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1. Vitali Klitschko (35-2)
After many twists and turns and a whole lot of bickering and rhetoric, his title defense against former champ Hasim Rahman is made and we finally have a heavyweight championship fight to care about.
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Rahman
2. Chris Byrd (38-2-1)
Ridiculous court-ordered mandatory defense against DaVarryl Williamson finally has a home on Showtime on a card that also features James Toney. Hopefully, it's a prelude to a Byrd-Toney fight.
Next: Oct. 1 vs. Williamson
3. James Toney (68-4-2)
Returns from steroid suspension but instead of earning millions to defend the tainted title he claimed from John Ruiz, he's fighting a ho-hum bout for relatively small money. We hope he learned his lesson.
Next: Oct. 1 vs. Dominick Guinn
4. John Ruiz (41-5-1)
There's been some low-level buzz that Ruiz will defend his bogus title against Mike Tyson-conqueror Kevin McBride, who deserves a title fight about as much as Ruiz deserves his belt.
5. Hasim Rahman (40-5-1)
The good news is that he outpointed Monte Barrett to earn the title shot against Klitschko. The bad news is he looked awful doing it, which does not bode well for the former champ.
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Klitschko
6. Lamon Brewster (32-2)
You want to talk about a tough spot to be in? Not only does he have to go to Germany to defend his title against German Luan Krasniqi, but he has to do it on what would have been the 100th birthday of national hero Max Schmeling, who died in February.
Next: Sept. 28 vs. Krasniqi
7. Calvin Brock (26-0)
Fellow 2000 Olympian Audley Harrison has been calling him out, but Brock, who has already defeated Jameel McCline, is beyond fighting prospects. He's ready for contenders.
8. Samuel Peter (24-0)
If he beats Wladimir Klitschko, many will consider him a future champion. And if he loses, he'll be labeled by many as just another pretender.
Next: Sept. 24 vs. W. Klitschko
9. Wladimir Klitschko (44-3)
If his older brother Vitali's title defense against Rahman is the most important heavyweight fight of the year, then his crossroads showdown with Peter is No. 2 on the list.
Next: Sept. 24 vs. Peter
10. Jameel McCline (32-5-3)
After close decision losses to Brock and Byrd, McCline took a step down and got back on the winning track with a third-round destruction of Steve Pannell last month.
1. Jean-Marc Mormeck (31-2)
We hope to see the unified champ back in the ring as soon as possible against deserving mandatory Guillermo Jones. They're both with promoter Don King, so it shouldn't take much wrangling to make it happen.
2. Johnny Nelson (44-12-2)
His on-again, off-again mandatory against Italy's Vincenzo Cantatore is on again for the moment and set for Italy after Cantatore's handlers won a recent purse bid with an offer of $160,000. It was just $5,000 more than Nelson promoter Frank Warren offered.
Next: Nov. 19 vs. Cantatore
3. Guillermo Jones (33-3-2)
Earned well-deserved title shot at Mormeck with impressive stoppage of ex-champ Wayne Braithwaite last week, which came just four months after another impressive TKO against former titlist Kelvin Davis.
4. Steve Cunningham (18-0)
Earned third consecutive important victory and probable shot at O'Neil Bell's belt, outpointing ex-titlist Kelvin Davis on last week's King card. Also defeated Sebastian Rothmann and claimed a highly questionable split decision against Jones in April.
5. O'Neil Bell (25-1-1)
He has great power and no chin, which is why his fights are usually pretty good, and his first title defense against Rothmann last month was no exception. Rothmann pushed him to the brink in an excellent fight until Bell scored a desperate, one-punch 11th-round knockout.
6. Dale Brown (34-4-1)
Although he was robbed by the judges when he fought Bell for a vacant title in May, Brown rebounded with a fifth-round TKO of Damon Reed last month. If Bell is a true champion, he'd give Brown a rematch.
7. Wayne Brathwaite (21-2)
Former titlist began the year with a title and an undefeated record. Now, he has lost two in a row, a decision in an April unification bout with Mormeck and a fourth-round TKO against Jones last week. This year has not been kind to him.
