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  • 18

    Top Ten White Fighters
    Report; Posted on: 2007-03-11 13:24:02 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    White boxers continue to make impressive gains

    pictured: Joe Calzaghe has successfully defended his title 19 times since winning it back in 1997

    by Joe Kowalski

    White boxers are going from strength to strength in 2007. Hardly a week goes by when a White fighter is not featured on HBO, Showtime, ESPN or Versus. There are also some big pay-per-view fights on the horizon for White boxers, who claim 13 of the 20 belts from middleweight to heavyweight (the IBF super middleweight belt is vacant but will most likely be claimed by Germany's Robert Steiglitz in March).

    At least two White boxers (Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe) are consensus top-10 pound-for-pound (P4P) fighters. And at least two others (Mikkel Kessler and Wladimir Klitschko) are poised to enter the top-10 list this year if they keep winning impressively.

    Here is a ranking of the best White fighters in boxing:

    1. Joe Calzaghe The Welshman is the longest reigning champion in boxing. He has defended his WBO super middleweight belt a record 19 times since winning it in 1997 and is preparing for a 20th defense against Peter Manfredo on April 7. The fight will be on HBO and could set Joe up for a rumored match against the winner of the Winky Wright-Bernard Hopkins clash. Calzaghe has had many big fights fall through, but if he beats Wright or Hopkins he will finally get his due as one of the greatest boxers of our era.

    2. Ricky Hatton Though he did not look like the Ricky Hatton of old, the English fighter beat Juan Urango to win the IBF junior welterweight belt on January 20. Fighting live on HBO, Hatton won by a wide margin but seemed to slow down after being hurt to the body in the 5th round. The last few rounds saw Ricky clutching and grabbing ala John Ruiz. That is why he falls to #2 on this list. A June 10 bout with longtime lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo has the potential to be a fight of the year candidate. If Hatton wins, as he should, that could set up an even bigger fight against Miguel Cotto or Floyd Mayweather later in the year.

    3. Mikkel Kessler The WBA and WBC super middleweight champ faces the dangerous and undefeated Librido Andrade in March. A win would likely make Kessler a consensus top-10 P4P fighter. At 38-0, the young Dane already has an impressive resume with victories over former champs Markus Beyer, Anthony Mundine, Eric Lucas, Julio Cesar Green, Dingaan Thobela and several other top fighters. A unification fight with Joe Calzaghe seems unlikely, but if Kessler can get on U.S. TV he should be a big hit with his aggressive style.

    4. Wladimir Klitschko The younger Klitschko is almost unanimously hailed as the top heavyweight in boxing (though older brother Vitali's return against Oleg Maskaev could change that). Wladimir was to have a unification match against Maskaev but stepped aside so Vitali could challenge for a title. Instead, he will face Ray Austin on HBO on March 10. Though it is a rather pedestrian title defense, a win especially a knockout will further his claim as the best heavyweight on the planet. With successive victories over Sam Peter, Chris Byrd and Calvin Brock, a win over Austin should put Klitschko on most top-10 P4P lists. What Wlad needs next is a big enough opponent to warrant a high profile PPV match. For more on that, see number 6.

    5. Zsoldt Erdei The solid Hungarian has held the WBO light heavyweight title for 3 years now. On January 27, he knocked out American Danny Santiago in impressive fashion. Erdei has never fought on U.S. television and all his recent matches have been in Europe. He could be doomed to obscurity unless he can get a unification bout with one of the other champs at 175. A fight with newly crowned WBC king Chad Dawson would be especially interesting.

    6. Nicolay Valuev Bad things tend to happen when people fight the giant Russian. Monte Barrett wound up in the hospital. Paolo Vidoz suffered a broken jaw. Atilla Levin retired after being knocked out. We can now add Jameel McCline to the list. After losing the first two rounds in his January 20 clash against Valuev, McCline stepped up the pace in round three and wound up breaking his ankle after missing a punch and falling awkwardly. McCline could not continue and had to be carted off on a stretcher. Next up is Ruslan "White Tyson" Chagaev in April. All-white title clashes at heavyweight are the trend of the future. Hopefully the fight will be shown in the U.S. as Valuev has only fought once on American television. A win will cement his position as the second best heavyweight and perhaps set the stage for a high profile fight with Wladimir Klitschko.

    7. Wladimir Sidorenko The Ukrainian has held the WBA bantamweight belt for two years now. A March 17 defense against Ricardo Cordoba is a rematch of a fight last year that was ruled a draw. Sidorenko is coming off perhaps his best career win over previously undefeated Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and a victory over Cordoba could have him rated as the best fighter at 118.

    8. Arthur Abraham The Armenian is new to the list but he earned it with his last win over Edison Miranda. Abraham fought most of the fight with a broken jaw but managed to pull off a unanimous decision over the powerful Miranda. Abraham strikes me as a middleweight version of Arturo Gatti. He might not keep his IBF middleweight title very long but with his great heart he should make for some interesting fights. Like many European fighters he suffers from a lack of exposure on U.S. TV.

    9. Clinton Woods The Englishman is also new to the list but he did beat former light heavyweight champ Glencoffe Johnson last year. Johnson holds recent wins over both Roy Jones and Antonio Tarver so this was no small accomplishment. Woods has held his IBF light heavyweight belt for almost two years and has defended it three times. With fights against Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones as real possibilities, he could become better known in the U.S.

    10. Sergiy Dzinziruk - The third Ukrainian on the list, Dzinziruk has defended his WBO light middleweight belt twice since winning it from Daniel Santos in 2005. He fights in the same division as Shane Mosley and Oscar de la Hoya so big fights could come his way if Sergiy keeps winning.

    Top Americans:

    Kelly Pavlik
    Paul Malignaggi
    Paul Spadafora
    Peter Manfredo
    Tye Fields
    News Source: castefootball.us

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