injured Kessler. Froch's next assignment will be in the tournament semifinals against always-tough former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson.
Next: May 21 vs. Johnson.
4. Mikkel Kessler (43-2)
Although Kessler dropped out of the Super Six tournament because of an eye injury, he is nearly healed and plans to return to face Bute. He sat ringside to watch Bute's sensational performance March 19 as the fighters began stoking interest in an excellent matchup.
5. Glen Johnson (51-14-2)
At age 41 and after a decade at light heavyweight, the former champ dropped down to super middleweight when he was invited to replace Kessler in the Super Six. In his first tournament bout on Nov. 6, Johnson looked terrific in knocking out Allan Green in the eighth round to secure a semifinal berth. Couldn't have happened to a better guy.
Next: May 21 vs. Froch.
6. Robert Stieglitz (40-2)
Stieglitz was scheduled to face fellow titleholder Dimitri Sartison in a unification bout on April 9, but Sartison withdrew because of an injury. So Stieglitz instead faced former title challenger Khoren Gevor and retained his title via 10th-round disqualification.
7. Librado Andrade (29-3)
Andrade has been out of action since sending former titlist Eric Lucas back into retirement in May 2010. But Andrade is slated to return to headline Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo Tecate" and share a card with his brother, middleweight Enrique Ornelas.
Next: May 6 vs. TBA.
8. Sakio Bika (28-5-2)
Although Bika dropped a decision challenging Ward on Nov. 27, the fight was far more competitive than the lopsided scores made it seem. Bika was in every round and would give any super middleweight in the world a bruising night at the office.
9. Dimitri Sartison (27-1)
Sartison, who owns the WBA's "regular" title (while Ward has its "super" title), was slated to face Stieglitz in a unification bout but withdrew from their April 9 bout because of an injury.
10. Karoly Balzsay (23-2)
The former titleholder from Hungary has won two fights in a row since back-to-back losses to Eduard Gutknecht and, in a title fight, Stieglitz.
1. Sergio Martinez (47-2-2)
The 2010 fighter of the year got off to a great start in an effort to repeat in 2011, destroying junior middleweight titlist Sergiy Dzinziruk for an eighth-round knockout to retain the world title March 12. Martinez scored five knockdowns in the dominant performance against a quality opponent who was expected to give him some trouble. Dzinziruk didn't. Martinez is as good as it gets in boxing right now.
2. Kelly Pavlik (36-2)
The former champ, who spent two months at the Betty Ford Center battling his alcohol problem, now plans a return at super middleweight on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley Showtime PPV undercard. He is scheduled to face untested Alfonso Lopez (21-0, 16 KOs).
Next: May 7 vs. Lopez.
3. Felix Sturm (35-2-1)
With one of the best jabs in the business, Sturm looked excellent in dominating overmatched Ronald Hearns (son of Thomas Hearns) en route to a seventh-round knockout in his ninth title defense Feb. 19. Defense No. 10 will come in Germany against Great Britain's Matthew Macklin. If Sturm wins, a fall fight with Martinez is a possibility.
Next: July 2 vs. Macklin.
4. Paul Williams (39-2)
In his rematch with Martinez on Nov. 20, Williams got starched in the second round in a massive knockout loss. Williams, who likely will fight at junior middleweight, figures to return July 9 on HBO.
5. Sebastian Sylvester (34-3-1)
Germany's Sylvester pulled out of his Jan. 22 defense against France's Mehdi Bouadla because of illness, and the fight will not be rescheduled. Instead, Sylvester is moving on to face mandatory challenger Daniel Geale of Australia.
Next: May 7 vs. Geale.
6. Daniel Geale (24-1)
Australia's Geale held comfortable leads on all three scorecards going to the 12th round when he stopped Russia's Roman Karmazin, a former junior middleweight titlist, in a title eliminator on Oct. 31. That win set up his upcoming title shot against Sylvester, for which Geale will have to travel to Germany.
Next: May 7 vs. Sylvester.
7. Sebastian Zbik (30-0)
Germany's Zbik, who had held an interim belt, did nothing to earn the full title he was handed by the WBC, which had stripped Martinez. Zbik's first defense is going to come against wholly undeserving mandatory challenger Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (42-0-1) in a fight HBO is buying.