8. Carl Thompson (33-6)
Exciting British slugger has not fought for a year, partially because of injuries. At age 41, time is running out for him to make one more push.
9. Virgil Hill (49-5)
Faces Valery Brudov of Russia for a vacant belt in St. Louis on the first King card in memory without an American television outlet.
Next: Sept. 30 vs. Brudov
10. Sebastian Rothmann (18-4-2)
South African-based Israeli had Bell in serious trouble, easily outboxing him most of the way. However, then he ran into that monster punch and got knocked out in the 11th.
1. Antonio Tarver (23-3)
After so many years of being unable to lure Roy Jones into the ring even once, who would have ever thought we'd be looking at a trilogy?
Next: Oct. 1 vs. R. Jones
2. Glen Johnson (42-10-2)
Returns to headline Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" against George Khalid Jones in an eliminator, with the winner earning a shot at the title held by the winner of the Sept. 9 Clinton Woods-Julio Gonzalez bout. It's great to see Johnson moving on so quickly after his July loss to Tarver.
Next: Sept. 30 vs. G. Jones
3. Zsolt Erdei (22-0)
July defense against former titleholder Mehdi Sahnoune of France was called off at the last minute when Erdei suffered food poisoning, but the fight was rescheduled.
Next: Oct. 22 vs. Sahnoune
4. Roy Jones Jr. (49-3)
In less than a month, he'll face Tarver for the third time in a critical fight. It is on HBO PPV but facing brutal competition from an excellent Showtime card on the same night. Yet Jones, whose company is co-promoting the fight, has refused all interview requests and has yet to speak a single word to the media about his comeback. Good job promoting, Roy.
Next: Oct. 1 vs. Tarver
5. Fabrice Tiozzo (47-2)
In a 2004 defense, he and Silvio Branco traded knockdowns but Tiozzo squeaked out a majority decision to retain his belt. Now, they're talking about a rematch, although Tiozzo's interest has cooled.
6. Julio Gonzalez (38-2)
Former title holder won't be intimidated fighting for a belt on foreign soil when he faces Clinton Woods in England. Gonzalez, after all, pulled off a massive upset when he went to Germany and handed Dariusz Michalczewski his first loss in 2003.
Next: Friday vs. Woods
7. Clinton Woods (37-3-1)
British overachiever will have his hands full against Gonzalez, but will have the benefit of the hometown advantage in Sheffield.
Next: Friday vs. Gonzalez
8. Tomasz Adamek (29-0)
Bloody belt-winning effort against Paul Briggs in May is destined to be a lost classic because so few saw it. But now Adamek of Poland, is moving on for his first defense. He'll be on hostile turf against Germany's Thomas Ulrich (28-1), whose only loss was to Glen Johnson in 2001.
Next: Oct. 15 vs. Ulrich
9. Paul Briggs (23-2)
Rugged Australian is now working with famed Aussie trainer Johnny Lewis and preparing to return from loss to Adamek on the Adamek-Ulrich undercard. Obviously, if Briggs wins he would deserve a fight with the winner of the main event.
Next: Oct. 15 vs. TBA
10. Montell Griffin (47-6)
Former champ has failed to take advantage of so many opportunities over the last few years that you have to wonder if he'll ever win another important fight.
1. Joe Calzaghe (39-0)
Long-reigning champ is playing with fire by taking a meaningless defense against Evans Ashira when there is a huge fight against Jeff Lacy on tap for Nov. 5. Maybe it's because Calzaghe and ex-wife Mandy just divorced and he owes her 2 million pounds.
Next: Saturday vs. Ashira
2. Jeff Lacy (20-0)
All Lacy can do is sit by and pray that not only does Calzaghe get through his fight with Ashira, but that Calzaghe comes out with no injuries that would prevent their unification fight from taking place in November.
Next: Nov. 5 vs. Calzaghe
3. Mikkel Kessler (36-0)
In our perfect world, the power-punching title holder from Denmark would fight the winner of Calzaghe-Lacy. Of course, as we know, the world is not perfect.
4. Markus Beyer (33-2)
Retained belt last weekend with a dominating decision against undeserving title challenger Omar Sheika, who fell to 0-4 in title fights.
