Time to un-Maske updated
top fighter list

Mar 27, 2007 5:29 AM

Excuse me if I’m a bit frivolous this week in giving my current pound-for-pound ratings but, believe me, you’re not interested in the weekend’s "big" fight.

It’ll cost you $25 on pay-per-view to return to the Olympiahalle in Munich, where Gentleman Henry Maske is getting his immediate rematch with Virgil (Quicksilver) Hill, who inflicted the only defeat on the German’s 30-1 record in that very same arena. Okay, that was over 10 years ago.

Maske immediately retired and Hill hasn’t been much busier in the ring. In Hill’s last bout, 14 months ago, he did win the WBAboons’ cruiserweight title. It was a match for which he qualified by taking off the previous 20 months after losing for the second time to Jean-Marc Mormeck.

Back in November 1996, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist from North Dakota went over to Germany and beat the ’88 gold out of Frankfurt by split decision. Here they are again, each 43. Maske was born 12 days before Hill in January 1964. There have been a dozen presidents and a few popes in between. The global warming has finally thawed the ice and let them out to play again.

Who cares?

Anyone who wants to bet on this nonsense should go directly to the next card game I’m in. Therefore, it’s as good a time as any to play "ratings" — one of the favorite games of bloggers and columnist.

I last did my pound-for-pounders for winter. The season has changed and so has my No. 1. Last December, I dropped Floyd Mayweather Jr. down to No. 2 after a lackluster performance against Carlos Baldomir where he did not throw combinations. I was fearful that his brittle hands had robbed him of that ability and surmised that was why he announced his May 5 date with Oscar de la Hoya would be his finale.

But I have restored him to No. 1, with the caveat that after Pacquiao fights undefeated Jorge Solis of Mexico on April 14 and following Mayweather’s "farewell" appearance, there could easily be a revision. In any case, Winky Wright remains at No. 3 pending his July date with Bernard Hopkins.

Now the changes begin. Marco Antonio Barrera drops from four to nine and rising into the top five are both Marquez brothers. Rafael, off his victory against Israel Vazquez when he moved up from bantamweight to 122 pounds, still rates ahead of his big brother, Juan Manuel, who put such a hurting on Barrera in moving up from 126 to 130.

Joe Calzaghe, who has been virtually idling away his time since beating Jeff Lacy last year, is next at No. 6, followed by Jermain Taylor. It is interesting to note that these top 10 guys are next fighting refuse from that sad Contenders reality show. The mismatches of course will be on HBO.

Hopkins hangs in there at No. 8, followed by Barrera and Ricky Hatton, who is hanging by his fingernails to the top ten. He’ll need to look better than his post-Kostya Tszyu conquests if he is going to get by No. 11, Jose Luis Castillo.

At No. 12, there is the hardy perennial Joel Casamayor, followed by another old-timer, Sugar Shane Mosley and Mosley’s favorite sucker, Oscar de la Hoya. Joan Guzman, whom I would love to see fight Juan Manuel Marquez at 130 pounds, is next, followed by Diego Corrales, who is moving up two divisions to welterweight to take on the tough Joshua Clottey.

Chris John may not have deserved the hometown decision he got against Juan Manuel Marquez, but even if the Indonesian won only four or five rounds in that featherweight defense, he deserves inclusion at No. 17. Israel Vazquez, whose broken nose forced him to quit against Rafael Marquez, stays at No. 18.

Miguel Cotto remains at 19, followed by Nobuo Nashiro of Japan, who dethroned the capable 115-pound titlist, Martin Castillo.

Jorge Arce, who is moving to the 115-pound class, is No. 21 and the aforementioned Martin Castillo at 22. There is no great penalty on my list for losing to men higher ranked. So Jhonny Gonzalez, who lost to Israel Vazquez, who lost to Rafael Marquez, stays on at 23. Finally come two other guys who I can’t wait to drop because I’m too lazy to type their names. They are Pongsakelek Wonjongkam and Vic Darchinyan.

Well, it beats watching 43-year-old fighters who couldn’t punch much in their primes go through the motions, slowly.