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Boxing Rankings (Oct. 17, 2022): Deontay Wilder, Claressa Shields, Devin Haney, more

Is Claressa Shields No. 1 pound-for-pound? Plus Deontay Wilder, Devin Haney, and more.

Is Claressa Shields No. 1 pound-for-pound? Plus Deontay Wilder, Devin Haney, and more
Is Claressa Shields No. 1 pound-for-pound? Plus Deontay Wilder, Devin Haney, and more
Photo by James Chance/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. Really bare weekend coming up so we’ll be back in two weeks. This is happening way too often for my liking lately, and there’s more of it to come for the rest of 2022.

Ranked fights the next two weeks:

  • Cruiserweight: (10) Aleksei Papin vs Damir Beljo, Oct. 29
  • Lightweight: (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jamaine Ortiz, Oct. 29
  • Lightweight: (6) JoJo Diaz vs William Zepeda, Oct. 29
  • Featherweight: (2) Mauricio Lara vs Jose Sanmartin, Oct. 22
  • Bantamweight: (10) Alexandro Santiago vs Antonio Nieves, Oct. 29
  • Flyweight: (9) Giemel Magramo vs Taku Kuwahara, Oct. 25
  • Women’s P4P: (2) Katie Taylor vs Karen Elizabeth Carabajal, Oct. 29

Notes: We’re going to lead with the women’s pound-for-pound this week, as it was a big week for the women, and there’s a lot to discuss. Didn’t want it to get lost in scrolling way down the post.

Is Claressa Shields the No. 1 P4P women’s fighter right now? I think so. I think you could have said that at any point in the past four years and been totally reasonable. But I think where we are now, her skills are peaking, while Katie Taylor’s are not what they once were.

First off, I say this with massive respect toward Taylor, who in my opinion is the only other woman other than Shields with a serious “GWOAT” claim, with due acknowledgement of some of the pioneers who came before them. I’m also not saying I think Katie’s skills have slipped a bit because she’s had more competitive fights than Shields, and I’m not saying Shields’ are now better simply because she had her most competitive fight and it still wasn’t as competitive as two or three of Taylor’s. It’s a bit more nuanced than that.

First of all, Katie Taylor is 36 and Claressa Shields is 27. Taylor’s absolute peak skills + physical gifts days came during her incredible amateur run. As a pro, she’s still been phenomenal, and that’s how truly great Katie Taylor is. She’s had a handful of tougher fights than Claressa because, frankly, there is much better competition at or near Katie’s weight than there is at Shields’ weights.

But Shields got in there with the best possible opponent, had her hands full with an opponent who didn’t give up trying after a few rounds, and proved her greatness without a shadow of a doubt. I have no more little, back-of-my-mind, “Well, what if?” questions about Shields’ resume. The limitations are what they are, but she has done everything possible at three weights. She is everything she says she is. Her skill level is incredible, and she’s also tough as hell and herself did not get rattled by someone who was not going away the way, being honest, most of her opponents, deeply out of their depth, have done.

So for me, it’s Shields at No. 1, Taylor at No. 2. I doubt there are many big arguments with that, because a lot of people already had it that way, or at least already had Shields in the top spot. I understood it then and understand it now. As great as Katie Taylor still really is, I think Shields has just surpassed her. It’s a credit to both of them.

The other big fight of the weekend saw Alycia Baumgardner upset Mikaela Mayer, and in a way I didn’t think she’d be able to do. She didn’t necessarily “out-box” Mayer, but she was good enough to go neck-and-neck with Mayer, and at times had the obvious better of things. It didn’t come down to “Mayer’s boxing vs Baumgardner’s power” at all. Personally, I thought the fight was extremely close, and I would have raised Baumgardner up from No. 10 even if that decision had gone Mayer’s way.

As it is, Baumgardner jumps up to No. 4, and Mayer drops from No. 5 to No. 6, but that’s as far as I’m going. These are two top fighters.

Savannah Marshall dips, but only to No. 10. You could have someone else in, but being the second-best in a fight with Claressa Shields doesn’t invalidate anything about you, in my opinion. I wish we had more fights where top fighters actually got in there with each other instead of taking fights where you have a gigantic, clear favorite, where an upset would be Earth-shaking and leave people thinking it’s probably a fluke because it’s so surprising.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Katie Taylor vs Karen Elizabeth Carabajal, Oct. 29 ... (8) Jessica McCaskill vs (9) Chantelle Cameron, Nov. 5 ... (5) Seniesa Estrada vs Jazmin Gala Villarino, Nov. 12

Notes: No changes in order with return wins for Deontay Wilder and Frank Sanchez. Both did more or less what was expected, with Wilder destroying Robert Helenius on the first right hand that landed, and Sanchez winning clearly against Carlos Negron, though he probably struggled a bit more than some expected, especially if you’re a person who for some reason keeps expecting him to look elite even though he never does.

Wilder is a power threat against anyone, always has been and is gonna be unless his right hand falls off or he has some reverse-Rookie of the Year arm injury or something. He is the same fighter he was before, strengths and weaknesses, and his strengths have paid off against everyone but Tyson Fury.

