Saturday, April 29, 2006

Top 25 Heavyweights (As of May, 2006)

By JE Grant

The world of the heavyweights is now officially turned upside down. Readers of this column have seen wonderings about the strength of the eastern Europeans contingent, but few would have guessed that in the space of a few months, men from the former Soviet bloc nations would gain a certain amount of dominance of the division.

To be sure, Hasim Rahman and a few other Americans are still alive and kicking. Gone are the days, however, that American heavyweights – much like American professional basketball players from the “Dream Team” era – simply owned the weight class no questions asked.

There will be many amateur sociologists who will point to simple economics as the driving factor, but of course such an analysis is much too narrow. What’s more important to know is that the culture of sport in the former Soviet Union has now progressed past placing the highest value on Olympic or amateur world championships. The pro game is now prominent.

Indeed, in the first few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the mentality of the first eastern Europeans entering the pro ranks was very amateur-like. Quitting in the face of adversity was not unusual because fighters were accustomed to simply looking to the next fight for redemption.

Professional fighting skills were also an adjustment for amateur fighters intent only on landing a high volume of blows for scoring. A mass movement of young pros to western Europe and the United States helped close that gap.

Finally, the most important single factor in making champions from the masses of mere participants, is that the culture from which the Klitschkos, Valuev, Liakhovich, the Ibragimovs, Maskaev et al. emanated, places a high value on athletic success. Whereas Americans have prized boxing titles since the advent of the gloved era –much as they treasure basketball, baseball, and American football championships – the rest of the world is catching up. Just as our “Dream Teams” in basketball and our baseball players in the recent World Baseball Classic, have found out, athletes from other countries in those sports no longer quiver in the face of Americans.

All is not lost for American fighters. Many youngsters are on the horizon and the added worldwide competition will likely spur them on to greater achievements.

One last note on this shift in the sport: It is not due to the supposed terrible state of the heavyweight division. Heavyweight boxing has constantly been derided as “weak.” Look back through your old boxing magazines and see what the oldtimers said about Joe Louis’ opponents in his 25 defenses; check out the comments on Muhammad Ali’s foes, especially in his second reign; etc… We always see the “good old days” with more than a little bit of sentimentality. The shift is real. We’ll see just how long it lasts.


* * *

1. Wladimir Klitschko, Ukraine – IBF Champion (Last month #3) Dominance. That’s the only word that suffices to describe his performance against a brave Chris Byrd. It is true that Byrd simply had too many mismatches– speed, size, boxing ability, power – to overcome. It also true that Byrd can still likely beat many of the fighters on this list. However one wants to look at it, Klitschko is at the top. He dismantled the skill fighter, Byrd, and he out-boxed and out-gutted the biggest hitter in the game, Samuel Peter, in his most recent outings. Klitschko won’t unify the belts – Don King is not dumb. He’ll not allow a Klitschko match with Liakhovich or Valuev, fighters in which he has financial interest. Free agent Rahman is a possibility and it is also the most meaningful fight in the division. More to follow.

2. Hasim Rahman, USA – WBC Champion (Last Month #1) Yes, Wladimir Klitschko passes him on this list without having met him in the ring. Rahman actually, and clearly, beat James Toney despite the bad decision resulting in a draw. However, his opponent was grossly oveweight, underpowered, and still he got by him with only a workmanlike performance. The one shining possibility here, however, is that Klitschko and Rahman could meet now that Rock is free of Don King. The gate and the payout would be massive. It is also the best fight this division can put together. If he can survive Oleg Maskaev (the Big O’s right hand has a history of landing on the chin of Rahman), he’s in for a megabuck showdown.

3. Serguei Liakhovich, Belarus – WBO Champion (Last month #20) Talk about huge!!! This man is the new “man”. He outboxed and outpunched Brewster who is arguably one of the biggests hitters in the game. Who else do you know who could withstand the high volume of clean shots Liakhovich (sometimes spelled Lyakhovich) did? His skills and finesse provided clear evidence that Liakhovich can continue to be a force in the division. The 15 month layoff did not seem to slow him at all. He can go for the big money right away --- Klitschko, Byrd, Rahman, and Valuev all represent mega paydays. Look for him to feast on Ray Austin first and then look out.

