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BLH P4P: Beterbiev and Teraji impress as 2024 gets moving

We had a bit of pound-for-pound action in January, and a bit coming to consider this month.

Without further ado, a look at the February pound-for-pound list.

February 2024

The voters: Scott Christ, Wil Esco, John Hansen, Patrick Stumberg, and Lewis Watson

Others Receiving Votes: Jaron “Boots” Ennis 5, Junto Nakatani 3, David Benavidez 2

Scott Christ

(1) Terence Crawford, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Artur Beterbiev, (6) Canelo Alvarez, (7) Devin Haney, (8) Gervonta Davis, (9) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (10) Kenshiro Teraji

Artur Beterbiev moves up a bit for me, various reasons for that but even without one of those, he would have moved up for me to at least the fifth spot from No. 6 last month. His win over Callum Smith was punishing and typical Beterbiev. He just keeps being Beterbiev.

Kenshiro Teraji is back in for me after a really good win over Carlos Canizales. The fact that he didn’t DOMINATE! does not give me pause, it gives me confidence that he is, in fact, this good, because Canizales is a good fighter. It’s actually far more impressive to win a competitive fight against a credible foe than bowl over some no-hoper with nothing to offer.

Gervonta Davis drops a few spots for me. I change my mind on things from time to time about these things, and this is one of those times. I really do think Gervonta is a top-tier talent, but he’s done nothing in boxing since the Garcia fight last April, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to do anything particularly interesting other than the occasional Tweet on X.

Wil Esco

(1) Terence Crawford, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Artur Beterbiev, (6) Jaron “Boots” Ennis, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Devin Haney, (9) Gervonta Davis, (10) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez

Call it recency bias or what have you, but although I’ve long been a fan of Artur Beterbiev and expected him to handle business against Callum Smith, I was still sufficiently impressed in that manner he did so, enough to bump him up a couple spots on my list, anyway. Beterbiev’s days have to be numbered, one would think. I mean, he is 39 years old now. But he’s looked as good as he ever has.

The only thing left is a showdown with Dmitry Bivol, and things are looking positive on that front.

John Hansen

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Terence Crawford, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Artur Beterbiev, (6) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (7) Devin Haney, (8) Kenshiro Teraji, (9) David Benavidez, (10) Junto Nakatani

Only one change for me, I’m finally dropping Errol Spence out. I still think he’s that good, and that’s why the Crawford win was so impressive. But, with another eye surgery that will keep him out for who knows how long, I’ll go ahead and open up the spot for someone else.

Junto Nakatani slides in at No. 10. I’m with Patrick in thinking he’s really something special, and that he’s about three weeks away from becoming a threedivision champion. I’d love to see guys like David Morrell and Subriel Matias get active enough against solid enough competition to justify their inclusion here, but I’m not holding my breath for an uptick in PBC fight volume given what we’ve seen and heard so far in their Amazon Prime era.

Patrick Stumberg

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Terence Crawford, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Canelo Alvarez, (5) Dmitry Bivol, (6) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (7) Artur Beterbiev, (8) Devin Haney, (9) Junto Nakatani, (10) Kenshiro Teraji

Beterbiev had less trouble than expected against Callum Smith and Teraji had slightly more trouble than expected against Carlos Canizales, but I wouldn’t call that sufficient cause to change their respective rankings.

February seems like a much more promising month in terms of movement, with two top-10 fighters and a borderline guy in Jai Opetaia all in action over the span of a week. Let’s hope things get more volatile than they were last year.

Lewis Watson

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Terence Crawford, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Devin Haney, (5) Artur Beterbiev, (6) Dmitry Bivol, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (9) Kenshiro Teraji, (10) Gervonta Davis

Beterbiev jumps up to fifth after a dominating display over Callum Smith, leapfrogging Bivol who I now believe he beats. Think of this match-up as the semi-final to who will go on to advance and join the three at the top of the pile who are still pretty interchangeable at present.

Teraji was made to work by Canizales in a tight MD win, but doesn’t suffer in the rankings because of this. He got the W, took some heat and underlined his position as one of the sport’s most exciting fighters. He’s fought three times at the top level in nine months, so is probably due some time off before a 16th light-flyweight world championship fight on the spin.

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