ESPN.com's divisional rankings
Dan Rafael reveals his new world standings for boxing's weight classes
Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below.
Who is the best fighter regardless of weight class? See ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings.
Note: Results through March 3. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com's division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.
HEAVYWEIGHTS (201 and up)
1. Wladimir Klitschko (61-3)Klitschko's 15th title defense was frustrating to watch because of all his clinching, but he thoroughly dominated unbeaten mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. Klitschko dropped his fellow Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist four times in a shutout decision Oct. 5. Klitschko notched his 22nd victory in a heavyweight world title fight, passing Muhammad Ali for second place on the all-time list. Next up will be a mandatory defense against unknown Alex Leapai (30-4-3), who was given the mandatory position after his upset of undeserving mandatory Denis Boytsov in a Nov. 23 tuneup fight.
Next: April 26 vs. Leapai.
2. Tomasz Adamek (49-2)
Adamek, a former light heavyweight and cruiserweight titlist, was supposed to face 2008 Ukrainian Olympic bronze medalist Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov (16-0-1) in a title eliminator on Nov. 16, but Adamek came down with a stomach flu and withdrew three days before the fight. Glazkov went on to outpoint late replacement Garrett Wilson in a 10-rounder, with Adamek-Glazkov being rescheduled.
Next: March 15 vs. Glazkov.
3. Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1)
In a mild upset, the big-punching Stiverne scored a hard knockdown against Cristobal Arreola at the end of the third round, breaking his nose and changing the course of the April 27 fight. He went on to pound Arreola to win a clear unanimous decision in an eliminator to earn a mandatory shot against Vitali Klitschko. But after several delays in the overdue fight, Klitschko relinquished the title, leaving Stiverne to fight for the vacant belt in a rematch with Arreola (36-3). The sides came to an agreement and the purse bid was called off.
Next: TBA vs. Arreola.
4. Alexander Povetkin (26-1)
Russia's Povetkin had the home-ring advantage in Moscow for his Oct. 5 showdown with champion Wladimir Klitschko but was unable to muster any kind of serious competition. Klitschko dropped him four times -- the first four times Povetkin had ever been down as a pro or amateur -- busted up his face and won a shutout decision in a terrible fight.
5. Kubrat Pulev (19-0)
Bulgaria's Pulev, a 6-foot-4½, 249-pounder, earned a mandatory shot at Wladimir Klitschko by outpointing Tony Thompson in a final eliminator Aug. 24. While waiting for the mandatory fight sometime in 2014, Pulev stayed busy on Dec. 14, rolling to a fifth-round knockout of club fighter Joey Abell, who had one big moment when he scored a flash knockdown in the fourth round.
6. Ruslan Chagaev (32-2-1)
Appearing on the Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin undercard Oct. 5, former titleholder Chagaev scored a pair of knockdowns and rolled to a lopsided 12-round decision win against journeyman Jovo Pudar.
7. Cristobal Arreola (36-3)
Arreola bounced back from his lopsided decision loss to Bermane Stiverne in their April title eliminator to lay waste to Seth Mitchell. Arreola, in top condition for a fight for the first time in a long time, cut through Mitchell with ease, brutally stopping him in the first round on Sept. 7 to get back into the title hunt. With Vitali Klitschko vacating his world title, Arreola will face Stiverne in a rematch to fill the title.
Next: TBA vs. Stiverne.
8. Tyson Fury (22-0)
Because former titlist David Haye bailed out on facing Fury twice in 2013, he was inactive for 10 months until returning at a career-heavy 274 pounds to face journeyman Joey Abell on Feb. 15. Like all Fury fights, this one was a fun slugfest that a sloppy Fury won easily, dropping Abell four times en route to a fourth-round knockout and moving a step closer to a summer rematch with Dereck Chisora.
9. Dereck Chisora (20-4)
England's Chisora lost a decision to Tyson Fury in an exciting fight in 2011 but now is on the path to a probable June rematch after dropping and easily outpointing the pathetic Kevin Johnson on Feb. 15 in the main event of a doubleheader that also featured Fury.
10. Tony Thompson (38-4)
The 42-year-old Thompson, who has been stopped twice in world title bouts by Wladimir Klitschko, rebounded in 2013 to score back-to-back knockout victories against heralded prospect David Price but then lost a title eliminator by decision to Kubrat Pulev in August. Thompson will look to rebound again by heading to Turkey to face former title challenger Odlanier Solis (20-1).
Next: March 22 vs. Solis.
CRUISERWEIGHTS (200 POUNDS)
1. Marco Huck (37-2-1)On Jan. 25, Huck stopped former titlist Firat Arslan in a rematch - one of the biggest fights in Germany in years - in the sixth round. Huck retained his title for the 12th time and if he can successfully retain his belt for the 13th time he will match the division record set by longtime titleholder Johnny Nelson of England, who reigned from 1999 to 2005 before retiring while still holding the same alphabet belt Huck now holds.
Next: March 29 vs. TBA.
2. Yoan Pablo Hernandez (28-1)
In an excellent performance on Nov. 23, Hernandez made his third title defense and scored three knockdowns en route to a 10th-round knockout of mandatory challenger Alexander Alekseev. Hernandez was due to return for his fourth defense against Pawel Kolodziej (33-0) of Poland on March 8, but a viral infection forced Hernandez to postpone the bout until March 29. But he was still ill a couple of weeks later and had to postpone the fight indefinitely.
3. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (49-2-1)
Poland's Wlodarczyk came to Chicago on Dec. 6 to make his mandatory defense against former titlist Giacobbe Fragomeni of Italy, whom he had already faced twice in previous title fights, a 2009 draw and a 2010 knockout victory. In the third fight, Wlodarczyk had an easy night of it, knocking Fragomeni down in the fourth round and stopping him because of a cut in the seventh round.
4. Guillermo Jones (39-3-2)
In May, fighting for the first time in 18 months, the 41-year-old Jones, of Panama, reclaimed the belt that had been stripped from him, defeating Denis Lebedev on Lebedev's turf in Moscow; after trailing on the scorecards, Jones knocked Lebedev out in the 11th round after inflicting a gruesome right eye injury. However, Jones failed a post-fight drug test, was stripped (the title was returned to Lebedev) and a rematch was ordered. Bizarre.
Next: TBA vs. Lebedev.
5. Ola Afolabi (20-3-4)
After going 0-2-1 against Marco Huck, England's Afolabi put the trilogy behind him and returned to action Nov. 2 on the Gennady Golovkin-Curtis Stevens undercard. Afolabi had a tough fight, but scored a majority-decision win against Lukasz Janik of Poland.
6. Denis Lebedev (25-2)
On May 17 in Moscow, Russia's Lebedev suffered a severely injured right eye in the first round of a mandatory defense against Guillermo Jones and fought bravely until getting knocked out in the 11th round of a fight that should have been stopped way sooner because of the eye. It was so damaged that Lebedev probably will never be the same. But after Jones failed a post-fight drug test, the belt was returned to Lebedev, and he was ordered to give Jones a rematch.
Next: TBA vs. Jones.
7. Firat Arslan (33-7-2)
Germany's 43-year-old Arslan, a former titleholder, nearly pulled the upset when he challenged titleholder Marco Huck (37-2-1) in their excellent November 2012 fight, but Huck got the decision. In the Jan. 25 rematch, however, Arslan could not complain about the result because Huck knocked him out in the sixth round to leave no doubt.
