Connect with us

Featured Articles

What Is The Past History And Future of Women’s Boxing?

Avatar

Published

on

I recently caught wind of a new push to propel women’s back into the limelight where it..how to put this delicately…it hasn’t been for a bunch of years.

Me, I’m not one of those guys who applauds that. I say to each his own, if your eyes are wide open, be it man or woman, you should feel free to enter that ring and test yourself. I know that warrior hearts, unlike my own “regular” one, are placed into the bodies of people of both genders…

I thought this time frame before the renewed push to make the female pugilists a more marketable group would be a good time to check in with author Malissa Smith. She just released a book called “A History of Women’s Boxing,” and I wanted to pick her brain about the past, present and future for the females who dare to enter this male dominated realm.

Q) You just did an event for the book at the famed Gleason’s Gym, in Brooklyn. Can you tell me how it went at Gleasons?

It was a wonderful event. It lasted for approximately two hours and included an exhibition of women’s boxing and a reading from A HISTORY OF WOMEN’S BOXING.

Q) How was the turnout? What were the highlights?
A) Forty to fifty people attended in all including the WBC’s Jill Diamond, Harold Lederman and his wife Eileen, and Julie Lederman. I was truly honored that they came to show their support for women’s boxing. The biggest highlights for me was having two champions, Alicia “Slick” Ashley and Keisher “Fire” McLeod-Wells give a two-round exhibition. They wowed the audience, many of whom had never actually seen a female bout. Boxer Sonya “The Scholar” Lamonakis acted as MC and gave the audience background on the sport — and of course having the opportunity to address the crowd of assembled guests was an amazing feeling for me. I not only read a passage, but talked about the pride women boxers should take in knowing that women have been boxing for hundreds of years.

Q) Can you tell me how you started liking boxing, and a bit more about you…where did you grow up?

A) I grew up in Manhattan on the Lower East Side — East 12th Street to be exact — in the early 1960s. I was first exposed to boxing there and I grew to love the sport watching Muhammad Ali fights. Another of my favorites was Ken Norton, who had that devastating overhand right. When I was 12 my uncle taught my brother and I the old “one-two” and I was hooked, though it never occurred to me that I could actually box myself until the late 1980s/early 1990s when I began to hear that women were boxing. I finally “crossed the divide” myself into Gleason’s Gym in late 1996 and have been training there off and on ever since.

Q) What were your top takeaways from researching for the book?

A) The main one was to learn how entrenched in the culture female participation in the sport truly was whether as fighters, practitioners for exercise, spectators, or behind the scene as managers, refs and even trainers. When I started the project I really didn’t know what I would find, just that I’d read that women had boxed in the early 1720’s alongside James Figg, who was a big proponent of female prize fighters, and the story about the female bout for a silver butter dish at Henry Hill’s in 1876. What I discovered was a rich, well-documented story of women of the ring pieced together through press clippings from the eras I researched. The other thing was understanding how entrenched female boxing was in popular culture — whether negative or positive, and even to the point of having a female boxer named Hatttie Stewart (The Female John L. Sullivan) on a playing card in the mid-1880s as one of the best athletes in the world. I was able to come to the conclusion based on the amount of ink on the subject in the press, and not only the big city dailies, but reprinted from the wire sources in newspapers across the world. It was truly startling revelation.

Q) Is the public ready for the females in boxing to once again step to the fore? We had Christy Martin, and Laila Ali…but there has been a lack of coverage and interest for a spell.

A) Certainly if one attends fight cards with female bouts, the crowds are wildly enthusiastic about the fighters — however, it is hard to know the interest level when fights are broadcast–as there have been so, very, very few over the last few years. From the perspective of media promotion–we LOVE a heroine of the stature of Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker or Laila Ali, and right now there are MANY talented female fighters, frankly with greater skills, or certainly the equivalent of Lucia Rijker, who from a pure skill-level was the best of her generation. The problem is, since there is no TV coverage, they are only known by the fans who follow them and the select few boxing writers who report on the sport. Two factors which may help propel the sport into the limelight again are: 1) the rise of female MMA bouts which have wowed audiences with their remarkable skill levels and athleticism and 2) the fact that the sport is now contested at the Olympics. I’ll tell you, Michael, I’ve just been at the Women’s National Golden Gloves and was blown away not only by the skills of current USA Boxing members such as Christina Cruz, Virginia Fuchs and Marlen Esparza (incidentally a bronze medal winner in 2012), but the young girls who boxed, some as young as eight, were truly gifted boxers. What we all saw there were the future of the sport: those who will contest and win medals in 2016 and 2020, and those who will make the transition to professional boxing every bit as skilled as true boxer’s boxers as their male counterparts.

