We’re back. It’s been a mostly uneventful three weeks since our last update to kick off the New Year, but we do have one big thing to talk about.
There also will not be an update next Monday, because there just isn’t enough going on. So the next update will come on February 7.
Ranked fights the next two weeks:
- Heavyweight: (9) Otto Wallin vs Kamil Sokolowski, Feb. 5
- Cruiserweight: (3) Ilunga Junior Makabu vs (7) Thabiso Mchunu, Jan. 29
- Middleweight: (5) Chris Eubank Jr vs (10) Liam Williams, Feb. 5
- Junior Lightweight: (8) Leo Santa Cruz vs Keenan Carbajal, Feb. 5
- Junior Featherweight: (6) Luis Nery vs Carlos Castro, Feb. 5
- Minimumweight: (8) Rene Mark Cuarto vs (9) Pedro Taduran, Feb. 6
- Women’s P4P: (2) Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin, Feb. 5
Would also make special note of the Keith Thurman vs Mario Barrios fight on Feb. 5; the winner of that likely gets a spot in the welterweight top 10. Honestly, they both could.
Upcoming Fights: (9) Otto Wallin vs Kamil Sokolowski, Feb. 5
Upcoming Fights: (3) Ilunga Junior Makabu vs (7) Thabiso Mchunu, Jan. 29 ... (2) Lawrence Okolie vs (6) Michal Cieslak, Feb. 27
Notes: Joe Smith Jr didn’t get Callum Johnson on Jan. 15, but did fight, and made pretty easy work of a game but way over-matched Steve Geffrard. Smith has, understandably, talked up his desire to fight Canelo Alvarez, and with Canelo you never know, that could be on the table. Smith has a belt, a fight with him should be easy enough to get done, and it’s credible. If Canelo wanted to try going undisputed at 175, Smith’s a place to start. But if not, the fight with Callum Johnson could be revisited, or Frank Warren could push for Anthony Yarde to get the crack; the Smith-Johnson winner was all but set to face Yarde. Smith’s one of those guys I’m happy to watch against any credible opponent, so any of those fights work for me.
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (7) John Ryder vs (8) Daniel Jacobs, Feb. 12
Upcoming Fights: (5) Chris Eubank Jr vs (10) Liam Williams, Feb. 5
Upcoming Fights: (5) Liam Smith vs Jessie Vargas, Apr. 30 ... (1) Jermell Charlo vs (2) Brian Castano, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (4) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Michael McKinson, Mar. 19 ... (1) Errol Spence Jr vs (3) Yordenis Ugas, TBA ... (7) Radzhab Butaev vs (10) Eimantas Stanionis, TBA
Notes: Subriel Matias bumps up a spot after a dominant revenge victory against Petros Ananyan on Saturday. Maybe Montana Love beats him, maybe not, and Matias is actually making his contract weights so that’s a point in his favor, too. The Puerto Rican has battered his recent opposition — I wouldn’t like Sandor Martin’s chances or even Jose Pedraza’s against him, I don’t think. He has a relentlessness that opponents have to be special to get around. But I’ll watch the guy fight anyone. Most likely next will be Jeremias Ponce in an IBF final eliminator, and I look forward to it.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Josh Taylor vs (10) Jack Catterall, Feb. 26 ... (3) Jose Ramirez vs (5) Jose Pedraza, Mar. 4 ... (2) Regis Prograis vs Tyrone McKenna, Mar. 19
Upcoming Fights: (6) Ryan Garcia vs Emmanuel Tagoe, Apr. 9
Notes: Some re-readjustment with the news that Leo Santa Cruz’s return on Feb. 5 against Keenan Carbajal will be at junior lightweight and not back down at 126, with Santa Cruz not defending the WBA featherweight title he still absurdly holds. I know No. 8 might seem low to put Leo back in here, and maybe he should be higher, but I would also argue Santa Cruz doesn’t have anything approaching a marquee win in nearly four years now, since his rematch victory over Abner Mares in 2018. Since then, he fought Rafael Rivera and Miguel Flores in 2019, and lost to Gervonta Davis in 2020. That he’s ranked at all is just a glitch of how we’re counting time. So we’ll see what he does.
