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Bad Left Hook Boxing Rankings (May 24, 2021): Josh Taylor the man at 140, enters pound-for-pound rankings

Josh Taylor left no doubts about the top dog at 140, and has also hit the P4P top 10 in this week’s update.

Jose Ramirez v Josh Taylor Photo by David Becker/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Rankings go up on Mondays at 10 am ET.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Lightweight: (4) Devin Haney vs (6) Jorge Linares, May 29
  • Bantamweight: (2) Nordine Oubaali vs (3) Nonito Donaire, May 29
  • Junior Flyweight: (4) Carlos Canizales vs Esteban Bermudez, May 28
  • Minimumweight: (1) Knockout CP Freshmart vs Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, May 29

Notes: Now that Fury-Wilder 3 is signed and the WBO are ordering Joshua-Usyk, we at least have some concrete plans for the top of the division. We all wanted Fury-Joshua, but we’ll wait, and while we wait, at least anything is happening. For boxing, I’ll take this as a W.

Upcoming Fights: (9) Michael Hunter vs Mike Wilson, June 19 ... (1) Tyson Fury vs (3) Deontay Wilder, July 24 ... (2) Anthony Joshua vs (6) Oleksandr Usyk, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (6) Kevin Lerena vs Ryad Merhy, July 17

Upcoming Fights: (5) Jean Pascal vs (7) Badou Jack, June 6 ... (8) Gilberto Ramirez vs Sullivan Barrera, July 9 ... (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (4) Joe Smith Jr, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (10) David Lemieux vs David Zegarra, June 4 ... (3) David Benavidez vs Jose Uzcategui, Aug. 28 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs TBA, Sept. 18

Upcoming Fights: (2) Jermall Charlo vs Juan Macias Montiel, June 19 ... (8) Jaime Munguia vs Maciej Sulecki, June 19 ... (6) Rob Brant vs Janibek Alimkhanuly, June 26

Upcoming Fights: (5) Jarrett Hurd vs Luis Arias, June 6 ... (3) Jeison Rosario vs (8) Erickson Lubin, June 26 ... (4) Julian Williams vs Brian Mendoza, June 26 ... (7) Tim Tszyu vs Michael Zerafa, July 7 ... (1) Jermell Charlo vs (2) Brian Castano, July 17 ... (8) Sebastian Fundora vs Sergio Garcia, TBA

Notes: Now that Pacquiao-Spence is official, the other dominoes should start to fall, and Terence Crawford may actually have a good opponent lined up, too. But expect fights for some of the other PBC guys to be announced shortly now that it’s clear what Spence is doing. Also would note that Keith Thurman has two months to either sign something (or at least have something reported) before I’m dropping him out for inactivity. Two years is long enough, even with COVID screwing up the sport last year. Plenty of other people have fought.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (3) Manny Pacquiao, Aug. 21

Notes: Josh Taylor is now the clear, no-doubt-about-it No. 1 man in this division, beating Jose Ramirez to become undisputed champ at 140. (And believe it or not, despite Teofimo Lopez’s protestations about what would happen if he beat Devin Haney for actual undisputed status at 135, nobody is bringing up Mario Barrios or whomever the fuck holds the IBO title. It’s not “always something.” There’s a clear recognition here.)

There’s a very good chance that’s also the last we’re going to see of Taylor at 140. The 30-year-old is targeting a fight at 147 with Terence Crawford, and good for him. He’s beaten Ramirez and Regis Prograis, what else is there for him to do that’s particularly interesting at 140? Do you want to see him fight Terence Crawford, or would you rather see him fight Jack Catterall and Jose Zepeda, his two current mandatories?

It’s too bad that undisputed status is really more of an achievement and finale at a weight, but generally speaking that’s what it’ll be more often than not. If Canelo beats Caleb Plant to fully unify 168 later this year, he’s got a fight with David Benavidez left to do at that weight, and then honestly, what else other than someone coming up from 160? That’s why I say Taylor’s best fight at 140, by far, is Teofimo coming up from 135, but doing that would require dropping one if not two belts, too. And it doesn’t seem on the table, really. The focus now is Crawford, but that could change.