8. Rakhim Chakhkiev (17-1)
The 2008 Russian Olympic heavyweight gold medalist got a title shot at home in Moscow when he faced Poland's Krzysztof Wlodarczyk on June 21 and he started off great. Chakhkiev scored a third-round knockdown and was ahead on points before Wlodarczyk rallied for four knockdowns and an eighth-round knockout victory in a terrific fight. He returned on the Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin undercard on Oct. 5 and knocked out Romania's Giulian Ilie in the 10th round.
Next: March 15 vs. TBA.
9. Thabiso Mchunu (14-1)
Mchunu, a southpaw from South Africa, scored the best win of his career when he came to the United States and won a shockingly easy lopsided decision against Eddie Chambers, a longtime heavyweight contender who dropped down in weight, in August. In his Jan. 24 return, Mchunu easily outboxed Olanrewaju Durodola of Nigeria for a clear 10-round unanimous decision in a bit of a snoozer.
10. Grigory Drozd (37-1)
Russia's Drozd, whose only loss was by fifth-round knockout in a title eliminator against Firat Arslan in 2006, stopped Mateusz Masternak in the 11th round in October to win the European title. Drozd's first defense is slated to come against France's Jeremy Ouanna (14-8) in Moscow.
Next: March 15 vs. Ouanna.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS (175 POUNDS)
1. Adonis Stevenson (23-1)Quebec's Stevenson, one of the best knockout artists in all of boxing, had a huge 2013, winning all four of his fights by knockout, including a spectacular 76-second knockout of Chad Dawson to win the lineal world championship. Stevenson surprised many when he signed with powerful adviser Al Haymon, but hopefully the new relationship won't sidetrack the plan in motion for a fall showdown against titleholder and fellow knockout artist Sergey Kovalev. If that is to happen, Stevenson would first have to win a proposed May 24 fight against Chicago-based Andrzej Fonfara (25-2) of Poland.
2. Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1)
Kovalev, a punching machine from Russia, made his first title defense in November, wrecking Ismayl Sillakh in a big second-round knockout. The fight was on the undercard of champion Adonis Stevenson's knockout of Tony Bellew and the doubleheader was set up to serve as a prelude to an eventual Stevenson-Kovalev showdown for all the marbles at 175 pounds. It could happen in the fall, but both are headed to interim bouts first, including Kovalev's defense against Cedric Agnew (26-0).
Next: March 29 vs. Agnew.
3. Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2)
At age 49, Hopkins continues to be a marvel. In a very good fight, Hopkins outworked and outslugged 30-year-old mandatory challenger Karo Murat on Oct. 26 to win a clear unanimous decision to retain his title for the first time. Hopkins -- now known as "The Alien," because he is not of this world -- notched yet another age-related record with the win, becoming the oldest fighter in boxing history to successfully defend a world title. He can become the oldest fighter to unify world titles in his next bout when he faces Beibut Shumenov (14-1) in a Showtime headliner in Washington, D.C.
Next: April 19 vs. Shumenov.
4. Jean Pascal (29-2-1)
At long last, former light heavyweight champ Pascal and former super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute, major stars in their hometown of Montreal, squared off in their long-awaited rivalry fight Jan. 18. But the fight, probably two or three years late in being made, turned out to be a bad one, with Pascal winning by dominant unanimous decision against Bute, who looked horrible. A showdown with light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson, also of Montreal, is an obvious fight eventually.
5. Chad Dawson (31-3)
When Dawson dropped down in weight to challenge super middleweight champ Andre Ward for his title in September and got whacked around, knocked down three times and stopped in the 10th round, he had the built-in excuse of having badly drained himself to make weight. But he returned to light heavyweight to defend his title against Adonis Stevenson on June 8 and could make no such excuse after Stevenson iced him with one left hand in just 76 seconds for a spectacular knockout that sent Dawson's future into serious doubt after his second knockout loss in a row.
6. Tavoris Cloud (24-2)
In March, Cloud lost his belt via clear decision when he was outboxed by masterful 48-year-old legend Bernard Hopkins. But when Cloud returned Sept. 28 to challenge world champ Adonis Stevenson, he got pummeled in a one-sided thrashing that ended with the corner of a busted-up Cloud stopping the fight after the seventh round. It was a brutal defeat.
7. Juergen Braehmer (42-2)
Germany's Braehmer scored a 10th-round knockdown, survived some rocky moments in the 12th round and outpointed inexperienced Marcus Oliveira on Dec. 14 to win a vacant secondary world title. He'll be back to defend his belt in Germany against glass-chinned former cruiserweight titlist Enzo Maccarinelli (38-6) of Wales, who has suffered multiple massive knockouts.
Next: April 5 vs. Maccarinelli.
8. Beibut Shumenov (14-1)
Shumenov returned from an 18-month layoff on Dec. 14 to make his fifth title defense against Tamas Kovacs, whom he knocked down three times en route to a lopsided third-round knockout victory. The fight was Shumenov's first since signing with Golden Boy, which he did primarily to land a unification fight with Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2), which he has secured.
Next: April 19 vs. Hopkins.
9. Nathan Cleverly (26-1)
On Aug. 17, Wales' Cleverly was blown away by Sergey Kovalev, losing his title on home turf by fourth-round knockout. Cleverly's planned move up to cruiserweight on Nov. 30 was put on hold when he suffered a back injury and was forced to withdraw from his bout with Australia's Daniel Ammann (29-5-1). His return was rescheduled to take place in Monte Carlo against Ilunga Makabu (15-1) of South Africa on Feb. 1, but Cleverly got hurt again and withdrew from the fight, putting his return off yet again to March 1. Now that is also off as he is not ready to return and is in the process of changing trainers.
10. Karo Murat (25-2-1)
The former European champion got a mandatory shot against titleholder Bernard Hopkins and came to the United States for the first time for their Oct. 26 bout. But the 48-year-old Hopkins recorded a dominant decision victory over Murat, who left empty-handed after a fight that featured a lot of good action and numerous fouls, most of them from Murat.
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS (168 POUNDS)
1. Andre Ward (27-0)Out for 14 months because of a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, Ward returned in triumphant fashion Nov. 16, looking as if he had not missed a beat. The second-best fighter on the planet, behind Floyd Mayweather Jr., Ward thoroughly dominated and humiliated Edwin Rodriguez en route to retaining the world title by masterful decision. Ward has basically cleaned out the super middleweight division, so the big fight for him is either going to come in the form of middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin moving up in weight, or Ward seeking to challenge himself at light heavyweight, where there are a number of interesting possibilities.
2. Carl Froch (32-2)
Froch got knocked down hard in the first round and had all kinds of problems with British countryman George Groves in their much-anticipated showdown on Nov. 23. Groves (19-1) appeared to be winning easily when Froch was awarded a ninth-round TKO victory, thanks to referee Howard John Foster's horrific stoppage that ranks as one of the worst in modern boxing history. Froch got an early Christmas gift from Foster. After a lot of posturing and threats, the rematch is finally on. It'll be one of Great Britain's biggest fights in years, one that HBO has bought the U.S. rights for and will air live.
Next: May 31 vs. Groves.
