By Scott Shaffer and G.Leon
Boxingtalk.com has released its first set of ratings for 2005, and for the first time, the website has crowned world champions in several weight classes. "Boxingtalk went through each and every weight class and decided to honor those worthy boxers who indisputably rule their weight classes. Even more importantly, we want to establish the Boxingtalk ratings as a source of reference for both fans and people inside the boxing industry that will attempt to clear up the confusion caused by the four major sanctioning bodies. By naming phony mandatory contenders and stripping worthy champions for reasons having nothing to do with what goes on inside the ring, the sanctioning bodies have hurt boxing by making it impossible for the casual fan to keep up with the sport and by causing the mainstream media to shun major fights," said Boxingtalk's Greg Leon and Scott Shaffer in a joint statement. Boxingtalk has examined the records of thousands of boxers in order to create a top thirty in every division except for heavyweight, where forty boxers will receive world rankings. Ratings will be updated at least every two weeks.
Boxingtalk has named seven world champions out of the seventeen weight divisions: Glen Johnson (light heavyweight), Bernard Hopkins (middleweight), Ronald "Winky" Wright (junior middleweight), Cory Spinks (welterweight), Kostya Tszyu (junior welterweight), Marco Antonio Barrera (junior lightweight) and Manny Pacquiao (featherweight).
Two more championships could be awarded in the first half of 2005 if proposed bouts materialize between Jean Marc Mormeck and Wayne Braithwaite (cruiserweight) and Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo (lightweight). Although several prominent media outlets, most notably Ring Magazine and HBO, have annointed Vitali Klitschko as the heavyweight champion, Boxingtalk is not prepared to extend world championship recognition to Klitschko at this time. Although it may be inconvenient to some in the sport to have a void atop boxing's glamor division, Boxingtalk cannot in good conscience overlook the claim of Chris Byrd to the heavyweight championship, particluarly in light of his victory over Klitschko.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NEW BOXINGTALK RATINGS