Next: June 4 vs. Chavez.
8. Dmitry Pirog (18-0)
In his first defense since claiming a vacant belt with a surprising fifth-round knockout of Daniel Jacobs in July, Pirog returned in his native Russia on March 26 and outpointed Argentina's Javier Maciel in a flat performance.
9. Matthew Macklin (28-2)
Macklin has his first shot at a world title lined up against Sturm this summer in Germany. It came about only after two other fights were canceled. First, Macklin was supposed to face Winky Wright on April 9, but that was called off because of Wright's hand injury. Then Macklin was due to face Khoren Gevor on Amir Khan's undercard on April 16, but when Sturm came calling Macklin withdrew.
Next: July 2 vs. Sturm.
10. Andy Lee (25-1)
Ireland's Lee, who is based in Detroit, came on late in his March 12 HBO fight against unbeaten Craig McEwan to score a knockdown in the ninth round and a dramatic knockout in the 10th and final round of a highly entertaining scrap. Rather than sitting around to wait for a major fight, Lee will stay busy in an eight-rounder in Chicago.
Next: May 18 vs. TBA.
1. Miguel Cotto (36-2)
On March 12, in his second fight working with trainer Emanuel Steward, Cotto made his first title defense. It turned out to be a highly entertaining action fight in which he stopped former titleholder Ricardo Mayorga in the 12th round in a Showtime pay-per-view headliner. The victory sets up Cotto for a likely rematch with Antonio Margarito, although Top Rank plans to move it from the originally planned July date to September.
2. Kermit Cintron (32-3-1)
Cintron has been out of action since his apparent quit job against Paul Williams in May, when Cintron flew out of the ring and didn't continue. Now that promoter Lou DiBella is co-promoting Cintron with Bob Arum's Top Rank, Cintron figures to be a future opponent for Cotto.
3. Sergiy Dzinziruk (36-1)
Ukraine native Dzinziruk moved up to middleweight to challenge champion Sergio Martinez on March 12, and it did not go well. Martinez dropped him five times and knocked him out in the eighth round. The one-sided nature of the loss means Dzinziruk likely will return to 154 pounds, where he still owns a title.
4. Alfredo "Perro" Angulo (19-1)
Angulo's immediate future is in limbo thanks to the possibility that he could be deported to Mexico because he is allegedly in the United States without the proper paperwork. But his name is in the mix to challenge middleweight champ Sergio Martinez in a fight that, if it were signed, would take place in Mexico.
5. Ryan Rhodes (45-4)
England's Rhodes will get his mandatory shot against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on HBO, but he's going to have to go to Mexico to get it. This could be a pretty darn good fight.
Next: June 18 vs. Alvarez.
6. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (36-0-1)
The 20-year-old Mexican star and 2010 ESPN.com prospect of the year totally outclassed Matthew Hatton on March 5 in an HBO main event to win a vacant belt in the most-viewed HBO "Boxing After Dark" main event in two years. Alvarez's first defense will come against mandatory challenger Ryan Rhodes in Mexico on another BAD card.
Next: June 18 vs. Rhodes.
7. Vanes Martirosyan (29-0)
When the 2004 U.S. Olympian got sick, he had to postpone an April 23 title eliminator against Saul Roman (34-8). The fight has been rescheduled for the undercard of the Sebastian Zbik-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight.
Next: June 4 vs. Roman.
8. Cornelius "K9" Bundrage (30-4)
By blitzing Cory Spinks in a one-sided fifth-round knockout to take his belt in August, Bundrage joined Sergio Mora as the only former participants from "The Contender" reality series to claim world titles after their stint on the show. Next up will be a mandatory defense against Sechew Powell (26-2) in a rematch of Powell's wild first-round knockout win in 2005.
Next: June 25 vs. Powell.
9. Pawel Wolak (29-1)
In a surprisingly dominant performance, Wolak laid a beating on former titleholder Yuri Foreman, forcing him to retire on his stool after six rounds on the March 12 Cotto-Mayorga pay-per-view undercard.