3. George Groves (19-1)
For most of the eight-plus rounds he was in the ring challenging British countryman Carl Froch for his belts on Nov. 23, Groves put on a superb performance. He dropped Froch (32-2) in the first round, strafed him with right hands, rocked him numerous times and was ahead on all three scorecards going to the ninth round. But in the ninth, after Groves was shaken by a punch, referee Howard John Foster jumped in for one of the worst, most uncalled for stoppages you will ever see. Groves deserved better. A lot better. At least he got the rematch he so badly wanted.
Next: May 31 vs. Froch.
4. Arthur Abraham (39-4)
In 2012, Abraham narrowly outpointed Robert Stieglitz to win a world title, but was stopped in the fourth round of the one-sided rematch in 2013. On March 1, they met in a rubber match in one of Germany's biggest fights in years and Abraham again narrowly outpointed him to regain his title, a victory he sealed with a 12th-round knockdown.
Next: May 30 vs. TBA.
5. Robert Stieglitz (46-4)
Making the third defense of his belt on March 1 in his hometown of Magdeburg, Germany, Stieglitz met countryman and rival Arthur Abraham in a rubber match and lost a very close decision that perhaps could have gone either way. But Abraham scored a knockdown in the final moments of the fight to leave little doubt that the right guy got the decision.
6. Mikkel Kessler (46-3)
The first time Kessler met Carl Froch was during the Super Six in 2010 and Kessler, fighting on home soil in Denmark, won a competitive decision in a tremendous fight to claim an alphabet belt. In May 2013, Kessler traveled to Froch's British turf for a title unification fight. This time, in another terrific fight, Froch got the better of the action and won the clear decision. Kessler said before the fight that a loss might push him into retirement, so we will see what happens.
7. Sakio Bika (32-5-3)
In his fourth shot at a world title, Bika finally came through, taking a well-deserved decision against Marco Antonio Periban on June 22 to win a vacant belt, which was unceremoniously stripped from real champion Andre Ward. Bika's first defense came Dec. 7 on the Paulie Malignaggi-Zab Judah undercard and was an all-out slugfest against mandatory challenger Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1). Bika got dropped in the fifth round but survived to pull out a split draw in a fantastic fight. There's a good chance there will be an immediate rematch.
8. James DeGale (18-1)
DeGale, a 2008 British Olympic gold medalist, won his eighth fight in a row on March 1 as he dominated Gevorg Khatchikian of the Netherlands before stopping him in the 11th round. The win could put him in the mandatory position to challenge titleholder Sakio Bika.
9. Lucian Bute (31-2)
Bute, a former titleholder, came off a 14-month layoff and surgery on his broken left hand to move up in weight for the long-awaited showdown with Montreal rival and former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal on Jan. 18 (after an eight-month postponement because of Bute's surgery). The fight did not live up to expectations as Bute looked absolutely awful in losing a lopsided decision, throwing his future into serious question.
10. Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1)
As a mandatory challenger, Dirrell got a title shot against Sakio Bika on Dec. 7 and it was a terrific fight. Dirrell dropped Bika in the fifth round of the slugfest and many thought he had pulled out a close decision, but Bika kept the title on a draw. They are likely to have a rematch.
MIDDLEWEIGHTS (160 POUNDS)
1. Sergio Martinez (51-2-2)In April 2013, Martinez returned to Argentina for a homecoming fight against Martin Murray before a packed house of some 50,000 at a soccer stadium in Buenos Aires. Although Martinez won a narrow decision, he re-injured his surgically repaired right knee and needed another surgery. Martinez has been out since, but will return this summer for an HBO PPV superfight against Puerto Rican star and former three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto (38-4), who is moving up from junior middleweight for the bout. This is an A+ matchup in which both fighters can add substantially to their legacies with a victory.
Next: June 7 vs. Cotto.
2. Gennady Golovkin (29-0)
Golovkin was due to return April 26 for his 11th title defense against Andy Lee on HBO at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. However, the unexpected death of Golovkin's father caused him to head home to his native Kazakhstan, where he will observe a ritual 40-day mourning period with his family. That means the Lee fight is off and it is unclear when Golovkin will return. But when he does, it could mean a blockbuster HBO PPV fight at super middleweight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (48-1-1).
3. Peter Quillin (30-0)
On Oct. 26, Quillin made his second defense, and although it wasn't easy, he dropped Gabriel Rosado in the second round (giving Quillin 12 knockdowns in his past four fights) and opened a terrible cut over Rosado's left eye, leading to a 10th-round stoppage. There could be a rematch, but more likely Quillin will defend against fellow New Yorker Daniel Jacobs (26-1) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
4. Felix Sturm (39-3-2)
Germany's Sturm claimed a middleweight belt for the fourth time in an excellent performance against England's Darren Barker on Dec. 7 in Germany. Sturm looked very good, although a hip injury severely hindered Barker in his second-round knockout loss. Sturm would have owed Barker an immediate rematch in England, but Barker's injury forced his retirement, allowing Sturm to pursue a fight of his choice.
5. Daniel Geale (30-2)
In August, Australia's Geale lost his world title to England's Darren Barker on a decision in a terrific fight. In his Feb. 19 return, Geale knocked out countryman Garth Wood in the sixth round and then promptly called out for a showdown with titleholder Gennady Golovkin (29-0).
6. Martin Murray (26-1-1)
Murray was scheduled to defend his interim belt against undeserving Jarrod Fletcher (17-1) of Australia on Feb. 1 but Murray pulled out of the fight without any particular explanation. He has since been given his release by promoter Ricky Hatton.
7. Matthew Macklin (30-5)
In his third shot at a world title, Macklin was cut down by Gennady Golovkin with a sick left hook to the body in the third round of their June 29 showdown. But he rebounded Dec. 7 by scoring a solid decision in a must-win fight against unbeaten prospect Lamar Russ in a good fight.
8. Sam Soliman (43-11)
Australia's Soliman went to Germany for a title eliminator and pulled an upset decision win Feb. 1 against home favorite and former titlist Felix Sturm. This was Soliman's biggest career win and would have set him up to be the mandatory challenger for countryman Daniel Geale. However, Soliman tested positive for a banned substance after the fight, so the result was changed to a no contest and Soliman was suspended by German regulators for nine months. He returned to action on Dec. 11 and stopped countryman Les Sherrington in the ninth round.
9. Marco Antonio Rubio (58-6-1)
Mexico's Rubio, who lost a title bout by unanimous decision to then-titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in February 2012, has won five in a row (four by knockout) since then. Rubio will fight Italy's Domenico Spada (38-4) for a vacant interim belt in Mexico.
Next: April 5 vs. Spada.
10. Curtis Stevens (26-4).
In his first world title fight in November, the heavy-handed Stevens was taken apart in eight one-sided rounds and stopped by Gennady Golovkin. But Stevens returned on Jan. 24 to drop Patrick Majewski three times in a 46-second knockout.
JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS (154 POUNDS)
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0)After routing Canelo Alvarez in a one-sided, non-competitive decision to unify titles in their record-breaking September bout, Mayweather took his time figuring out what his next move would be. It came down to a return to welterweight to face either the entirely undeserving Amir Khan (28-3) of England or newly crowned titlist Marcos Maidana (35-3) in a unification fight. Ultimately, Mayweather picked Maidana and while Mayweather would be a huge favorite against either of them, at least Maidana earned the fight with his extremely impressive win against Adrien Broner to win a title in December.
