Rankings go up Mondays. We’ll once again have a two-week break, so no update on June 19, unless we get a major upset in the Prograis or Tszyu fights, then I’ll step in for a vital update.
Ranked fights this week:
Middleweight: (4) Carlos Adames vs Julian Williams, June 24
Junior Middleweight: (2) Tim Tszyu vs Carlos Ocampo, June 17
Junior Middleweight: (7) Erickson Lubin vs Luis Arias, June 24
Junior Welterweight: (1) Regis Prograis vs Danielito Zorrilla, June 17
Junior Featherweight: (5) Ra’eese Aleem vs (10) Sam Goodman, June 17
Junior Bantamweight: (2) Joshua Franco vs (4) Kazuto Ioka, June 24
Junior Bantamweight: (6) Fernando Martinez vs (10) Jade Bornea, June 24
Upcoming Fights: (5) Zhilei Zhang vs (9) Joe Joyce, Sept. 2 … (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs Daniel Dubois, TBA
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Callum Smith, Aug. 19
Notes: So here’s Big Mess No. 1. No. 2 is a division down.
Jaime Munguia and Sergiy Derevyanchenko fought at a full super middleweight, and there was even a WBC “Silver” title on the line! Now for the purposes of achievement, the “Silver” title means nothing. For the purposes of intent, though, it signals that Golden Boy and Munguia are looking to stay at 168, more likely than not. Even if the WBC target is Canelo at this weight — and Canelo has a massive grudge with Oscar De La Hoya — that’s a more possible target than Jermall Charlo and his held-hostage belt at 160, or even Carlos Adames if the WBC finally make that move.
Munguia showed me more in a tight, hard-fought win over a 37-year-old Derevyanchenko than he proved in every win of his career between Liam Smith and this one combined, with due respect to the Tureano Johnson fight in 2020. Munguia is far from flawless, but man is he tough, and man can he fight.
So Jaime’s in at No. 6. I expect some of you will disagree. I would again ask you who behind him has really done something better. So much better that you’re absolutely sure of it. I don’t see it with anyone. He might lose to those guys on the right night, but right now he’s coming off a good win.
Derevyanchenko is also in at No. 9. He once again almost pulled one out, then didn’t, but the man can still fight. All of his losses have been to quality fighters and he pretty much bowls over people beneath that level. He is the highest level gatekeeper you can find. It’s not the distinction he wants for his career, surely, but it’s something that will pass the test of time, I think.
(If Derevyanchenko or Munguia return to 160, we’ll deal with it then. None of this is of the world’s greatest importance; it is a discussion for us.)
Upcoming Fights: (5) Christian Mbilli vs TBA, Aug. 19
Yes, I know Felix Cash beat Denzel Bentley and is undefeated. But I have seen Cash’s last two fights. He did not look like a contender. At all.
I guess the winner of Esquiva Falcao vs Vincenzo Gualtieri on July 1 in Germany might take one of those last two spots, as it will be for the vacant IBF title, a perfect summary of what the middleweight division is in 2023.
Upcoming Fights: (4) Carlos Adames vs Julian Williams, June 24 … (5) Liam Smith vs (8) Chris Eubank Jr, July 1 … (7) Erislandy Lara vs Danny Garcia, Aug. 5
Notes: Taking Liam Smith out here. His last fight was at 160 and his next one will be, too, whenever he gets around to the Eubank rematch. Just tired of him having a spot in a division where he isn’t likely to fight this entire year and may never again. The better title opportunities are even at that wretched disaster that is 160.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Tim Tszyu vs Carlos Ocampo, June 17 … (7) Erickson Lubin vs Luis Arias, June 24
Notes: So we’ve finally got some fights lined up in this division again. More will follow. I’ve heard Keith Thurman vs Yordenis Ugas is on the table for very late summer/early fall.
Upcoming Fights: (5) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs (6) Eimantas Stanionis, July 8 … (3) Jaron Ennis vs (10) Roiman Villa, July 15 … (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (2) Terence Crawford, July 29
Notes: Well, well, well. Well! Teofimo Lopez is back in a prime position, has the WBO title, and I can’t see ranking him any lower than No. 2 in the class right now. I’m not suddenly convinced that Teofimo is the great Machiavellian boxer of our time, because I’m not sure what purpose a two-year long con of poor performances would serve, but for now, forget all that.
Teofimo Lopez went out there and delivered. I said in the second round he looked more settled than I’d seen in a couple years now. He wasn’t forcing anything. He wasn’t trying to do too much. He was boxing. He and Josh Taylor were nip-and-tuck for a few rounds, but Teofimo was very calm. And then starting in round four, I thought he flat took that fight over.
Josh Taylor isn’t blaming it and I don’t want anyone else to, either, because that wasn’t Taylor being “rusty.” Taylor was also fine out of the gate. Teofimo made adjustments. Taylor did not. Taylor by the eighth round or so just couldn’t get a thing going against Lopez, and Teofimo started feeling it again. He was faster, sharper, slicker, smarter, and better, period. That’s what happened in that fight, and Lopez deserves the credit.
Taylor drops to No. 7, and might not even entirely deserve to be there. Listen, he lost to Jack Catterall 16 months ago. I know what the BoxRec says officially, but he lost. We all know he lost. I think, honestly, Taylor had his prime, and now he is 32 years old and just lost a little something. Losing a little something is often the difference between “really good” and “great,” and another little something is the difference between “good” and “really good,” and the next little something, etc.
Josh will probably move up to 147. He says he’d like a Lopez rematch, and I would imagine he’d take that, but he also seems resigned to the idea that no, Lopez isn’t going to offer one, and I doubt there will be much demand.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Regis Prograis vs Danielito Zorrilla, June 17
Upcoming Fights: (6) George Kambosos Jr vs Maxi Hughes, July 22
Upcoming Fights: (3) Oscar Valdez vs (4) Emanuel Navarrete, Aug. 12
Upcoming Fights: (3) Robeisy Ramirez vs Satoshi Shimizu, July 25
Upcoming Fights: (5) Ra’eese Aleem vs (10) Sam Goodman, June 17 … (1) Stephen Fulton Jr vs Naoya Inoue, July 25 … (9) Liam Davies vs Jason Cunningham, July 29
Upcoming Fights: (1) Nonito Donaire vs (9) Alexandro Santiago, July 15 … (2) Emmanuel Rodriguez vs Melvin Lopez, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (2) Joshua Franco vs (4) Kazuto Ioka, June 24 … (6) Fernando Martinez vs (10) Jade Bornea, June 24
Notes: I don’t even care if you all hate my best friend Sunny Edwards because you finally watched him fight when he wasn’t hidden away on some goofy Probellum live stream, but it’s just funny to me how—
Look, I hear you. But I think Sunny still deserves to be called No. 1 in the division until someone beats him or someone does something better than what he’s done. He wants Bam Rodriguez! Bam says he wants it! Let’s do it!
Upcoming Fights: (9) Taku Kuwahara vs Wulan Tuolehazi, July 11
Notes: Carlos Canizales picked up a technical decision win over Daniel Matellon on Friday in Buenos Aires. Looking at the state of the division, it’s time to stop punishing Canizales for getting caught against Esteban Bermudez in 2021. He was winning the fight and it happened, it happened for real, but Canizales is probably the biggest actual threat to Kenshiro Teraji in this division, as much as I respect Jonathan Gonzalez. Styles make fights and all that, and the win over Matellon was a good one.
Upcoming Fights: (5) Sivenathi Nontshinga vs (10) Regie Suganob, TBA
Notes: Where is the marketing push for the Shigeokas and Collazo as the three young rising kings of the division? Enough with these grandpa 32-year-old Freshmarts and their busted old asses! Pradabsri, by the way, now has a June 28 fight set with Norihito Tanaka. He fought Tanaka last August, too. He won 116-112, 118-110, and 119-109. Neither have fought since.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Panya Pradabsri vs Norihito Tanaka, June 28
Notes: Claressa Shields was Classic Claressa on June 3, beating Maricela Cornejo easily, talking up her great power and all but promising a knockout, only to never come very close no matter what The Very Excitable DAZN Crew said.
Is Claressa truly the best P4P fighter in the sport? I think so, but at least one or two of you have expressed some doubts, and I do get it. The level of competition she faces is just not the level of competition there is at the sub-154 weights. Frankly it isn’t close. 154 and above, there’s basically Claressa, Savannah Marshall, and Franchon Crews-Dezurn. And how good are the latter two? There are other good fighters, yes, like Natasha Jonas and Terri Harper at 154, but they are 130 lb fighters in an otherwise awful weight class, poaching belts because they were there, vacant or held by also-rans who simply can’t box with them. I’m gonna be real with you, Katie Taylor could pop up to 154 and win some belts, too. So could Mikaela Mayer. Amanda Serrano could add more trinkets if she wanted.
Claressa has gone undisputed at 154 and 160 (twice) and might well do so next at 168 — a division she dominated out the gate as a pro — if she fights the Crews-Dezurn vs Marshall winner in a rematch, which may or may not happen. If she insists on Detroit, it will be up to her team to pay Marshall, and I don’t know that they can really afford it with the gate there — they drew a nice crowd, just under 12K for the Cornejo fight, but 12K in Detroit is not equal to 12K in London for money generated. DAZN might have to prop that up, and to be honest, do it! You’ve propped up worse fights for more money.
Upcoming Fights: (10) Savannah Marshall vs Franchon Crews-Dezurn, July 1 … (5) Alycia Baumgardner vs Christina Linardatou, July 15 … (4) Amanda Serrano vs Heather Hardy, Aug. 5