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Ranking the Middleweights: Canelo and GGG are still the big two

Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin are 1-2 at 160, and then there’s the rest for the moment.

Canelo Alvarez v Daniel Jacobs Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Last night’s win for Canelo Alvarez over Daniel Jacobs really shook up the middleweight division!

Actually, it kinda didn’t. Things are pretty much the same today as they were yesterday, except now Canelo also has the IBF belt. Last September, after he won a majority decision over Gennadiy Golovkin in their rematch, here’s how I had the middleweights ranked:

  1. Canelo Alvarez
  2. Gennadiy Golovokin
  3. Daniel Jacobs
  4. Billy Joe Saunders
  5. Sergiy Derevyanchenko
  6. Ryota Murata
  7. Jermall Charlo
  8. Demetrius Andrade
  9. David Lemieux
  10. Maciej Sulecki

Saunders and Lemieux are out of the division, and Jacobs may soon join them at 168. Murata lost his secondary WBA belt in an upset to Rob Brant. The rest have pulled no major surprises, but I don’t see boxing rankings as set in stone, that a win solidifies a spot forever. How you win, who you beat, all that stuff matters more to me. Boxing changes fast, a fighter’s fortunes change fast. So here’s how I have things today.

1) Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KO, WBC/WBA/IBF Titleholder)

I still have my own questions about whether or not Alvarez really beat Golovkin in either of those fights (I don’t think he did, personally), but I do think he’s in the better position right now. He’s almost a decade younger than GGG, he’s got three belts, and he just scored a win over Jacobs — which, listen, I thought Jacobs had a good argument over GGG in 2017. These things are complicated. It’s not the NBA, you’re not ordering the teams by win-loss records and that’s that. So I have Canelo No. 1, but not far ahead of No. 2 — not really much ahead at all. Next: vs TBA, Sept. 14

2) Gennadiy Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KO)

Golovkin is getting older, but still clearly the division’s biggest threat to Alvarez. They should fight again this fall. DAZN want it, the fans still want it, Golovkin wants it. Alvarez changes his tune depending on the time of day. Sometimes he says Golovkin needs a belt, sometimes he says if that’s what everyone wants, he’ll do it. I suspect we see it again in September, if Gennadiy gets past his June 8 catchweight tune-up against Canadian Steve Rolls in GGG’s DAZN debut. Next: vs Steve Rolls, June 8

3) Daniel Jacobs (35-3, 29 KO)

Jacobs may not be long for the division at this point, but until he officially leaves, I still think he’s the No. 3 guy. I’d favor him over anyone below him on the list if he were scheduled to face them next. He made a fight of it with Canelo, but he just couldn’t quite get the job done. Next: TBA

4) Demetrius Andrade (27-0, 17 KO, WBO Titleholder)

Andrade hasn’t really done anything special since last September to move up four spots. He got a belt with a win over a non-contender and then beat a fringe contender to retain it. He’s a talented fighter, never gonna be a big fan favorite because he doesn’t have that kind of style. A Canelo-Andrade matchup frankly might stink the joint right out if we ever get to that, which we very well could late this year or on Cinco de Mayo weekend next year. Andrade has a decent next fight coming in June. Next: vs Maciej Sulecki, June 29

5) Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KO)

I liked Derevyanchenko a lot last fall, and still do. He lost a fight to Daniel Jacobs, the last HBO fight that was worth a damn, on Oct. 27, which gave Jacobs the IBF title. Since then, he’s fought once, beating Jack Culcay on April 13, a competitive but clear wi for the Ukrainian — which, by the way, was an IBF eliminator, so Derevyanchenko is now a mandatory for one of Canelo’s three belts, at least in theory. Sometimes eliminators turn out to have not been eliminators after all. Next: TBA

Premier Boxing Champions - Jermall Charlo vs. Matt Korobov Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

6) Jermall Charlo (28-0, 21 KO)

A lot of people are still higher on Charlo than I am, same as last year. He was huge at 154 and certainly is still pretty big at 160. He’s fought three times since moving up, beating Jorge Heiland (who got hurt and was stopped in four), Hugo Centeno Jr via second round knockout, and Matt Korobov on Dec. 22. Korobov was a late substitute and gave Charlo a hell of a battle, though it was nice of judge Larry Hazzard Jr to go ahead and fill out a 119-108 Charlo card ahead of the fight. Charlo has the interim WBC belt, and he headlines what looks like another lousy Showtime card next month against fringe contender Brandon Adams. Since Charlo is with PBC, his options at 160 are quite limited at the moment. Next: vs Brandon Adams, June 29

7) Rob Brant (25-1, 17 KO)

Minnesota’s Brant surprised a lot of people with a pretty dominant decision win over Ryota Murata last October in Las Vegas, then returned to his home state on Feb. 15 for a TKO-11 win over Khasan Baysangurov. The win over Murata gave Brant the secondary WBA “world” belt, which nobody is taking very seriously. He’ll be back on July 12, this time going to Osaka, Japan, for a rematch that Murata eventually decided to take. Next: vs Ryota Murata, July 12

8) Ryota Murata (14-2, 11 KO)

The 33-year-old Murata hasn’t fought since his upset loss to Brant, but he’ll try to regain his paper belt this summer at home. If he can make adjustments, he has a shot at getting revenge. Next: vs Rob Brant, July 12

9) Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KO)

Sulecki’s main reason for being on the list last fall was a really solid showing in April 2018 against Daniel Jacobs. He returned on Nov. 10 for a tune-up win over Jean Michel Hamilcaro, then faced Gabriel Rosado on March 15 in Philadelphia, Rosado’s backyard. The Sulecki-Rosado winner was expected to face Andrade in June, and for eight rounds it looked every bit like Sulecki was cruising to victory. He’d dropped Rosado twice and built a wide lead on the cards. But Rosado is not the “goes away easy” type, and he put Sulecki down twice in the ninth and really tried to finish him in the 10th. It went to the cards and Sulecki escaped with the victory, which he did deserve. Sulecki will get the shot at Andrade. Eight rounds into the Rosado fight, I thought he had a great shot at the win. Now, not so sure, but not counting him out, either. Next: vs Demetrius Andrade, June 29

10) Matt Korobov (28-2, 14 KO)

Korobov, once a Top Rank prospect of note, moved his career at a glacial pace from 2008-14, then fought Andy Lee for the vacant WBO title in Dec. 2014 in Las Vegas. Korobov led on the scorecards through five rounds, then Lee found him with the eraser and stopped him in six. And from there Korobov fell off the map, sitting out all of 2015 and then fighting high-end club-level bouts against the likes of Bryan Vera and Scott Sigmon for a while. Then he got bumped into a fight with Jermall Charlo last December, gave a nice accounting of himself, and got back on the map. He’s 36 now so his upside is really low at this point, but he’s my pick from the field at this particular moment for the No. 10 slot. He returns next Saturday on FOX against Immanuwel Aleem. Next: vs Immanuwel Aleem, May 11

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