Next: May 3 vs. Maidana.
2. Canelo Alvarez (42-1-1)
Alvarez, the 23-year-old Mexican hero, was routed by Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sept. 14 in the biggest fight in years. Alvarez suffered his first career defeat and lost both of his belts, but he probably would beat any other junior middleweight out there. At least Alvarez admitted he had been schooled by Mayweather. He's still young and can certainly rebound for big fights in the future. He has announced he will fight three times on pay-per-view in 2014: March 8, July 26 and Nov. 22. For his first fight of 2014, Alvarez will face brawling countryman Alfredo Angulo (22-3) in a Showtime PPV main event.
Next: March 8 vs. Angulo.
3. Erislandy Lara (19-1-2)
In a grueling fight June 8, Lara got dropped for the first two times in his career by two power left hooks from Alfredo Angulo but was still leading on two of the scorecards when Angulo turned away and quit in the 10th round because of an orbital bone injury. With the win, Lara won a vacant interim belt and he made his first defense against former titleholder Austin Trout, a fellow slick left-hander, on Dec. 7. While the fight was terrible, Lara did score an 11th-round knockdown and won going away on the cards in a sharp performance.
4. Miguel Cotto (38-4)
Cotto, the Puerto Rican star and former three-division titleholder, hooked up with trainer Freddie Roach and looked fantastic as he shook off a two-fight losing streak (to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout) by smashing Delvin Rodriguez in three one-sided rounds on Oct. 5. The victory put Cotto back in the picture for another major fight. He turned down an offer for more than $10 million to face Canelo Alvarez on March 8 and instead finalized a terrific fight with middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Cotto's goal is to win and become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles in four divisions.
Next: June 7 vs. Martinez.
5. Carlos Molina (22-5-2)
Although it was an absolutely horrible fight, mandatory challenger Molina outfought Ishe Smith to win a decision and a world title Sept. 14 on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez undercard. On the undercard of Alvarez's next fight, Molina will make his first defense against Jermall Charlo (17-0), who is taking a big step up in competition.
Next: March 8 vs. Charlo.
6. Demetrius Andrade (20-0)
The talented and slick Andrade overcame a first-round knockout and became the first member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team to win a professional world title when he outhustled and outboxed Vanes Martirosyan for a decision on Nov. 9 to win a vacant belt in a good performance. Andrade's first defense will be a mandatory against England's Brian Rose (25-1-1), possibly on June 14 on the HBO undercard of junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov's next fight.
Next: TBA vs. Rose.
7. Austin Trout (26-2)
In April, Trout lost his belt to Canelo Alvarez in front of 40,000 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Rested and having split from promoter Greg Cohen, Trout returned Dec. 7 but got knocked down in the 11th round and was easily outpointed by interim titlist Erislandy Lara in a surprisingly one-sided fight. Trout was banged up and wound up overnight at the hospital after the fight as a precaution.
8. Ishe Smith (25-6)
Smith won his version of the title in an ugly fight on Feb. 23, when he outpointed Cornelius "K9" Bundrage in Bundrage's hometown of Detroit. Then Smith lost the title in his first defense, yet another ugly fight in his hometown of Las Vegas when Carlos Molina outpointed him on Sept. 14.
9. Vanes Martirosyan (33-1-1)
In November, Martirosyan fought for a vacant title, dropped Demetrius Andrade in the first round and then did almost nothing else the rest of the fight in losing a joke of a split decision. Not long after the loss, Top Rank released Martirosyan, who then signed with promoter Dan Goossen. Martirosyan's first fight under his new deal will come as the headliner on a "Friday Night Fights" card. He was supposed to face tough Luciano Cuello (33-3), but he pulled out, so Martirosyan will face Mario Alberto Lozano (28-4) instead.
Next: March 21 vs. Lozano.
10. Cornelius "K9" Bundrage (33-5)
In his first bout since losing his belt to Ishe Smith in February 2013, Bundrage outpointed Joey Hernandez in a title eliminator on Jan. 24 to put himself in the mandatory position for a shot at the belt held by Carlos Molina.
WELTERWEIGHTS (147 POUNDS)
1. Timothy Bradley Jr. (31-0)In 2012, Bradley got a gift split decision against Manny Pacquiao to win a welterweight title in Las Vegas in one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history. Bradley went on to outpoint Ruslan Provodnikov in the 2013 fight of the year and Juan Manuel Marquez in an excellent performance. Now, the rematch with Pacquiao is on and Bradley will be aiming to win again, but without controversy this time.
Next: April 12 vs. Pacquiao.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1)
In the follow-up fight to his stunning one-punch knockout of Manny Pacquiao in December 2012, Marquez challenged Timothy Bradley Jr. on Oct. 12, hoping to become the first Mexican fighter to win a world title in five weight classes. Although the fight was highly competitive, Marquez rightfully lost a split decision, although he complained bitterly about the scoring. Marquez turned down a fifth fight with Pacquiao for April 12, hoping to instead land a rematch with Bradley. But with Bradley and Pacquiao meeting again, Marquez is headed toward a probable fight with former junior welterweight titlist Mike Alvarado (34-2) on May 17.
3. Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2)
Pacquiao returned from his harrowing knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012 and looked superb taking apart former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios on Nov. 23 in Macau, China. Pacquiao was fast and accurate, and won a virtual shutout decision. Pacquiao is back in business and will return to fight in Las Vegas, in a rematch of the robbery he suffered against Timothy Bradley Jr. in June 2012.
Next: April 12 vs. Bradley.
4. Marcos Maidana (35-3)
In a sensational fight on Dec. 14, Maidana, one of boxing's most exciting fighters, applied relentless pressure, whacked Adrien Broner around with power shots, dropped him twice and scored an upset decision victory to take a world title. Maidana, a two-division titlist, put on such an impressive display that pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0) called his number. It's the fight Maidana has always wanted and now he has his chance.
Next: May 3 vs. Mayweather.
5. Paulie Malignaggi (33-5)
Although Brooklynite Malignaggi lost his title to Adrien Broner in his second defense June 22 in his hometown, he fought very well in the split-decision defeat. In his return Dec. 7, Malignaggi squared off with pal and fellow former titlist Zab Judah at the Barclays Center for the right to be called king of Brooklyn. Malignaggi, although suffering a flash knockdown in the second round, rolled to an impressive and decisive points win that should set him up for another world title opportunity.
6. Robert Guerrero (31-2-1)
Since 2010, Golden Boy Promotions has had Guerrero fighting on premium cable or pay-per-view for the biggest purses of his career, including getting him a career-high $3 million for the huge PPV fight he had begged for against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013. Guerrero, who was dominated in the loss, has not fought since, turning down a fight with Keith Thurman and now is seeking to break his contract with the promoter that has done a masterful job with him.
7. Keith Thurman (22-0)
The hard-hitting and exciting Thurman won an interim belt in July by dropping Diego Chaves twice en route to an impressive 10th-round knockout and then made his first defense on Dec. 14 in another exciting fight against Jesus Soto Karass. Thurman, improving with every fight, shook off some rocky moments in the first round to drop Soto Karass in the fifth round and stop him in the ninth round. Thurman is going to get himself a big fight before too long.
