- Michael Woods, Boxing
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Here ya go, NYC fight fans. The top five, the last batch of the top 20 in/or from NYC.
5) Argenis Mendez: This Dominican-born super feather almost secured the IBF crown but lost a unanimous decision to Juan Carlos Salgado on Sept. 10 in Mexico. His peeps say he was smacked with rabbit punches and was held too much in that loss. We agree, and we loved that he was busy as anything in the 12th and final round, where he almost had Salgado out. At one point in that 12th, the ref blocked Mendez (18-2 with 9 KOs) from getting to Salgado, and then Salgado, fatigued and hurting, tackled Mendez and almost yanked his shorts down. Prediction: Mendez, 25, will win a world title before he's done with the sweet science.
4) Joan Guzman: This slot might get some heat because Guzman is seen as a nasty example of unfulfilled potential. He has battled weight woes and scuttled fights because of that, but when he's on, his hand speed, combination punching and ring flash make him a world-class talent. Guzman (age 35; 30-0 with 17 KOs) is on the comeback road, and will fight in his native Dominican Republic against 17-4 Florencio Castellano on Nov. 18. If he doesn't make weight, the Bushwick, Brooklyn resident is off this NYC P4P list, never to return.
3) Peter Quillin: This is a heady rating for a kid whose career-best win comes against Craig McEwan or Jessie Brinkley, but many folks think he's ready for bigger, brighter things. Yeah, we know, we know, he lives in Cali, too. But Quillin still dashes back to his Manhattan apartment, and has an NYC-type brashness that tells you he's not a laid-back West Coaster sort. He rose to 26-0 when he beat Scotsman McEwan in Cancun on Saturday, in his HBO debut. He'll need to beat a fighter a grade above McEwan to rise higher on The List, though.
2) Paulie Malignaggi: Yeah, we know, we know, he lives in LA now. But he's still Paulie from Bensonhurst to us, even if he marries a Kardashian and gets his own reality show out there in LaLa land. The Magic Man, or the #TwitterKing, as he's now known, has brittle hands so his pop is negligible, but he's a smart boxer who uses movement to dictate pace and tone. Malignaggi (30-4 with just 6 KOs), an ex-junior welterweight champion, uses Twitter to keep relevant, and even book fights. Last week, he got Marcos Maidana to agree to a scrap, though his promoter Golden Boy will determine whether that danceoff gets done. At 30, he's found new life on the West Coast, and regained some zest in his legs. Can he keep some of the younger guns from chomping at his behind, and taking his No. 2 NYC P4P slot?
Drumroll please ... Ladies and gents, please put your hands together for the top NYC boxer. At least until Dec. 3, when he could well get bumped down The List:
1) Joseph Agbeko: The Ghana-born Bronx resident is a former two-time bantamweight champion who gets a stab at a third try when he meets Abner Mares on Dec. 3 in Anaheim. These two clashed in September, when Mares clanged Agbeko's cup about a thousand times en route to a majority decision win. Agbeko, nicknamed King Kong, pounded his chest and roared to fight fans his true worth when he beat Vic Darchinyan in 2009. At 31, Agbeko may have peaked, so we shall see if he can hold on to this coveted top slot.
Thanks to consultants Zach Levin, "Manager X," Kevin Rooney and Ryan Songalia for their input into the NYC P4P. Follow me on Twitter here . Send suggestions or hatemail to FightblogNYC@gmail.com.