10. Austin Trout (22-0)
New Mexico's Trout won a lopsided decision against Rigoberto Alvarez (Saul Alvarez's older brother) in Alvarez's native Mexico to claim a vacant belt on Feb. 5.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (41-0)
Apparently, Mayweather never bothered to pay his 2009 tax bill, so the IRS has placed a $3.4 million lien against him. Two thoughts: One, maybe Mayweather should stop tweeting photos of his winning gambling tickets and address his taxes; and two, his money problems figure to accelerate his return to the ring.
2. Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2)
Pacquiao, who still holds a welterweight belt, made boxing history again as he laid waste to Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 to win a vacant junior middleweight belt, extending his record of winning titles to eight divisions. It was a destruction of the highest order against a man who outweighed him by 17 pounds on fight night. Next up, Pacquiao will face Shane Mosley, a once-great fighter, on Showtime PPV.
Next: May 7 vs. Mosley.
3. Victor Ortiz (29-2-2)
In a fantastic fight on April 16, Ortiz showed tremendous heart in surviving two knockdowns and authoring two knockdowns of his own to win a decision against Andre Berto and claim a world title. It was a gutsy performance that should help Ortiz bury the demons that have haunted him since quitting against Marcos Maidana in 2009.
4. Sugar Shane Mosley (46-6-1)
Mosley is 39 and has looked horrible in his past two fights -- a wipeout loss to Mayweather and a putrid draw with Sergio Mora. He got the fight with Pacquiao because he has a big name, came at a reasonable price, was a promotional free agent and has little chance of winning.
Next: May 7 vs. Pacquiao.
5. Andre Berto (27-1)
Berto persevered through two knockdowns and scored two of his own in a wild slugfest against Ortiz on April 16, but it wasn't good enough to hang on to his title. They should have a rematch at some point, but it won't be the next fight for either fighter. A tough loss for Berto, but it was a great fight.
6. Jan Zaveck (31-1)
In his home country of Slovenia, Zaveck had an easy time in his third title defense on Feb. 18. He routed Atlanta's Paul Delgado, who didn't belong anywhere near a title fight. Zaveck scored a pair of second-round knockdowns and one more in the fifth to get the stoppage.
7. Joshua Clottey (35-4)
The former titlist, who has not fought since losing a lopsided decision to Pacquiao in March 2010, was planning to move up to junior middleweight to fight Calvin Green (21-5-1) on the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga card on March 12. But Clottey tripped over a pothole while running and injured his wrist and ankle, knocking him out of the fight.
8. Selcuk Aydin (21-0)
Turkey's Aydin is a mandatory challenger who stepped aside twice to allow Berto to take other fights, including the April 16 bout against Ortiz. Now Aydin wants Ortiz, who beat Berto, to honor the mandatory and fight him.
9. Vyacheslav Senchenko (31-0)
Senchenko has a great record but a questionable résumé and is seemingly content to continue making meaningless defenses in Ukraine. The next one is slated for this summer against journeyman Marco Antonio Avendano (30-7-1) of Venezuela.
Next: Aug. 20 vs. Avendano.
10. Kell Brook (23-0)
Brook, one of England's most heralded rising contenders, crushed Philip Kotey in two rounds Dec. 11 in an excellent performance. Brook isn't too far from a title opportunity. There has been talk about a spring interim title bout against American Mike Jones.
1. Timothy Bradley Jr. (27-0)
Although it was a stinker of a fight, Bradley claimed a 10th-round technical decision Jan. 29 when Devon Alexander could not continue due to an accidental head-butt -- something that has become commonplace in Bradley fights. Ugly or not, it was a clear win for Bradley, who unified two of the 140-pound belts and set himself up for more big business -- perhaps another unification fight against Amir Khan in July.
2. Amir Khan (25-1)
Khan returned from his epic victory against Marcos Maidana in December to dominate overmatched Paul McCloskey on April 16. He won a shutout six-round technical decision after an accidental head-butt cut McCloskey. The victory should pave the way to a likely July 23 unification match with Bradley. Bring it on.
3. Marcos Maidana (30-2)
In yet another terrific slugfest, Argentina's big-punching Maidana eked out a majority decision against Erik Morales in a far-tougher-than-expected fight on April 9. Maidana always makes outstanding fights and fits in with anyone at junior welterweight -- and perhaps even at welterweight, if he decides to move up.