8. Adrien Broner (27-1)
Broner is known as "The Problem" but Marcos Maidana might as well be known as "The Problem Solver" after he did a number on Broner on Dec. 14. Maidana laid a beating on Broner, dropping him twice and winning a unanimous decision to take his world title in a fantastic and dramatic fight. Broner, who was making his first defense after winning the belt from Paulie Malignaggi in June, said after the upset loss that he wanted a rematch with Maidana and he has exercised his contractual right. However, that plan was put on hold because Broner relented and allowed a fight between Maidana and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to be made instead.
9. Shawn Porter (23-0-1)
In his first fight against a quality opponent, Porter put it all together in a tremendous performance to take a world title by clear unanimous decision against Devon Alexander on Dec. 7 on the Paulie Malignaggi-Zab Judah undercard. Porter took it to Alexander all night as he avenged a loss in their amateur fight as kids.
10. Devon Alexander (25-2)
In easily the worst performance of his career Dec. 7, Alexander was taken to school by Shawn Porter and lost a unanimous decision and his world title in his second defense. Porter physically imposed himself on Alexander, who had no answers.
JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS (140 POUNDS)
1. Danny Garcia (27-0)Garcia retained his belts and earned recognition as the true junior welterweight world champion in upset fashion versus Lucas Matthysse. Garcia withstood early pressure and caused Matthysse's right eye to swell badly midway through the fight. Garcia dropped Matthysse for the first time in his career in the 11th round and won a close but clear decision on Sept. 14 in the high-profile co-feature of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez card. Well done. It was a victory that put Garcia right at the top of the list as a future Mayweather opponent. But next up, Garcia will fight for the first time in his parents' native Puerto Rico when he headlines a Showtime card in a defense against Mauricio Herrera (20-3).
Next: March 15 vs. Herrera.
2. Lucas Matthysse (34-3)
Argentina's Matthysse dominated Danny Garcia for much of the first half of their high-profile Sept. 14 showdown, but then "The Machine" began to break down. Garcia badly swelled his right eye, dropped him for the first time in his career in the 11th round and won the close but deserved unanimous decision. The fight changed dramatically once Matthysse's eye swelled. An interesting note: Matthysse never dropped Garcia, who became the first opponent to ever face Matthysse who did not taste the canvas at least once.
3. Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2)
After laying a beating on welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. in March but losing a close decision, Provodnikov returned to junior welterweight and collided with Mike Alvarado on Oct. 19 in Alvarado's hometown of Denver. It was the brawl everyone expected, although Provodnikov scored a pair of eighth-round knockdowns and made Alvarado quit on his stool after the 10th round to win a world title. Provodnikov's first defense is likely to be on June 14 on HBO, although the network and his handlers are haggling over opponents.
4. Lamont Peterson (32-2-1)
Although Peterson got smashed in three rounds by Lucas Matthysse in May 2013, he kept his belt because they fought a nontitle fight at 141 pounds. So when Peterson returned on Jan. 25 in his supportive hometown of Washington, D.C., he made a mandatory defense against Montreal's Dierry Jean and looked very good winning a lopsided decision in an exciting fight.
5. Mike Alvarado (34-2)
Alvarado has been in one brutal fight after another and it may have caught up to him. After evening his rivalry with Brandon Rios at one win apiece in a fight of the year candidate in March, Alvarado returned Oct. 19 in his hometown of Denver for his first title defense against Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov. It was a competitive slugfest until Provodnikov took over in the eighth round, dropping Alvarado for the first two times in his career and eventually making him quit after the 10th round. Alvarado's return could be in May for an interesting fight with future Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs) at welterweight.
6. Amir Khan (28-3)
Former unified titleholder Khan hasn't looked good in a couple of years and hasn't fought since getting knocked down in a very shaky decision win against faded former two-time lightweight titlist Julio Diaz in April 2013. Yet Khan yapped away about how he was going to get a May 3 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., as though it was Khan's birthright. But the arrogant Khan didn't deserve the fight and Mayweather realized that, leaving him at the altar and going with the far more deserving Marcos Maidana instead.
7. Zab Judah (42-9)
Judah, a three-time junior welterweight titlist and former undisputed welterweight champion, moved back up to welterweight for the "Battle of Brooklyn" on Dec. 7, a showdown with fellow former two-division titleholder Paulie Malignaggi that has been a long time coming. Judah scored a second-round flash knockdown, but was dominated overall in a lopsided decision loss.
8. Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0)
Russia's Allakhverdiev will make his second defense against Jessie Vargas (23-0) on the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Manny Pacquiao II HBO PPV undercard. You could probably count on one hand the number of people who are actually interested in seeing that fight.
Next: April 12 vs. Vargas.
9. Hank Lundy (24-3-1)
On Feb. 21, Lundy dropped down to lightweight, where he had fought most of his career, and turned in an impressive performance in a lopsided points victory against Cuban prospect Angelo Santana. Lundy is in a great position to land a title fight either at lightweight or at junior welterweight.
10. Antonio DeMarco (30-3-1)
Mexico's DeMarco lost his lightweight belt to Adrien Broner by eighth-round knockout in November 2012. DeMarco moved up in weight after the loss and recorded two knockout victories in a row. Now he is a candidate for a shot against titlist Ruslan Provodnikov in June.
LIGHTWEIGHTS (135 POUNDS)
1. Miguel Vazquez (34-3)Mexico's Vazquez made a mandatory defense against Russia's previously undefeated Denis Shafikov on Feb. 22 in Macau and did what he always does: Run, grab, flick punches, grab some more and generally stink Shafikov out in a horrible fight. Vazquez, who won a clear decision to retain his title for the sixth time, is a hard guy to beat, but with that miserable style, he's an even harder guy to watch.
2. Terence Crawford (23-0)
In a masterful performance on March 1, Crawford went to Ricky Burns' home turf in Scotland and took him apart to win a convincing unanimous decision and take a world title home to Omaha, Neb. Burns had gotten some gifts at home in the past, but this time Crawford left absolutely no doubt.
3. Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1)
Beltran, known mostly for his work as a Manny Pacquiao sparring partner, was the victim of a hometown draw when he challenged titleholder Ricky Burns in Scotland in September. Beltran turned in the best performance of his career as he broke Burns' jaw, dropped him and beat him up, only to be saddled with an unforgivable split draw. For his return bout, which will come on the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Manny Pacquiao II HBO PPV undercard, Beltran will mix it up with former junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez in a title eliminator for the right to become the mandatory challenger for newly crowned titlist Terence Crawford.
Next: April 12 vs. Martinez.
4. Richar Abril (18-3-1)
Abril is headed to Moscow to make his second title defense when he faces the obscure Eduard Troyanovsky (17-0).
Next: March 15 vs. Troyanovsky.
5. Ricky Burns (36-3-1)
Burns had looked bad in his previous two fights but escaped with his title intact, first when Jose Gonzalez shockingly quit after nine rounds despite leading on all three scorecards, and then in a split draw with Raymundo Beltran, even though Beltran broke his jaw, dropped him and imposed himself throughout the fight. But on March 1, also in Scotland, Burns, already on borrowed time, was dominated in a clear decision loss to Terence Crawford, who didn't quit and didn't get robbed.
