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03/15/2009 Entry: "Tom Donelson: An Essay on Ring Magazine"
Tom Donelson: An Essay on Ring Magazine
Ring is the King Ring Magazine rankings are the most authoritative ranking in the sport today. Forget the sanctioning bodies, they donít count when it comes to ranking. Only Ring magazine counts since they have nothing to gain and no political ax to grind. There is one thing that irks me and that is when Ring Magazine leaves titles vacant, especially in selected divisions where the choice is or should be obvious.
In the Heavyweight division, the best fighter is Wladimir Klitschko. Sometimes the eye test gives one all the evidence and clue needed to make a decision and in the Heavyweight division, does anyone see any of the other champions beating Klitschko, except his brother, Vitali? (The brothers have already stated that they will not fight each other; so Wladimir present biggest threat is his brother Vitali and vice versa.)
Many pundits have held Wladimir three defeats against him but Wladimir had not lost a fight in nearly six years. For the past decade, Wladimir had either held a portion of the Heavyweight title or contending for one. He has been the best heavyweight since Lennox Lewis retirement. There is no reason not to make Wladimir the official Ring champion.
The Welterweight division is another example. There is no reason that Shane Mosley should be denied the Ring magazine Welterweight championship. He beat the best Welterweight in the world and that alone is worth the belt. This would be equivalent of disallowing Muhammad Ali the championship belt after upsetting Liston, and simply declaring the championship belt vacant since it was a big upset. The Welterweight is a competitive division in which any of the top five or six fighters can beat the other on any given night. Right now, the king of the Welterweight is Mosley.
In the light heavyweight division, I disagree with the rankings of having Bernard Hopkins as the number one challenger and Dawson number two. Dawson has beaten two of the top light heavyweights and will be facing Antonio Tarver in a rematch. This fight should be the fight to determine who will be the light heavyweight champion to replace Joe Calzaghe. This is one of those decisions that a case can be made for Hopkins but a better case can be made for Dawson.
Ring Magazine rankings are the most reliable rankings but there is no reason to leave any championships vacant; all this does is strengthen the sanctioning bodiesí claims when ranking champions. If Ring Magazine declares champion in all divisions, then it will reduce the sanctioning bodies championship bodies influences.
How should boxing fans view sanctioning bodiesí championships? The same way as a football fans view the 2008 New York Giants as the NFL East championships. It is the equivalent of being a divisional champion but it is not the real championship. Giants may have won the NFC East but the Steelers won the Super Bowl. In the same way, Andre Berto may have a portion of the Welterweight title but Mosley won the Super Bowls of the Welterweights when he defeated Antonio Margarito.
Ring magazine have recruited some of the leading experts to decide the rankings and ESPN among other networks are slowing recognizing the Ring rankings at the official rankings. In order for Ring Magazine to supplement the sanctioning bodies, there can be no more vacant champions. The biggest weakness of boxing is that there are too many champions and this has created confusion among boxing fans. Ring magazine rankings are going a long way to bring sanity to boxing and now it is time for Ring magazine to complete the job.