Monday, December 31, 2018

Top Ten Pound-For-Pound

Here's my pound-for-pound list. I take into account ability and accomplishment. The previous list was posted on October 6, 2018.

1. Vasiliy Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs) [1]
2. Saul Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) [2]
3. Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) [3]
4. Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) [4]
5. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41 KOs) [5]
6. Naoya Inoue (17-0, 16 KOs) [7]
7. Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) [6]
8. Olexandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) [10]
9. Errol Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) [8]
10. Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) [9]

Lomachenko moved up to lightweight in 2018 and beat two of the better guys in the division. Hopefully 2019 brings a super-fight for Loma.

Canelo maintained the legitimate middleweight championship with a win over GGG in September and the former welterweight beat a top ten super middleweight with ease two months later.

I thought Golovkin won the first fight with Canelo, but I thought Canelo deserved a close decision last September. Both guys showed they were among the best boxers in the world in both fights.

Crawford stopped the undefeated but untested Jose Benavidez in October. Crawford's best win was in 2016 against Viktor Postol to become the legitimate junior welterweight champion. But the supremely talented Crawford has mostly feasted on a certain class of fighter. Hopefully he fights a top welterweight soon.

SSR, the legitimate super flyweight champion, places #5 on this list due to his two wins over Chocolatito and his victory against Juan Francisco Estrada. There aren't a lot of boxers who have three wins so recently as good as those.

Inoue is blowing his opposition away. In two 2018 fights, Inoue didn't see the second round. He destroyed Juan Carlos Payano, his World Boxing Super Series foe, in the opening round in October. Payano has a win and a close loss against 3-time Olympian Rau'shee Warren.

Santa Cruz has a win over and a close loss to Carl Frampton and two victories against Abner Mares. He's beaten a lot of fighters one notch below as well. A big featherweight fight in 2019 would do wonders for his ranking.

Usyk, the undisputed cruiserweight champion, already has amassed a solid resume. Wins over Glowacki, Gassiev, Briedis, and Michael Hunter were all impressive. In November, he stopped Tony Bellew.

Spence faces Mikey Garcia in March. It's a bit of a no-win situation for Spence, who is the naturally bigger man. An impressive win against Garcia should keep him where he is on the top ten list. Anything less could hurt his standing. Despite his undeniable talent, Spence's resume isn't as full as some other top guys.

Garcia is taking on a herculean task of facing Errol Spence. Garcia has a lot of wins over good fighters, but no signature win. A win over Spence would vault him up the rankings.

Honorable Mentions:
Gvozdyk's stoppage of Adonis Stevenson for the legitimate light heavyweight championship put him into contention for the top ten. He had a nice win over Isaac Chilemba and a few over guys just a step below Chilemba, but his resume is a bit thinner than those above. He's in a rich division and another win against a top 5 guy will surely force his inclusion in the top ten.

The winner of Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev in February will warrant consideration in the top ten. Hopefully the winner will be an opponent for Gvozdyk in the near future.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

World Leader Power Rankings: Year in Review

Below are the power rankings for world leaders for the overall year. Some explanation of the chart is probably necessary. In this the first year of the World Leader Power Rankings, there were ten top ten lists. 28 world leaders from 27 countries made the list at some point this year. Xi Jianping swept the top spot; Asia countries in general were well-represented.

The "Score" is based on the leaders' ranking on those lists- 10 points for a 1st place finish on a list and so on, then the total score divided by 10. "on List" is the number of times a leader made the top ten list. Only Xi, Kim, and Putin made the top ten list each time. "High" is the leader's highest rank on any one list and "low" is the lowest rank. Since only three leaders made the list each time, the other leaders' low was off the list indicated by a dash.

