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Bad Left Hook Boxing Rankings (May 21, 2019): Naoya Inoue, Josh Taylor, and Deontay Wilder strengthen claims

Naoya Inoue, Josh Taylor, and Deontay Wilder were the weekend’s big winners, holding their spots in the BLH rankings.

Muhammad Ali Trophy Semi-Finals - World Boxing Super Series Fight Night Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Rankings will be posted each Tuesday at Noon ET.

This week’s ranked fights:

  • Junior Middleweight: (8) Austin Trout vs Terrell Gausha, May 25 (FS1)
  • Lightweight: (6) Jose Pedraza vs Antonio Lozada Jr, May 25 (ESPN)
  • Super Featherweight: (5) Masayuki Ito vs Jamel Herring, May 25 (ESPN)
  • Featherweight: (9) Can Xu vs Shun Kubo, May 26
  • Junior Flyweight: (6) Carlos Canizales vs Sho Kimura, May 26 [Kimura is ranked No. 5 at flyweight]

Notes: Same as last week. Wilder demolished Dominic Breazeale, which was pretty much the expected result. I mean, it doesn’t make me any less enthusiastic about a crazy one-punch knockout, but it’s not like I think more of Wilder this week than I did last.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Anthony Joshua vs (10) Andy Ruiz Jr, June 1 ... (2) Tyson Fury vs Tom Schwarz, June 15 ... (4) Dillian Whyte vs (8) Oscar Rivas, July 20

Notes: Since it was asked last week, I’ll put it here, too: Usyk and Gassiev are going up to heavyweight, but I’m just ranking them here until they’ve made their debuts in the new division. This can be a complicated thing — sometimes someone takes a stay-busy at a higher weight or whatever — but generally speaking if they’ve stated “I am moving up to a new division,” I feel it’s best to leave someone where they are until they’ve made the move and declared they’re staying at the new weight.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Junior Makabu vs Mike Perez, June 8 ... (8) Kevin Lerena vs Vasil Ducar, June 8 ... (2) Mairis Briedis vs (4) Krzysztof Glowacki, June 15 ... (5) Yunier Dorticos vs (9) Andrew Tabiti, June 15

Upcoming Fights: (8) Sullivan Barrera vs Jesse Hart, June 15 ... (2) Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde, June 29

Notes: Last week I noted that I ranked Billy Joe Saunders where I thought I’d rank him ahead of his vacant WBO title fight with Shefat Isufi, which he was expected to win. I said if he lost or performed poorly, oh well, I’d adjust it this week. But nothing I saw made me adjust his ranking at all — this is exactly where I’d put him if I hadn’t ranked him at 168 last week. He won handily, but not terribly impressively against a guy who could be generously described as a fringe contender.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Callum Smith vs Hassan N’dam, June 1 ... (4) Jesse Hart vs Sullivan Barrera [175], June 15 ... (3) Caleb Plant vs Mike Lee, July 20

Upcoming Fights: (2) Gennadiy Golovkin vs Steve Rolls, June 8 ... (4) Demetrius Andrade vs (9) Maciej Sulecki, June 29 ... (6) Jermall Charlo vs Brandon Adams, June 29 ... (7) Rob Brant vs (8) Ryota Murata, July 12 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs TBA, Sept. 14

Upcoming Fights: (8) Austin Trout vs Terrell Gausha, May 25 ... (5) Tony Harrison vs (6) Jermell Charlo, June 23

Upcoming Fights: (3) Manny Pacquiao vs (4) Keith Thurman, July 20 ... (7) Yordenis Ugas vs Omar Figueroa Jr, July 20 ... (8) Sergey Lipinets vs John Molina Jr, July 20

Notes: Josh Taylor solidified his standing at No. 2, but after debating it, I saw no reason to drop Ivan Baranchyk from where I had him last week. I had Taylor No. 2 and Baranchyk No. 5. I expected and picked Taylor to beat Baranchyk. He did. But it wasn’t such a shelling that I can really justify putting Barnachyk below the likes of Postol or Relikh. I’m not doing college football rankings, if No. 5 loses to No. 2 I’m not going, “Well now that team I thought was No. 5 is actually No. 11 because everyone else deserves to move up for NOT playing that team and losing!” I never really have totally understood that thought process. He fought a better guy and lost, but he wasn’t totally blown away or “exposed” or anything. I’m not a big proponent of downgrading fighters for actually bothering to do a difficult fight and losing to someone who’s really good. For one thing, my rankings are not going to help or hurt anyone’s chances at a title shot or anything and I’m not ordering people to win my web site championship. Maybe if I were I’d say, hey, back of the line, Ivan. But I’m not. I think he’s as good this week as I did last week. Also, Jose Zepeda fought this weekend, but went to a no-contest in Mexico City after a clash of heads stopped the tune-up in the third round.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Regis Prograis vs (2) Josh Taylor, TBA