6. Kevin Mitchell (36-2)
Since being stopped in the fourth round by good pal Ricky Burns in a world title fight in September 2012, England's Mitchell has won three fights in a row, including a ninth-round knockout of late substitute Karim El Ouazghari of Spain on Dec. 14.
Next: Next: March 15 vs. TBA.
7. Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0)
Gamboa, a former unified featherweight titleholder and interim junior lightweight titlist, moved up to lightweight on June 8 and outpointed powerful Darley Perez, handing him his first defeat. But it was a horrible fight, as Gamboa once again fought with little passion, making one wonder if he is really interested in fighting anymore. His return could come against junior lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia (34-0), who would move up in weight for the proposed May 17 HBO fight.
8. Sharif Bogere (23-1)
Bogere, who left Uganda and now lives in Las Vegas, lost a competitive decision to titleholder Richar Abril in a horrible fight on March 2. While Abril spent most of the fight running or holding, Bogere spent more time head-butting than punching. Ugly all the way around.
9. Juan Diaz (39-4)
"The Baby Bull" moved to 4-0 on the comeback trail since ending a 2½-year retirement in April by rolling to a near-shutout decision against Gerardo Robles on March 1 on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Bryan Vera undercard. With four fights to shake off the retirement rust, Diaz pronounced himself ready for something significant. He likely will be in against a top contender or even a title fight in his next bout in the summer.
10. Omar Figueroa (22-0)
The ultra crowd-pleasing Figueroa claimed a vacant interim belt in July with a decision win against Japan's Nihito Arakawa in a sensational brawl. Figueroa, who hurt his hands in the fight, was eventually elevated to a full titleholder and due to make his first defense against Ricardo Alvarez (23-2-3) on the March 8 Showtime PPV card. That card is being headlined by Canelo Alvarez, Ricardo's younger brother, against Alfredo Angulo. However, Figueroa re-injured his fragile left hand training for the fight and pulled out.
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS (130 POUNDS)
1. Takashi Uchiyama (21-0-1)Japan's Uchiyama rang in the new year by making a successful eighth title defense on Dec. 31 as he survived a 10th-round knockdown to win a clear-cut unanimous decision against countryman Daiki Kaneko. It was the third consecutive year that Uchiyama defended his title on New Year's Eve in Japan.
2. Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia (34-0)
Before Garcia defended his title for the first time against Juan Carlos Burgos on Jan. 25, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was hyping Garcia's eventual move up the scale for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao. But after watching Garcia's dreadfully boring lopsided decision win against Burgos, who could possibly take that fight seriously? Garcia's next fight probably will entail a move up to lightweight to face interim titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0) on HBO on May 17. The fight is in negotiations.
3. Takashi Miura (27-2-2)
Miura, a Japanese southpaw, made his second title defense on New Year's Eve in Tokyo, where he knocked Dante Jardon of Mexico down in the fifth round and knocked him out in the ninth round of a one-sided fight.
4. Rances Barthelemy (19-0)
Barthelemy, a Cuban defector, opened the "Friday Night Fights" season with a bang -- and some controversy -- on Jan. 3 as he dropped Argenis Mendez in the second round and then knocked him out to win a world title with a pair of blows that came just after the bell sounded to end the round. Mendez protested and the result was changed to a no decision by Minnesota regulators because the fight ended on an accidental foul. The title was returned to Mendez (21-2-1) and a rematch was ordered.
Next: TBA vs. Mendez.
5. Juan Carlos Burgos (30-2-2)
In January 2013, Burgos was robbed in a draw in a title fight against Roman Martinez. Making his return on July 26, Burgos stepped up to lightweight to accommodate short-notice replacement Yakubu Amidu and they put on a helluva fight. It was competitive all the way and ultimately ruled a split draw, which was much more legitimate than what happened against Martinez. Burgos got another shot at a world title against Mikey Garcia on HBO on Jan. 25 and instead of fighting like he wanted to win a title, he fought like he was in a sparring session and put everyone to sleep.
6. Roman "Rocky" Martinez (27-2-2)
After losing his world title by one-sided eighth-round knockout to Mikey Garcia on Nov. 9, Martinez is moving up to lightweight and will face Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1) on the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Manny Pacquiao HBO PPV undercard. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for the newly crowned titlist Terence Crawford.
Next: April 12 vs. Beltran.
7. Sergio Thompson (28-3)
Mexico's Thompson got a mandatory title shot in his hometown of Cancun, Mexico, on Aug. 17 when he challenged Japan's Takashi Miura. Though Thompson scored a knockdown in the eighth round, he was dropped in the second and sixth rounds of a terrific fight and lost a close unanimous decision. In his return, Thompson fought at junior welterweight on Dec. 14 and knocked out countryman Cesar Chavez in the first round. Thompson took a fight with Ricardo Alvarez (23-2-3) on less than a week's notice and will face him on the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo undercard.
Next: March 8 vs. Alvarez.
8. Argenis Mendez (21-2-1)
On Jan. 3, Mendez lost his title by second-round knockout to Rances Barthelemy after getting hit by punches that came right after the bell ended the round. Because the fight ended on an accidental foul, Mendez protested to Minnesota regulators, who overturned the decision. They changed the result to a no decision, which allowed the title to revert to Mendez, who was then ordered to face Barthelemy (19-0) in a rematch.
Next: TBA vs. Barthelemy.
9. Takahiro Ao (25-3-1)
In a big upset, Japan's Ao lost his world title via unanimous decision on his home turf to Mexico's Gamaliel Diaz in October 2012. In his first bout since the loss, Ao made his American debut on July 13 and, fighting as a lightweight, blasted out journeyman Hardy Paredes in the second round. In his next fight, on Nov. 10 in Tokyo, Ao scored a sensational first-round knockout of overmatched Edgar Lomeli of Mexico.
10. Diego Magdaleno (25-1)
In April 2013, Magdaleno lost a split decision challenging then-titlist Roman Martinez in his first world title shot. After the fight, he split with longtime manager/trainer Pat Barry, signed with manager Frank Espinoza and hired trainer Joel Diaz. He returned in September for a shutout 10-round decision against journeyman Edgar Riovalle and then blitzed Jorge Pazos in a fourth-round knockout on Feb. 15.
FEATHERWEIGHTS (126 POUNDS)
1. Jhonny Gonzalez (55-8)Gonzalez lost a featherweight title to Mexican countryman Daniel Ponce De Leon in September 2012. When Gonzalez got another opportunity to fight for a world title on Aug. 24, he was a huge underdog against Abner Mares. But Gonzalez pulled the big upset, scoring two knockdowns and taking Mares out in the first round in a shocker. Gonzalez's first defense was supposed to be a rematch with Mares (26-1-1), who exercised his contractual right to one. The fight was supposed to take place Feb. 15 but was postponed after Mares suffered a rib injury in training. Now it looks like they might each take an interim bout before meeting again.
2. Abner Mares (26-1-1)
Mares, who won world titles in three weight classes in a 21-month span, made the first defense of his featherweight belt against former titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez (55-8) on Aug. 24. Although a significant favorite, Mares got creamed. Gonzalez dropped him twice and stopped him in the first round in one of the biggest upsets of 2013. Mares had the right to an immediate rematch and picked up the option. They were due to meet at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 15 on Showtime, but a rib injury in sparring forced Mares to postpone the fight. Now they might each take one fight before the sequel.