Q) Has there been a correlation between the women’s rights movements, and how females are treated as a whole in the US, and how popular and accepted female boxing is?

A) That is a particularly perceptive question and very apt when it comes to the acceptance of women in the sport. If one looks at the long arc of participation, say going back to the 1880s on through contemporary boxing, women who box and frankly who participate in any way in the sport, including as spectators, skirt the edges of presumed female interests and behavior. Boxing has, after all, been associated with a kind of hyper-masculinity all the way back to Greco-Roman times–and it is, I believe, hard to break through the association of boxing and maleness for many people. And, even though we talk about acceptance of strong women, there is a reluctance to do so. There are two periods were the women’s movement had it’s greatest effect: with the rise of the suffragist (EDITOR NOTE: A suffragist is one who works to get voting rights for people who don’t have them.) movement, which paralleled the concept of the “New Woman” roughly from the period of the 1880s – World War I, and the late 1960s-early 70s, when women’s militancy led them to take to the courts to garner equal rights, including the right to box. Interestingly, and counter-intuitively, women of the ring are *very* accepted in places we would think of as having particularly “macho” cultures — such as Mexico and Argentina. I truly have not been successful in really accounting for why Americans are uncomfortable with seeing women in the ring boxing, but have no issue with MMA, judo, and other martial sports. What I fall keep falling back on is the deep-seated association of boxing with manliness, something, quite frankly, women never really consider, but still seems to be a pervasive meme in popular culture. Where that goes from here is anyone’s guess.

Q) What do you want the average reader to take away from the book?

A) My hope is that readers not only gain an appreciation for the history of the women in the ring, but also for the place of women in general in the eras I researched. We do not often gain insights into the work-a-day world of women from earlier eras, and it is my hope that readers will be wowed by all that women were able to accomplish.

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Advertisement

Featured Articles

Fast Results from the Bubble: Takam UD 10 Forrest; Castro Dismantles Juarez

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Takam-UD-10-Forrest-Castro-Dismantles-Juarez

Another edition of Top Rank’s semi-weekly ESPN summer series took place tonight in the so-called Bubble at the MGM Conference Center in Las Vegas. Heavyweights Carlos Takam and Jerry Forrest topped the bill.

In a slow-moving fight, 39-year old French-Cameroonian globetrotter Takam, subbing for Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, improved to 39-5-1 with a unanimous decision. Takam (pictured on the right) dominated early, but he slowed down after suffering a cut below his right eye from an accidental clash of heads and Forrest, although out-weighed by 20 pounds, seemingly clawed his way back into the fight. However, Takam’s big early lead proved insurmountable as evident by the scorecards: 98-92, 97-93, 96-94. Forrest, from Newport News, Virginia, entered the fight having won 19 of his previous 20, but against very soft opposition. With the loss, his record fell to 26-4.

Co-Feature

In the co-feature, Phoenix featherweight Carlos Castro turned in a very impressive performance, stopping Cesar Juarez whose corner pulled him out after the fourth round. Castro, who improved to 26-0 (11), took control from the get-go with a very balanced attack. Although Juarez (25-9) isn’t a full-time boxer – he’s a practicing attorney in Mexico City – he had some good wins on his ledger and previously went 12 with Nonito Donaire.

Castro entered the contest ranked #3 by the WBC, #7 by the IBF, and #8 by the WBO. With Emanuel Navarette abandoning the 122-pound class, Castro appears poised to fight for the title that Navarette is vacating.

Other Bouts

In a six-round junior lightweight class between former state Golden Gloves champions, Joshafat Ortiz improved to 7-0 with a majority decision over Joshua Orta. The scores were 57-57 and 58-56 twice.

Ortiz, a Puerto Rican from Reading, Pennsylvania, had longer arms and quicker hands. The hard-trying Orta, from Springfield, Mass., suffered his first pro loss, declining to 6-1.

The TV opener was a 6-round middleweight contest between Cleveland’s Fred Wilson Jr. and Donte Stubbs of Riverside, CA. Wilson had a five-inch height advantage and a better amateur pedigree, but he had no antidote for Stubbs’ high-pressure attack and suffered his first pro loss after opening his career 6-0-2. Stubbs knocked Wilson down with a sweeping right hook late in round three and again late in round five and Wilson had a point deducted for excessive holding in round four, a dubious call by Celestino Ruiz, a newcomer to Nevada’s pool of referees. Stubbs, who lost a close fight to Isiah Jones nine days ago, advanced to 7-1 by scores of 58-54 and 58-53 twice.