4. Lamon Brewster, USA (Last month #2) His major league loss to Liakhovich fortunately does not mean he is completely out of the picture. If anyone has ever seen a fighter with more heart I would like to meet him at once. He clearly lost but he was never completely out of the contest. Short fights of late may have cost him down the stretch. Look for “Relentless” to be back in action soon. Emphasis on action.

5. Chris Byrd, USA (Last month #5) Byrd finally secured a giant payday and he paid for it dearly. He can give anyone else on this list fits. He can still speed past the lumbering Valuev. He has more left in the tank than James Toney – and Toney can’t dent Byrd’s chin. He won’t ever beat Klitschko but he can still cash in and score some significant wins. More importantly he’s a fighter American fans can be proud of, and we are. Thanks Chris.

6. Calvin Brock, USA (Last month #6) If he can take the measure of Timor Ibragimov in June, he may find himself in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko. He may be America’s best chance at securing a title in the long run.

7. Samuel Peter, Nigeria (Last month #7) Peter stretched 7-footer Julius “Towering Inferno” Long in one round in April. Long presented no offense. Nonethelss, Peter remains active and dangerous.

8. James Toney, USA (Last month #4) We noticed that in the Ring ratings that followed the Klitschko-Byrd fight, Toney is still way up there. Why the continued lovefest for Lights Out? He had his heavyweight day in the sun and its over. No unified set of belts will adorn his growing waist. Five heavyweight contests and he has yet to beat a top ten man in that division. That’s right – he can’t get credit for anything against Ruiz when he followed their fight with a positive steroid test. This is not a knock on the tremendous career of Toney, just a realization that the end is near.

9. Danny Williams, England (Last month #8) He’s on tap for another all-British slugfest with Matt Skelton. Getting past Skelton likely means a shot at one of the trinket holders.

10. Nicolay Valuev, Russia – WBA Champion (Last month #9) If you ever thought Valuev was going to be a serious “champion” you now have your answer – his June defense is against Owen Beck. “What the Heck” showed signs of being a good prospect and then he met his first top opponent, Monte Barrett, and was stopped. He then faced his second top opponent, Ray Austin, and lost again. Since that time he has fought once, taking an 8-rounder against low-level opposition. Somehow this qualifies him for a title shot. If this is going to be representative of Valuev’s reign, let’s hope it is a short one.

11. John Ruiz, USA (Last month #10) Nothing is lined up. Is he waiting for something gift-wrapped in a nice box marked “WBA?”

12. Sultan Ibragimov, Russia (Last month #13) Yes, another strong, able heavyweight from the former Soviet bloc. He has talent and he has power. Riches await.

13. Oleg Maskaev, Uzbekistan (Last month #14) This man better realize the enormity of the opportunity in front of him. He has declined in ability sharply in the last couple of years but he can still whack. The Big O needs to muster all of the power remaining in his right hand and unload on Rahman when they meet this summer. A win against Rahman means riches he could not have imagined just a few years back when he was fighting in clubs. This is his last best chance.

14. Shannon Briggs, USA (Last month #15) In May the busiest heavyweight on this list is back in action. Although opponent Chris Koval is not exactly representative of the elite of the division, it is the activity that is important. Someone will be required to give Briggs a shot at some big cash and some kind of title soon. By the way, have you seen his collection of lesser “title” belts? He has almost every region covered.

15. Ruslan Chagaev, Uzbekistan (Last month #19) Now is the time for Chagaev to make his move on the scene. A good recent win against Vladimir Vichis should propel him to a bout with a major name.

16. Ray Austin, USA (Last month #18) The most important thing about fighting in April is the fact that he fought --- the opponent, Jeremy Bates, is unimportant for now. Since beating Owen Beck, Austin has somehow climbed the IBF ladder and may be the next mandatory for the winner of the Byrd-Klitschko event in April. Austin needs only to stay busy because based on recent evidence, the name of the opponent is not all that important to the IBF.

17. Dominick Guinn, USA (Last month unranked) The “Southern Disaster” took the first of what will need to be many steps to get back into real contention by beating Audley Harrison. Guinn was on the verge of the club-show circuit and he fought as if he was fully aware of that fact. He’ll now get other chances to be a contender. Hopefully the win over Harrison will give him the confidence to continue moving forward.