3. Evgeny Gradovich (18-0)
Known as "The Mexican Russian," Gradovich dominated former titlist Billy Dib on Nov. 23 in Macau on the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios undercard. Gradovich, who was making his second defense, battered Dib and won via a ninth-round knockout. This rematch was not remotely competitive, although their first fight was in March, when Gradovich won the title.
4. Simpiwe Vetyeka (27-2)
In a big upset on Dec. 6 in Australia, South Africa's Vetyeka stopped Indonesian hero Chris John in the sixth round to win a world title. The victory put the first loss on John's undefeated record, kept him from tying the division record for most title defenses (19) and ended his 10-year title reign, the longest run among active titleholders. His first defense likely will take place in Macau on May 31 against former junior featherweight champ Nonito Donaire (32-2).
5. Orlando Salido (41-12-2)
After stopping Orlando Cruz in the seventh round to win a vacant featherweight title in October, Salido was slated to make his first defense on March 1 against heralded two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, who was going for a world title in only his second pro fight. However, Salido missed weight by 2¼ pounds and did not even try to lose another ounce. He was stripped of the title and the fight went on with Lomachenko eligible to win it. However, Salido ripped Lomachenko with dozens of low blows that were not called and won a split decision. Salido is on his way to junior lightweight.
6. Nonito Donaire (32-2)
Donaire, the consensus 2012 fighter of the year, lost his junior featherweight title in April 2013 when he was outboxed by Guillermo Rigondeaux in a unification fight. Then Donaire moved up to featherweight, where he debuted Nov. 9 in a rematch with Vic Darchinyan. The first time they met, in 2007, Donaire knocked him out in the fifth round to win a flyweight belt. In the rematch, Donaire struggled until stopping Darchinyan -- who was leading on two scorecards and even on the third -- in the ninth round. Donaire, however, suffered a facial fracture and won't be back until a likely May 31 fight in Macau, where he is expected to challenge South Africa's Simpiwe Vetyeka (26-2) for his world title.
7. Nicholas Walters (23-0)
Jamaica's Walters made his United States debut on Nov. 9, when he made his first title defense, and looked good scoring a spectacular fourth-round knockout of Mexico's Alberto Garza on the Mikey Garcia-Rocky Martinez undercard. His second defense is likely to come May 31 in Macau against Alejandro Perez (19-3-1).
8. Hozumi Hasegawa (33-4)
Japan's Hasegawa has held world titles at bantamweight and featherweight and now will go for a title in the division in between, junior featherweight, when he drops down in weight to challenge Kiko Martinez (30-4) of Spain. Hasegawa will have the home-turf advantage as the bout is slated to take place in Osaka, Japan.
Next: April 23 vs. Martinez.
9. Javier Fortuna (23-0-1)
The Dominican Republic's Fortuna, a former interim titlist before losing the belt because he didn't make weight for a 2012 defense, will next square off with countryman Francisco Lorenzo (39-12) in Santo Domingo.
Next: March 9 vs. Lorenzo.
10. Billy Dib (36-3)
Australia's Dib lost his title by hard-fought split decision to Evgeny Gradovich in March 2013, won his next fight and then got stopped in the ninth round by Gradovich on Nov. 24 in a contractually obligated rematch. It was bad loss for Dib, who was dominated.
JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS (122 POUNDS)
1. Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0)Although he got knocked down in the 10th round, Rigondeaux, the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist, kept 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire off balance all night and outboxed him for a unanimous decision April 13 to unify world titles. It was a boring but very effective performance. It was more of the same unwatchable dreck when he returned to defend his belts against former bantamweight titlist Joseph Agbeko on Dec. 7. Rigondeaux won a shutout decision in a fight devoid of action as Rigondeaux never once tried to do any damage to a clearly overmatched opponent. He was content to lay back and put everyone to sleep. Don't expect him back on HBO any time soon after those two performances as he probably had folks changing the channel in droves.
2. Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1)
Santa Cruz, a former bantamweight titlist, won a junior featherweight title by knocking out Victor Terrazas in the third round in August. He made his first defense on Dec. 14 and outpointed Cesar Seda in an exciting fight. His second defense will come against mandatory challenger and former titlist Cristian Mijares (49-7-2) on the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo Showtime PPV undercard.
Next: March 8 vs. Mijares.
3. Carl Frampton (17-0)
Northern Ireland's Frampton, a hard-charging and exciting fighter, will take on former junior flyweight and junior bantamweight titlist Hugo Cazares (40-7-2) in Belfast. This eliminator will make the winner the mandatory challenger for the winner of the March 8 bout between titleholder Leo Santa Cruz and former titlist Cristian Mijares.
Next: April 4 vs. Cazares.
4. Kiko Martinez (30-4)
Martinez made his first world title defense on Dec. 21 in a Spanish homecoming fight, dominating former titleholder Jeffrey Mathebula en route to a ninth-round knockout. For his next defense, Martinez will hit the road for Osaka, Japan for an interesting showdown with former bantamweight and featherweight titlist Hozumi Hasegawa (33-4).
Next: April 23 vs. Hasegawa.
5. Victor Terrazas (37-3-1)
In April, Mexico's Terrazas outpointed Cristian Mijares to win a vacant world title, but then got knocked out in the third round of his first defense by Leo Santa Cruz in August.
Other contenders: Scott Quigg, Jhonatan Romero, Alejandro Lopez, Jeffrey Mathebula, Fernando Montiel.
BANTAMWEIGHTS (118 POUNDS)
1. Anselmo Moreno (34-2-1)Panama's Moreno won a world title in 2008 and made 10 defenses before moving up in weight for a shot at junior featherweight titleholder Abner Mares in November 2012. Mares dominated the fight and won a lopsided unanimous decision, sending Moreno back to bantamweight, where he made his 11th title defense on Aug. 10, cruising to a unanimous decision against William Urina of Colombia. Defense No. 13 will take place in Panama against Argentina's Javier Nicolas Chacon (19-1).
Next: March 22 vs. Chacon.
2. Koki Kameda (32-1)
Japan's Kameda struggled in his eighth defense Nov. 19, when he traveled to South Korea and retained his belt via split decision against Jung-Oh Son, who was facing his best opponent by far. Kameda got dropped in the 10th round and was lucky to escape with his title intact. Kameda was next supposed to face so-called "super" titleholder Anselmo Moreno in a mandatory fight, but Kameda wanted no part of that bout, vacated his belt and plans to move up in weight.
3. Shinsuke Yamanaka (20-0-2)
Yamanaka, a Japanese southpaw, retained his title for the fifth time on Nov. 19 in Tokyo, scoring three knockdowns en route to a clean ninth-round knockout of two-time title challenger Alberto Guevara of Mexico. Defense No. 6 will come against Stephane Jamoye (25-4) of Belgium.
Next: April 23 vs. Jamoye.
4. Hugo Ruiz (33-2)
Ruiz, a former interim titlist from Mexico, went to Japan to face full titlist Koki Kameda (30-1) in December and lost a highly competitive split decision. In Ruiz's first bout since on June 1, he stormed to a second-round knockout of countryman Giovanni Caro. On Sept. 7, Ruiz won again, outpointing countryman and former flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Miranda.
