(3/16/09) It has been a relatively uneventful 2009 so far for white boxers. We still hold 17 of the 20 belts from middleweight to heavyweight but missed a great opportunity to pick up an 18th when Enzo Maccarenelli was stopped for the interim WBO belt. Tomasz Adamek, Kelly Pavlik, Lucian Bute, Arthur Abraham and Sergei Dzinziruk all looked very good in defending their titles in the first quarter of the year and Vitali Klitschko looks set to defend his WBC heavyweight belt this weekend against Juan Carlos Gomez. The fight is live on ESPN so be sure to tune in and support one of our best warriors.
The retirement of Joe Calzaghe has certainly left a void but two white fighters – Ricky Hatton and Vic Darchinyan – are in the Ring and Yahoo top 10 “pound-for-pound” lists. Several others, including Kelly Pavlik, Mikkel Kessler, Wladimir Klitschko and Arthur Abraham are no doubt in the top 15-20.
Here is the first Caste Football “pound-for-pound” ranking of white fighters for 2009:
1. Ricky Hatton – will fight consensus “pound-for-pound” king Manny Pacquaio on May 2. If he wins he will have an argument for being the best boxer in the sport. A win will also set up a rematch with the only man to beat him – Floyd Mayweather. Ironically, Hatton is now trained by Mayweather’s father.
2. Vic Darchinyan – the Armenian born flyweight fights out of Australia and holds three of the four belts at 115. Since he boxes at such a low weight Darchinyam is destined to never be a big star in the U.S. But it is nice to have a white fighter control the lighter weights.
3. Kelly Pavlik – rebounded nicely from his loss to Bernard Hopkins with a TKO over tough Marco Antonio Rubio last month. Big fights with Arthur Abraham and Paul Williams are on the horizon for “The Ghost.” But the disappointing rumor is that Kelly will fight former Contender star Sergio Mora in June.
4. Wladimir Klitschko – the most dominant heavyweight of this generation is 52-3 with 46 KOs and running out of viable opponents. He is trying to make a fight with the latest black hope David Haye (who is actually a mulatto). If the bout comes off it will be Wlad’s highest profile fight of his career and may give him the credit he deserves.
5. Mikkel Kessler – the Danish warrior has only one loss (to all time great Joe Calzaghe) and is the class of 168. Unfortunately he has management problems and has been unable to land a big fight since Calzaghe. A match with fellow super middleweight champion Lucian Bute makes sense and cold happen by the end of 2009.
6. Arthur Abraham – A favorite of die hard boxing fans and journalists, Abraham has mostly fought in Europe against lesser opposition. A superfight with Kelly Pavlik should happen this fall.
7. Tomasz Adamek – The undisputed king at cruiserweight has beaten O’Neil Bell, Steve Cunningham and Jonathan Banks over the last year. Bernard Hopkins wants a fight and Adamek is sure to oblige him. A win over Hopkins will catapult the Pole into the top 10 pound-for-pound rankings.
8. Vitali Klitschko – the older of the two Klitschko brothers showed few signs of rust after coming back from a four year layoff to stop Sam Peter in October. A win over Juan Carlos Gomez on March 21 will further solidify the white domination of boxing’s glamour division.
9. Sergiy Dzinziruk – the Ukrainian has been WBO junior middleweight champ since 2005 and holds impressive wins over current WBA titlist Daniel Santos and top-rated Joel Julio. Still, he is unknown outside of Europe and could stay that way. Sergiy was pushing for a fight with Paul Williams but Dzinziruk offers too much risk for too little reward.
10. Zsolt Erdei – the Hungarian has been WBO light heavyweight champ for over 5 years now, but still has managed to slip in the ratings due to his dreadful level of opposition. Erdei does hold a pair of wins over current WBA champ Hugo Garay. At 34, Zsolt’s window of opportunity would seem to be closing. A fight with IBF king Chad Dawson may be his best opportunity for stardom.