18. Monte Barrett, USA (Last month #11) More inactivity means further movement away from the elite of the division.

19. David Tua, New Zealand (Last month #16) He didn’t look all that good in any of his latest comeback fights and now he seems to have vanished from the scene. Time is running out.

20. DaVarryl Williamson, USA (Last month #17) Williamson returns to the ring for the first time since his dreadful decision loss to Chris Byrd in May. His opponent is Mike Mollo who, in spite of being 15-0, has never been more than six rounds. Williamson will have to be impressive if he is to get back in the title hunt soon.

21. Matt Skelton, England (Last month #21) Easily starched Armenian Suren Kalachyan in April. He gets a rare shot at quick redemption when he meets Williams in a July rematch. The heat is on.

22. Fres Oquendo, USA (Last month #22) Returned in February and we’re waiting to hear what is next. Hopefully it won’t be another two-year break in action.

23. Luan Krasniqi, Germany (Last month #23) The former challenger for Lamon Brewster’s belt took a decision over American David Bostice in April. He’ll have to do much more than that to prove himself a real contender. Of course given the state of ratings in the alphabets, maybe all he has to do is breath for a few more months to be named a mandatory challenger again.

24. Jameel McCline, USA (Last month #24) A clear points win over club circuit king Rob Calloway in April keeps him active and in the picture for a big payday or two. He’s still trying and still in top shape. Anything is possible, but I have the feeling he has slipped.

25. Audley Harrison, England (Last month #12) With his decision loss to Dominick Guinn, the big guy is just one step away from oblivion. He appeared listless and uninterested in the Guinn bout. Obvious talent does not count for much when the bell rings, Audley. Boxing is a put up or shut up kind of sport. The mountain Harrison must overcome is growing.

Prospects, fringe contenders, and others who need mentioning listed in no particular order. Don’t read the fact that they are listed here as an indication a ranking is imminent:

Joe Mesi, USA – He trudged his way to a shutout decision over 40-something Ron Bellamy in Puerto Rico ending a two year layoff. Since no one outside the arena saw the bout it is hard to make a solid assessment. It is probably sufficient for now that he is simply back in the mix. He said on Friday night fights that he will be in action again in June.

Chazz Witherspoon, USA – Took a decision win in April at Philadelphia’s fabled Blue Horizon. He’s scheduled for another bout in May. Keep it up Chazz.

Alexander Dimitrenko, Ukraine –The youngster cruised to a 12-round decision over journeyman Fernely Feliz in April. He still has many questions to answer before moving into the top rankings but at age 23, with a 21-0 record, the boxing world is going to start noticing him soon.

Alexander Povetkin, Russia – With all of the attention focused on eastern Europeans, don’t forget Povetkin the Olympic Gold medallist. At 6’2” and floating around 220 he is not big by current standards. At age 26, though, he’s a relative baby. He’s also 7-0 after having beaten Friday Ahunanya on the Byrd-Klitschko undercard. This is the same B-level Ahunanya who fought to a draw with Dominick Guinn.

Jean Francois Bergeron, Canada – He has run-up a 23-0 record against folks not on a “top” list of any kind. Time to put or shut up for the 32 year-old.

Timor Ibragimov, Uzbekistan – He has arrived at the perfect time in heavyweight history to score a major upset against the top American new guy, Calvin Brock, in June. With a win, everyone will believe that the rising eastern European tide is really a tidal wave.

Tye Fields, USA – His best win is over a terribly shopworn Bruce Seldon. Despite his 36-1 record, he’ll have to do much more than that to become known by more people than his immediate family.

Roman Greenberg, Israel – The 22-0 (15 KOs), 23 year-old is, by many accounts, a talent worth a close look. Perhaps he’ll fight next in a real boxing venue instead of Monaco.

J.D. Chapman, USA – This 23 year old Arkansan chugged to 22-0 (20 KOs) stopping previously undefeated Matt Hicks in April in a scheduled 4-rounder. Don’t be fooled by the fat record. The youngster has a very long way to go. Too heavy. Too slow. Too hesitant. Stay in the gym big fella – you’ve got some lessons to learn.