5. Tomoki Kameda (29-0)
One of the fighting Kameda brothers from Japan -- brother Koki Kameda vacated his bantamweight belt and Daiki Kameda holds a junior bantamweight title -- Tomoki won his version of the bantamweight title in August and made his first defense Dec. 3, outpointing Immanuel Naidjala.
Other contenders: Jamie McDonnell, Paulus Ambunda, Julio Ceja, Malcolm Tunacao, Christian Esquivel.
JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHTS (115 POUNDS)
1. Omar Narvaez (41-1-2)Argentina's Narvaez made the ninth defense of his junior bantamweight belt on Dec. 21 against Mexico's David Carmona, the epitome of a hand-picked opponent. It was one of the easiest defenses for Narvaez, who will never live down his poor effort in a shutout loss against then-bantamweight titlist Nonito Donaire in October 2011. Narvaez bludgeoned Carmona throughout the fight, dropping him in the sixth round and battering him until Carmona's corner threw in the towel in the seventh round.
2. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (24-3-1)
Thailand's Sor Rungvisai, unbeaten since starting his pro career 1-3-1 in 2009, looked good in a ninth-round knockout of Japan's Yota Sato on May 3 in Thailand to win a world title. On Nov. 15, Sor Rungvisai made his first title defense, knocking out Japan's overmatched Hirofumi Mukai in the ninth round. Sor Rungvisai stayed busy on Jan. 21, scoring a first-round knockout of a 1-3-1 novice in a nontitle bout in Thailand.
3. Liborio Solis (17-3-1)
Solis was supposed to make his first title defense in Japan in a unification bout with Daiki Kameda on Dec. 3, but Solis was stripped of his belt when he was 2½ pounds overweight. The fight went on anyway and Solis scored a split decision victory, although he could not claim either belt because he was overweight. Solis, of Venezuela, returned from that debacle on Feb. 15 and knocked out no-hope opponent Alex Olea in the first round in Panama.
4. Kohei Kono (29-8)
In May 2013, Japan's Kono lost his belt and was upset by majority decision in a slugfest with Liborio Solis. In his first fight since then, Kono stopped Thailand's Daut Manopkanchang in the third round on New Year's Eve, setting up a fight for a vacant belt in Tokyo against former titlist Denkaosan Kaovichit (62-3-1) of Thailand.
Next: March 26 vs. Kaovichit.
5. Zolani Tete (18-3)
South Africa's Tete traveled to Mexico to meet former titlist Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. in a title eliminator Nov. 30, and as the big underdog, stopped Sanchez in the 10th round.
Other contenders: Tepparith Kokietgym, Daiki Kameda, Carlos Cuadras, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr.
FLYWEIGHTS (112 POUNDS)
1. Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2)Mexico's Estrada gave Roman Gonzalez all he could handle in a November 2012 junior flyweight title fight but lost a decision. But he rebounded in a big way in April in Macau as he moved up in weight and outpointed unified titlist Brian Viloria in a major upset. Estrada returned to Macau for his first title defense July 27, a convincing unanimous decision against mandatory challenger Milan Melindo of the Philippines, whom Estrada dropped in the 11th round.
2. Brian Viloria (32-4)
In November 2012, Viloria unified titles by stopping Mexico's Hernan "Tyson" Marquez in the 10th round of a fantastic brawl. But in his first defense of the unified belts on April 6, Viloria ran into young, hungry 22-year-old Juan Francisco Estrada and could not keep pace with him. Viloria wore down late in the fight and ultimately dropped a split decision in an action-packed fight in Macau, China.
Next: March 29 vs. TBA.
3. Akira Yaegashi (19-3)
Japan's Yaegashi made his second title defense against Mexico's Edgar Sosa, the mandatory challenger and former longtime junior flyweight titlist, on Dec. 6 and used his speed to score a clear unanimous decision. Yaegashi's next defense will come against Mexico's Odilon Zaleta (15-3).
Next: April 6 vs. Zaleta.
4. Giovani Segura (31-3-1)
Segura, the former junior flyweight champion from Mexico, is one of the biggest punchers in boxing and also one of the most exciting fighters. As many expected, he and former flyweight titlist Hernan "Tyson" Marquez engaged in an absolute war on Nov. 2 for the right to become unified titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada's mandatory challenger. It was a highly competitive fight until Segura brutally knocked out Marquez in the 12th round of a classic slugfest.
5. Edgar Sosa (49-8)
On May 18, Sosa won a hard-fought decision against Mexican countryman (and fellow former junior flyweight titleholder) Giovani Segura to earn a shot at Japanese titlist Akira Yaegashi in Tokyo. Sosa faced him Dec. 6 and, although he put up a good fight, lost a unanimous decision.
Other contenders: Roman Gonzalez, Hernan "Tyson" Marquez, Toshiyuki Igarashi, Juan Carlos Reveco, Luis Concepcion.
JUNIOR FLYWEIGHTS AND STRAWWEIGHTS (108 AND 105 POUNDS)
1. Adrian Hernandez (29-2-1)Mexico's Hernandez made the fourth title defense of his second title reign on Feb. 8 with an expected destruction of Puerto Rico's Janiel Rivera, who was in way over his head. Hernandez battered him with ease until stopping him in the third round of a horrendous mismatch that should have never been sanctioned. Hernandez's fifth defense is scheduled to take place in Tokyo against Japan's Naoya Inoue (5-0), a former amateur standout. If Inoue wins he will have claimed a world title in fewer fights than any Japanese fighter in history.
Next: April 6 vs. Inoue.
2. Kazuto Ioka (14-0)
Fighting at home in Japan, Ioka, a former unified strawweight titleholder, retained his junior flyweight belt for the second time on Dec. 31, winning a unanimous decision against Nicaragua's previously undefeated Felix Alvarado in a rough, tough fight. Ioka has vacated his title and will move up to flyweight.
3. Donnie Nietes (32-1-4)
After four strawweight title defenses, the Philippines' Nietes vacated his belt and moved up to junior flyweight, where he won another title and has made four defenses, including an impressive three-knockdown performance against Sammy Gutierrez in a third-round knockout victory on Nov. 30. Next up could be a March rematch with interim titlist Moises Fuentes (19-1-1), whom he fought to a draw with in March 2013.
4. Moises Fuentes (19-1-1)
Mexico's Fuentes, a former strawweight titlist and reigning interim junior flyweight beltholder, stopped Omar Salado in the seventh round in a nontitle bout on Nov. 22. Fuentes probably will face full titleholder Donnie Nietes (32-1-4) in March in a rematch of their draw.
5. Johnriel Casimero (19-2)
The Philippines' Casimero, who has faced quality opposition, is due to make his fourth junior flyweight title defense at home in Manila against Colombia's Mauricio Fuentes (16-2).
Next: March 29 vs. Fuentes.
Other contenders: Hekkie Budler, Katsunari Takayama, Merlito Sabillo, Pedro Guevara, Oswaldo Novoa.
MORE BOXING HEADLINES
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- Santa Cruz dominates Mijares, keeps WBC belt
- Weight increased for Alvarez vs. Angulo fight
- Molina remains jailed, title defense canceled
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