The Ring (often called The Ring magazine or Ring magazine) is an American boxing magazine that was first published in 1922 as a boxing and wrestling magazine. As the sporting legitimacy of professional wrestling came more into question, The Ring shifted to becoming exclusively a boxing-oriented publication. The magazine is currently owned by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Enterprises division of Golden Boy Promotions, which acquired it in 2007.[1] Ring began publishing annual ratings of boxers in 1924. With its November/December 2022 issue, the magazine stopped publication of its regular monthly print issues and will remain a digital publication, offering occasional special interest print issues. [2]

The Ring
Cover of the first issue
Editor-in-ChiefDouglass Fischer
Former editorsNat Fleischer
CategoriesSports magazine
PublisherStefan Friedman
Founded1922; 102 years ago (1922)
CompanySports and Entertainment Publications, LLC
CountryUnited States
Based inLos Angeles, California
LanguageEnglish
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
ISSN0035-5410

History

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The Ring, founded and published by future International Boxing Hall of Fame member Nat Fleischer, has perpetrated boxing scandals, helped make unknown fighters famous worldwide, and covered boxing's biggest events of all time. Dan Daniel was a co-founder and prolific contributor to The Ring through most of its history.

Another founding partner was John L. "Ike" Dorgan (April 15, 1879–December 27, 1960), a bookbinder, boxing manager (for Harry Ebbets and Charles Francis "Frank" Moran, known as "The Fighting Dentist"), press agent (for boxing promoter George L. "Tex" Rickard),[3] and publicity manager for the Madison Square Garden. He remained with this influential publication until his retirement in 1930.[4]

The Ring refers to itself (and is referred to by others) as "The Bible of Boxing." During the Fleischer years, the contents page or indicia of every issue carried the claim: "The Ring is a magazine which a man may take home with him. He may leave it on his library table safe in the knowledge that it does not contain one line of matter either in the text or the advertisements which would be offensive. The publisher of The Ring guards this reputation of his magazine jealously. It is entertaining and it is clean."[5]

In 1972, following Fleischer's death, his son-in-law and managing editor Nat Loubet took over as publisher.[6] In 1977, Loubet launched three international editions of the magazine. The Spanish version, Ring En Español, was published in Venezuela and distributed to all Spanish-speaking countries and the United States (U.S.) until 1985. There was also a Japanese version published in Tokyo and a French version published in Paris.[citation needed]

In 1976, managing editor of The Ring Johnny Ort, fabricated records of selected boxers, and elevated their rankings, securing them lucrative fights on the American ABC television network, as part of the United States Championship Tournament orchestrated by promoter Don King.[7][8] The deception was uncovered by boxing writer Malcolm "Flash" Gordon and ABC staffer Alex Wallau and the United States Championship tournament was cancelled by ABC.[9][10][11]

In 1979, the magazine was purchased from Loubet by a group led by Dave DeBusschere and Bert Sugar took over as editor. In 1983 Sugar was succeeded by future New York boxing commissioner Randy Gordon. By 1984 the publication was reported to be over $1 million in debt and a number of top salaried employees, including Gordon, were let go. Nigel Collins of the Ring's defunct sister magazine Boxing Illustrated took over as editor.[12] In 1989 The Ring was purchased by Stanley Weston's G.C. London Publishing (later known as Kappa Publishing Group), which also published KO Magazine and a number of wrestling publications. KO senior writer Steve Farhood became The Ring's editor.[13] Weston was a sentimentalist and 52 years after joining The Ring magazine as a stock boy, Weston purchased the magazine that gave him his first job. He not only resurrected the magazine from its imminent collapse, he re-established the publication as the definitive source for boxing news. An outstanding boxing artist, Weston painted 57 covers for The Ring with his first cover, a painting of Billy Conn, for the December 1939 issue. Weston was also a photographer who, according to his own estimate, shot over 100,000 boxing photos‍—‌the majority of which are housed in the archives of The Ring magazine.