Speaking of Fury, yes, he’s reported to have a deal with Derek Chisora near finalized for Dec. 3. He’s obviously not actually retired. But he was so into everyone agreeing with him that he was retired that I’m keeping him off the list until he actually formally announces the fight.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (10) Aleksei Papin vs Damir Beljo, Oct. 29

Upcoming Fights: (1) Dmitry Bivol vs Zurdo Ramirez, Nov. 5 ... (8) Anthony Yarde vs TBA, Nov. 19

Notes: Plant did a number on Anthony Dirrell, scoring the most brutal knockout Caleb Plant is every likely to score, just destroying Dirrell with a left hook in the ninth round. I didn’t think that fight was as good as FOX’s house commentators presented; I did think it was about as good as the oddsmakers had it, which was Plant at -1200, which made for a funny moment with the DraftKings expert on-air explaining the odds after Shawn Porter had just breathlessly tried to sell you the Plant vs Dirrell bill of goods. If it were me, and I were a boxing show person who makes these calls, I would not have the lines so closely examined, because it reveals how this “sport” operates.

Anyway, Plant stays at No. 3, and strengthens that spot for the time being. Benavidez vs Plant would be a great fight to make, or either of them against David Morrell Jr. Let’s see if PBC make any of them or continue the junk parade.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Denzel Bentley, Nov. 12

Upcoming Fights: (1) Jermell Charlo vs (4) Tim Tszyu, TBA

Note: I sure wish someone in Boxing’s Best Division™ would actually do anything.

Upcoming Fights: (10) David Avanesyan vs Jon Miguez, Nov. 19

Upcoming Fights: (3) Regis Prograis vs (5) Jose Zepeda, Nov. 26 ... (8) Teofimo Lopez vs (10) Jose Pedraza, Dec. 10

Notes: Devin Haney further solidified his spot as the current king of the division, beating George Kambosos Jr handily in their rematch. The fight contractually had to happen, which Haney signed up for ahead of the first fight, and while you can get into the idea that this shouldn’t be this way, well, throw it on the pile of things that should not be the way they are in boxing and someone might get around to it in 2035.

I’m not dropping Kambosos a ton. He has had three straight top-level fights — two of them against the guy considered No. 1 at the time, and he went 1-1 in those — and nobody beneath him has earned the right to say they belong above him. Arguably neither have Gervonta Davis or Isaac Cruz, of course, but this is not any exact science, and I never argue it is. It’s a combination of results and ~~vibes~~.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jamaine Ortiz, Oct. 29 ... (6) JoJo Diaz vs William Zepeda, Oct. 29 ... (10) Masayoshi Nakatani vs Shuichiro Yoshino, Nov. 1

Notes: All hail undisputed champion Hector Garcia. No, he does not have four belts, but there is currently not a single soul with a legitimate or widely accepted championship dispute. Hector Garcia is undisputed champion.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Shavkat Rakhimov vs (7) Zelfa Barrett, Nov. 5 ... (8) O’Shaquie Foster vs Rey Vargas, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (2) Mauricio Lara vs Jose Sanmartin, Oct. 22 ... (7) Josh Warrington vs Luis Alberto Lopez, Dec. 10 ... (3) Rey Vargas vs O’Shaquie Foster [junior lightweight], TBA

Upcoming Fights: (10) Liam Davies vs Ionut Baluta, Nov. 19 ... (7) Takuma Inoue vs Jake Bornea, Dec. 13

Notes: 14 months is long enough for John Riel Casimero to sit in these rankings doing nothing with nothing planned. He’ll come back if he comes back at this weight.

Emmanuel Rodriguez bumps up to that No. 3 spot. The guy is a really good fighter — his two losses were to Inoue, who beats everyone, and Reymart Gaballo, which was a flat robbery, no, “Well, I can see how” — nah, flat robbery. He’s beaten Jason Moloney, who also won this weekend, he just handled Gary Antonio Russell with room to spare, he’s a damn good fighter.

With Casimero out and the Rodriguez over Russell result and Moloney, you know, winning a fight he was expected to win, did a bit of housecleaning, but only so much to do. Ryosuke Nishida, who probably projects at standout regional level, is in at No. 8. Russell bumps down only to No. 9. This is just not a deep division right now in terms of clear quality. After the top three, I think you’re sort of picking and choosing.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Alexandro Santiago vs Antonio Nieves, Oct. 29 ... (1) Naoya Inoue vs (8) Paul Butler, Dec. 13

Upcoming Fights: (8) Francisco Rodriguez Jr vs Junto Nakatani, Nov. 1 ... (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (3) Chocolatito Gonzalez, Dec. 3

Upcoming Fights: (9) Giemel Magramo vs Taku Kuwahara, Oct. 25 ... (2) Junto Nakatani vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr [junior bantamweight], Nov. 1 ... (1) Sunny Edwards vs Felix Alvarado, Nov. 11 ... (3) Julio Cesar Martinez vs (5) McWilliams Arroyo, Dec. 3

Upcoming Fights: (1) Hiroto Kyoguchi vs (2) Kenshiro Teraji, Nov. 1 ... (3) Jonathan Gonzalez vs Shokichi Iwata, Nov. 1

Upcoming Fights: TBA

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