Off TV

The welterweight contest between Corey Champion (2-3) and Peter Cortez (2-2) lasted less than one full round, but it was quite a barnburner. There were four knockdowns in all, three by the victorious Champion, including a rare double knockdown that was caught on tape.

Champion

Photo credit: Mikey Williams for Top Rank

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

 

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Fast Results from the Bubble: Zepeda Outclasses Castaneda; Lopez Upsets Vences

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Fast-Results-frpm-the-Bubble-Zepeda-Outclasses-Castaneda-Lopez-Upsets-Vences

Former two-time world title challenger Jose Zepeda was the headliner tonight as Top Rank returned to “The Bubble” for another Tuesday edition of their semi-weekly summer series. In an uninteresting fight, Zepeda, a southpaw who competes at 140 pounds, improved to 32-2 with a unanimous decision over San Antonio’s Kendo Castaneda (17-2). The judges had it 97-93 and 98-92 twice.

Zepeda, who came close to upsetting Jose Carlos Ramirez on Ramirez’s turf in Fresno and then scored a mild upset over Jose Pedraza in his last start, simply had too much class for Castaneda who took the fight on seven days notice after Ivan Baranchyk suffered a a rib injury in training. Castaneda did his best work in rounds 6, 7, and 8, but Zepeda, who built up an early lead, pulled away in the homestretch.

Co-Feature

San Jose junior lightweight Andy Vences has now lost two of his last three after losing a 10-round split decision to Mexicali spoiler Luis Alberto Lopez. There were no knockdowns, but both fighters suffered cuts as a result of accidental head butts. Two judges favored Lopez 96-94 with the dissenter favoring Vences (23-2-1) by the same margin.

Vences, who had the bigger frame, recovered nicely after taking a battering in round six and apparently did enough to win the fight, but two of the judges thought otherwise. Lopez (21-2) has won nine of his last 10.

Other Bouts

In an 8-round lightweight contest, Andres Cortes came on strong over the second half of the fight to win a unanimous decision over Alejandro Salinas and keep his undefeated record intact. Cortes suffered a cut over his left eye in round two and was knocked down by an overhand right two rounds later, but never lost his composure.

A Las Vegas native, Cortes originally signed with Mayweather Promotions after a strong amateur career but was a free agent heading into tonight’s match and reputedly will formally join the Top Rank team after tonight’s showing where he advanced his record to 13-0. Salinas, from Youngstown, Ohio, declined to 10-3. (9).

The TV opener was a 4-round bantamweight contest between Gabriel Muratalla and Sergio Lopez. This was the fourth pro fight for Muratalla, the oldest of two fighting brothers. He stopped each of his first three opponents in the opening round, but Lopez, who wasn’t intimidated, extended him the distance in a good action fight. The judges had it for Muratalla by scores of 39-37 and 40-36 twice. Lopez falls to 4-6-3.

Off TV

In what was undoubtedly the most impressive showing of the night, San Diego welterweight Genaro Gamez (10-1, 7 KOs) rebounded from his lone defeat with a first round blast-out of Reymond Yanang (11-6-1). A straight right hand collapsed Yanang who appeared here two weeks ago, winning a split decision over Clay Burns.

Eric Puente improved to 3-0 with a majority decision over Diego Elizondo (2-2-2) in a 4-round lightweight clash. The scores were not shared with the TV audience.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams for Top Rank

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

The Top Ten Super Featherweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Matt McGrain

Published

on

The-Top-Ten-Super-Featherweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019

Super-featherweight has been refreshing after the minefield that was 140lbs and has contained the best fights I have reviewed during this series. There was a complication in that many of the top fighters of the decade only came to the dance once with an equal; there was far too much dusting of unranked fighters, journeymen and alphabet mandatories unqualified for the shot.

This has made the weighing of individual wins more pertinent than in other weight classes and you may find more words about given fights than is normal. Hunt some of those fights down if you missed them; I named this the most exciting division in boxing in 2016 and it certainly delivered.

Rankings are by Ring from January 2010 until October 2012 and thereafter by TBRB.

