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Bad Left Hook Boxing Rankings (September 6, 2021): Montana Love, Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano, Leo Santa Cruz, Tank Davis, more

We’ve got a lot of movement considering very little happened in the ring over the last two weeks.

Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
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.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Junior Lightweight: (1) Oscar Valdez vs Robson Conceicao, Sept. 10
  • Flyweight: (3) Junto Nakatani vs (6) Angel Acosta, Sept. 10

Upcoming Fights: (2) Anthony Joshua vs (6) Oleksandr Usyk, Sept. 25 ... (1) Tyson Fury vs (3) Deontay Wilder, Oct. 9

Upcoming Fights: (2) Lawrence Okolie vs Dilan Prasovic, Sept. 25

Upcoming Fights: (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (5) Marcus Browne, TBA ... (4) Joe Smith Jr vs Umar Salamov, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (5) Callum Smith vs Lenin Castillo [light heavyweight], Sept. 25 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs (2) Caleb Plant, Nov. 6 ... (3) David Benavidez vs Jose Uzcategui, Nov. 13

Upcoming Fights: (6) Chris Eubank Jr vs Sven Elbir, Oct. 2 ... (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs (5) Ryota Murata, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (7) Sebastian Fundora vs (10) Sergio Garcia, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (10) David Avanesyan vs Liam Taylor, Oct. 2 ... (2) Terence Crawford vs (4) Shawn Porter, TBA ... (8) Jaron Ennis vs Thomas Dulorme, TBA

Notes: Montana Love crashes the party at 140 after a big win over former titlist Ivan Baranchyk, who was No. 7 last week and is now out of the rankings with two straight losses. We’d seen Love fight before on ShoBox and the like, and honestly, I thought the 26-year-old from Cleveland was just a “ShoBox” fighter. And I was wrong. He got clipped here and there by Baranchyk, yes, but it’s impossible to fight Baranchyk and not get clipped. He’s too aggressive to never land something decent unless you’re, like, a Floyd Mayweather level defensive fighter or something.

Love isn’t that, but he’s clearly a talented fighter who has the ability to make some noise in a division that most likely will have four vacated world titles — or at least three, Tank Davis could stay at 140 and the WBA could just decide he’s the new super champion — in the near enough future. Love is definitely in the race now.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Dec. 18

Notes: I suppose I could put Gervonta Davis back in the 135 rankings now that he’s going to either fight here or at 140 next, but we’ll see what he does. For now, he’s ranked at 140, where he fought his last fight. If he announces a fight at 135 with Rolando Romero or someone, then I’ll probably put him back in at 135 and take him out at 140.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Teofimo Lopez vs (8) George Kambosos Jr, Oct. 5

Notes: We’ll get to Leo Santa Cruz in the next division down, but for here, long story short is he’s out at 130 because he’s decided to move back to 126 and hold on to the WBA title he’s sat on for over two years there. It’s the right move; Santa Cruz can compete at 130, but it’s definitely a weight too high for him to be at his best.

Also out at 130 is Gervonta Davis, who has vacated his WBA 130 lb belt and held on to the two secondary belts he has at 135 and 140 as he plots what’s next. Whatever it is, it won’t be at 130, it seems. Tank’s probably done at this weight.

So that creates two openings, and in a division where there is not a ton of “wow” talent but plenty of decent fighters and some rising names. I’m going with one of each in the two spots.

Veteran Roger Gutierrez, who has the WBA secondary 130 belt for the moment and will have to fight Chris Colbert for the full belt now, is in. He’s on a good streak with two wins over Rene Alvarado this year and seven wins in a row on the whole, including that 2019 upset of Rocky Hernandez.

Also in is Mayweather Promotions prospect Xavier Martinez, who has nice back-to-back wins at level over Claudio Marrero and Juan Carlos Burgos, and while the Marrero fight was a close one and Martinez had to come off the canvas twice, that’s valuable, I was impressed by the poise he showed under fire and his in-fight rebound. He looked sharper against Burgos next time out and he’s a guy to watch.