4. Zab Judah (41-6)
Judah claimed a junior welterweight title March 5 when he scored an impressive seventh-round knockout of South Africa's Kaizer Mabuza to win a vacant belt. Very good win for Judah, who is now set up for much bigger business, possibly a July pay-per-view headliner against lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, who would move up if the fight is made.
5. Devon Alexander (21-1)
Although Alexander was highly competitive, he never seemed comfortable in his unification fight with Bradley on Jan. 29, which he lost via 10th-round technical decision after he was dazed by an accidental head-butt. Based on his contract for the Bradley bout, HBO owes Alexander a fight. So he will return in a tough matchup against powerful Lucas Matthysse.
Next: June 25 vs. Matthysse.
6. Andriy Kotelnik (31-4-1)
Kotelnik might not have gotten the decision on the scorecards in his highly competitive unanimous-decision loss to Devon Alexander on Aug. 7, but he fought very well and his stock rose in defeat.
7. Lamont Peterson (28-1-1)
Peterson had a chance to challenge Khan for a career-high payday of $300,000, but he turned it down. He later accepted an eliminator against Victor Cayo on ESPN2 for just $10,000, 40 percent of the winning-purse bid he is entitled to. But Cayo suffered a shoulder injury and withdrew, leaving Peterson's April 29 fight up in the air.
8. Lucas Matthysse (28-1)
In Matthysse's last HBO appearance, he gave Judah everything he could handle in a split-decision loss in a November title eliminator. He bounced back to score eight knockdowns in an eighth-round knockout of former titlist DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley on Jan. 21, earning himself another shot on HBO. This time Matthysse will face Alexander -- and will probably have to go to the former titlist's hometown of St. Louis for the assignment.
Next: June 25 vs. Alexander.
9. Erik Morales (51-7)
Few gave Morales, the all-time great Mexican legend and former three-division champion, a serious shot when he faced Marcos Maidana on April 9. But Morales turned back the clock in a fight of the year candidate, despite losing a majority decision that could have gone either way. Despite the result, Morales earned himself another big fight.
10. Victor Cayo (26-1)
Since Maidana stopped him in the sixth round of their March 2010 interim title bout, Cayo has rebounded with a pair of early knockouts against low-level opposition. He was due back to headline ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" in a title eliminator against Peterson, until a shoulder injury knocked him out of the bout.
1. Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1)
In a terrific fight, Marquez retained his title in impressive fashion by stopping hard-charging Michael Katsidis in the ninth round Nov. 27. Now Marquez is weighing a departure from Golden Boy for a potential third fight with Manny Pacquiao (which can be done only with Top Rank) in the fall or signing a new Golden Boy deal that could start with a possible July shot at junior welterweight titlist. If Marquez faces Judah, he will have a chance to become the first Mexican to win a title in four divisions, something he says is important to him.
2. Humberto Soto (55-7-2)
Soto was scheduled to face Urbano Antillon on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley Showtime pay-per-view undercard May 7 in a rematch of the 2010 ESPN.com Fight of the Year. But Soto, who had never signed a contract, declined the fight and declared himself a free agent from promoter Top Rank, claiming he is owed about $1.2 million.
3. Robert Guerrero (29-1-1)
In the best performance of his career, Guerrero, a former junior lightweight and featherweight titlist, dismantled Michael Katsidis for a bruising decision win in an exciting fight on the April 9 Marcos Maidana-Erik Morales HBO PPV undercard. Guerrero is at his peak and ready for anyone.
4. Brandon Rios (27-0-1)
Rios showed he has a little Arturo Gatti in him by rallying for a 10th-round knockout to claim a belt in a tremendously exciting fight against Miguel Acosta on Feb. 26 that will be a fight of the year candidate. Assuming Rios' injured hand is OK, he is expected to return on Showtime on July 9 (perhaps against Antillon, now that Antillon's rematch with Soto is off).
5. Miguel Vazquez (28-3)
On the March 12 Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga undercard, Mexico's Vazquez dominated mandatory challenger Lenny Zappavinga of Australia en route to a decision victory in his second title defense. Vazquez cut Zappavinga over both eyes and displayed a terrific jab to control the fight.