10 – Orlando Salido

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 10-4-2 Ranked For: 25% of the decade

We have run into some strange and interesting number tens during this series, but perhaps none more so than Orlando Salido. Siri, the veteran, the great survivor of the sub 135lb decade, makes the list essentially on the strength of two draws.

In April of 2014 Salido was spanked, fair and square, by Roman Martinez, the Puerto Rican, who used his equalising straight right hand to drop Salido and secured the decision over twelve. This was a punch Salido remained unable to neutralise even in their rematch fought five months later,  Martinez managing to drop him once more, but in truth, Salido bossed their second encounter, ceaseless, blank-faced pressure catching up to the younger man who was lucky to escape with the draw. Salido, if not quite robbed, had been pick-pocketed.

The judging was perfectly reasonable in his next fight, a June 2016 draw fought with the mighty Francisco Vargas in one of the better fights of the decade. I scored it a draw, two of the judges scored it a draw, and while talk that Salido had the better of this fight too is overstated, he did not have the look or feel of a man defeated.

Salido won fights at the poundage, but nothing that meaningful. It is these drawn performances that put him in contention but the real reason he slips in are the shortcomings of his rivals for the spot.  Albert Merchado defeated Jezzrel Corrales who was butchered by Andrew Cancio who was ripped up by Rene Alvarado. Juan Carlos Salgado and Argenis Mendez cancelled one another out and offered little besides, Gervonta Davis’s best win is number eight contender Jose Pedraza and the excellent Takashi Miura defeated the similarly ranked Gamaliel Diaz on his best night. In the end, by a process of painful elimination it became clear that the most reasoned argument was Salido, who probably should have been awarded a victory over Martinez (ranked 9 here) and who fought Vargas (ranked six) to a standstill.

09 – Roman Martinez

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 7-4-2 Ranked For: 68% of the decade

Roman Martinez had a strange and troubling super-featherweight career defined by oddities and questionable draws. He was lucky to get away with the share against Juan Carlos Burgos in 2013 and equally so against Orlando Salido in their 2015 rematch and had either of these fights been scored against him he likely would have had to make way for his conqueror. Draws are what came back though so he pitches up here ahead of both in the number nine spot.

Key to his placement is his performance in his first fight with Salido. Martinez boxed with the cooler head of a more experienced fighter that night, staying organised despite being subjected to ceaseless pressure, moving laterally at speed and countering Salido with consistent, clean punches.

Martinez also turned in a spirited, clever performance against number ten contender Diego Magdaleno two years prior to his meeting with Salido, taking an earned split decision. This second win over a made man threatens to propel him up a list comprised in part of one-hit wonders but those draws, and his being on the fortunate end of them, pin him back.

Unexceptional, that right hand excepted, Martinez has remained a figure of significance within the super-featherweight division for nearly 70% of the decade; this, in tandem with the Salido victory makes him difficult to exclude.

08 – Ricky Burns

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 16-6-1 Ranked For: 11% of the decade

Ricky Burns is another reason for Martinez ranking no higher than nine.  In short, it is difficult to rank Burns any higher and more difficult still to rank Martinez ahead of Burns, for the best of reasons: Burns beat him.

It remains the most outstanding performance of Ricky’s career, a performance of great competence over a fighter who echoed his best attributes. Both these men were superbly conditioned and capable of performances of real courage but were limited in both power and speed. Burns, far and away the lesser of the two punchers and with no equivalent of the Martinez right hand, was firmly outgunned. Technical surety and superb temperament brought him the clean win. Burns was hurt badly in the first round by one of those Martinez right hands; by the end of the sixth he all but had the fight wrapped up having won every round since.

Martinez wasn’t for quitting of course, and he damaged Burns with surging, wild attacks through the middle rounds to narrow the fight up but Burns closed like a champion, winning the eleventh and twelfth with room to spare. It was a rousing performance that demonstrated everything Burns did well.  One of his generation’s underrated jabbers, he was cool under the most vicious of fire and brave to a fault.

Burns exited 130lbs the following year, unbeaten at the poundage that decade, 5-0, having mastered, in Martinez, a fighter of worth.

07 – Rances Barthelemy

Peak Ranking: 3 Record for the Decade: 25-1-1-1 Ranked For: 14% of the decade

The Cuban Rances Barthelemy may seem a rather perverse choice at number seven given that he was never ranked higher than three divisionally, but he had Mikey Garcia and Takashi Uchiyama to contend with. He met neither man in the ring, but his performances in his two fight series with Agenis Mendez are more than enough to justify his placement on this particular list.