Rank Leader Country Score On List High Low
1 Xi Jiangping China 10 10 1 1
2 Kim Jong-un North Korea 8.1 10 2 6
3Vladimir Putin Russia 6.1 10 2 10
4 Moon Jae-in South Korea 4.8 8 3 -
5Ali Khamenei Iran 4.7 7 3 -
6Emmanuel Macron France 3.7 6 3 -
7Mohammed bin Salman Saudi Arabia 3 7 4 -
8Donald TrumpUnited States 2.7 9 6 -
9 Abiy Ahmed Ethiopia 1.9 4 5 -
10Theresa May United Kingdom 1.4 2 2 -
11 Narendra Modi India 1.3 3 5 -
12 Benjamin Netanyahu Israel 1 2 4 -
13 Abdul el-SisiEgypt 0.8 2 7 -
14 Angela Merkel Germany 0.7 2 7 -
15 Lee Hsien Loong Singapore 0.7 1 4 -
16 Shinzo Abe Japan 0.6 1 5 -
17 Paul Kagame Rwanda 0.6 2 6 -
18 Recep Erdogan Turkey 0.6 2 8 -
19 Sauli Niinisto Finland 0.4 2 9 -
20 Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Croatia 0.4 1 7 -
21 Mahathir Mohamad Malaysia 0.3 2 9 -
22 Carlos Alvarado Costa Rica 0.3 1 8 -
23 Justin Trudeau Canada 0.2 1 9 -
24 Abdullah II Jordan 0.2 1 9 -
25 Hassan Rouhani Iran 0.2 1 9 -
26 Pedro Sanchez Spain 0.1 1 10 -
27 Imran Khan Pakistan 0.1 1 10 -
28 Muhammadu Bahari Nigeria 0.1 1 10 -

1. China was indisputably the most influential country in 2018 as the United States looked inward. Many countries jumped at the chance to do business with China, and Xi consolidated his power within his party this year.

2. Kim transformed his international image from crazy despot to a shrewd and legitimate leader on the world stage. For some reason, the hundreds of thousands of people in concentration camps and the rampant starvation inside North Korea didn't matter as much in 2018.

3. Putin oversees an autocratic kleptocracy in Russia. But he won an election convincingly in 2018 and had the President of the United States eating out of his hand.

4. Though his popularity in South Korea started to turn downward a bit, Moon's relentless efforts toward peace ont he Korean peninsula were tremendously admirable/

5. Aytollah Khamenei and the hardliners inside Iran were emboldened when the United States pulled out of the JCPoA rendering the moderates' attempts at rapprochement with the West a waste of time.

6. Macron did his damnedest to uphold the liberal order and seemed to be succeeding early in 2018. But by the end, Macron was forced to concede on some of his domestic principles as protesters filled the streets. His efforts to keep the United States in the JCPoA and the Paris Climate Accords failed.

7. MBS was initially touted as a reformer inside of Saudi Arabia and a player on the international stage. The U.S. turned even more pro-Saudi and anti-Iran in 2018. But by the end of the year, MBS's reformer image largely dissipated, his war in Yemen was an utter disgrace, and he became a pariah after ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

8. Despite leading the most power country in the world, Trump has done everything in his power to erode the United States's credibility and prestige on the world stage. His foreign policy is a mishmash of ideas from whomever was the last person he talked to on a given day. he seems to have committed crimes as a presidential candidate and many of his advisers have pleaded guilty during the ongoing Mueller investigation. According to the country's preeminent journalist and an anonymous senior adviser, his advisers within the administration actively work to thwart his most dangerous impulses. Now part of the American government is shutdown because Congress won't fund a wall on the border with Mexico that he promised Mexico would pay for.

9. Ahmed has begun to transform Ethiopia into a more liberal and democratic country. He's faced assassination attempts in doing so, so you know he's on the right track. Ahmed's leadership has been a rare bit of good news in 2018.

10. Theresa May managed to crack the top ten despite having an even worse year than Donald Trump. He had a good week when she stood up to Putin after it was determined the Russians poisoned people on British soil. But Brexit has been a disaster and she nearly was outed from office over her proposed deal. Britain continues to make themselves less relevant under May's watch.

11. Modi oversees an improving economy in India, but he couldn't seem to stay on the top ten list consistently because of his Hindu nationalist ideology. India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, and Modi's record with Muslims has been poor.

12. Netanyahu briefly entered the top ten when Trump backed out of the Iran nuclear deal. It was a win for Netanyahu, but a loss for Israel as it made an Iranian nuclear bomb an inevitable reality. he also managed to convince Trump to shift the embassy to Jerusalem in order to stir the pot a bit.