6. Miguel Acosta (28-4-2)
Riding a 19-fight winning streak since 2003, Venezuela's Acosta was in command through the first five rounds of his first title defense against Rios on Feb. 26. But Rios stormed back to drop him in the sixth, eighth and 10th rounds for the knockout victory in a terrific fight. Acosta has nothing to be ashamed of.
7. Urbano Antillon (28-2)
Antillon left everything he had in the ring when challenging Soto for his title on Dec. 4 in a tremendous, action-packed battle that was the 2010 ESPN.com Fight of the Year. Although Antillon lost a unanimous decision, he was supposed to get a May 7 rematch on the Pacquiao-Mosley undercard -- until Soto pulled out and left Top Rank. Antillon may, however, land a title bout against Rios on Showtime on July 9.
8. Michael Katsidis (27-4)
Although he is always in exciting fights and is one of boxing's purest warriors, Australia's Katsidis dropped his second fight in a row April 9, losing a clear decision to Robert Guerrero on the Marcos Maidana-Erik Morales undercard. Despite the loss, it was another high-contact, fan-friendly fight.
9. Antonio DeMarco (25-2-1)
DeMarco outpointed Reyes Sanchez on Feb. 26 in an uneven performance that nevertheless was good enough to earn him a mandatory title shot at the winner of Soto-Antillon II. However, Soto and DeMarco are cousins and won't fight each other. In any case, Soto plans to move up in weight if he wins.
10. John Murray (31-0)
England's Murray won an unexpectedly difficult decision against Spain's Karim El Ouazghari on April 2 to retain the European title. The win sets up a possible July showdown with British countryman Kevin Mitchell.
1. Ricky Burns (31-2)
In his second title defense on March 12, Scotland's Burns took apart Ghana's Joseph Laryea before the latter retired after the seventh round, claiming a hand injury. Burns is now hoping for a summer unification fight with titlist Mzonke Fana of South Africa.
2. Roman "Rocky" Martinez (24-1-1)
Martinez, idle since losing his belt to Burns in their exceptional slugfest in September, was supposed to return April 16 against Luis Cruz (17-0) on Showtime's Juan Manuel Lopez-Orlando Salido undercard. However, Martinez suffered a disc and thumb injury and withdrew from the bout.
3. Takashi Uchiyama (17-0)
On Jan. 31, Uchiyama made his third title defense by surviving a third-round knockdown to rally for a stoppage of Japanese countryman Takashi Miura, who retired after the eighth round because of a damaged right eye.
4. Jorge Solis (40-3-2)
Solis, an interim titleholder, dropped down to challenge featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa on HBO on March 26 and was destroyed. Gamboa dropped him five times en route to a fourth-round knockout.
5. Mzonke Fana (30-4)
Fana regained a title in September when he defeated South African countryman Cassius Baloyi to avenge an earlier defeat. He will have the home ring advantage against mandatory challenger Argenis Mendez, a New York-based native of the Dominican Republic.
Next: June 11 vs. Mendez.
6. Argenis Mendez (18-1)
Although Mendez will have to travel to South Africa for his mandatory title shot against Fana, he is at least familiar with the territory. His last fight came in South Africa in January, when he outpointed former titlist Cassius Baloyi.
Next: June 11 vs. Fana.
7. Juan Carlos Salgado (23-1-1)
After losing his title in an upset to Uchiyama in January 2010, Mexico's Salgado returned to stop countryman Guadalupe Rosales in the fourth round in June. In his second fight since losing the title, Salgado faced Rosales again, this time winning a unanimous 10-round decision against him on Feb. 26.
8. Takahiro Ao (21-2-1)
Japan's Ao, who briefly held a featherweight belt for seven months in 2009, won a junior lightweight belt in November. On April 8, in his first defense, he looked very good in knocking out mandatory challenger Humberto Gutierrez of Mexico in the fourth round with a debilitating right hook to the liver. Just watching the punch will make you wince.
9. Jorge Linares (30-1)
By dominating faded former titlist Jesus Chavez on Oct. 24, Linares won his third fight in a row since a stunning upset loss to Salgado in October 2009. Linares looked very sharp before Chavez quit at the end of the fourth round, claiming a shoulder injury.