I switched Prograis and Ramirez in the No. 2 and No. 3 slots; despite the scoring Saturday, I thought Taylor beat Ramirez more clearly than he did Prograis. But really, it’s probably closer to 2A and 2B to me than a real split between Regis and Jose; they are still very, very good fighters, and if Taylor moves up, we certainly will see worse world title fights than those two maybe meeting for a vacant belt.

Elsewhere, Jose Zepeda did about the bare minimum in beating Hank Lundy on the Ramirez-Taylor undercard. Zepeda’s an interesting fighter, but not always in a good way. He’s quite good, but again I tend to agree with Andre Ward that he has to have the dog brought out of him, it’s not his natural inclination. If he’s able to cruise against someone he could beat more impressively, he will cruise, and those lulls don’t just come in fights he handily wins, either. We saw some of it when he fought Ramirez, and that’s why Ramirez beat him.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Jose Pedraza vs Julian Rodriguez, June 12 ... (7) Mario Barrios vs Gervonta Davis, June 26

Notes: I’m dropping Gervonta “Tank” Davis from the 135 rankings because he’s basically just taking up a spot. While his last fight did have a secondary lightweight belt at stake, it was fought with a 130 lb limit, and his next fight is coming at 140.

I understand the desire to list Gervonta with Lopez, Garcia, Haney, and Loma in particular — even though he’s absolutely not going to fight any of them any time soon, unless one of them jump to PBC or he shocks everyone by leaving — but what’s he really done here? He beat Yuriorkis Gamboa, an old featherweight, in 2019. I’m a big believer in Tank’s talent, but he’s not fighting in this division. If he comes back to it, then I’ll put him back in. It’s very simple.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Devin Haney vs (6) Jorge Linares, May 29 ... (1) Teofimo Lopez vs (9) George Kambosos Jr, June 19 ... (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Masayoshi Nakatani, June 26 ... (7) Javier Fortuna vs Joseph Diaz Jr, July 9

Upcoming Fights: (6) Shakur Stevenson vs Jeremiah Nakathila, June 12 ... (2) Gervonta Davis vs Mario Barrios [junior welterweight], June 26 ... (10) Chris Colbert vs Yuriorkis Gamboa, July 3 ... (5) Joseph Diaz Jr vs Javier Fortuna [lightweight], July 9 ... (8) Shavkat Rakhimov vs Kenichi Ogawa, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Gary Russell Jr vs Rey Vargas, TBA ... (2) Kid Galahad vs Jazza Dickens, TBA ... (5) Mauricio Lara vs (6) Josh Warrington, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (3) Brandon Figueroa, Sept. 11 ... (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Nordine Oubaali vs (3) Nonito Donaire, May 29 ... (1) Naoya Inoue vs Michael Dasmarinas, June 19 ... (4) John Riel Casimero vs (5) Guillermo Rigondeaux, Aug. 14

Upcoming Fights: (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (4) Chocolatito Gonzalez, TBA ... (3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Carlos Cuadras, TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Worth noting that Hekkie Budler returned over the weekend and won a mid-level sort of fight. I thought about getting him in, but the guys 1-10 here are all pretty good. Budler might beat some of them, but we’ll see what he does.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Carlos Canizales vs Esteban Bermudez, May 28

Notes: Ayanda Ndulani is in after an upset win over veteran Nkosinathi Joyi, who was No. 10 last week. It’s not exactly a great choice, but 105 is always kind of a weird division past the first few guys.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Knockout CP Freshmart vs Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, May 29

Notes: Josh Taylor is in at No. 8. He was a borderline guy for me even when we first started including the P4P rankings, he was someone I thought strongly about at the back end of the top 10, and he’s fully made his case as one of the 10 best fighters in the sport regardless of weight.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Naoya Inoue vs Michael Dasmarinas, June 19 ... (5) Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr, June 19 ... (7) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Masayoshi Nakatani, June 26 ... (10) Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, July 24 ... (9) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Chocolatito Gonzalez, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (7) Mikaela Mayer vs Erica Farias, June 19

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