Posted: Friday August 19, 2005 10:14AM; Updated: Friday August 19, 2005 11:24AM
By Richard O'Brien, SI.com
Heavyweight Power Rankings
Chris Byrd (38-2-1)
The IBF champ is an undersized, underpowered southpaw with the speed and boxing skills to give any heavyweight fits. He's also a really nice guy. Just the recipe for an utterly unmarketable champion.
Hasim Rahman (41-5-1)
Though far from electrifying in his win over Barrett, the former champ was in the best shape of his life and remains a very serious puncher. He will be a threat to Vitali Klitschko.
Vitali Klitschko (35-2)
The "big" Klitschko (6-foot-7, 250-pound) and WBC titleholder is an imposing figure in the ring, but he remains an awkward boxer. At 34, he's past the point of being the savior of the division. Rahman will be a very tough test.
John Ruiz (41-5-1)
As Roy Jones Jr. proved, the Quiet Man can be beaten by speed and movement, but he is as strong as anyone in the division and an accomplished infighter.
Lamon Brewster (32-2)
A real nice guy -- just like his cousin, Byrd. Brewster looked good in recent wins over Golota and Wladamir Klitschko. He is scheduled to face German contender Luan Krasniqi in September.
James Toney (68-4-2)
This is a guy who held the middleweight title 15 years ago. At 36 and about 230 pounds, Toney is a fighter who knows every move in the book. He beat Ruiz on a close decision in April but subsequently tested positive for a banned substance. The result was changed to a no-contest. Time is running out on Toney, who is slated to meet Dominick Guinn in October, but he remains a challenge for anybody in the division.
Samuel Peter (24-0)
Plenty of folks are looking to the undefeated 24-year-old Nigerian to be the next great heavyweight. Certainly Peter, who faces Wladimir Klitschko Sept. 24 in Atlantic City, N.J., can punch, as his spectacular two-round KO of Taurus Sykes last month demonstrated -- but he remains raw and untested.
Calvin Brock (26-0)
Undefeated, with wins over Jameel McCline and Clifford Etienne, but at 30, he is far from a young sensation. Has yet to be tested.
Wladimir Klitschko (44-3)
The other Klitschko. Big, but not as big; good, but not as good. His hour may have come and gone unless he can somehow stop Peter.
David Tua (43-3-1)
These are power rankings, right? Tua may be 32, just 5-foot-9½ and has lost already to Lewis and Byrd (and fought to a draw in 2003 with Rahman), but the Samoan strongman remains arguably the hardest puncher in the division. His left hook gives him a chance against anyone on this list.