5. Danny Green (20-2)
Was supposed to face Scott Pemberton in an eliminator Oct. 23. But Green withdrew after suffering two broken bones in his lower back, a result of some brutal sparring with light heavyweight Julio Gonzales in Los Angeles. The tough Green actually sparred four more rounds with Gonzalez two days after suffering the injury before realizing something was seriously wrong.
6. Anthony Mundine (24-3)
Rebounded from a decision loss to Kessler to stop Rashid "Snakeboy" Matumla in the sixth round Wednesday. Maybe now the fight Australian boxing fans want will finally happen: Mundine-Green.
7. Librado Andrade (22-0)
With Andrade's management issues apparently behind him, Golden Boy hopes to give him a tune-up in November or December before pursuing a title opportunity early next year.
8. Otis Grant (37-2-1)
Canadian contender will have the home-field advantage when he faces former titlist Cristian Sanavia of Italy in Quebec in an elimination bout.
Next: Oct. 29 vs. Sanavia
9. Robin Reid (38-5-1)
After never being knocked down in his career, the former title holder hit the deck four times in a title challenge loss to Lacy last month.
10. Scott Pemberton (29-3-1)
At last, he had an opportunity for a significant fight against Green next month, but now it's off because of Green's serious back injury.
1. Jermain Taylor (24-0)
Undisputed champ did well enough against Bernard Hopkins to lift the title in July, but it was not a stellar performance. He'll need one to beat a Hopkins with revenge on his mind in the rematch.
Next: Dec. 3 vs. Hopkins
2. Bernard Hopkins (46-3-1)
For the first time in 21 fights dating back to 1996, he'll enter the ring for his rematch with Taylor as a challenger, not a champion.
Next: Dec. 3 vs. Taylor
3. Winky Wright (49-3)
Negotiations to fight Floyd Mayweather did not work out so Wright's encore to his fabulous win against Felix Trinidad will be on HBO, possibly against either Ike Quartey or Felix Sturm.
Next:Dec. 10 vs. TBA
4. Felix Sturm (24-1)
His impressive showing in a controversial loss to Oscar De La Hoya put him on the map and he deserves another significant fight. That means he should face either Wright or the Taylor-Hopkins II winner.
5. Arthur Abraham (17-0)
German-based Armenian launched himself into serious world title contention with a unanimous decision against Howard Eastman in July. Might pursue Maselino Masoe and his worthless paper title.
6. Howard Eastman (40-3)
After back-to-back decision losses to Abraham and Hopkins, he is in desperate need of a victory to keep his diminishing title hopes alive.
7. Oscar De La Hoya (37-4)
It has been a year since his last fight, a knockout loss to Hopkins, but the Golden Boy insists he will return in May 2006 to fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend, perhaps against Ricardo Mayorga or a rematch with Fernando Vargas.
8. Kingsley Ikeke (23-1)
If the IBF strips Taylor for agreeing to a rematch with Hopkins rather than facing his mandatory, Sam Soliman, then Ikeke would face Soliman for the vacant belt. The winner would be nothing more than a paper champion.
9. Sam Soliman (31-7)
His mandatory title shot against Taylor is due and he could move to have Taylor stripped so he can fight Ikeke for the vacant belt. However, there is talk that he might agree not to push the matter by accepting a slot on the Taylor-Hopkins II undercard in return for the promise that the winner would fight him next.
10. Raymond Joval (34-4)
Possibly headed for Australia before year's end to face Shannan Taylor, who is best known for challenging Shane Mosley for the welterweight title in 2001.
1. Daniel Santos (29-2-1)
Opportunity to defend title in Showtime's main event last Saturday fell apart when his opponent, Jose Antonio Rivera, fell out with an elbow injury. But he'll defend against Joe Wyatt (21-0) on promoter Don King's upcoming card in St. Louis.
Next: Sept. 30 vs. Wyatt
2. Roman Karmazin (34-1-1)
Burst onto the world scene in July with a major upset of Kassim Ouma in a dominating title victory. Let's hope his next fight is soon so he can build on the momentum.
