After reading the recent ratings update by The Ring, I am reminded of my belief that The Ring's rating system lacks consistency and leaves room for politics, favoritism, bias, and possible "corruption"...a word that is often being thrown around in the sport today. Everyone in the sport is talking about what is bad for boxing right now. I think there are too many sanctioning bodies, and the process that is used by them for their own ratings systems are one of the bigger issues. I have always respected The Ring's rating system most out of all the ones available, but lately, I have been thinking that their system too has been inconsistent at times, and in my opinion, has possibly even shown bias. Particularly, in the case of Manny Pacquiao, who is a great fighter, but more importantly, the media darling. It seems in his case, he is always given the benefit of the doubt, while other fighters aren't necessarily allowed that same convenience.
In The Ring Ratings Update post on June 26, 2012, it mentioned that the panel considered flopping Lucas Matthysse's position at #6 on the junior welter charts with that of the #5 ranked Zab Judah, who he lost a very controversial decision to. This is what initially had me thinking about how The Ring has handled all these recent controversial decisions, so I did a little digging using the search tab on their web page to pull up some old Ratings Updates to see how things panned out. This is what I found:
- When Manny Pacquiao officially lost to Timothy Bradley, he remained at the same spot on the Pound For Pound charts, tied at #2 with Floyd Mayweather. He also remained ranked #1 at welterweight above Floyd Mayweather. This is all after Floyd Mayweather decisively and officially won against a tough 154-pound version of Miguel Cotto, who came to fight. Also, it was after Pacquiao came off of a controversial win against Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley stayed #1 at 140 pounds after this fight, and also charted in the 147 pound rankings.
In this case, the judges' offical decision was NOT "upheld".
- When Manny Pacquiao officially won against Juan Manuel Marquez in their third match up, that many, if not most, thought he lost, he kept his position at the top of the Pound for Pound chart in the #1 position over Floyd Mayweather. He also stayed ranked above Mayweather in the welterweight rankings in the #1 position, even though Mayweather was coming off a clear KO victory of Victor Ortiz in that weight division.
In this case, the judges' offical decision was "upheld".
- When Tavoris Cloud officially won a controversial decision that many thought he lost against Gabriel Campillo, he was dropped a spot in the 175-pound rankings to #3 and Campillo was raised two spots from #9 to #7.
In this case, the judges' official decision was "upheld".
- When Paul Williams officially beat Erislandy Lara, he dropped from #3 to #8 in the 154-pound rankings and Lara came in at #5.
In this case, the judges decision was NOT "upheld".
- When Devon Alexander officially won what many considered to be a "gift" decision against Lucas Matthysse, he held his spot on the 140-pound charts at #4 and Matthysse moved up two from #9 to #7.
In this case, the judges' decision was "upheld".
This write up was supposed to be about focus on consistency when it comes to rankings and to give a little food for thought on my personal opinion that some fighters, such as Manny Pacquiao, possibly gets special treatment when it comes The Ring's rankings. When it comes to changes to The Ring's ratings after fights with controversial decisions, the only consistency I have seen is the inconsistency of their decisions. My personal opinion is that unless corruption is proven, then the ratings panels should accept the official decisions of the judges of a fight. Otherwise, it simply leaves too much room for things like bias, favoritism, politics, and possible outright corruption to remain. This does not do the sport I love any justice. I've heard things like "corruption" thrown around a lot lately since the Pacquiao/Bradley situation, and it leaves me thinking that in all cases, we should have systems in place to try and leave as little room as possible for things of the sort. Favoritism, politics, and bias can be forms of corruption depending on the circumstance. I think The Ring needs to make an official decision on how they handle these situations and stick to their guns on it. Otherwise, it just looks too suspect to me, regardless of the panel's reasoning and explanation.
When it comes to the Floyd/Manny ratings debacle, it seems that The Ring has always given Manny the benefit of the doubt, whereas it has not with Floyd. My thoughts are this: Manny officially lost his last fight to Bradley, and had a very close controversial fight that he won, even though many thought he lost, with Marquez, an opponent that Mayweather easily shut out. Floyd has won all of his fights and has not had a close or controversial one in a very long time. In their last two fights, Floyd dominated both, while Manny did not. They both have fought similar opposition. To me, the answer is clear. Manny should not be ranked above Floyd on any chart based upon the facts of the situation, and before you go calling me a Floydiot or some other demeaning term, know that I'm simply bringing this up for what I believe to be conscious or subconscious bias/favoritism in the sport. For the better of the sport, this sort of stuff should be brought to the surface regardless of whether or not it happens with judges, referees, the media, and/or sanctioning bodies.
I would like to make a special note that I think most of the guys at The Ring are stand up people and do a lot for this great sport. I am merely suggesting that the system they use for rankings could possibly be improved upon in certain regards to controversial fights and things of the sort. This is not intended as a personal attack of their system or integrity, but simply the voice of a concerned boxing fan who values their position in the sport when it comes to the issue of fighter rankings.