13. Sisi's main highlight from 2018 were that goofy orb picture with MBS and Trump, winning an election with 105% of the vote (+/- 8%), and according to a report, overseeing a  populace that actually believes the government has the best interest of the people at heart.

14. Merkel didn't have a good year. Her battle in favor of immigrants finally seemed to sap her political capital. She announced that this would be her last term as German chancellor.

15. Lee's moment in the sun came when Trump and Kim met face to face in Singapore.

16. Trump still believes it's the 1980s and is taking out his anti-Japanese fervor on Abe. But Abe managed to forge a major trade deal with the EU int he summer.

17. Kagame is a technocratic autocrat. Rwanda has one of the highest female representation in parliament in the world. You don't want to get on his bad side, but he won't drop you into a tank of man-eating sharks or anything.

18. Erdogan has become more dictatorial as the Turkish economy plummets. But he's trying to help refugees and stood up to MBS during the Khashoggi murder.

19. Niinisto made the list twice. he hosted the summit between Trump and Putin and then later denied that Finland prevents forest fires with rakes.

20. Grabar-Kitarovic entered the global stage during the World Cup. She came across has a humble and passionate advocate for Croatia.

21. Mahathir became the oldest leader in the world this year, he also tried to stamp out corruption in Malaysia.

22. Alvarado became president of Costa Rica this year and is hoping to push through tax reforms.

23. Trudeau seemed posed to take command of the liberal order, but a couple of minor gaffes hurt his standing. he stood up to Saudi Arabia briefly putting him in the top ten.

24. Abdullah II was honored as an advocate for inter-religious harmony and peace.

25. Rouhani and the Iranian moderates managed to improbably find some common ground between the United States and the Persian nation. But Rouhani was neutered when Trump tore up the JCPoA and emboldened the Revolutionary guard and its allies.

26. Sanchez allowed a ship filled with refugees into Spain, which gave some hope that he would take over the pro-immigrant lead in Europe.

27. Imran Khan completed his unlikely journey from cricketer to Pakistan's prime minister in 2018. As with every Pakistani prime minister, he came in with high hopes behind him which were quickly dashed.

28. Many people in Nigeria believed President Buhari had died and was replaced be a look alike. Turns out he's alive.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Apples and Oranges

People say "it's like apples and oranges, you can't compare," but they're wrong. You don't have to peel an apple. I've never had orange sauce. No one eats orange pie. Apples are better.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

New NFL Division Format Proposal

The NFL should have 4 division, two in each conference. That would prevent the possibility of the 2nd best team getting the 5th seed and starting out on the road and weak division winners from getting a home game when sometimes they shouldn't even make the playoffs.

In the AFC, the East and North merge and the South and West meld. Teams still play their current intra-division rivals twice and their new division rivals once. They play 2 teams from the other division and 4 from the other conference and two from the same Int he NFC, the East and South become a division and the North and West.

Current AFC standings 
1) KC 11-3
2) Hou 10-4
3) NE 9-5
4) Pit 8-5-1
5) LAC 11-3
6) Bal 8-6

AFC in New Format
1) KC 11-3
2) NE 9-5
3) LAC 11-3
4) Hou 10-4
5) Pit 8-5-1
6) Bal 8-6

The current standings are absurd. The one ssue with the new format is the AFC NorthEast is unusually weak this year, so New England would be seeded ahead of two worse teams. Houston would prefer the current format, but it's certainly fairer for Los Angeles. In the Wild Card round, the home teams would have better records in the new format, but not int he current format. Pittsburgh, which is two and half games behind the Chargers, would actually get a home game against them.

Current NFC standings 
1) NO 12-2
2) LAR 11-3
3) Chi 10-4
4) Dal 8-6
5) Sea 8-6
6) Min 7-6-1

NFC in New Format
1) NO 12-2
2) LAR 11-3
3) Chi 10-4
4) Sea 8-6
5) Dal 8-6
6) Min 7-6-1

The only difference is Seattle moves ahead of Dallas because they beat the Cowboys in week 3. But the playoff race would be far more competitive in the new format. Right now there is one division race in the NFC and the Wild Card race is a bit stunted.