3. Kassim Ouma (21-2-1)
Instead of pouting about his shocking title loss to Karmazin, Ouma is getting right back on the horse. He'll headline on HBO Latino next month against Freddy Cuevas.
Next: Oct. 13 vs. Cuevas
4. Ricardo Mayorga (27-5-1)
Batted Italy's Michele Piccirillo around in a lopsided decision victory to claim a vacant title last month. However, don't think we will forget this title is as bogus as they come. The laughable WBC wrongly stripped it from Javier Castillejo, and Mayorga had no business in a title fight. He was knocked out in his previous bout and lost two of three.
5. Fernando Vargas (26-2)
Former two-time champ knocked Javier Castillejo down and won an easy decision but he looks like a shell of the once dynamic fighter he was. That's why Oscar De La Hoya is considering giving him a rematch -- big money, small risk.
6. Travis Simms (24-0)
Idle since an October victory against Bronco McKart, Simms has had major problems with King and is suing the WBA. His career is slipping away and one day he will regret it.
7. Alex "Terra" Garcia (25-1)
Retained an interim title by outpointing obscure Luca Messi of Italy on the Rahman-Barrett undercard. However, it was not part of the pay-per-view broadcast, so Garcia once again lost a chance for valuable exposure.
8. Ike Quartey (36-2-1)
Former welterweight champ appears to be the frontrunner to land a December HBO fight with Winky Wright. If it happens, it will be Quartey's punishing left jab against Wright's awesome left jab.
9. Rodney Jones (36-3)
He'll face Raul Frank on the Tarver-Jones III undercard in an eliminator with the winner becoming mandatory for Karmazin. He's fighting Frank because Kofi Jantuah decided against taking the fight.
Next: Oct. 1 vs. Frank
10. Javier Castillejo (58-6)
Former champ didn't put up much of a fight in lopsided points defeat against Vargas last month. At 37, Castillejo is just about done.
1. Zab Judah (34-2)
Undisputed champ is having issues with promoter Don King but still must make mandatory against Carlos Baldomir in order to keep his belts intact. If they can work through their problems, the fight could happen in late October.
2. Antonio Margarito (32-4)
Title holder is ticketed for the cofeature slot on the Klitschko-Rahman heavyweight title card. The three most likely opponents are Manny Gomez, Joshua Clottey or David Estrada.
Next: Nov. 12 vs. TBA
3. Cory Spinks (34-3)
Former undisputed champ is headed for court over his promotional contract with King. He maintains he is free to sign to with upstart promoter Bobby Bostick, but King says otherwise. This could get messy.
4. Shane Mosley (40-4)
Before he can look to major potential fights with the likes of Judah, Margarito or Floyd Mayweather, he must first dispose of Jose Luis Cruz in the HBO PPV co-feature of the Marco Antonio Barrera-Robbie Peden junior lightweight unification fight.
Next: Sept. 17 vs. Cruz
5. Manuel Gomez (27-10-2)
We hope he gets the title shot against Margarito because despite his misleading record, he deserves the opportunity. It can't help but be an exciting fight.
6. Thomas Damgaard (36-0)
Although rumors are rampant that he will face Arturo Gatti in January on HBO, it is only a possibility. There is no deal done yet.
7. Sharmba Mitchell (56-4)
Former junior welterweight champ has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Floyd Mayweather on Nov. 19, but nothing is solid yet.
8. Luis Collazo (26-1)
He bludgeoned the completely used up Miguel Angel Gonzalez for eight rounds to easily retain belt in a first defense that went exactly as expected. Hopefully, Gonzalez will retire, and we will see the promising Collazo in a more worthwhile fight.
9. Kermit Cintron (24-1)
With Main Events not renewing his contract, Cintron has joined Spinks in signing with Bostick.
10. Oktay Urkal (36-3)
Skilled German retained European title with a decision win against Russia's Maxim Nesterenko last week; would like a crack at Collazo.
1. Ricky Hatton (39-0)
The honeymoon for the new champ is clearly over. Although he is planning to fight Carlos Maussa on Nov. 26 in a unification bout, promoter Frank Warren is suing him. Hatton says he's a free agent, but Warren insists he has a deal for three more of Hatton's fights. Let's hope that whatever happens, it doesn't sidetrack the career of the exciting young star for too long.