10. Jason Litzau (28-2)
Litzau was a prohibitive underdog when he faced Celestino Caballero in November, but odds be damned. Litzau took it to Caballero, who looked out of shape and disinterested, and won a well-deserved split decision. Biggest win of Litzau's career. Next up, Litzau will face super-quick and skilled prospect Adrien Broner.
Next: June 18 vs. Broner.
1. Yuriorkis Gamboa (20-0)
In a sensational performance on HBO on March 26, Gamboa laid waste to interim junior lightweight titlist Jorge Solis, who dropped down in weight for the fight. Gamboa used his speed and power to drop Solis five times en route to a scintillating fourth-round knockout. Unfortunately, he watched his big-money fight against Juan Manuel Lopez go down the drain when Lopez got knocked out April 16.
2. Chris John (45-0-2)
John, boxing's longest-reigning active titleholder (he has had his belt since 2003), made his 14th title defense against Indonesian countryman Daud Yordan on April 17, claiming a unanimous decision in the biggest fight in Indonesian history.
3. Orlando Salido (35-11-2)
On April 16, Mexico's Salido claimed the second world title of his career in a big upset. He went to Puerto Rico and stopped Lopez in the eighth round of a terrific fight on Showtime. Top Rank, which promotes both fighters, is already talking about a fall rematch.
4. Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1)
Lopez's chin has always been shaky, but he had always found a way to make it through the rough spots of his fights. Not against Salido on April 16, when it finally caught up to him. Lopez, who struggled to make weight and was still dealing with his recent divorce, likely will get a fall rematch, but the big fight against Gamboa went down the drain.
5. Daniel Ponce De Leon (41-3)
Mexico's Ponce De Leon, a former junior featherweight titlist, took a shot fighting at junior lightweight and lost a razor-close decision to Adrien Broner on March 5. Ponce De Leon likely will return to HBO on July 30 on Golden Boy's next HBO PPV card.
6. Jhonny Gonzalez (48-7)
The former bantamweight titlist from Mexico went to Japan on April 8 and claimed a featherweight belt in impressive fashion, knocking out well-respected titlist Hozumi Hasegawa with a single right hand to the chin in the fourth round.
7. Cristobal Cruz (39-12-2)
Cruz's excellent run came to a grinding halt in May 2010, when he was dropped twice and lost a decision and his title to Salido, whom he had defeated in 2008 to claim the vacant belt. Cruz's return was supposed to come against Mexican countryman and former title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos in February, but Cruz withdrew because he was unable to make weight.
8. Rafael Marquez (39-6)
Marquez, the former junior featherweight and bantamweight champion, had some big moments against Lopez in their excellent November battle. But at 35, Marquez couldn't keep up with the 27-year-old titlist and eventually retired on his stool after the eighth round because of a shoulder injury. Marquez is due to return on the undercard of the Sebastian Zbik-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight title bout. If he wins, it could set the stage for a rematch later in the year against Lopez.
Next: June 4 vs. TBA.
9. Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia (25-0)
In his HBO debut March 26, Garcia turned in a polished performance as he overcame an upset stomach to take apart previously undefeated Matt Remillard. Garcia, who scored three knockdowns in the 10th-round TKO win, is the mandatory for a vacant belt and has been ordered to face Australia's Billy Dib (39-1).
10. Hozumi Hasegawa (29-4)
The longtime bantamweight titlist from Japan claimed a vacant featherweight belt in belt in November, turning back a stiff challenge from Mexico's Juan Carlos Burgos. But in his first defense on April 8, against another Mexican, Jhonny Gonzalez, Hasegawa was stopped in the fourth round in a mild upset.
1. Toshiaki Nishioka (38-4-3)
Japan's Nishioka, 34, made his sixth title defense April 8, scoring a spirited ninth-round knockout of Argentina's Mauricio Munoz, who is nine years his junior. Even at his age, Nishioka just keeps rolling along -- and looks pretty good doing it.
2. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (20-0-1)
Puerto Rico's Vazquez will make his third title defense against Jorge Arce (56-6-2), the former two-division titlist and one of Mexico's most popular fighters, on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley Showtime PPV undercard. The fight is part of Vazquez's new deal to be co-promoted by Top Rank.
Next: May 7 vs. Arce.