In their first fight, in January of 2014, Barthelemy seemed a fighter unassailable.  His left hook seemed ear-drum shattering; his body-punches drew air in through the collective teeth of those who witnessed them; his jab put commentary in mind of George Foreman. Mendez landed as few as three punches in the first. The left uppercut, left jab and left hook Rances landed in combination to drop Mendez in the second was a thing of absolute beauty; the two wide hooks he landed from square shortly thereafter to knock Mendez out, less so, not least because they came after the bell.

Barthelemy’s knockout victory was changed to a no-decision, the correct decision, and a rematch was ordered.

Barthelemy was not the fighter he appeared to be in that first astonishing fight with Mendez, but he looked the clear superior of Mendez once more, taking a clear decision win despite dropping points for clumsy low blows in both the ninth and tenth round. Mendez, it should be remembered, was no joke. The world’s number two contender, he had split a series with the excellent Juan Carlos Salgado, winning their second fight by way of fourth round knockout and rendering himself one of the best super-featherweights in the world. Barthelemy usurped him, then defeated Argentine tough Fernando David Saucedo and departed for lightweight.

That makes him undefeated at the poundage and in combination with those two superb wins, he’s earned the number seven spot.

06 – Francisco Vargas

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 26-2-2 Ranked For: 43% of the decade

Japanese puncher Takashi Miura, ranked two, is the key fight of Francisco Vargas’s career, the totality of which was boxed between January 2010 and December of 2019, almost all of it at the 130lb limit, no small matter in rating him here.

Miura, an onslaught southpaw who traded on thudding punches and sheer aggression had put away a series of good opponents in the course of raising and defending his strap, key among them Gamaliel Diaz, who he had dispatched in nine in 2013; Vargas met him in 2015 and in a thrilling first round took his legs and challenged his heart with a zinging right-hand wedded to some exceptional short-arm work behind. Takashi, too hard to succumb, battled back and a superb fight was sparked, dominated early by Vargas to the point of one-sidedness. Takashi though seemed wrought of iron, insidiously fighting back before dropping Vargas with a stunning one-two behind a delightful uppercut.

This was a nice wrinkle to the fight, Takashi suddenly producing superb, technically adept punches to swing it into his lane, but it was Vargas now who took a turn in proving his heart and guts. Cut, bruised, Vargas rallied thrillingly in the sixth round as the two exchanged vicious body shots and opposed straights. Behind on the cards, hurt and then punished at the end of the eighth, Vargas sent Takashi scrambling to and then from the canvas in the first seconds of the ninth before blasting him out to win perhaps the best fight of the super-featherweight decade by way of stoppage. It was an exceptional performance.

Almost as astonishing was Vargas’s first fight of the following year, against Orlando Salido. A wonderful ebb and flow war, savage in culture, the official scorecards read 115-113 to Vargas and 114-114 twice, which echoed my own.

Worn by these battles, Vargas was eventually chased from the division by Miguel Berchelt. As we shall see, there is no shame in that.

05 – Mikey Garcia

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 22-1 Ranked For: 11% of the decade

Mikey Garcia, fleeting as always, spent a short spell in the rankings at 130lbs but also served a modicum of his apprenticeship there, putting meat on the bones of his 2013/14 campaign. In these years, Garcia bought the number five spot on this list.

In 2013 he met Roman Martinez, no slouch as we have seen, and who had a good first round; but in the second Garcia established that glorious left-handed jab as Martinez, content to wait outside, seemed lost. Then Martinez sprang his trap, the same trap he sprung against Salido, that wrought straight right and Garcia was on the seat of his trunks looking up.

He was also calm personified, reassuring his corner, making eye contact with the referee then up at six and took control of the fight. That left jab made way for the straight right which in turn made way for the left hook, a staged attack any general would be proud of. Martinez was finished in eight, struggling desperately for breath behind a superb left hook to the body.

Three months later, Garcia met Juan Carlos Burgos who was coming off the rough end of two split draws. Burgos made it difficult for Garcia early with his range but once Garcia found him, he won every remaining round.

Garcia dashes through divisions so quickly it is hard for him to make a meaningful impact and he was not helped at 130lbs by contractual disputes which kept him out of the ring for some months; when he returned it was as a lightweight. Here, there are enough shallow but exciting legacies to see him into the top five. Garcia’s style may not inspire passion, but it is to be admired.