Sports and Entertainment Publications, LLC, a subsidiary of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Enterprises, acquired The Ring, KO Magazine, and World Boxing in 2007. The magazine's rankings are recognized as "official" by some in the U.S. media, particularly ESPN. While some may see a conflict of interest in a boxing promoter being paymaster of what is essentially a magazine/rankings organization that awards world titles and belts, De La Hoya says that is not the case. "These magazines will be held in an editorial trust where they will be operating totally independent of any influence from me or others from the Golden Boy Companies as it relates to editorial direction or content". Also there is a 35-member ratings advisory panel, which include many of the media that cover boxing, who would prevent Golden Boy Promotions from using the magazine for self gain.[14]

The Ring was headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania until 2011 when it was relocated to Los Angeles.[15]

The magazine had a sister publication named The Ring Wrestling which came about due to professional wrestling writer Bob Leonard contacting the magazine and expressing that it was too focused on boxing and not giving wrestling enough coverage. Nat Loubet served as the editor of the wrestling magazine as well.[16]

Cover art

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Some of the boxers featured on the magazine covers have included Tommy Ryan, Salvador Sánchez, Jack Dempsey, Pancho Villa, Max Schmeling, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta, Rocky Marciano, Willie Pep, Muhammad Ali, Alexis Argüello, Wilfred Benítez, Wilfredo Gómez, Roberto Durán, Larry Holmes, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bud Taylor, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Thomas Hearns, Naoya Inoue, Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Julio César Chávez, Félix Trinidad, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Mauro Mina and Ricardo Mayorga. In 1978, boxer Cathy "Cat" Davis became the first woman ever to be on a cover of The Ring, and she held the distinction of being the only woman featured on the cover of the magazine until January 2016, when Ronda Rousey joined her and also became the first mixed martial arts fighter featured on its cover.[17] The Ring has used cover artwork created by famed artists such as LeRoy Neiman and Richard T. Slone.

Controversies

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In their book Iron Ambition: My Life With Cus D'Amato, Mike Tyson and Larry Sloman, while depicting the rise of the International Boxing Club of New York and D'Amato's battle with the organization, allege that the magazine and its then-owner and editor-in-chief Nat Fleischer were under control of the IBC and the rankings were heavily favorable towards the fighters it controlled.[18]

In the 1970s, managing editor of The Ring Johnny Ort fabricated records of selected boxers to elevate them, thereby securing them lucrative fights on the American ABC television network, as part of the United States Championship Tournament,[19] orchestrated by promoter Don King.[8] The scandal was uncovered by boxing writer Malcolm "Flash" Gordon and ABC staffer Alex Wallau. After Gordon and Wallau's evidence was presented to ABC executive Roone Arledge, the United States Championship tournament was cancelled. The scandal would lead to the eventual resignation of New York State Boxing Commissioner James A. Farley Jr., who had lent his name to the Championship fights.[19]

World champions

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The Ring has its own championship belt in a given weight class where The Ring champion holds a lineal reign to the throne, the man who beat the man. The Ring began awarding championship belts in 1922. The first Ring world title belt was awarded to heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey and the second was awarded to flyweight champion Pancho Villa. The Ring stopped giving belts to world champions in the 1990s, then reintroduced their titles in 2002.

The Ring stated that their title was "intended to reward fighters who, by satisfying rigid criteria, can justify a claim as the true and only world champion in a given weight class".[20] It echoed many critics' arguments that the sanctioning bodies in charge of boxing championships had undermined the sport by pitting undeserving contenders against undeserving "champions" and forcing the boxing public to see mismatches for so-called "world championships". The Ring attempts to be more authoritative and open than the sanctioning bodies' rankings, with a page devoted to full explanations for ranking changes. A fighter pays no sanctioning fees to defend or fight for the title at stake, contrary to practices of the sanctioning bodies.