3. Guillermo Rigondeaux (8-0)
Rigondeaux, a former two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist and one of the best amateurs ever, made the first defense of his interim belt and destroyed Willie Casey for a first-round knockout on March 19. Rigondeaux went to Casey's home turf in Ireland and scored three knockdowns in a devastating performance.
4. Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1)
The unheralded Shimoda scored three knockdowns (and survived one of his own) to claim a unanimous decision in a Jan. 31 slugfest against Japanese countryman Ryol Li Lee to win a title. Shimoda's first defense could be in the United States and on HBO against Rico Ramos (19-0) on July 9 on Paul Williams' undercard.
5. Takalani Ndlovu (32-6)
South Africa's Ndlovu had twice lost in title bouts to Steve Molitor in Canada. But in their third meeting on March 26, in South Africa, Ndlovu won a clear decision against Molitor to claim a title. Third time's the charm, right?
Other contenders: Ryol Li Lee, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Steve Molitor, Rendall Munroe, Ricardo Cordoba.
1. Nonito Donaire (26-1)
Donaire scored a sensational second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19 to claim his two belts, move into the top five on the pound-for-pound list and stamp himself a star. A few weeks later, he dumped promoter Top Rank to sign with rival Golden Boy, setting up yet another nasty legal fight between the promoters. The first casualty in this mess: Donaire will not fight May 28, as had been in the works.
2. Joseph King Kong Agbeko (28-2)
In October 2009, Colombia's Yonnhy Perez knocked Ghana's Agbeko down in the 10th round and took his title on a decision in a tremendous action fight. In the Dec. 11 rematch, one of the semifinals of Showtime's four-man bantamweight tournament, Agbeko made the proper adjustments and turned the tables. He boxed smartly and regained his title with a clear decision.
Next: April 23 vs. Abner Mares.
3. Abner Mares (21-0-1)
In an exciting, all-action fight on Dec. 11, Mares persevered through all kinds of trouble in the early rounds -- a serious cut from an accidental head butt, a knockdown and a point deduction -- to roar back, knock down Vic Darchinyan and ultimately take a deserved split decision. With the victory, Mares advanced to the final of Showtime's bantamweight tournament, where he will challenge Agbeko for his title.
Next: April 23 vs. Agbeko.
4. Fernando Montiel (43-3-2)
Montiel had not lost in six years before his title reign came to a sudden and shocking end Feb. 19, when he ate a monster counter left hook from Donaire and was flattened in the second round. Although he showed massive heart to make it to his feet, two punches later it was over -- with Montiel out on his feet. Can he ever return to his lofty perch?
5. Yonnhy Perez (20-1-1)
Perez fought well against Agbeko in their Dec. 11 rematch, but he couldn't drag him into the same kind of grinding, physical slugfest as when he beat him the first time. Instead, Agbeko controlled this fight and sent Perez to the consolation match of Showtime's four-man tournament, where he'll meet Darchinyan (35-3-1), loser of the other semifinal, on the undercard of Agbeko-Mares.
Next: April 23 vs. Darchinyan.
Other contenders: Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Vic Darchinyan, Victor Terrazas, Nehomar Cermeño.
1. Hugo Cazares (34-6-2)
Mexico's Cazares traveled to Japan for his third defense on Dec. 23 and unanimously outpointed Hiroyuki Hisataka (19-8-1), who dropped to 0-3 in world title bouts. Cazares has been mentioned as a possible opponent for unified bantamweight titlist Nonito Donaire on May 28.
2. Omar Narvaez (34-0-2)
Argentina's Narvaez made 16 flyweight title defenses in an eight-year reign before moving up to win a junior bantamweight belt. On April 15, he made his second defense, turning back a stiff challenge from rising Puerto Rican contender Cesar Seda.
3. Raul Martinez (28-1)
San Antonio's Martinez won a hard-fought decision against Rodrigo Guerrero in a Nov. 20 title eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for new titleholder Cristian Mijares. Martinez will get the shot in his next fight, but he'll have to go to Mijares' turf in Mexico.
Next: May 14 vs. Mijares.