04 – Jezzrel Corrales

Peak Ranking: 2 Record for the Decade: 22-2 Ranked For: 23% of the decade

Jezzrel Corrales missed weight in October of 2017 for his match with Alberto Machado and was promptly stopped in the eighth round of a lacklustre performance. At the 130lb limit, he was never beaten.

It is fitting, too that he is the only member of the one-hit wonder club that makes the top five. His one hit is actually two, and far and away the best of the bunch.

In 2016, Takashi Uchiyama was the undisputed number one super-featherweight on the planet and remained in the habit of importing and dominating quality fighters from outside his native Japan.  Corrales, a Panamanian stylist, seemed just the latest in a long line to leave Japan with nothing but wounds and Yen.

Corrales claimed ring centre, unafraid, rearing and ducking the worst of Uchiyama’s attentions, punching at every opportunity. This is hardly a layered plan but Corrales has an equaliser as good as a poison-speared punch: he is among the fastest-handed fighters on this list. In the second, he moved off before bringing Uchiyama back to ring centre and pot-shotted, especially with his left.  Repeatedly feinting with a southpaw jab to the body, he bought an Uchiyama counter then blasted over a lighting quick straight that dropped Uchiyama and heavily. The Japanese’s reign was essentially over, although he was able to stagger his way through to the final seconds of the round before succumbing.

Jezzrel Corrales owns the single best win of any fighter on this list.

He arguably owns the second best, too, returning to Japan for a rematch eight months later, once again triumphing, this time on the cards. Flashed off balance in the fifth, Corrales nevertheless earned a decision, the fact that it only came on two of the three cards probably flattering Uchiyama.

A strange, pawing, dipping fighter, Corrales interested me from the start with that low lead, varied feints and riffing style. He achieved little else of note divisionally but undoing the clear divisional number one on two separate occasions is more than enough to earn him a top five spot.

03 – Vasyl Lomachenko

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 14-1 Ranked For: 18% of the decade

Too low?

Arguably, but for anyone who has been tuning in regularly, it’s clear that these lists are driven not by the how but the who; Vasyl Lomachenko receives maximum points for the how, but in terms of the who, he really does come up short. Clearly better than the one-hit wonders that populate much of the rest of the list, he is clearly worse off than the men ranked above him. Lomachenko’s assault on lightweight was all conquering and saw him outwit and outhit the best the division had to offer, at 130lbs he never faced a man in the top five.

The highest ranked fighter Lomachenko met at 130lbs was Roman Martinez, number six. Martinez, a fighter we have run into over and again, finally reaches the end of his super-featherweight journey.  Lomachenko tore him apart like a wolfpack before dispatching him with an uppercut/hook combination as astonishing as anything I have seen. In his next three fights, Lomachenko forced the retirements of three different men, most impressively Nicholas Walters, then met with the man that makes his ranking so malleable: Guillermo Rigondeaux. Lomachenko beat Rigondeaux clean and clear; it was not a close fight. Rigondeaux retired in his corner with an injury but did so after being outclassed by the better man. The problem is that Rigondeaux, a genuine pound-for-pound force moved two weight classes north to make the contest happen. So how much meaning should be allowed? The final word, perhaps, should belong to Lomachenko himself:

“This is not his weight, so it’s not a big win for me.”

Rigondeaux achieved nothing at 130lbs, before or since. That is weighted here – Lomachenko ranks three.

02 – Takashi Uchiyama

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 11-2-1 Ranked For: 61% of the decade

Takashi Uchiyama was the darling of the hardcore boxing fan in the early part of the decade. When he met Juan Carlos Salgado in the first month of 2010 it was not the slipping version that would go 1-1 with Argenis Mendez in coming years, but rather the monster that had knocked out no less a figure than Jorge Linares the year before – in one round.

Uchiyama met Salgado ring centre and established himself as the more accurate and heavier puncher then went to work breaking him down. A technically superb performance, it was capped by a savage assault in the eleventh which culminated in a hooking clinic in the twelfth, for all that it was a tiring one, followed by a vicious stoppage with just seconds remaining. The purists were hooked.

In truth, this was something of a summit for Uchiyama, which was a shame because the feeling was he might make pound-for-pound. He never left his Japanese stronghold and the invitees were of middling quality. Still, he inflicted an impressive number of first defeats and in 2011 imported a slipping Jorge Solis, against whom he perpetrated an astonishing one-punch knockout in the eleventh having arguably won every single round up to that point.