However, many boxing journalists complained that The Ring ignored the world championship lineage when they started awarding titles again. A controversy described by Cliff Rold of BoxingScene.com is for example, the "world" light-heavyweight title was considered vacant from the time Michael Spinks went up to heavyweight in 1985 until 1996. While the Cyber Boxing Zone and the International Boxing Research Organization considers Virgil Hill's defeat of Henry Maske (who were the two highest rated light-heavyweights) as the beginning of the new lineage,[21] The Ring awarded their newly reintroduced title to Roy Jones.[22] In 2002, The Ring editor, Nigel Collins, acknowledged that if their championship policy was in place in 1997, Dariusz Michalczewski, who defeated Hill, "probably would have been The Ring Champion."[23]

Under the original version of the championship policy, there were only two ways that a boxer could win The Ring's title: defeat the reigning champion; or win a box-off between the magazine's number-one and number-two rated contenders (or, sometimes, number-one and number-three rated). A vacant Ring championship was filled when the number-one contender in a weight-division battles the number-two contender or the number-three contender (in cases where The Ring determined that the number-two and number-three contenders were close in abilities and records). The ratings are compiled by the magazine's editorial board, with the participation of The Ring Ratings Panel of boxing journalists from around the world. A fighter could not be stripped of the title unless he lost, decided to move to another weight division, or retired.

In May 2012, citing the number of vacancies in various weight classes as primary motivation, The Ring unveiled a new championship policy. Under the new policy, The Ring title can be awarded when the No. 1 and No. 2 fighters face one another or when the No. 1 and 2 contenders choose not to fight one another and either of them fights No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5, the winner may be awarded The Ring belt. In addition, there are now seven ways for a fighter to lose his title:

  • The champion loses a fight in the weight class in which he is champion.
  • The champion moves to another weight class.
  • The champion does not schedule a fight in any weight class for 18 months.
  • The champion does not schedule a fight at his championship weight for 18 months (even if he fights at another weight).
  • The champion does not schedule a fight with a top five contender from any weight class for two years.
  • The champion retires.
  • The champion tests positive for a banned substance.[24]

Many media outlets and members are extremely critical of the new championship policy and state that if this new policy is followed The Ring title will lose the credibility it once held.[25][26][27] They then later changed the policy so vacant belts can only be awarded to the winner of No. 1 vs No. 2 or if No. 3 is deemed worthy by The Ring's editorial board.[28]

The purchase of The Ring magazine by Golden Boy Promotions in 2007,[29] the dismissal of editor-in-chief Nigel Collins and several editorial staff in 2011 and a series of questionable ratings decisions by the new editors[30][31] prompted many members of The Ring Ratings Advisory Panel to resign. This led to the formation of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board in 2012 headed by boxing historians Springs Toledo, Cliff Rold and Tim Starks.[32][33]

Golden Boy has publicized The Ring's World Championship when the title is at stake in fights it promotes (such as Joe Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones Jr. in 2008).[34]

Current champions

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Men's

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As of July 18, 2024.

Weight class Champion Date won
Strawweight Vacant
Junior flyweight Kenshiro Teraji November 1, 2022
Flyweight Vacant
Junior bantamweight Jesse Rodriguez June 29, 2024
Bantamweight Vacant
Junior featherweight Naoya Inoue December 26, 2023
Featherweight Vacant
Junior lightweight Vacant
Lightweight Vacant
Junior welterweight Teofimo Lopez June 10, 2023
Welterweight Terence Crawford July 29, 2023
Junior middleweight Jermell Charlo September 26, 2020
Middleweight Vacant
Super middleweight Canelo Álvarez December 19, 2020
Light heavyweight Vacant
Cruiserweight Jai Opetaia July 2, 2022
Heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk August 20, 2022

Women's

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As of 18 July 2024

Weight class Champion Date won
Atomweight Uninaugurated
Strawweight Seniesa Estrada March 25, 2023
Junior flyweight Uninaugurated
Flyweight Gabriela Celeste Alaniz April 27, 2024
Junior bantamweight Uninaugurated
Bantamweight Dina Thorslund September 1, 2023
Junior featherweight Uninaugurated
Featherweight Amanda Serrano September 24, 2022
Junior lightweight Alycia Baumgardner October 15, 2022
Lightweight Katie Taylor June 1, 2019
Junior welterweight November 25, 2023
Welterweight Lauren Price May 11, 2024
Junior middleweight Natasha Jonas November 12, 2022
Middleweight Claressa Shields April 13, 2019
Super middleweight Savannah Marshall July 1, 2023

Current #1 ranked fighters per weight class

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Note: The Ring champions are also noted as No. 1 fighters