Malik Scott, USA – The light-hitting 25 year-old hasn’t fought since January. His 24-0 record will have to be tested at some point.

Gonzalo Omar Basile, Argentina – In April he won his 19th straight contest. Once again it was in Argentina against someone that none of us will recognize. We just don’t know enough about him to make a meaningful assessment. Hey, Gonzalo could you squeeze in an ESPN2 date?

Kevin McBride, Ireland – He finally returned to the ring after a 10 month layoff following his stoppage of the shell of Mike Tyson. He scored a 4th round stoppage of someone named Byron Polley, but at 286 was a full 15 pounds heavier than for his Tyson bout. He’ll be back in action in May against another journeyman. Can we really be expected to take McBride seriously? I think not.

Juan Carlos Gomez, Cuba (living in Germany) (Last month #25) Since being suspended in Germany for a positive drug test, he’s fallen off the (boxing) planet. Please report any sitings.

Kali Meehan, New Zealand – After his back-to-back losses to Hasim Rahman and Lamon Brewster, he’s captured two straight club show wins. In April he defeated Brazilian Rogerio Lobo in Fiji. At 36 he better take his best shot very soon.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Mr. Toney said...

Why you doing James Toney wrong?

4:40 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

I have only taken a quick scan down the list,but looks like a superb and very REASONABLE list as always.ONE thing though JE...Why is Guinn at 25,and Audley at 17??? That one (is the only one) that does not make sense to me.At all.

5:12 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- Good catch on Guinn and Harrison. My intent was to have it exactly the opposite. I repaired it. Thanks.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous The Cruiserweight (Top-25 Quality Control) said...

*Wink*

You are welcome JE...

;-)

10:26 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Good little entry-piece their BTW.And yes...Other than the great & deep hvy decades of the 70's and the 90's - when haven't the hvy's kind of sucked? However--there was at least one guy that stepped forward to carry the torch in those other era's.That is what is missing here,and for the last few years.Vitali was probably our best bet for that,but he is now retired and 34,and if he comes back--it would probably only be for one fight.Even though I think Sergei may beat him,I think that our best bet for a 'dominant' hvy RIGHT NOW is probably Vlad.I could see him possibly reigning from 30-35.But...I could also see punches 'reigning' on him,and making those thoughts suddenly moot.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

*Chuckle* I just read your comments.Right on target as usual.

*Random comments...

It would only be a minor upset to ME if Timor were to beat Brock
though.I think this fight will be at least fairly close.Krasniqi should probably be ranked a bit higher than what he is on ABILITY (I think he could beat close to half the fighters on this list on skill.) But he lacks the 'intangibles',and at 34 or 35 - isn't getting any younger.I would LOVE to see Krasniqi fight ANY of these top-10,20,or 30 guys (Or young up & comers)INSTEAD of being 'manuevered' into another undeserved 'title' shot...

Tua? Lose weight and get active.Briggs? Lose weight and STAY active.Mcbride? You should be in the 250's to have any prayer against Sergei.Yes 250's.Monte Barrett? I had virtually forgotten about him.(Seriously!) Here is an idea.Monte is a fair boxer,but a medium-sized hvy,and a medium-sized puncher.He is also well over-30 now.Since he is no longer a top contender anymore,what do we do with him? Put him in against one of these up & coming 20-something 'hotshots' sometime in the near future! It would be a good test for them,and a decent payday for Monte! "BRILLIANT!" (As the Guinness commercial says.)

As for all of the others? All I can say is this JE...

"Yup..."

(LOL)

1:23 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I'm not sure that McBride at any weight is a world-beater. Certainly at 286 whatever chance he may have against an actual contender goes out the window.

7:38 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser -- The primary difference between now and times past, is the proliferation of sanctioning bodies. Even during the great Larry Holmes' reign, he was prevented by sanctioning body politics from facing the likes of John Tate, Gerrie Coetzee, Michael Dokes, Greg Page, etc..., and he only had the WBA and WBC to contend with until he was named (out of the thin blue air) the IBF champion. With the addition of the WBO, we now have all the top fighters in the division artificially off-limits to each other.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Toney said...