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (34-0)
With the Klitschko-Rahman fight landing on HBO PPV Nov. 12 and Mayweather without a marquee pay-per-view opponent, he's been bumped to regular HBO the following week. Hopefully, he'll be mature about it, take care of business and look toward to a huge fight next year, hopefully against Judah.
Next: Nov. 19 vs. TBA
3. Kostya Tszyu (31-2)
While visiting his native Russia this week, the 35-year-old former champ and future Hall of Famer said he has not made a decision about whether he will continue his career. He did say that if he does continue, it would be as a welterweight. How about a rematch with Judah?
4. Miguel Cotto (24-0)
With Gianluca Branco out with an arm injury, Cotto will instead make a dangerous mandatory defense against hard-punching Ricardo Torres (28-0, 26 KOs) of Colombia. Torres might not be known much in the USA, but this is a legitimate fight.
Next: Sept. 24 vs. Torres
5. Arturo "Thunder" Gatti (39-7)
The human highlight film is taking a much-deserved long rest following his title losing destruction at the hands of Mayweather. When he returns to HBO in January, it will be as a welterweight.
6. Junior Witter (32-1-2)
Slick Brit can continue defending the European title, perhaps against Giuseppe Lauri of Italy, but the mega fight all of Britain wants to see is Hatton-Witter.
7. DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley (30-4-1)
Former titlist figures to get an eventual rematch with Miguel Cotto, but in the meantime he'll stay busy. Just don't expect him in with anyone too good.
Next: Sept. 17 vs. TBA
8. Carlos Maussa (19-2)
Like the rest of us, the title holder is a bystander waiting to see what happens with the legal wrangling between Hatton and Warren. When it is settled, he figures to be Hatton's next opponent.
9. Vivian Harris (25-2-1)
Physically, he's just fine following his upset knockout loss to Maussa in June. Mentally, it might be a different story. Recovery from that loss could take a long time.
10. Muhammad Abdullaev (15-2)
The beating he took from Cotto in June was pretty severe and we figure he might not fight the rest of the year.
1. Diego "Chico" Corrales (40-2)
Fight of the year rematch with Jose Luis Castillo can't get here soon enough. If you buy one pay-per-view this year, this is the one to get.
Next: Oct. 8 vs. Castillo
2. Jose Luis Castillo (52-7-1)
Castillo is as true a warrior as there is because he faces only the best -- Mayweather twice, Stevie Johnston twice, Juan Lazcano, Julio Diaz, Joel Casamayor and now two fights with Corrales? Are you kidding?
Next: Oct. 8 vs. Corrales
3. Acelino "Popo" Freitas (37-1)
With a Juan Diaz fight down the drain for now, former two-division titlist will return to the United States for a fall fight after two consecutive bouts in native Brazil. Australia's Michael Katsidis (18-0) is the leading candidate to get the fight.
Next: Nov. 19 vs. TBA
4. Juan Diaz (28-0)
Square Ring reached out to Main Events about having Diaz defend his title on the Tarver-Jones III undercard to help the pay-per-view, but was rebuffed. Talk about a career that has ground to a halt.
5. "Kid Diamond" Almazbek Raiymkulov (20-0-1)
It is probably a long shot, but he's been mentioned as a possibility to get a Nov. 19 fight with Mayweather. It would be interesting because Raiymkulov would apply constant pressure and he has a good chin.
6. Joel Casamayor (31-3-1)
Former junior lightweight champ is yet another name being floated as a potential Mayweather opponent in November. He also happens to be the least interesting.
7. Julio Diaz (32-3)
Former titlist has rebounded well from a tough 10th-round TKO loss to Castillo in March by scoring back-to-back first-round knockouts this summer.
8. Juan Lazcano (34-3-1)
Ended a 14-month layoff in impressive fashion, waxing thoroughly overmatched Marco Angel Perez in one round. It wasn't much of a chance for Lazcano to shake off the rust, so expect to see him back in November before going after a big name next year.
9. Ricky Quiles (38-6-3)
Scored strong victory against former titlist Javier Jauregui to earn an eventual shot at newly crowned titlist Leavander Johnson's belt.
