After last night's title-swapping tussle between Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner, the Welterweight picture is left in havoc. It was a galvanized effort by the now-former WBA champion Paulie Malignaggi which lead to a very close split-decision loss for him. The scores read very diversely as judge Glenn Feldman scored the fight 115-113 for Broner, judge Tom Miller had the fight the other way at 115-113 for Malignaggi, and finally judge Tom Schreck had a somewhat unexceptional wide tally of 117-111 for Broner to swing him the decision.
The man behind this article, Corey Quincy, scored the bout 115-113 for Malignaggi. In personally conjecture through viewing the live event and a replay I feel this fight wasn't dictated by either man. It's ironic seeing as in my pre-fight write-ups I made it very clear that Malignaggi would either have to pick through Broner behind the jab or Broner would have the walk him down in close quarters to win -- neither happened! Malignaggi tightened at range and leaped in with jabs, straight rights, and sharp body punches to steal rounds. Broner fought in surges but this wasn't enough to trap a determined Malignaggi; "The Magic Man" bolted into a clinch or clacked behind his jab to regain control whenever stunned in the fight.
It was a consistent effort by Paulie; but a punishing one by Broner. Either way, neither man left the fight with more than light redness and swelling under their eyes. It was a great fight in the sense that it was fought with much different techniques by both and neither ever had control of the battle. It wasn't a Castillo-Corrales; that is for sure. I am also sure that the majority of casual observers would give you a less than stimulating "meh" when watching the two men take up battle. That is traditional boxing, though.
This entire scenario brings up a strong point. Many of the fighters who have excavated most of the 140lb picture have decided to travel to Welterweight. Over recent years Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana, Timothy Bradley, Josesito Lopez and the two men from last nights Main event, Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner, have climbed up to the historic 147lb division to make a real splash in contention. If you'd travel back two or three years you'd find Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather sitting atop a dried-out division. Now it is much different -- much better! Here are my top twenty rankings for the entire complicated divisional picture:
1. Floyd "Money" Mayweather (USA)
Explanation: He's the king. It's as simple as that. The WBC champion Floyd Mayweather has schooled every world-class opponent to every challenge him that right. Just ask #2 ranked Juan Manuel Marquez or #6 ranked Robert Guerrero.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez (MEX)
Explanation: A man of heart. A man of vigor. This guy doesn't go away. One of the once-underrated fighters in the early-2000s pack of Mexican legends became the only man to finish Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in a twelve round affair last December.
3. Manny Pacquiao (PHI)
Explanation: A boxing sensation. A loss to his arch nemesis -- his boxing kryptonite -- doesn't change that fact. He is an 8 division world champion.
4. Robert Guerrero (USA)
Explanation: Despite his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr, Guerrero remains a top contender after victories to Andre Berto and Selcuk Aydin last year.
5. Tim Bradley (USA)
Explanation: A good boxer despite coming off two back-to-back close-calls against Manny Pacquiao (he should have lost) and Ruslan Provodnikov.
6. Adrien Broner (USA)
Explanation: He may have a cocky attitude and remain one of the most hated fighters in the sport but when you are good enough to beat world class boxers none of that will even matter.
7. Paul Malignaggi (USA)
Explanation: After a very inspiring performance against Adrien Broner, Paulie Malignaggi is undoubtedly a world class boxer. Nobody can deny the two time and two division world champion that.
8. Devon Alexander (USA)
Explanation: He has been awarded some very controversial decisions over the years. These include UD "victories" to Lucas "The Machine" Matthysse and Andrey Kotelnik at Light Welterweight. He has now won the IBF title at 147lbs and while it may have been to an extremely vulnerable fighter in Randall Bailey a win is still a win.
9. Marcos Maidana (ARG)
Explanation: Some would argue placing him this high. I don't. Marcos Rene "El Chino" Maidana is a great fighter. He may have suffered a despicably lopsided defeat to Devon Alexander in Febuary of last year but since then he has scored back-to-back KO victories to Jesus Soto Karass, Angel Martinez, and Josesito Lopez to arrive in the title picture once again.
10. Josesito Lopez (USA)
Explanation: Great effort in war with Maidana. He broke the jaw of and stopped Victor Ortiz last year.
11. Victor Ortiz (USA)
Explanation: Ortiz may not fight until his death; but he can fight very well and has proved it in a good career headlined by a spectacular win over Berto.
12. Andre Berto (HAI)
Explanation: Good showing in losses to Ortiz, Guerrero. He has had a rich career prior. Big knockout power.
13. Ruslan Provodnikov (RU)
Explanation: A heavy handed Russian scrapper. Provodnikov gave a giant test to Timothy Bradley -- almost upsetting the top-ranked boxer.
14. Keith Thurman (USA)
Explanation: Thurman is a rising contender. Really solid fighter. He has faced fairly limited opposition though. He may be bumped up or down a few pegs depending on upcoming performances.
15. Kell Brook (UK)
Explanation: A recognizable British contender with some decent wins on his record.
16. Chris Van Heerden (SA)
Explanation: A South African contender and IBO beltholder noted as a top up and comer. He has wins to Matthew Hatton, Kaizer Mabuza and Sebastian Lujan.
17. Shane Mosley (USA)
Explanation: Faded former world champion. Still relevant after a decision victory to Pablo Cano in May.
18. Pablo Cesar Cano (MEX)
Explanation: Most known for making Malignaggi and Mosley struggle to close split-decisions that some thought he won. He has a victory to Colombian slickster Johan Perez.
19. Luis Carlos Abregu (ARG)
Explanation: Abregu is a good puncher. He recently beat down Antonin Decarie in his Top Rank debut. He also upset Cuban prospect Thomas Dulorme last year.
20. Leonard Bundu (IT)
Explanation: World level Italian contender. He holds a win to recognized domestic boxer Daniele Petrucci which elevated him on the world scene.
21. Julio Diaz (MEX)
Explanation: After a tight draw with Shawn Porter this former Light Welterweight beltholder knocked down and made British star Amir Khan struggle in a catchweight. He is looking to rebound
22. Carson Jones (USA)
Explanation: A solid veteran coming off a roughly close defeat to Kell Brook last year. He has a win to Said Ouali of Belgium which he holds of notability.
23. Antonin DeCarie (CAN)
Explanation: Notable local boxer. He has a nice win to Alex Perez last year where he beat down the fellow prospect. His only loss is in a good battle with Abregu.
24. Kevin Bizier (CAN)
Explanation: Heavy handed boxer with a K.O. over Nate Campbell this year on National TV. He is expected to be a top, world class fighter soon.
25. Daniele Petrucci (IT)
Explanation: Very good Italian fighter and a smart pressure fighter. This position was a real fight with Johan Perez, Randall Bailey lingering about.