It's a busy month for the boxing rankings update here at BLH, in part because two big-name fighters haven't been busy at all. Vitali Klitschko and Andre Ward are both gone from the rankings after a year of inactivity, as well as having nothing scheduled at the moment. And at featherweight, Abner Mares' loss to Jhonny Gonzalez shook up the order of the top seven fighters.
Here's a rundown on the changes. For the full rankings list, go here.
With Vitali out and possibly retired (he still hasn't made a decision one way or another), the new No. 2 man in the division is Kubrat Pulev (18-0, 9 KO), who defeated Tony Thompson on August 24 to earn a shot at the Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin winner. That fight is coming up on October 5. Pulev's win pushed him past both David Haye and Povetkin for now, but obviously those two fighters have opportunities to make big statements soon. Haye (3) will face Tyson Fury (5) on September 28, while Povetkin has a chance to knock off Wladimir the next weekend. And since Fury is now up to No. 5, a win over Haye would also be massive for him. If nothing else, we've got four guys in Pulev, Haye, Povetkin, and Fury who are sorting out the next-best fighter in the division with Vitali sidelined.
Replacing Klitschko in the rankings is Mike Perez, who is back in at No. 10.
Troy Ross is gone due to inactivity as well, and it takes two guys to replace him. Ryan's 10th place vote went to Junior Makabu, while mine went to Thabiso Mchunu. So they're tied at No. 10.
Sergey Kovalev jumps past Adonis Stevenson into the No. 2 spot in the rankings following his beatdown of Nathan Cleverly. One may argue that this was no more impressive than Stevenson smacking down Chad Dawson in a minute and change on June 8, but whereas Stevenson swatted Dawson pretty much on one blow, Kovalev systematically destroyed Cleverly. There was no fluke factor to what he did to Clev. No "one punch." So that's my explanation for putting Kovalev ahead of Stevenson, anyway.
After the top three, it gets bunched up. Dawson, Cleverly, Tavoris Cloud, Tony Bellew, Juergen Braehmer, Isaac Chilemba, and newcomer Andrzej Fonfara round out the top 10.
I agree it feels stupid to not have Andre Ward ranked anymore, but he's inactive. Them's both the breaks and the rules. He's having a hard time finding a comeback fight, too. With Ward sidelined officially, Carl Froch is your de facto No. 1 fighter in the division. Also dropping out are Arthur Abraham and Andre Dirrell. Abraham is out after struggling mightily with Willbeforce Shihepo; there's just no evidence that King Arthur is really a top super middleweight anymore, or even a serious contender. I don't know why Ryan dropped Dirrell, but I like to think it's because he's not seriously fighting or having a career anymore. I was more than happy to follow Ryan's lead on that one.
We've decided to drop Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, who would have been inactive on September 15, and is coming back on September 28, moving up to super middleweight to face Bryan Vera. It's really unlikely that Chavez will return to the middleweight division. In his place is Matthew Macklin at No. 10. Not exactly exciting, but past the top handful of guys, there's not a lot of excitement in this division right now. There are a lot of recycled fighters getting big fights.
The new top five is Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Darren Barker, and Martin Murray. Barker jumps up from No. 9 following his win over Daniel Geale, who drops from No. 3 to No. 6. Barker, Murray, and Geale are really close together, for my part, with very little to separate them.
Jermell Charlo replaces Gabriel Rosado, moving into the rankings at No. 10. Others I considered for the spot were Brian Rose, Sergey Rabchenko, and Willie Nelson.
Antonio DeMarco has moved up to 140, so he's out. In at No. 10 is Andrey Klimov.
Mexican TV regular Dante "Crazy" Jardon is in at No. 10, replacing ninth-ranked Gamaliel Diaz. Jardon knocked out Diaz in eight on August 10.
Last month, it was Mikey Garcia, Chris John, Abner Mares, Orlando Salido, Evgeny Gradovich, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and Jhonny Gonzalez.
This month, it is Garcia, John, Salido, Gonzalez, Gradovich, Mares, and Ponce De Leon.
Kiko Martinez is in at No. 7, replacing the man he beat for the IBF title, Jhonatan Romero. Leo Santa Cruz makes a big move from No. 8 to No. 3 after wrecking Victor Terrazas to win the WBC belt. The new top five is Rigondeaux, Donaire, Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, and Jeffrey Mathebula.
Daiki Kameda and Denkaosan Kaovichit are in the mix now at Nos. 5 and 8, respectively.