There were quick knockouts, too, like the one he scored against the prodigy Jomthong Chwatana and when he needed the cards they were usually wide. His shocking defeat at the hands of Corrales and his insistence upon remaining home keep him from the top spot here, but that’s a judgment call.  Placing him at the top would be valid.

01 – Miguel Berchelt

Peak Ranking: 1 Record for the Decade: 37-1 Ranked For: 27% of the decade

I suspect that this is my first genuinely controversial placement of the series but justifying heralding Miguel Berchelt as the most accomplished super-featherweight of the decade will be easy. That is because he is the right choice.

First, there is his paper record, which is one of the best on the list. Berchelt (pictured) suffered a single loss in 2014 and since then has smeared a series of ranked men all over the ring, mostly by way of knockout. He has fewer losses than Uchiyama, more wins, and more wins against ranked opposition. Although Lomachenko has no losses at the weight, he has significantly fewer wins and fewer wins against top men.

Most of all, what impresses about Berchelt is that he has been doing his business among the top five. While Lomachenko was matched exclusively outside the absolute best of the best, Berchelt has operated frequently in such company.

Most of all, it his domination over that company that has impressed.

Berchelt took the step up against Francisco Vargas in 2017 and handed the superb Vargas a vicious beating. Vargas out-sped Berchelt by a margin which was a problem for him for perhaps four minutes. Berchelt’s greatest strength is his ring-awareness; he knows where he is at all times and he knows where his opponent is at all times. This perennially puts him in position, or something like it; Vargas meanwhile was relying on technical ability and speed to keep him in control. He was repeatedly hurt in the second in what looks in retrospect to be the beginning of the end. After losing most of the intervening rounds in a fight that mounted in intensity and savagery as it progressed, Vargas was stopped in the eleventh, his face coming apart.

In his next fight Berchelt, not one for resting upon laurels, matched number four contender Takashi Miura unveiling a new horror at championship level. Berchelt, who is the best puncher in the super-featherweight division, is also the best mover. He circled Miura as mercilessly as he beat him, bringing the brave Japanese onto a series of stiffening punches. By the fifth, Miura had given up boxing and pressure both in favour of single-shot hail-Mary left hands, some of which landed but never in quantities high enough to win him a single round on my card, or the card of judge Max DeLuca.

The following year, 2018, Berchelt thrashed mortal enemy and number five contender Miguel Roman in nine then rematched Vargas. By now he was peaking. Compact shots follow each other quickly to the target, his hand speed maximised on combination punching, but it is his accuracy during clutch exchanges that sets him aside. Berchelt cracked Vargas in just six rounds and exited the decade the unequivocal number one active super-featherweight. Uchiyama was ranked number one in January of 2010, and it is fitting that these two duke it out for the decadal top spot.

Berchelt is my choice based upon his having more wins, fewer losses and his having beaten more highly ranked fighters.

 

The other lists:

Heavyweight

Cruiserweight

Light-Heavyweight

Super-Middleweight

Middleweight

Light-Middleweight

Welterweight

Light-Welterweight

Lightweights

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment in this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Imagining-Famous-People-as-Prizefighters-Check-Out-Our-Latest-TSS-Survey
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Imagining Famous People as Prizefighters: Check Out Our Latest TSS Survey

Dangerous-to-the-Last-Second-of-the-Last-Round-A-Case-of-Deceptive-Records
Featured Articles5 days ago

Dangerous to the Last Second of the Last Round: A Case of Deceptive Records

Avila-Perspective-Chap-97-No-Reporters-in-Age-of-Pendemonium
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 97: No Reporters in Age of Pandemonium

Fury-vs-Joshua-in-2021-It's-a-Big-Can-of-Worms
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Fury vs. Joshua in 2021: It’s a Big Can of Worms

The-Top-Ten-Super-Featherweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Top Ten Super Featherweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Avila-Perspective-Chap-98-Prizefighters-Are-Hungry-to-Fight
Featured Articles6 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 98: Prizefighters are Hungry to Fight

Berchelt-TKOs-Valenzuela-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Berchelt TKOs Valenzuela in Mexico City

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Big-Baby-Miller-Roberto Duran-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Big Baby Miller, Roberto Duran and More

The-Top-Ten-Lightweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Top Ten Lightweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Plania-Upsets-Greer-Santillan-Nips-DeMarco
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Plania Upsets Greer; Santillan Nips DeMarco

Gabriel-Flores-Who-Attracted-a-Stupendous-Wager-Moves-into-the-Main-Event
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Gabriel Flores, Who Attracted a Stupendous Wager, Moves into the Main Event