10. Isaac Hlatshwayo (22-0)
Scored a convincing 12-round unanimous decision against highly regarded South African countryman Cassius Baloyi on Aug. 31 in their nation's biggest fight of the year..
1. Marco Antonio Barrera (60-4)
Unification fight with Robbie Peden isn't sparking much interest but we think it's a pretty underrated fight and has potential to be very exciting.
Next: Sept. 17 vs. Peden
2. Erik Morales (48-2)
He has big plans. He wants to win a rematch with Manny Pacquiao early next year and then go for the lightweight title against the Corrales-Castillo II winner. But none of that will happen if he isn't taking the slick Zahir Raheem seriously.
Next: Saturday vs. Zahir Raheem
3. Manny Pacquiao (39-3-2)
With all the issues that surrounded him before his loss to Morales in March now behind him, Pacquiao will have no excuses for anything less than an exceptional performance against 10-loss journeyman Hector Velazquez.
Next: Saturday vs. Velazquez
4. Jorge Barrios (44-2-1)
In his first title defense, "La Hiena" thrilled the partisan fans in his native Argentina with a three-knockdown, second-round destruction of Victor Santiago; could face the Barrera-Peden winner.
5. Jesus Chavez (41-3)
Headed to lightweight for tough title challenge against Leavander Johnson on the Barrera-Peden HBO PPV card. If Chavez and Barrera both win, Chavez-Barrera is possible.
Next: Sept. 17 vs. Johnson
6. Carlos Hernandez (41-5-1)
Expect a brawl when the former titlist faces Bobby Pacquiao (Manny's brother) on the Corrales-Castillo II Showtime PPV card.
Next: Oct. 8 vs. B. Pacquiao
7. Vicente Mosquera (21-1-1)
Title victory against Yodsanan Nanthachai in April was a terrific scrap and plans are in the works for him to make his first defense on a Don King card before the end of the year.
8. Yodsanan Nanthachai (43-3-1)
Although the Thai southpaw lost his title to Mosquera in April, he would still be a serious threat against any of the top 130-pounders.
9. Robbie Peden (25-2)
Title holder from Australia won't be surprised by anything Barrera has to offer when they meet to unify belts because they've sparred hundreds of rounds together.
Next: Sept. 17 vs. Barrera
10. Alex Arthur (21-1)
Scottish fan favorite claimed European title by easily outpointing Russia's Boris Sinitsin on July 23.
1. Juan Manuel Marquez (44-2-1)
The poster child for why the sanctioning bodies are a complete disgrace. The best 126-pounder in the world was stripped of his belt by the putrid IBF because there was no bidder on his mandatory defense vs. Phafrakorb Rakkiatgym. Even worse, Rakkiatgym was allowed to retain his fraudulent mandatory status even though his handlers didn't bid either. Then Marquez was stripped of his "super" title by the vile WBA because he was no longer a unified champion. When will anyone realize that these organizations, as they are run now, are destroying the sport?
2. Injin Chi (30-2-1)
He's expected back in November after a hamstring injury knocked him out of last month's mandatory defense against Rocky Juarez. As Humberto Soto beat Juarez for the interim belt, Chi must face Soto upon his return.
Next: TBA vs. Soto
3. Scott Harrison (24-2-2)
An arm injury forced him to postpone an Oct. 1 defense against Australia's Nedal Hussein (39-2), who has won three in a row since moving up after an unsuccessful crack at junior featherweight champ Oscar Larios last year.
Next: TBA vs. Hussein
4. Humberto Soto (37-5-2)
Gotta love a guy like Soto, who took an interim title bout with Rocky Juarez on less than three weeks' notice, showed up in great shape and fought his rear end off to win in a shocking upset. But Soto is no joke -- he's 14-0 with a no contest in his last 15 fights and Chi will have his hands full when they fight.
Next: TBA vs. Chi
5. Chris John (36-0-1)
Indonesian retained belt with a ninth-round TKO of Tommy Browne on Browne's home turf in Australia last week. John is a virtual unknown in the United States, but he's putting together a nice résumé that includes victories against Derrick Gainer, Oscar Leon and Osamu Sato.