In the new format Chicago and LA would be battling for the NorthWest crown. Dallas would be part of the Wild Card race. Seattle and Minnesota would be fighting with Dallas for a home playoff game. As of now, the best Seattle and Minnesota can hope for is a road playoff game int he Wild Card round, even if they finish ahead of whoever comes out of the East.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Power Rankings of World Leaders

Here's the new power rankings of world leaders. The last one was posted on November 19.

Rank Leader Country Previous Rank
1 Xi Jiangping China 1
2 Kim Jong-un North Korea 6
3 Moon Jae-in South Korea 7
4 Ali Khamenei Iran 4
5Abiy Ahmed Ethiopia 5
6Paul Kagame Rwanda Nor Ranked
7Vladimir Putin Russia 2
8Carlos AlvaradoCosta Rica Not Ranked
9 King Abdullah Jordan Not Ranked
10Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria Not Ranked

There are some new names on the list as some familiar faces have had their share of trouble lately.

1. While Britain's Theresa May barely clings to power for now as Brexit plans become a horrific disaster, and Emmanuel Macron's principles and policies crumble in the face of protests, and there are increasing calls for Angela Merkel to leave power in Germany, and Saudi Arabia's MBS has turned himself into an international pariah, and it appears Donald Trump won't be President of the United States much longer, Xi Jianping maintains his firm grip on power even increasing China's influence in Latin America right under Trump's nose.

2. Despite being a brutal autocrat, Kim's international profile has transformed into that of a shrewd reformer... because this is the world we now live in.

3. Moon's popularity within South Korea has decreased somewhat lately due to a slight economic downturn, but his continued determination to thaw relations with his neighbor to the north fosters hope for a more peaceful world.

4. The Ayatollah remains relevant because of warmongers in Washington DC and Riyadh. Those same warmongers are on sinking ships in their own lands and are hoping to instigate Iran in order to save themselves. All they're doing is helping to prop up a stale regime by granting it viable scapegoats.

5. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia is attempting to institute political and economic reforms in transitioning the country into a liberal democracy. He's already survived an assassination attempt doing so.

6. Kagame is an autocrat who won nearly 100% of the vote in his third presidential election victory. But the courts recently dropped charges against a political opponent of Kagame's. He has turned Rwanda into a bastion of economic growth since the genocide and, despite the off-putting name, won a couple of "African of the Year" awards from different organizations.

7. Putin greeted MBS, fresh of his killing of Washington Post reporter Jamel Khashoggi, like they were old bros at the recent G20 summit. Putin can relate to murderers of journalists. Vlad exposed himself as a clown in the greeting. His country's economy is crumbling as he and his minions plunder his nation's wealth. But, he is the overlord of the United States, the wealthiest country in the world, so that should count for something.

8. Alvarado runs a democracy in Central America and is currently trying to push through tax legislation. Whether he succeeds or not, it's just nice to write something fairly normal about a president's agenda. As far as I know, Alvarado didn't pay off porn stars to keep quiet ahead of his election victory and didn't collaborate with the Russians to achieve said victory.

9. King Abdullah of Jordan recently won the Templeton Prize for his efforts to foster religious harmony. UN Secretary General Andres Guterres called Abdullah a messenger for peace and an outstanding statesmen. President Trump's own lawyers have called Trump a crook and "a fucking liar." So score one for Abdullah.

10. For the first time since World War II, a U.S. president has failed to crack the top ten on this list (Ok, so the list only started this year, but if I had been doing this list since World War II, then my statement would be true. Even during Watergate, Nixon probably would've been no lower than 5.)

Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari makes the list for the first time because he's not dead. There were rumors that Buhari had died and was replaced by a lookalike, but it turns out he just needed to travel to Europe for medical treatment. He hasn't lived up to expectations battling corruption or Boko Haram, but he's alive and, well, that's something.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Top 10 Boxing Nations

Below is a list of the best current boxing nations. This is my first list of this nature.

