Big changes among little men in BM ratings

Graham Houston
24/09/2019 6:53pm

Photo: James Chance/Getty Images

BM editor Graham Houston rounds up the magazine's latest ratings, which see big changes at minimumweight and flyweight...

We saw some big changes in the lightest of all weight classes, 105lbs (minimumweight or, if you prefer, mini flyweight).

Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Mendez enters the ratings at No. 4 after his victory by unanimous decision over Filipino Vic Saludar to win the WBO title.

This was one of those fights that fans worldwide will never get the chance to see. (At least, not a TV-quality video; the only video readily available is one shot from a mobile-phone camera.) However, the scorecards suggest that Mendez won clearly. He is one of those fighters who just seemed to come out of nowhere, although obviously the Puerto Rican promoter had faith in him.

Pedro Taduran moved up from No. 9 to No. 3 at 105lbs after his win over fellow-Filipino Samuel Salva, who was unbeaten going into the fight. The southpaw Taduran came back from a flash knockdown in the first round to overwhelm Salva, who didn’t come out for the fifth. If you remember, Taduran fought very well in a championship challenge against Wanheng Menayothin in Thailand. Although Taduran lost a unanimous decision to Wanheng he fought the Thai boxer on almost level terms. Taduran is an all-action type of fighter, fun to watch. We cover his fight with Salva in this month’s World In Action section.

Another significant change comes in the flyweight division, with Mexico’s Julio Cesar Martinez jumping from No. 6 to No. 3 slot after his controversial “no contest” against Charlie Edwards. We now rate Martinez two places above Edwards. There seemed little doubt that Martinez was well on his way to winning when, in what seemed an act of madness, he threw a “one for good measure” shot with Edwards in a kneeling position on the canvas. We discuss this in the First Bell column in our October issue.

Gervonta Davis has vacated his junior lightweight title and moved up to lightweight. We rate him in the No. 5 spot at 135lbs.

If a fighter boxes exceptionally well in defeat against a champion or contender, it’s possible his performance will earn him a ratings spot. Thus we move Russia’s Aleksei Papin into the No. 9 spot at cruiser after his very close defeat against Ilunga Makabu (who entered the bout as our No. 6 contender at 200lbs). This was a desperately close contest, with Makabu actually saved by the bell in the last round. The former kick-boxing champ Papin lost for the first time, but his stock went up. We cover the fight in World In Action in this issue.

New face at super bantam is Azat Hovhannisyan, who overpowered Franklin Manzanilla in four rounds. This was a very good win for “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan, as Manzanilla went the full 12 rounds with WBC champ Rey Vargas last February, even knocking down Vargas. Yet Hovhannisyan went right through Manzanilla. The Armenian-raised, Los Angeles-based Hovhannisyan comes in at No. 9 spot in the 122lbs division.

And Anthony Yarde stays in the light-heavy top 10. Although Sergey Kovalev knocked out Yarde, the British challenger had the much more seasoned Russian fighter on the verge of a KO defeat in the eighth round. Yarde came so close to victory that it didn't seem right to drop him from the top 10. (Kovalev vs Yarde is our "World Fight of the Month" in the World In Action section.)

The ratings cut-off date was 7 September, so bear in mind that key results occurring after this deadline will be reflected in the November issue’s ratings.