Yall are tripping. These boys are no going to be in control for long. James Toney will take care of business. Say adios Wladimir.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Yep JE.That is when they REALLY started to rear their ugly heads (80's) Could you imagine how many top contenders in years past,would have been 'world champions' under the present 'system'? Outrageous.You are right JE.A single world hvy champ could work small wonders in a myriad of different ways...

2:26 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

As for Sergei-Mcbride? A-level vs. C-level there.Funny,when I first heard it was going to be in Boston,I thought...What if it goes to a decision? Then I said to myself--Yeah,right! (LOL) I honestly don't think it will go the distance,and if it does...Mcbride's absolute best-case scenario would be to win maybe 2 or 3 rounds.And even that is a stretch.But that being said - I hope Sergei trains HARD.I also had Tyson beating Douglas,and the Soviets beating the U.S Olymip Hockey team back in 1980.So what do I know? (LOL)

2:32 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-Where have you been JE? Monaco is big-time fight country baby...

(LOL!)

2:35 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

The only upside to such a scenario is that the trinket organization would fall deeper into obscurity.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Yeah,true JE.It is just horribly frustrating to the hardcore fan to not have a hvy world champion--but just VERY damaging to the 'mainstream' coverage of the sport,and for the more 'casual fanbase'.My uncle is in his 60's,and a avid sports fan,but a more casual (but longtime) follower of the fight game.I showed him a few of your articles recently.He was just exasperated.He just blankly asked--"How did this happen???"

:-(

9:49 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

I have been craving a quality assessment of the division, and was waaayyy too lazy to do it myslef. Once again Peter is too high, but that is just my assessment. Oh, Austin/Briggs will be good as well as S.Ibragimov/Peter. Monte Barrett wants a crack at the winner of Brock and T.Ibragimov, especially Brock. I think Tua is done, just done. Audley Harrison should fight ALdo Colliander, mirror images of each other, literally, height talent and the inability to realize that to knock someone out or to win rounds the things you call hands are supposed to move towards the man who is punching you. That reminds me, Cruiser did you catch who Aldo was? I would love to see a square off of Scott and Greenberg, and Dimitrenko and Witherspoon. Those would be great up and coming heavyweight fights. Man I tell you what, don't count out Alexander Povetkin. If you guys want footage of his fight with Ahunanya, just let me know, I'll send it to you. Not an impressive power fight, but I was very impressed with his technigue, more so than ever. He just needed to move his head a bit more, great stuff from him though. You forgot about Kevin Johnson JE. He relys on his Jab more than he needs to as you know, but he is a physical specimen and should do more behind that bery good jab. McCline is taking notes from Briggs and Rahman at getiing back into contention. Problem is, Chagaev sent Calloway unconscious to the mat in 2rds. McCLine doesn't sit on his punches at all, and when he steps up again, he'll be UD. I know you have some fondness for Byrd Je, but I think he could've been one of the greatest light-heavyweights of his era or the past 25yrs had he gone to that weight class. So with that in mind. The heavyweight division instantly got better the past 6 months with the leech-like effects of horrible title holders Chris Byrd and John Ruiz finally losing their belts. Now we need to rid ourselves of James Toney and Nicolai Valuev, and the division will be an exciting open market competition which the best scenario is what the fans will see in upcoming bouts.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Good post Troy.Good stuff.And no,I am NOT counting out Povetkin,and YES LOL)I agree with virtually all of what you said.As for 'Aldo'- I'll have to check him out.

P.S-Byrd would have made a great CRUISERWEIGHT,but not Lt.hvy I.M.O.He could have gotten down to 190,and easily 200 (would have been perfect) But I think he would have REALLY struggled to get down to 175 Orltroy.I don't think he could have done it.It was cruiser or hvy for Byrd,at least after the age of 25 or so.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Typo: What I meant to put into those aprentheses was - And YES...Could you send me the link? (LOL.To the Friday/Povetkin fight)

Peace...:-)

5:12 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

I just got off the phone with SCott Hirsch (shannon's manager) and he said that Briggs/Austin is a go, only hang up is Don King. Apparently Don's wife is ill and is in the hospital. So they have to wait on Don to go back to the business of screwing over boxing for the fight to be finalized. I find it hard to believe that DOn is in hte hospital caring for anybody. Yes I know that's incredibly cynical of me, but what has he shown to prove me wrong?