Still keep a keen eye on Robson Conceicao vs Xavier Martinez this coming Saturday on ESPN. If the winner of that one looks good, they probably grab Fuzile’s spot in the top 10.
Upcoming Fights: (8) Leo Santa Cruz vs Keenan Carbajal, Feb. 5 ... (7) Chris Colbert vs (9) Roger Gutierrez, Feb. 26 ... (1) Oscar Valdez vs (2) Shakur Stevenson, Apr. 30
Notes: Anyway, with Santa Cruz back in at 130, at least for now, Joet Gonzalez is back in at 126, at least for now.
But the much bigger news, obviously, is Mark Magsayo’s upset win over Gary Russell Jr, which ended Russell’s long, dull WBC title reign, and throws another goofy loop into a division that is frankly ridiculous to rank now after Emanuel Navarrete. I didn’t personally think Magsayo was any clear winner over Russell, but I also don’t think the outcome is any sort of shock or outrage.
Is Magsayo the second-best featherweight in the world? I don’t know. Maybe? Is anyone here really a sure thing for where they’re ranked besides Navarrete? The second-best guy might really be Rey Vargas, but he still has work to do in the division. Michael Conlan will have a chance to finally make a big statement on Mar. 12, but then so will Leigh Wood on the other side of that ring. Ruben Villa might be the second-best featherweight right now! He gave Navarrete a tough, tricky night. It might be Russell still, as Gary did clearly and legitimately fight one-handed with a shoulder injury against Magsayo.
This division continues to be a mess to figure out for something like this, but I’m actually kind of enjoying how weird it’s gotten. Old Man Kiko with one game-changer punch and he’s a titlist in the top five, Mark Magsayo is up there now, Leigh Wood, Mauricio Lara could be the No. 2! It’s fun. Weird, but interesting.
Kid Galahad is also out, because he’s planning a move up to 130 lbs. Under normal circumstances I’d wait for him to have the fight, but we just did sort of a refresh and after three weeks of nothing, might as well keep it fresh.
Upcoming Fights: (10) Joet Gonzalez vs Jeo Santisima, Mar. 4 ... (3) Mauricio Lara vs Emilio Sanchez, Mar. 5 ... (6) Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan, Mar. 12 ... (5) Kiko Martinez vs (7) Josh Warrington, Mar. 26
Upcoming Fights: (6) Luis Nery vs Carlos Castro, Feb. 5 ... (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, TBA
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Carlos Cuadras, Feb. 5 ... (5) Jerwin Ancajas vs Fernando Daniel Martinez, Feb. 26 ... (4) Chocolatito Gonzalez vs Julio Cesar Martinez, Mar. 5
Upcoming Fights: (1) Julio Cesar Martinez vs Chocolatito Gonzalez, Mar. 5 [junior bantamweight] ... (2) Sunny Edwards vs Muhammad Waseem, Mar. 19
Upcoming Fights: (3) Masamichi Yabuki vs (5) Kenshiro Teraji, Mar. 19
Upcoming Fights: (8) Rene Mark Cuarto vs (9) Pedro Taduran, Feb. 6 ... (10) Vic Saludar vs TBA, Mar. 5 ... (2) Petchmanee CP Freshmart vs (3) Wanheng Menayothin, Mar. 29
Upcoming Fights: (6) Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall, Feb. 26 ... (9) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Chocolatito Gonzalez, Mar. 5 ... (5) Errol Spence Jr vs Yordenis Ugas, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (2) Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin, Feb. 5 ... (1) Katie Taylor vs (3) Amanda Serrano, Apr. 30 ... (10) Chantelle Cameron vs Kali Reis, TBA