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Boxing Rankings (December 13, 2021): Vasiliy Lomachenko, Nonito Donaire stand pat as top players

Vasiliy Lomachenko and Nonito Donaire are still in top contention, Katie Taylor is still Katie Taylor, plus notes on Dmitry Bivol, Conor Benn, and more.

Vasiliy Lomachenko was among the winners this past week in boxing
Vasiliy Lomachenko was among the winners this past week in boxing
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Rankings go up on Mondays.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Heavyweight: (8) Joseph Parker vs Derek Chisora, Dec. 18
  • Light Heavyweight: (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (4) Marcus Browne, Dec. 17
  • Light Heavyweight: (5) Gilberto Ramirez vs Yunieski Gonzalez, Dec. 18
  • Super Middleweight: (5) Carlos Gongora vs Lerrone Richards, Dec. 18
  • Super Middleweight: (10) David Morrell Jr vs Alantez Fox, Dec. 18
  • Junior Middleweight: (8) Michel Soro vs (9) Israil Madrimov, Dec. 17
  • Bantamweight: (1) Naoya Inoue vs Aran Dipaen, Dec. 14
  • Minimumweight: (1) Knockout CP Freshmart vs Robert Paradero, Dec. 14
  • Minimumweight: (4) Wilfredo Mendez vs Masataka Taniguchi, Dec. 14
  • Women’s P4P: (3) Amanda Serrano vs Miriam Gutierrez, Dec. 18
  • Women’s P4P: (6) Seniesa Estrada vs Maria Santizo, Dec. 18

Upcoming Fights: (8) Joseph Parker vs Derek Chisora, Dec. 18 ... (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs (4) Anthony Joshua, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Ilunga Junior Makabu vs (10) Thabiso Mchunu, Jan. 29

Notes: Dmitry Bivol sticks at No. 2 after his one-sided decision win against Umar Salamov, who was ranked No. 10 last week and is now out, with Anthony Yarde taking the slot following his Dec. 4 stoppage of Lyndon Arthur.

Bivol is pretty much without question the best boxer in this division and has been for a while now. I mean, we’ve got him a spot ahead of Joe Smith Jr at the moment, and those two fought, with Bivol outclassing Smith pretty clearly. Artur Beterbiev has better wins, but if I could wave a magic wand and put together five fights for 2022, Beterbiev-Bivol would be one of them. I badly want to see that fight and that style clash, and I would not be surprised if Bivol at this point was too sharp, too clever for the mauler Beterbiev.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (4) Marcus Browne, Dec. 17 ... (5) Gilberto Ramirez vs Yunieski Gonzalez, Dec. 18 ... (6) Maxim Vlasov vs Felix Valera, Dec. 24 ... (3) Joe Smith Jr vs Callum Johnson, Jan. 15

Upcoming Fights: (5) Carlos Gongora vs Lerrone Richards, Dec. 18 ... (10) David Morrell Jr vs Alantez Fox, Dec. 18

Upcoming Fights: (5) Chris Eubank Jr vs (8) Liam Williams, Jan. 29

Upcoming Fights: (8) Michel Soro vs (9) Israil Madrimov, Dec. 17 ... (1) Jermell Charlo vs (2) Brian Castano, Feb. 19

Notes: Some back-end movement in the top 10. Conor Benn crushed Chris Algieri on Saturday, which is a solid win. Not at the level I think he should jump the likes of Butaev or Avanesyan, but Benn has shown his dominance at that level at this point following wins over Formella, Vargas, Granados, and Algieri.

Newly in this week is Cody Crowley, who upset the previously No. 9-ranked Kudratillo Abdukakhorov on the Showtime card. Crowley did go down early, but pretty much took over the fight and won clearly. I think judges Alejandro Rochin (97-92) and Fernando Villarealo (98-91) had it about right, while Pat Russell’s 95-94 (which is 6-4 in rounds) was as close as you could possibly have had it. Crowley simply beat Abdukakhorov, who has been right on the fringes of a title shot for a while now, but not anymore. A lot of guys could be in this No. 10 slot — Eimantas Stanionis, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Sergey Lipinets, Custio Clayton, Rashidi Ellis — but I think Crowley earned it with a good win.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Yordenis Ugas vs Eimantas Stanionis, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Jose Ramirez vs (7) Jose Pedraza, Feb. 5 ... (1) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Feb. 26

Notes: With Vasiliy Lomachenko’s dominant win over Richard Commey, the 135 lb ranks have shaken out as much as they’re going to shake out heading into 2022. Teofimo Lopez is basically place-holding at No. 2 here, as he intends to move up to 140 after his loss to George Kambosos Jr, but there’s also saying that and then actually doing it. We’ll see.

As for everything else, it’s clear that Vasiliy Lomachenko is still a top dog in the division, still a huge threat to anyone, and while Kambosos deserves to be No. 1 because he beat No. 1 — convincingly, clearly — I just can’t imagine any opening lines where Lomachenko isn’t a pretty solid favorite over Kambosos. I’m not saying anything other than I expect that’s how I imagine the sportsbooks would see it. They also saw Lopez-Kambosos a lot different than it turned out.

But boxing is a sport of narratives, sometimes a sport of excuses, and even beyond that, styles make fights, and any given night can be very different than another.

“Oh, well, Lomachenko had a bad shoulder against Lopez.” “Oh, well, Lopez had several problems out of the ring against Kambosos.” The expectation will still be for Lomachenko to beat Kambosos, and honestly, I think Devin Haney, Tank Davis, and Ryan Garcia would all be installed as betting favorites against “The Emperor,” too. I doubt it bothers George. It didn’t seem to give him much grief ahead of the fight with Teofimo, beyond a determination to prove everyone dead wrong, which he did.