Men's

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Weight class No. 1 ranked fighter
Strawweight Ginjiro Shigeoka
Junior flyweight Kenshiro Teraji
Flyweight Sunny Edwards
Junior bantamweight Jesse Rodriguez
Bantamweight Junto Nakatani
Junior featherweight Naoya Inoue
Featherweight Luis Alberto Lopez
Junior lightweight Emanuel Navarrete
Lightweight Gervonta Davis
Junior welterweight Teofimo Lopez
Welterweight Terence Crawford
Junior middleweight Jermell Charlo
Middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly
Super middleweight Canelo Álvarez
Light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev
Cruiserweight Jai Opetaia
Heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk

Women's

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Weight class No. 1 ranked fighter
Atomweight Tina Rupprecht
Strawweight Seniesa Estrada
Junior flyweight Jessica Nery Plata
Flyweight Gabriela Alaniz
Junior bantamweight Lourdes Juárez
Bantamweight Dina Thorslund
Junior featherweight Ellie Scotney
Featherweight Amanda Serrano
Junior lightweight Alycia Baumgardner
Lightweight Katie Taylor
Junior welterweight Katie Taylor
Welterweight Lauren Price
Junior middleweight Natasha Jonas
Middleweight Claressa Shields
Super middleweight Savannah Marshall

List of pound for pound #1 fighters

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As of July 18, 2024.

Keys:

  Current P4P #1
No. Name Weight Division(s) as #1 Date
1 Mike Tyson Heavyweight 1989 – January 1990
2 Julio César Chávez Junior welterweight January 1990 – September 1993
3 Pernell Whitaker
  • Welterweight
  • Junior middleweight
September 1993 – April 1997
4 Roy Jones Jr. Light heavyweight April – May 1997
5 Oscar De La Hoya Welterweight May 1997 – June 1999
6 Roy Jones Jr. (2) Light heavyweight June 1999 – June 2000
7 Shane Mosley Welterweight June 2000 – July 2002
8 Bernard Hopkins Middleweight July 2002 – November 2003
9 Roy Jones Jr. (3)
  • Light heavyweight
  • Heavyweight
November 2003 – June 8, 2004
10 Bernard Hopkins (2) Middleweight June 8, 2004 – July 18, 2005
11 Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • Junior welterweight
  • Welterweight
  • Junior middleweight
July 18, 2005 – June 9, 2008
12 Manny Pacquiao
  • Junior lightweight
  • Lightweight
  • Junior welterweight
  • Welterweight
  • Junior middleweight
June 9, 2008 – May 7, 2012
The Ring decided to vacate the pound-for-pound #1 rank and demoted Pacquiao to #2 that resulted in a tie with Mayweather Jr. because the members of the editorial board were unimpressed by Pacquiao's performance in his third fight with Juan Manuel Márquez, while Mayweather Jr. was not promoted to #1 because the board determined that he struggled in his fight against Miguel Cotto.[35]
13 Floyd Mayweather Jr. (2)
  • Welterweight
  • Junior middleweight
December 11, 2012 – September 15, 2015
14 Román González
  • Flyweight
  • Junior bantamweight
September 15, 2015 – March 21, 2017
15 Andre Ward Light heavyweight March 21 – September 26, 2017
16 Gennady Golovkin Middleweight September 26, 2017 – September 18, 2018
17 Vasiliy Lomachenko Lightweight September 18, 2018 – November 7, 2019
18 Canelo Álvarez
  • Middleweight
  • Super middleweight
  • Light heavyweight
November 7, 2019 – May 7, 2022
19 Oleksandr Usyk

Heavyweight

May 7 – June 11, 2022
20 Naoya Inoue

Bantamweight

June 11 – August 20, 2022
21 Oleksandr Usyk (2)

Heavyweight

August 20, 2022 – July 29, 2023
22 Terence Crawford

Welterweight

July 29, 2023 – May 6, 2024
23 Naoya Inoue (2)

Junior featherweight

May 6 – May 18, 2024
24 Oleksandr Usyk (3)