6. Rocky Juarez (23-1)
Perhaps he was a little emotionally deflated after his title shot against Chi fell through because of Chi's injury, but let's not make excuses. Soto came in on less than three weeks' notice and simply outfought Juarez to pull one of the year's biggest upsets.
7. Joan Guzman (24-0)
Former junior featherweight titlist made a successful 126-pound debut on Aug. 26 with a convincing decision against Thailand's Terdsak Jandaeng in an elimination bout to become Harrison's mandatory challenger.
8. Victor Polo (34-5-3)
His decision loss to Marquez in May was his fifth unsuccessful try for a world title. Can he possibly get another one? With the lack of depth in this division, it is certainly possible.
9. Derrick Gainer (39-7-1)
With an eye toward putting two consecutive title fight losses behind him, there is discussion about him returning at 130 pounds to fight on promoter Lou DiBella's Oct. 21 "Broadway Boxing" card.
10. Nicky Cook (25-0)
The body shot he threw to knock out Dazzo Williams in the second round in June to retain the European title was as sweet a body blow as you will ever see.
1. Oscar Larios (56-3-1)
We'd love to see him fight bantamweight champ Rafael Marquez if Marquez ever makes the move up in weight. In the meantime, Larios probably is ticketed for the undercard of Taylor-Hopkins II on Dec. 3. But nothing is definite.
2. Mahyar Monshipour (28-2-2)
There's talk that he might come to America for his next defense and one name that keeps popping up is Wayne McCullough. While we'd love to see Monshipour fight here, McCullough is simply an unacceptable world title challenger at this point, considering the horrific beating Larios gave him in July.
3. Israel Vazquez (38-3)
Doesn't anyone want challenge for his title? Mandatory Sergio Manuel Medina is unavailable due to a recent training injury and Jose Aguiniga, the next available contender, rejected the fight in order to campaign at 118 pounds.
4. Celestino Caballero (22-2)
Southpaw from Panama coming off impressive back-to-back victories against Jose Luis Valbuena and Daniel Ponce De Leon. However, instead of getting a big opportunity, he's mired in contractual issues because three promoters -- Golden Boy, Don King and All-Star Boxing -- all claim to have a deal with him.
5. Daniel Ponce De Leon (26-1)
De La Hoya's protégé has won two in a row since dropping a decision to Caballero in February and is set to fight for the belt that Joan Guzman vacated to move up in weight.
Next: Oct. 28 vs. Sod Looknongyangtoy
Other contenders: Yoddamrong Sithyodthong, Poonsawat Kratingaengym
1. Rafael Marquez (34-3)
Kudos to Showtime for buying Marquez's potentially outstanding mandatory against South African star Silence Mabuza. This is the epitome of Showtime's "great fights, no rights" philosophy at work.
Next: Oct. 1 vs. Mabuza
2. Hozumi Hasegawa (18-2)
Biggest fight remains a rematch with Veeraphol Sahaprom, but first defense will be a mandatory against Diego Morales, the younger, less talented brother of Erik Morales.
Next: Sept. 25 vs. D. Morales
3. Veeraphol Sahaprom (49-2-2)
Former champ claimed an easy 10-round decision against Joel Bauya on Aug. 25 while awaiting a shot at the winner of Hasegawa-D. Morales.
4. Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (65-8)
Defeated Pedro Malco Jr. on a 10-round decision in a non-title bout Tuesday night in Hawaii to tune up for a title defense against the exciting Jhonny Gonzalez on HBO PPV.
Next: Oct. 29 vs. Gonzalez
5. Silence Mabuza (18-0)
South African star is one of the few mandatory challengers who actually deserves his position. He'll get his world title shot against Marquez on Showtime in a fight that could steal the show that also features heavyweights Byrd and Toney. Next: Oct. 1 vs. Marquez
Other contenders: Genaro Garcia, Jhonny Gonzalez, Cruz Carvajal, Wladimir Sidorenko, Ivan "Choko" Hernandez
1. Martin Castillo (29-1)
Emerging champion will defend title on the Klitschko-Rahman HBO PPV undercard, probably in a rematch against mandatory Alexander Munoz, the former champ he took the title from in 2004.
