Reposted from Blogger
Top Ten Heavyweights as of 04/27/07 – April 27, 2007
1.) Wladimir Klitschko (IBF Champion) – With none of the other titleholders available, Wlad decided to take the toughest possible fight in Lamon Brewster. Brewster may be rusty, but he’s still relatively young (for a heavy), hits like he has bricks in his gloves, and has that all important “W” over Wlad. If Wlad beats Lamon, it would go a long way to solidifying his status as the best heavy since Lennox. In any event, he’s showing guts. (Ranked #1 on 02/15 list)
2.) Samuel Peter – It looks like Sam is gonna get his shot at Maskaev after all. He should be a heavy favorite, and will probably win whether he decides to box (like he did against Toney) or slug. If he wins, he should face off against the winner of Klitschko-Brewster II. However, Sam should be careful not to look past Oleg. There have been many bigger upsets. (Ranked #2 on 02/15 list)
3.) Oleg Maskaev (WBC Champion) – This is the moment of truth for Oleg. He’s going to face off against a man most people think he can’t beat. Will he defy the odds? I find it unlikely, but should he win, he may do well to retire, because a fight with Vitali Klitschko would be looming on the horizon. And even that massive payday may not be enough to make it worth his health. (Ranked #3 on 02/15 list)
4.) Ruslan Chagaev (WBA Champion) – Ruslan’s win over Valuev gives him a big boost in my rankings. Ruslan doesn’t appear to have huge power, but he does have good hand speed, good stamina, a solid chin, and a great workrate for a heavyweight. Despite his lack of size, he is a threat to anyone in the division. Perhaps a match between the winner of Briggs – Ibragimov might help wake up the division. (Ranked #9 on 02/15 list)
5.) Shannon Briggs (WBO Champion) – Shannon’s matchup against Sultan Ibragimov is slightly more than a month away. Hopefully Shannon can stay healthy so the fight can go forward this time. Briggs will have his hands full against Ibragimov, but a win would mean TWO straight victories over credible competition – uncharted waters for Shannon. (Ranked #5 on 02/15 list)
6.) Nicolay Valuev – Despite his loss to Chagaev, I find it hard to drop Big Nic any farther down the list than 6th. He is still a tough, awkward matchup for any heavyweight, and has done enough to remain in the mix. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Don King drop Nic as he has done so often to fighters in the past. But, that might be a blessing in disguise for Valuev. He might actually get more meaningful fights if he is free from the King albatross that hung around his massive neck. Regardless of his promoter, I don’t believe we have seen the last of Nicolay Valuev. (Ranked #4 on 02/15 list)
7.) Sergei Liakhovich – Sergei needs to fight again soon in order to stay in the top ten. At this point, he is mostly in the top ten by default, as I can’t find 10 other heavyweights who are better than him. Nonetheless, some activity would be welcome, and hopefully against someone at least in the top 25. (Ranked #6 on 02/15 list)
8.) Calvin Brock – Calvin wiped the floor with a completely unqualified and overmatched opponent in his last fight. Hopefully, he can get to some meaningful fights soon. Maybe a fight with Liakhovich? That would be tough for both men, and the winner would be pretty much guaranteed some kind of title shot by early 2008. (Ranked #8 on 02/15 list)
9.) James Toney – I can’t bring myself to drop James from the top ten quite yet, but he certainly is hanging on by a thread. If he wants to keep fighting, it might behoove him to avoid any bangers. Maybe Chris Byrd or a rematch with Holyfield (Did I actually suggest that?) would be ok for him. Like Evander, I’m actually hoping James retires. He has nothing more to prove, but he has a lot to lose if he keeps fighting. (Ranked #7 on 02/15 list)
10.) Lamon Brewster – I was prepared to drop Lamon from the top ten in favor of Sultan Ibragimov, but he decided to fight a rematch with Klitschko, so I’ll keep him around for now. Lamon would probably be better off taking a tune-up fight before challenging the best heavyweight in the world. Thing is, this is an opportunity that is understandably impossible to turn down. He already has a win over Wlad, he knows Wlad wants this, it’s perfect. Lamon just needs to realize that Wlad is not the same fighter that he beat in 2004. Wlad is not likely to gas out like he did last time. This is going to be dangerous for both men, and they should both be commended for agreeing to it. (Ranked #10 on 02/15 list)
Who didn’t make the cut –
Sultan Ibragimov – Sultan sits just outside of my top ten. If he beats Briggs, then he becomes a major player in the division.
Chris Byrd – Guess he’s still a heavyweight for now. A win over a meaningful opponent gets him back in the top ten.
Vitali Klitschko – If he’s serious about this comeback, then he should look at a tune-up before taking on the Peter-Maskaev winner. Maybe a long-delayed fight against a faded but still dangerous Rahman?
Hasim Rahman – Scheduled to face Taurus Sykes. Not the direction he should be going if he wants to contend.
Evander Holyfield – Not done yet. Might get a title shot before the end of the year. Scary, but not surprising.
Matt Skelton – Set to face Michael Sprott. The best British heavyweight is barely in the top 20 worldwide. Probably won’t crack the top ten, but stranger things have happened.
Michael Sprott – Despite his win over Audley Harrison, he is not going to be challenging for a major title anytime soon.
Eddie Chambers – Maybe the best American prospect right now. I would love to see him face off against Chris Arreola in a battle of unbeaten prospects.
Alexander Povetkin – Crushed the normally durable David Bostice in 2. Might be ready for a top ten fight by 2008.
Ray Austin – His destruction at the hands of Klitschko merely cemented what we already knew. He’s not a true top-ten fighter. But he will probably hang around the top 20 or 30 for a while longer.
John Ruiz – Will he retire? Probably should, but that doesn’t mean much in the world of boxing.
Danny Williams – May not be done just yet, if he can stay in shape.