Heavyweight

May 18, 2024 – present

See also

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References

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  1. ^ Ivan G. Goldman (January 2012). "The Ring is Counted Out". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  2. ^ "Press release: The Ring Magazine Embraces Digital Future, Launching Monthly Electronic Edition". November 3, 2022.
  3. ^ Roberts, Randy. Jack Dempsey: The Manassa Mauler. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2003, p. 140. ISBN 978-0-252-07148-5
  4. ^ "Ike Dorgan" Archived October 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine in BoxRec (Boxing Records Archive) Boxing Encyclopaedia
  5. ^ Sports Illustrated, August 6, 1962.
  6. ^ Gordon, Randy "REMEMBERING THE ROCK & MR. BOXING", 'The Sweet Science", SEPT 6, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  7. ^ "A King-Size Scandal in The Ring". Time. May 2, 1977. Archived from the original on October 22, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Newfield, Jack Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King, Harbor Electronic Publishing, New York, 2003, page 115. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Cady, Steve (April 22, 1977). "ABC Backs Arledge Amid Boxing Inquiry - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "ABC Sports Names Ring Inquiry Head". The New York Times. April 20, 1977.
  11. ^ Boyle, Robert (May 2, 1977). "SOME VERY WRONG NUMBERS". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  12. ^ "Ring on Ropes". The New York Times. November 3, 1984.
  13. ^ Matthews, Wallace (August 31, 1989). "King-Cayton Bout Belongs in Court". Newsday.
  14. ^ "Golden Boy Promotions". Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  15. ^ Tim Starks (September 9, 2011). "The Ring Magazine Shakes Up Its Leadership". The Queensberry Rules. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  16. ^ Kreiser, Jamie. "Who is Bob Leonard?". canoe.com. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  17. ^ Rousey becomes first MMA fighter to land Ring Magazine cover Fox Sports. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  18. ^ Tyson, Mike; Sloman, Larry (2017). "Chapter 6". Iron Ambition: My Life With Cus D'Amato. Blue Rider Press.
  19. ^ a b "A King-Size Scandal in The Ring". Time. May 2, 1977. Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  20. ^ "About The Ring". The Ring. June 26, 2006. Archived from the original on February 21, 2006. Retrieved June 6, 2006.
  21. ^ "The Cyber Boxing Zone". cyberboxingzone.com.
  22. ^ Rold, Cliff. "Boxing's Lineal Mathematics: Champion Versus Champion II". Wail!. CBZ. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  23. ^ "Boxing News : The Disputed Light Heavyweight Champion of the World". maxboxing.com. Archived from the original on October 15, 2004.
  24. ^ "The Ring updates championship policy". Ring TV. May 3, 2012. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012.
  25. ^ "Chat with Dan Rafael". ESPN. Archived from the original on May 6, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  26. ^ Starks, Tim (May 4, 2012). "The Horrible New Ring Magazine Championship Policy". Queensberry Rules. Archived from the original on May 7, 2012.
  27. ^ Magno, Paul (May 4, 2012). "Ring Magazine's pretend rankings upgrade 'championship' policy". The Boxing Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "The Ring current championship policy".
  29. ^ "Golden Boy Enterprises' Subsidiary, Sports and Entertainment Publications, LLC, Acquires The Ring Magazine, KO, World Boxing and Pro Wrestling Illustrated". Golden Boy Promotions. September 12, 2007. Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
  30. ^ Cliff Rold (May 10, 2012). ""The Ring" Changes The Rules, Further Clouds Title Scene". Boxing Scene.
  31. ^ Springs Toledo (May 10, 2012). "Occupy the Ring". The Sweet Science. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016.
  32. ^ Gibson, Paul (February 2, 2015). "Boxing loses credibility with every new champion. Can the sport be saved?". The Guardian.
  33. ^ Starks, Tim (October 11, 2012). "The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board: An Opening Bell For Reform". The Queensberry Rules. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  34. ^ Kimball, George (April 27, 2008). "Calzaghe claim far from undisputed". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
  35. ^ Rosenthal, Michael (May 8, 2012). "Ring Ratings Update: Does Mayweather supplant Pacquiao atop Pound-for-Pound list?". The Ring. Archived from the original on May 10, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  36. ^ "Past winners of The Ring's year-end awards". The Ring. February 24, 2012. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
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