Next: Nov. 12 vs. TBA
2. Fernando Montiel (31-1-1)
Slated to defend against Thai mandatory on Golden Boy's upcoming HBO PPV card that will match three top Mexicans against three top Thais in world title bouts.
Next: Oct. 29 vs. Pramuansak Phosawan
3. Luis Perez (23-1)
The most exciting, unappreciated little guy in the business defends belt vs. Hugo "Rambo" Ramirez (21-4) of Mexico on Don King's Sept. 30 card in St. Louis. It's too bad there's no American TV coverage because Perez deserves to be seen.
Next: Sept. 30 vs. Ramirez
4. Masamori Tokuyama (31-3-1)
Regained title from Katsushige Kawashima and now obligated to face mandatory challenger Jose Navarro.
Next: Jan. 3 vs. Navarro
5. Jose Navarro (23-1)
The 2000 U.S. Olympian scored a fifth-round TKO of Juan Alfonso Keb Baas last week to stay sharp for a title shot in Japan that will take place on the one-year anniversary of his first opportunity. Let's hope he doesn't get robbed by the judges again like he did when he faced Kawashima for the title.
Other contenders: Katsushige Kawashima, Mark Johnson, Alexander Munoz
1. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (57-2)
Defends title in a rematch against Japan's Daisuke Naito (27-1-2). There's virtually no chance that Wonjongkam can perform better than he did when they met in 2002. In that fight, Wonjongkam handed Naito his only loss. Wonjongkam drilled him in just 34 seconds, a record for quickest KO in flyweight title history and the quickest any Japanese fighter has ever been knocked out in a title bout.
Next: Oct. 10 vs. Naito
2. Jorge Arce (40-3-1)
One of the most underrated action fighters of our time, Arce will do battle again with Hussein Hussein (28-2) in a rematch of their March classic on the Corrales-Castillo II Showtime PPV undercard. This one alone is worth the price of the pay-per-view.
Next: Oct. 8 vs. Hussein
3. Lorenzo Parra (25-0)
He's a world traveler. The Venezuela native is supposed to go to France for a Dec. 5 mandatory against Brahim Asloum, but will first head to Japan to defend against Takefumi Sakata in a rematch.
Next: Sept. 22 vs. Sakata
4. Vic Darchinyan (24-0)
Retained title with a fifth-round TKO of Jair Jimenez on Aug. 24. After a two-week vacation to his native Armenia, he'll begin training for a defense against Irish mandatory Damean Kelly.
Next: TBA vs. Kelly
5. Irene Pacheco (28-1)
The talented former champ is closing in on another year of inactivity. What a shame that he has fought just four times since 2001, losing only to Darchinyan last year.
Other contenders: Rosendo Alvarez, Omar Narvaez, Hussein Hussein, Brahim Asloum
1. Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon (23-0)
We'd love to see the 105 champ move up and fight someone like 108 titlist Roberto Vasquez. What a great style matchup -- Calderon's smooth boxing skills against Vasquez's firepower.
2. Roberto "The Spider" Vasquez (20-1)
In first defense of 108 title, he stopped former 105 champ Jose Antonio Aguirre in the fourth round Aug. 20, thrilling the hometown fans in Panama City.
3. Will Grigsby (18-2-1)
First 108 defense probably will come against mandatory Ulises Solis, and King would like to do the fight in Grigsby's hometown of Minneapolis before the end of the year.
4. Victor Burgos (36-14-3)
Former 108 title holder was supposed to headline a card last weekend in Tijuana against Luis Valdez, but Valdez didn't show up for the weigh in and the entire card was postponed.
5. Hugo Cazares (21-3-1)
Scored an eighth-round TKO of former titlist Alex "Nene" Sanchez in first defense on Aug. 20 and already has next fight lined up. He'll face Kaichon Sor Vorapin of Thailand on Golden Boy's Mexico vs. Thailand HBO PPV card.
Next: Oct. 29 vs. Vorapin
Other contenders: Nelson Dieppa, Yutaka Niida, Beibis Mendoza, Eric Ortiz, Muhammad Rachman