As-Expected-Navarrete-Steamrolls-Lopez-in-their-Studio-Fight-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

As Expected, Navarrete Steamrolls Lopez in their Studio Fight in Mexico City

R-I-P-William-Gildea-1939-2020
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

R.I.P. William Gildea (1939-2020)

Fast-Results-from-The-Bubble-Magdaleno-Tops-Vicente-in-a-Messy-Fight
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Fast Results from The Bubble: Magdaleno Tops Vicente in a Messy Fight

When=Boxing-Was-Big-on-The-Fourth-of-July
Featured Articles5 days ago

When Boxing Was Big on the Fourth of July

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Pedraza-Punishes-LesPierre
Featured Articles1 week ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Pedraza Punishes LesPierre

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Franco-Upends-Moloney-Wins-WBA-Title
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Franco Upends Moloney; Wins WBA Belt

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-A-Clean-Sweep-for-the-A-Side
Featured Articles1 week ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: A Clean Sweep for the A-Side

Matchroom-Boxing-USA-Returns-in-August-With-a-Big-Outdoor-Show-in-Tulsa
Featured Articles1 week ago

Matchroom Boxing USA Returns in August with a Big Outdoor Show in Tulsa

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Jason-Moloney-TKOs-Baez
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Jason Moloney TKOs Baez

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Takam-UD-10-Forrest-Castro-Dismantles-Juarez
Featured Articles3 hours ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Takam UD 10 Forrest; Castro Dismantles Juarez

Fast-Results-frpm-the-Bubble-Zepeda-Outclasses-Castaneda-Lopez-Upsets-Vences
Featured Articles2 days ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Zepeda Outclasses Castaneda; Lopez Upsets Vences

The-Top-Ten-Super-Featherweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Top Ten Super Featherweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Dangerous-to-the-Last-Second-of-the-Last-Round-A-Case-of-Deceptive-Records
Featured Articles5 days ago

Dangerous to the Last Second of the Last Round: A Case of Deceptive Records

When=Boxing-Was-Big-on-The-Fourth-of-July
Featured Articles5 days ago

When Boxing Was Big on the Fourth of July

Avila-Perspective-Chap-98-Prizefighters-Are-Hungry-to-Fight
Featured Articles6 days ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 98: Prizefighters are Hungry to Fight

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Pedraza-Punishes-LesPierre
Featured Articles1 week ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Pedraza Punishes LesPierre

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-A-Clean-Sweep-for-the-A-Side
Featured Articles1 week ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: A Clean Sweep for the A-Side

Matchroom-Boxing-USA-Returns-in-August-With-a-Big-Outdoor-Show-in-Tulsa
Featured Articles1 week ago

Matchroom Boxing USA Returns in August with a Big Outdoor Show in Tulsa

The-Top-Ten-Lightweights-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

The Top Ten Lightweights of the Decade: 2010-2019

Berchelt-TKOs-Valenzuela-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Berchelt TKOs Valenzuela in Mexico City

Boxing-Odds-and-Ends-Big-Baby-Miller-Roberto Duran-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Boxing Odds and Ends: Big Baby Miller, Roberto Duran and More

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Jason-Moloney-TKOs-Baez
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Jason Moloney TKOs Baez

Imagining-Famous-People-as-Prizefighters-Check-Out-Our-Latest-TSS-Survey
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Imagining Famous People as Prizefighters: Check Out Our Latest TSS Survey

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Franco-Upends-Moloney-Wins-WBA-Title
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Franco Upends Moloney; Wins WBA Belt

As-Expected-Navarrete-Steamrolls-Lopez-in-their-Studio-Fight-in-Mexico-City
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

As Expected, Navarrete Steamrolls Lopez in their Studio Fight in Mexico City

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Flores-Blanks-Ruiz-Collard-Mauls-Kaminsky
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Flores Blanks Ruiz; Collard Mauls Kaminsky

Gabriel-Flores-Who-Attracted-a-Stupendous-Wager-Moves-into-the-Main-Event
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Gabriel Flores, Who Attracted a Stupendous Wager, Moves into the Main Event

Fast-Results-from-the-Bubble-Plania-Upsets-Greer-Santillan-Nips-DeMarco
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from the Bubble: Plania Upsets Greer; Santillan Nips DeMarco

R-I-P-William-Gildea-1939-2020
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

R.I.P. William Gildea (1939-2020)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement