Rankings go up Mondays. We’ll once again have a two-week break, so no update on July 3. It will also be a pretty lean update on July 10, but it’s significant at 147.
Ranked fights the next two weeks:
Welterweight: (5) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs (6) Eimantas Stanionis, July 8
Welterweight: (3) Jaron Ennis vs (10) Roiman Villa, July 8
Junior Featherweight: (3) Luis Nery vs Froilan Saludar, July 8
Minimumweight: (1) Panya Pradabsri vs Norihito Tanaka, June 28
Women’s P4P: (10) Savannah Marshall vs Franchon Crews-Dezurn, July 1
Upcoming Fights: (5) Zhilei Zhang vs (9) Joe Joyce, Sept. 2 … (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs Daniel Dubois, TBA
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Notes: I’m instituting a new rankings rule that if you miss weight just awful bad, just horrendously, don’t even get remotely anywhere near what you needed, whether a fight went on or not, you lose your rankings spot in the division. Firm but fair, I think, and coming on the heels of the Joshua Franco debacle this past weekend.
Retroactively, that means Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez is out for his own “not even close” issue in March, when a fight with Gabriel Rosado got canceled. Now listen, I could have changed my mind on this when Franco retired — which removes him anyway — but I’m sticking to it because I think it’s fair.
In at No. 10 is — my heavens — Michael Eifert, the light-punching German who pretty well dominated Grandpa Jean Pascal in March. I don’t know that Eifert is all that great or all that good, but he is in a mandatory position and he did what was asked of him. The one loss he has on his record was a majority decision against a decent fighter and he evened that score by beating Tom Dzemski in a rematch, also by majority decision.
I think Ali Izmailov might be better, but Izmailov wasn’t exactly great and was pretty easily frustrated in his ShoBox win over Charles Foster on June 9. Past that, this is another division badly in need of new blood. A lot of hang-around veterans were also potential choices: Mathieu Bauderlique, Don King Presents Ahmed Elbiali, Robin Krasniqi, Fanlong Meng, Igor Mikhalkin, and so on. There are other guys like Joe Ward and Steven Nelson and Jerome Pampellone who just don’t have a win like Eifert’s over even a very aged Pascal.
I strongly considered Andre Dirrell, and truth be told, I think the Andre Dirrell we’ve seen in his last two fights would beat about half this list. But the question with Dirrell is how much he’s really “back” vs how much he is “occasionally going to fight for a paycheck.”
But even if it’s short-lived, and even if it’s a case of a jumbled division with two clear top dogs and a bunch of chasers, hey, I think Michael Eifert deserves it right now.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Callum Smith, Aug. 19
Notes: I was watching Edgar Berlanga with intent on Saturday. I thought, listen, if he looks really sharp, really impresses, there’s an argument he could make for himself. But I didn’t see that. I thought he won fair and square, and took it with authority in round 12 (he didn’t actually need this on the real cards), but I didn’t see a guy I really strongly believe beats anyone on this list. He might beat some of them — Mbilli is still somewhat unproven, though he looks better than Berlanga has, then there’s Akhmedov, Ryder, Gongora — but he also might beat none of them.
I really do think a Munguia vs Berlanga fight would be good, but Oscar De La Hoya seems totally determined to avoid this and take shots at Hearn. You ever see that 1937 movie Dead End? There’s a new kid in the NYC tenements and the local youth gang kick his ass over three cents, but then he wants to impress them and be their friend. That is De La Hoya trying to join in on the Eddie bashing to impress 917-year-old Bob Arum and Al Haymon.
Upcoming Fights: (5) Christian Mbilli vs Demond Nicholson, Aug. 19 … (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Jermall Charlo, Sept. 16
Notes: Upon watching it later, I thought Carlos Adames’ stoppage of Julian Williams came a bit early, but at the same time I didn’t think Williams looked like he was gonna turn the tide in that fight, so I can’t be that stressed. Lots of worse stoppages and scoring that actually takes something from someone. This one just can’t bug me.
For what it’s worth — which I don’t think is a ton — Adames is right there with Janibek Alimkhanuly for an argument as the best actually active middleweight in the world at the moment.
Upcoming Fights: (5) Erislandy Lara vs Danny Garcia, Aug. 5 … (4) Liam Smith vs (6) Chris Eubank Jr, TBA
Notes: No changes. Tim Tszyu firmly established his spot at No. 2 with his smashing of Carlos Ocampo, and Erickson Lubin sits tight at No. 6 with a win over Luis Arias.
Upcoming Fights: (8) Jesus Ramos vs Sergio Garcia, July 29
Notes: After a year and change of pretty much nothing but stagnation, the welterweight division is about to get hot in July. Finally. I’m also expecting a real sexy Ugas vs Thurman 2023 announcement sooner than later!
Upcoming Fights: (5) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs (6) Eimantas Stanionis, July 8 … (3) Jaron Ennis vs (10) Roiman Villa, July 8 … (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (2) Terence Crawford, July 29
Notes: Well last time out, we talked about Teofimo Lopez, how he was back, how good he was against Josh Taylor, and then he retired and vacated the WBO belt. I could choose to not believe his retirement — which I don’t, really — but whatever. He says he’s done. We’ll respect that.
So out he goes! I’m also taking Josh Taylor out because he’s made clear he’s done at 140 and there’s no reason to leave him sitting here, taking up a spot.
Then we had Regis Prograis with maybe the worst performance I’ve ever seen from Regis Prograis. But listen, styles make fights, and sometimes how that works is the other guy just makes something godawful to watch. I don’t think Zorrilla had any argument for a win over Prograis, so it was more just a disappointing performance, and I’m not budging Regis from the top spot yet. But with his age, hey man, that could be coming sooner than later.
Would I have elevated Teofimo to No. 1 this week if he hadn’t retired? We’ll never know. I don’t mean that to be coy, I honestly don’t know, because by the time Prograis’ fight happened, Teofimo was out. So I was never in the headspace to really think about it the way I might have.
In in the Nos. 9 and 10 spots are Arnold Barboza Jr, the blue collar working man’s contender who just keeps doing what he’s assigned and should really get a shot at that now-vacant WBO belt finally, and Rolando Romero, who I don’t think is very good but gets Rolly privileges. (The WBA belt.)
Other options considered: Richardson Hitchins, who now won’t be fighting Montana Love on July 15; Stevie Spark, who beat Hitchins and had an argument to beat Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela; GGV himself, as he did get that win officially; and Sergey Lipinets, who will have a big chance against Subriel Matis in August.
Upcoming Fights: (8) Sandor Martin vs Arblin Kaba, July 15 … (4) Subriel Matias vs Sergey Lipinets, Aug. 26
Upcoming Fights: (5) Isaac Cruz vs Giovanni Cabrera, July 8 … (7) Frank Martin vs Artem Harutyunyan, July 15 … (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
Notes: Big win for Sam Goodman over Ra’eese Aleem, and I don’t think Aleem loses much standing once you really look at the rest of this division right now.
Upcoming Fights: (3) Luis Nery vs Froilan Saludar, July 8 … (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
Notes: Again, Joshua Franco was going to exit the rankings either way on the weight issue from last Friday. Then he lost to Kazuto Ioka, then he announced his retirement. We also have Jade Bornea losing his spot after losing to Fernando Martinez.
Ioka goes back up to No. 2, a good win under tough circumstances. So we had two open spots here. Andrew Moloney is back in; I know he just got dominated and scary KO’d by Junto Nakatani, but there are just not a lot of clear options, either. I went with young David Cuellar at No. 10, what I’ve seen of him, I liked.
But consider those two spots up for grabs, basically. We also don’t know if Wangek (Srisaket) really plans on fighting in this division anymore. There is still great talent here, but the top three guys are 33, 34, and 36, and they’ve been through a lot of hard fights, and all have come up in weight to get here. Nakatani, at 25, is looking like the future. Martinez, at a “young” 31, is a really good part of the present. Tanaka, 28, can fight. But we may soon finally enter a period of shallow depth at 115. Can’t complain much. It’s been a great division for many years, and every division meets lean times at some point.
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (9) Taku Kuwahara vs Wulan Tuolehazi, July 11 … (1) Sunny Edwards vs (2) Jesse Rodriguez, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (5) Sivenathi Nontshinga vs (10) Regie Suganob, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (1) Panya Pradabsri vs Norihito Tanaka, June 28
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