4. Tomas Rojas (35-12-1)
On Feb. 5, in his first title defense, Rojas went to Japan and claimed a hard-fought decision against Nobuo Nashiro, a former two-time titlist. That was an excellent victory. Next up, Rojas will defend against Juan Jose Montes (19-1) on "Top Rank Live."
Next: May 14 vs. Montes.
5. Cristian Mijares (41-6-2)
In a mild upset, Mexico's Mijares outpointed countryman Juan Alberto Rosas to claim his title on Dec. 11. It was the culmination of Mijares' feel-good return to the top after unifying belts in 2008 and finding a place on the pound-for-pound list, then being left for dead following a three-fight losing streak. Next up is his mandatory defense against Raul Martinez.
Next: May 14 vs. Martinez.
Other contenders: Koki Kameda, Nobuo Nashiro, Kohei Kono, Juan Alberto Rosas, Drian Francisco.
1. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (79-3-1)
The 33-year-old Thai legend made 17 defenses during his first title reign, from 2001 to 2007. He made the first defense of his second reign Oct. 8, struggling to a close decision against little-known countryman Suriyan Por Chokchai. He took his second nontitle bout of the year on March 25, stopping Muhammad Nurfawaid in the fifth round.
2. Daisuke Naito (36-3-3)
Naito's two-year-plus title reign came to an end, with the younger Koki Kameda stinking him out to claim his belt in November in a huge fight for Japan. Naito, 35, talked about retirement but decided to return and scored a fifth-round knockout of Liempetch Sor Veerapol on May 9 in Tokyo.
3. Moruti Mthalane (27-2)
In front of a hometown crowd, South Africa's Mthalane made his second title defense on March 26, stopping the Philippines' Johnriel Casimero in the fifth round.
4. Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (30-2)
In a brutal and thrilling slugfest April 2, Mexico's Marquez went to Panama and stopped hometown favorite Luis Concepcion to take his belt via 10th-round knockout. It was an incredible fight featuring searing, nonstop action and four knockdowns (Marquez once, Concepcion three times).
5. Julio Cesar Miranda (35-5-1)
On Feb. 26, in his third defense, Mexico's Miranda survived a first-round knockdown to storm back and stop the Philippines' Arden Diale in the fourth round, retaining his title. His next defense could come June 11 in the Philippines against mandatory challenger Brian Viloria (28-3), a former two-time junior flyweight titlist.
Other contenders: Luis Concepcion, Daiki Kameda, Denkaosan Kaowichit, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria.
(108 AND 105 POUNDS)
1. Giovani Segura (27-1-1)
When Segura fought Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon in Puerto Rico in August, he used a bruising body attack to knock out Calderon in the eighth round in a fight of the year candidate, unifying the belts and giving him the lineal championship. They met again April 2, this time on Segura's turf in Mexico, and he knocked out Calderon again -- this time in the third round -- with a similar body attack. Segura now plans to move up in weight and will return in his native Mexico as a flyweight.
Next: May 28 vs. TBA.
2. Gilberto Keb Baas (35-20-4)
In a major upset, Keb Baas outpointed Mexican countryman Omar Niño to claim a belt in November. He will make his second defense against fellow Mexican Adrian Hernandez (20-1-1), with the sides having come to an agreement and avoided a purse bid.
Next: April 30 vs. Hernandez.
3. Omar Niño (30-4-2)
What was supposed to be an easy second defense of his 108 belt turned into a disaster as Niño lost a majority decision to Keb Baas on Nov. 6 in one of the biggest upsets of the year.
4. Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon (34-2-1)
The much bigger Segura was way too much for Calderon to handle, especially now that Calderon is 36 and doesn't move as well as he once did. Segura knocked him out in their first fight in August to take the title, and he did it again in far easier fashion in the April 2 rematch, this time ending it in the third round. Calderon plans to continue with his career, but it's hard to see what is left out there for him to do.
5. Rodel Mayol (27-5-2)
The Philippines' Mayol lost his title to Niño via unanimous decision last June in a hotly contested, head-butt-filled rematch in Mexico. Mayol won a comeback fight in November and will fight again on the untelevised portion of the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard.
Next: May 7 vs. TBA.
Other contenders: Ulises Solis, Roman Gonzalez, Luis Lazarte, Kazuto Ioka, Juan Carlos Reveco.
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