Notes: I’m leaving Mikey Garcia where he is for now. I’m very aware that he’s reported to be working on a welterweight fight with Danny Garcia. If that gets made official, I’ll move him out then, and no, he will not rank in the top 10 at 147 at that time. I still need any proof he can really fight at 147. Why remove Garcia for a signed fight but not Usyk or Gassiev even though they’re moving up? Because Garcia last fought at welterweight, but it wasn’t clear where he was going next. Garcia’s situation is unusual, I’m just handling it as best I can for the time being. But yes, if/when Garcia-Garcia is official, he’s out at 135. It’s already clear he’s not fighting at this weight again any time soon, the question was whether he’d announce a next fight at 140 (where I’d have inserted him at No. 5, if you’re wondering) or 147. It looks like it’ll be 147.

Upcoming Fights: (6) Jose Pedraza vs Antonio Lozada Jr, May 25 ... (3) Richard Commey vs (10) Ray Beltran, June 28 ... (9) Teofimo Lopez vs Masayoshi Nakatani, July 19 ... (1) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (4) Luke Campbell, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (5) Masayuki Ito vs Jamel Herring, May 25 ... (4) Andrew Cancio vs (6) Alberto Machado, June 21 ... (3) Gervonta Davis vs Ricardo Nunez, July 27 ... (2) Tevin Farmer vs Guillaume Frenois, TBA

Notes: My initial feeling going into the weekend was that I would be dazzled by Gary Russell Jr’s display of skill against Kiko Martinez and then bump him over Santa Cruz over Warrington — again, I would pick him head-to-head with those guys. And while Russell looked sharp against Kiko, and I like that he called out Santa Cruz very publicly after the fight, I can’t pull the trigger. He stays at No. 3 for now. The easiest solution is for Al Haymon to make the Santa Cruz-Russell fight and we just find out for sure.

Upcoming Fights: (9) Can Xu vs Shun Kubo, May 26 ... (4) Oscar Valdez vs Jason Sanchez, June 8 ... (2) Josh Warrington vs (9) Kid Galahad, June 15 ... (8) Shakur Stevenson vs TBA, July 13

Upcoming Fights: (4) Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Julio Ceja, June 23 ... (1) Rey Vargas vs (8) Tomoki Kameda, July 13 ... (2) Daniel Roman vs Murodjon Akhmadaliev, TBA

Notes: Naoya Inoue’s two-round wipeout of Emmanuel Rodriguez to win the IBF title in Glasgow fully cemented him as the No. 1 bantamweight in the world, and strengthened his case for the No. 1 P4P spot, too. I expected Inoue to beat Rodriguez, but the loss was so one-sided, so devastating, that in this case I felt no choice but to drop Rodriguez a few spots. Ryan Burnett returned on Saturday with a TKO win in a tune-up comeback win at 122, but indicated he can still make 118 comfortably, so I’m keeping him here for now.

Upcoming Fights: (8) Jason Moloney vs Cesar Ramirez, June 15 ... (6) Nordine Oubaali vs TBA, July 6 ... (1) Naoya Inoue vs (3) Nonito Donaire, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (10) Francisco Rodriguez Jr vs David Barreto, June 1 ... (8) Andrew Moloney vs TBA, June 15 ... (6) Kazuto Ioka vs (9) Aston Palicte, June 19 ... (7) Kal Yafai vs Norbelto Jimenez, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (5) Sho Kimura vs Carlos Canizales [108], May 26 ... (3) Artem Dalakian vs Dennapa Kiatniwat, June 15

Notes: Felix Alvarado retained his IBF title with a win over Reiya Konishi on Sunday. Not unexpected and Konishi wasn’t totally blown away, so I don’t see the need to dump Konishi from the top 10. I swapped Heno and Konishi.

Upcoming Fights: (6) Carlos Canizales vs Sho Kimura, May 26 ... (2) Hiroto Kyoguchi vs Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart, June 19 ... (3) Angel Acosta vs TBA, June 21

Upcoming Fights: (1) Wanheng Menayothin vs (9) Tatsuya Fukuhara, May 31

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