Kambosos in theory has his pick of the litter here, but the other side of that is the deal has to be right and the opponent has to be willing to go to Australia, unless their side can make Kambosos an offer he can’t refuse to fight in the States again. And that might happen, but I do think Kambosos is genuinely set on fighting at home next time out no matter the opponent, and he deserves it. If it’s not a top name and is instead more of a victory lap on paper, so be it. The fights will also be there next summer or next fall or whatever.

Devin Haney would be a great fight for either Kambosos or Lomachenko. So would Tank Davis, but the Mayweather team are entrenched in their unwillingness to fight opponents from outside the PBC bubble; they’re quickly running out of palatable foes there, but Rolando Romero is still right there if he gets cleared or — let’s be honest, however sad it might potentially be — if his issues just don’t really go anywhere further than they have.

I said during one of the live discussions on Saturday that Golden Boy have an opening to do something, if they really want to, and that’s have Oscar De La Hoya and Ryan Garcia very publicly state that they are willing to have Garcia fight Tank Davis on Showtime PPV, on a Mayweather Promotions card, as long as the money offer is fair. De La Hoya has been trying to get one over on Mayweather for years, and there’s a huge chance for him to do that here. He’s never going to do it directly, but his young star could call the bluff of Mayweather’s young star. Then, if they actually do fight, it will just boost the profiles of everyone, make a lot of money, and incidentally give fans something they actually want to see.

Upcoming Fights: (8) Jorge Linares vs Michel Rivera, TBA

Notes: Shavkat Rakhimov won in Russia on Saturday, beating a last-minute replacement foe who tried his best but had no business in a ring with Rakhimov. The good news is he got a camp and a fight in, and should be ready to go if the IBF do wind up ordering his shot at Kenichi Ogawa.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Chris Colbert vs (8) Roger Gutierrez, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Gary Russell Jr vs Mark Magsayo, Jan. 22 ... (6) Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, TBA

Notes: Another fight, another win for Nonito Donaire, as he knocked out Reymart Gaballo on a left hook to the body at a sadly sparsely-attended Showtime event in Carson, California. Donaire is 39, I think he’s obviously a little slower in all respects than he used to be, but he’s made up for that with patience, boxing IQ, and keeping himself in great shape both physically and mentally. I’d like to see him get the rematch with Naoya Inoue next; if there’s still a time to do it, it’s right now, and it’s sure as hell not like they’re both overwhelmed by great options.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Naoya Inoue vs Aran Dipaen, Dec. 14

Notes: A slight shift at the back here, and in a couple weeks when we clean up the rankings and clean out the inactives, there will be more. I’ll get to it then, basically. Donnie Nietes fought to the sixth draw of his career with Norbelto Jimenez on Saturday in Dubai, and frankly looked every day of 39 years old. It was a performance iffy enough to drop him from the top 10, really, except here’s the thing: Nobody else has really done anything to take that spot. Former 105/108/112 titleholder Kosei Tanaka did get his first win at 115 on Saturday, beating Sho Ishida in Nagoya by split decision. In a couple weeks, Tanaka probably will take a spot, because at the very least Jeyvier Cintron will be out due to inactivity, but this is a top heavy and pretty inactive division right now, and Nietes will probably keep a spot, too. We’ll see then, though.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Sunny Edwards retained his IBF belt easily with a decision over over-matched mandatory challenger Jayson Mama, and he remains someone who is going to be very, very difficult for anyone to actually beat. I love watching Julio Cesar Martinez and maybe his power and aggression overwhelms Sunny, but maybe not. Edwards has the ability to make him look foolish if Martinez doesn’t really get on him, too. Junto Nakatani may be the fighter who best matches up with Edwards, but Sunny really is just that sort of tricky, crafty, “annoying” guy who not only boxes well, but seems capable of handling pressure.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Hiroto Kyoguchi vs (9) Esteban Bermudez, Jan. 15 ... (3) Masamichi Yabuki vs (5) Kenshiro Teraji, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Knockout CP Freshmart vs Robert Paradero, Dec. 14 ... (4) Wilfredo Mendez vs Masataka Taniguchi, Dec. 14 ... (9) Vic Saludar vs Erick Rosa Pacheco, Dec. 21 ... (2) Petchmanee CP Freshmart vs (3) Wanheng Menayothin, Jan. 25

Upcoming Fights: (7) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey, Dec. 11 ... (3) Naoya Inoue vs Aran Dipaen, Dec. 14 ... (6) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Feb. 26

Notes: Katie Taylor handled her business, though she did get more of a test from Firuza Sharipova than I think most expected. I still agree with John Hansen in the recap: Taylor is clearly not at peak form anymore, but she’s still really good, and she’s got more than just skills to pay the bills. She’s tough, she can get gritty. If you have Shields or Serrano No. 1, I wouldn’t really argue. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a huge gap between Taylor and even Seniesa Estrada right now, and that’s not meant as a knock on Taylor but as an example of how tight the top talents have become as women’s boxing continues to somewhat slowly but definitely surely get better.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Amanda Serrano vs Miriam Gutierrez, Dec. 18 ... (6) Seniesa Estrada vs Maria Santizo, Dec. 18 ... (2) Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin, Jan. 29 ... (10) Chantelle Cameron vs Kali Reis, TBA

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