Tevin Farmer drops a couple spots to No. 10 because I’m not sure Tevin Farmer is really an active fighter. By traditional standards, he wouldn’t be, as he hasn’t fought since Jan. 2020, but I’ve chosen to give everyone two years from November 2019 because of how much COVID wrecked the scheduled starting in March 2020. I probably should’ve made it 18 months, honestly, but I’m already in it at the two years. (If you’re wondering what happens for someone like, for instance, Shawn Porter or Viktor Postol, who now haven’t fought in over a year but did fight within the “COVID months,” I’m doing 15 months from their last fight for those fighters. So they each have a bit under three months to get something scheduled.)

Upcoming Fights: (1) Oscar Valdez vs Robson Conceicao, Sept. 10 ... (3) Jamel Herring vs (5) Shakur Stevenson, Oct. 23 ... (6) Chris Colbert vs (8) Roger Gutierrez, TBA ... (7) Shavkat Rakhimov vs Kenichi Ogawa, TBA

Notes: We have some changes here, but nothing changes, really, for Mauricio Lara and Josh Warrington, who basically didn’t have their rematch this past Saturday.

Leo Santa Cruz is back in, and I’m going with him at No. 3. It’s a tentative placement, we’ll reexamine that after he fights again, which he’s currently planning for December. Tugstsogt Nyambayar loses his place in the top 10 with Leo’s return.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (3) Brandon Figueroa, Sept. 18 ... (10) Ra’eese Aleem vs Eduardo Baez, Sept. 18 ... (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (9) Takuma Inoue vs Shingo Wake [junior featherweight], Nov. 11

Notes: Kazuto Ioka defended his WBO belt with a win over Francisco Rodriguez Jr on Sept. 1, and I’m not moving either of them for now. Rodriguez lost to Ioka. He was expected to, and he was still competitive, not blown out of the ring or anything. But there are definitely people at the door for that spot and probably the other spots from 7 to 10 here.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Kazuto Ioka vs (10) Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Sept. 1 ...(1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (4) Chocolatito Gonzalez, Oct. 16 ... (3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Carlos Cuadras, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Junto Nakatani vs (6) Angel Acosta, Sept. 10

Upcoming Fights: (1) Kenshiro Teraji vs Masamichi Yabuki, Sept. 22 ... (2) Hiroto Kyoguchi vs (10) Esteban Bermudez, TBA ... (4) Elwin Soto vs (6) Jonathan Gonzalez, TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (8) Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, Sept. 25 ... (4) Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr, Oct. 5 ... (9) Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, Oct. 9 ... (10) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Chocolatito Gonzalez, Oct. 16 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Caleb Plant, Nov. 6 ... (7) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Dec. 18 ... (6) Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter, TBA

Notes: Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano both won again. Both won in one-sided fashion, about as you’d have expected against the opponents they faced — both game, both decent fighters, both out of their depth. They both lack serious threats at the weights they are currently fighting. They would be great for one another right now. They probably aren’t going to fight each other next.

Serrano most likely will fight Erika Cruz, who has the WBC title at 126, and Taylor’s most interesting fight at 135 — just talking about women who are currently fighting at 135 — is still Estelle Yoka-Mossely, and that’s due to amateur history from 2016, and Yoka-Mossely hasn’t yet shown any real desire to leave France and take an actual big fight.

I also do know that Serrano would be being asked to “move up two weight classes” and generally urge against fans demanding fighters do such a thing, but Serrano has also won world titles at 135 and 140. Then again, to be fully fair, she also knows herself, knows her body, knows how comfortable she was at those weights before — she won her fights at 135 and 140, but I dare say that Maria Elena Maderna in 2014 and Yamila Esther Reynoso in 2018 were not quite Katie Taylor level. But then she did have a fight in place with Taylor before, too. So we’re talking in circles here. It’s a great fight and I wish everyone could get it done, but I don’t expect it yet. I do think it could happen by the end of 2021, and they might all be smart in building it a bit more until then.

Upcoming Fights: (6) Mikaela Mayer vs (10) Maiva Hamadouche, TBA

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