Rank Nation Top 10 Champs 5 Star Best 
1 United States 4 1 28Crawford
2 Ukraine 2 2 5Lomachenko
3 England 0 0 17Joshua
4 Mexico 1 1 10Canelo
5 Russia 0 0 6Kovalev
6 Japan 1 0 7Inoue
7 Puerto Rico 0 0 3Machado
8 Cuba 0 1 4Rigondeaux
9 Philippines 0 0 4Pacquiao
10 Thailand 1 1 3SSR

Top 10: number of boxers from stated nation that are on my top 10 p4p list (as of Oct 6)
Champs: number of champions recognized by the Transnational Boxing Rankings (6 total)
5 Star: number of boxers who have 5 stars on BoxRec (take with a grain of salt, just meant to show a trend, nothing definitive.)
Best: In my opinion

1. The U.S. is still king even with the retirements of Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather.

The U.S. has the most top 10 fighters and the most 5 star fighters. The country dominates the middle weight classes from 140 to 160 but is represented in all but the smallest weight classes. Just outside of the top 10 p4p list are Americans Shawn Porter, Gary Russell, Danny Jacobs, and Regis Prograis. The U.S. has plenty of hot prospects coming up including Shakur Stevenson. Las Vegas and New York are still the preeminent fight towns in the world. But the rest of the world is catching up.

2. Ukraine has had a number of decorated amateurs blow through the pro ranks. Lomachenko is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Usyk and Gvozdyk are both recognized champions at cruiserweight and light heavyweight respectively. Ukraine basically has 3 top 10 fighters. Derevyanchenko is just a class below and there are several prospects coming up. The best Ukrainian fighters range in weight from lightweight on up.

3. England has three of the best four heavyweights. Super middleweight is another class of English domination. Half of TBR's 168 top 10 are from England including Callum Smith who just won last season's World Boxing Super Series.

4. While Canelo isn't the only high-level Mexican fighter, he is the clear standout. Miguel Berchelt, Luis Nery, Jaime Munguia, and Rey Vargas are the best of the rest. There aren't many Mexican fighters above 168. Between 115 and 130 is the sweet spot.

5. Russia looks to be moving up the list despite Kovalev suffering 3 recent loses. Cruiserweight and light heavweight are Russia's best weight classes. Though they haven't yet surpassed Kovalev in my book, Bivol and Beterbiev are on their way at 175.

6. Naoya Inoue won impressively since he made my top 10 list in October. He's the cream of the crop in Japan, but there are other strong guys including his brother. Almost all of them are 122 pounds or under.

7. Puerto Rico is an American territory, but treated as a separate nation in the context of boxing. Down from its heyday, Puerto Rico is nevertheless still churning out some good ones. Felix Verdejo suffered an upset loss earlier this year, so Emmanuel Rodriguez takes the mantle as the island's best prospect. He's in tough against Inoue in his next fight in the WBSS. Jose Pedraza faces Lomachenko tomorrow night, so it could be a defining couple of months for the direction of Puerto Rican boxing. Currently Puerto Rico is mostly represented in the lighter weight classes.

8. The top Cuban fighters- Rigondeaux, Lara, Ortiz, Barrera, Gamboa, Dorticos, Perez, and Rances Barthelemy- have all suffered losses in the not too distant past. Those losses have dimmed the star a bit of the once great hype surrounding the decorated Cuban amateurs defecting and going pro. Rigondeaux is still a fringe top 10 guy if he can bounce back from a loss to Lomachenko at a much higher weight than he's used to. Good Cuban fighters can be found from heavyweight on down to about 122.

9. Filipino boxing isn't at its zenith. Pacquiao is still relevant but no long dominant. Ancajas hasn't yet reached his potential. Donnie Nietes has always been good, but looked a little old last time out. On the other hand, Nonito Donaire has a chance to resurrect his career thanks to an injury to his opponent midway through his WBSS fight. Pacquiao is the heaviest Filipino fighter of note.

10. Thailand reaches the top 10 thanks to SSR's two wins over Roman Gonzalez last year and his follow-up victory over Estrada to cement his place in the top 10 p4p list. The two other 5 star boxers are minimum weight guys with mostly built up records.