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Bad Left Hook Boxing Rankings (Feb. 11, 2020): Rigondeaux’s move down begs bantamweight questions

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Guillermo Rigondeaux had the weekend’s most boring win from an entertainment standpoint, but it’s the one that opens the biggest questions.

Gary Russell Jr v Tugstsogt Nyambayar Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Rankings will be posted each Tuesday at Noon ET.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Super Middleweight: (4) Caleb Plant vs Vincent Feigenbutz, Feb. 15
  • Junior Flyweight: (7) Sho Kimura vs Merlito Sabillo, Feb. 15

Upcoming Fights: (1) Tyson Fury vs (2) Deontay Wilder, Feb. 22 ... (3) Anthony Joshua vs (8) Kubrat Pulev, TBA

Notes: Lerena doesn’t move, but did win on Saturday in Germany, stopping 345-year-old veteran Firat Arslan in the sixth round. OK, Arslan is only 49, and sure he hadn’t lost a fight since 2014, but he’s also fought nobody of real note since then, and this was a beating, a sign that it’s time for him to hang up the gloves. The fight was an attempt by Arslan to make a bogus claim to being the oldest man to ever win a world title, as the IBO title was on the line.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Mairis Briedis vs (2) Yuniel Dorticos, Mar. 21

Upcoming Fights: (1) Artur Beterbiev vs Meng Fanlong, Mar. 28

Upcoming Fights: (4) Caleb Plant vs Vincent Feigenbutz, Feb. 15 ... (3) Canelo Alvarez vs TBA, May 2

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs TBA, May 2 ... (2) Gennadiy Golovkin vs Kamil Szeremeta, TBA

Notes: Not budging on Brook at the moment. The 33-year-old former welterweight titleholder returned Saturday with a predictable and one-sided win over Mark DeLuca, an American club fighter with an empty but half-marketable record in a comeback bout like that one. Opinions on Brook varied that I’ve seen. Some felt he looked strong and sharp after the first round or two, some felt he looked washed. I say it’s probably wise to wait until he fights someone who’s more of a threat before making any big judgment. A proposed matchup with Liam Smith seems, at least to me, to be about 50/50 on paper; Smith is just outside my top 10 at 154 and is a good fighter, much better than DeLuca, who was tough but totally overmatched in ability.

Upcoming Fights: (6) Brian Castano vs (10) Patrick Teixeira, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (9) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs TBA, Mar. 28

Upcoming Fights: (1) Josh Taylor vs Apinun Khongsong, TBA ... (2) Jose Ramirez vs (6) Viktor Postol, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (2) Teofimo Lopez, May 30 ... (4) Luke Campbell vs (7) Javier Fortuna, TBA ... (10) Lee Selby vs George Kambosos Jr, TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Russell appeared over the weekend to make his annual case that he’s actually the best featherweight in the world. I always said before that I’d probably pick him over anyone here head-to-head, but am less sure now. Nyambayar gave him a tougher fight than the scores might suggest, and Russell faded some in the back half. A guy with Warrington’s engine or Stevenson’s skills could be a bad matchup at this point for Russell, or at least I’m more convinced that’s a possibility now than before. Russell remains an elite featherweight, though, and Nyambayar acquitted himself fine in the loss for the most part. It was a good matchup between good fighters. Galahad makes a two-spot jump with a strong, quality win over Claudio Marrero, last week’s No. 9, who falls out of the rankings in defeat. Galahad isn’t pretty to watch, really, but he’s a smart, effective fighter who gave Josh Warrington a very close call last year, albeit in a terrible fight. The new No. 10 is ShoBox veteran and former American amateur standout Ruben Villa; it’s a division that falls off fairly hard in terms of what’s been proven after Magdaleno, and I think Villa is the best of the available names for that spot right now. He’s a skilled fighter and believes he’s ready for a title shot by the end of the year.

Upcoming Fights: (9) Ryan Walsh vs TBA, Feb. 21 ... (3) Shakur Stevenson vs Miguel Marriaga, Mar. 14 ... (7) Jessie Magdaleno vs Sakaria Lukas, Mar. 14

Notes: With Guillermo Rigondeaux moving down to bantamweight, we had an open spot. Lots of names in the mix, and I’ve gone with Azat Hovhannisyan. He’s no world-beater and he’s got the three losses, but he’s won four straight since losing a title fight with Vargas in 2018, and his win that year over Ronny Rios gave him the edge over the resurgent Rios, who was also in consideration. I also strongly considered Mayweather prospect Angelo Leo, who is now knocking on the door.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Emanuel Navarrete vs Jeo Tupas Santisima, Feb. 22

Notes: Old Man Rigo crashes the party at 118 after a clear if boring 12-round win over Liborio Solis. I had to look at this from a head-to-head standpoint, what I think might happen, and I think I’d pick Rigondeaux without question over the guys below him. The guys above him are all a different story; he might or might not beat them, even Donaire, whom he beat, but it was so long ago that it’s almost irrelevant now, and also it wasn’t in this division. Rigo is unlikely to be exciting again any time soon unless he gets a fearless opponent like he had in Julio Ceja; I still don’t think his legs are what they used to be (not a big call given Guillermo is 39), but his timing with the left hand is, and it froze Solis up pretty quickly after a hot first round. He has the skill and experience to remain very dangerous at 118. He may also be too old for younger guns like Inoue or Oubaali. There’s also a chance we won’t find out any time soon.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Luis Nery vs Aaron Alameda [junior featherweight], Mar. 28 ... (1) Naoya Inoue vs (5) John Riel Casimero, Apr. 25 ... (8) Jason Moloney vs Joshua Greer, Apr. 25 ... (3) Nordine Oubaali vs (4) Nonito Donaire, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (6) Roman Gonzalez vs (7) Kal Yafai, Feb. 29

Notes: Dalakin retained his belt on Saturday in Kiev, Ukraine, beating Josber Perez by wide decision on scores of 117-111 twice and 118-110. Perez is far from a serious contender, so that’s no surprise. Dalakian passes the eye test and all, but he’s also 32. If he’s going to do bigger fights the time is now, and he’s only fought outside of Ukraine once, albeit he dominated against Brian Viloria in 2018.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Julio Cesar Martinez vs Jay Harris, Feb. 29

Upcoming Fights: (7) Sho Kimura vs Merlito Sabillo, Feb. 15

Notes: Mendez retained his belt with a sixth round stoppage of 40-year-old veteran Gilberto Mendoza on Saturday in Panama City, going to neutral ground for the Puerto Rico vs Venezuela clash. He remains Puerto Rico’s only male world titleholder at the moment.

Upcoming Fights: TBA