6:09 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Troy -- You know what, I would like to see Byrd drop to 200 and square off with O'Neil Bell. Bell's power would not approach that of Klitschko's and Byrd could speed past him, even at this stage of his career. He should consider the move IMHO.

6:57 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I don't think you have to worry too long about Valuev. I get the feeling that the first top guy he meets will get the best of him.

7:01 PM  
Blogger orltroy said...

I would love to see Byrd with Mormeck, see if he could withstand what Mormeck could bring, maybe even David Haye. Those are fights I would love to see. And yes, as soon as Valuev fights someone better than me, yes he will lose his belt, but just like Byrd and especially Ruiz, when the hell is Valuev going to fight a somebody. Vidoz is his best victory, the only man to TKO Vidoz, but Paolo took the fight on 2 weeks notice and we know he doesn;t stay in shape while training, so needless to say his conditioing was pathetic.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Yeah guys,you know me.I want virtually ALL 'small hvys' and 'big lt.hvy's to move to cruiser,but I think Byrd will (and should) retire.I would have LOVED to have seen Byrd fight as a cruiser in the 90's,or even as recently as a few years (or even a year) ago,but now? I wouldn't mind seeing it,but it just VERY unlikely I.M.O.He is now 35 yrs.old and a multi-millionaire.Besides,he can probably make more money as a top-contender at hvy than an (even) undisputed world champ at cruiser.I don't think Byrd would have EVER have been a 'world champ' at hvy without the sanctioning bodies (or a multi-millionaire for that matter) but he WAS good enough to be a legit top-contender there.That's rare in and of itself.But now? At over-35,I have my doubts that he is a true TOP contender ABILITY wise,and even have some doubts if he would be the world's best 200-pounder at this stage/age.Besides,I think it's a moot point.I honestly don't think Byrd is going to fight at cruiser for 6-figure paydays at this juncture.My hunch is that he retires soon (2006)

9:01 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-Although I think there may be a bit more to it from an American standpoint (I believe there are many potential factors,and this may not be just a coincidental 'cyclical void'or 'swinging of the pendulum')I do agree with you for the most part in regards to the 'shifting' of the hvy division in recent years and the near and forseeable future.

(What I'm more or less trying to say in this post - is that I don't particuarly buy into the 'psuedo' socio-economic theories all that much either JE...)

12:35 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser, I tend to think there are many more factors at play than we can get our arms around.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey JE, fan since 94 here; pretty good top 25 list of hws; good basketball parallel; now more than ever, boxing belongs in a world stage as other nationalities have been steadily coming to the fore; i can't help but feel that brock (who i am not impressed with; thought he was losing to journeyman zuri lawrence before he landed that humongous left hook) belongs just below sam peter and lights out; also i'm so tired of audley that it pains me to see him still on the top 25 list; joe mesi doesn't have a chin but if he'd been active instead of suspended, i have not doubt he'd be on this top 25.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link JE (Meke here). A very resonable article and very good comments, I can hardly disagree with anything. Good to see that not every boxing fan suffers from optimism of memory. I really doubt that even the seventies were quality wise better than today - we just have this extremely stupid situation with ABC belts,greedy promtoros, and PPV sh1t. Boxers simply fight way too few fights a year and between each other.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thans for the link JE (Meke here). I can hardly disagree with anything stated in the article and the comments below. Good to hear a few resonable opinions for a change. cheers

4:02 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Meke and Fan --- Thanks for the comments. I also think Mesi will creep back onto the Top 25 list if he stays active. I honestly think he was never quite at the top but he is a good draw and that is good for the game.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Welcome aboard guys! Good to see new posters and quality ones at that!

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You covered all the bases as far as I can tell in the first read. I wouldn't disagree with your list too much.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like an old-timer, but you just gotta be kidding. The heavyweight division has been a pathetic joke since Ali's decline. I'm saddened by this entire discussion.

7:03 PM  

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