Rankings go up on Mondays. There will not be another update until Monday, Jan. 2.
Ranked fights the next three weeks:
- Super Middleweight: (10) Christian Mbilli vs Vaughn Alexander, Dec. 17
- Lightweight: (10) Michel Rivera vs Frank Martin, Dec. 17
- Junior Featherweight: (7) Takuma Inoue vs Jake Bornea, Dec. 13
- Bantamweight: (1) Naoya Inoue vs (8) Paul Butler, Dec. 13
- Junior Bantamweight: (2) Kazuto Ioka vs (5) Joshua Franco, Dec. 31
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (4) Ilunga Junior Makabu vs (9) Noel Mikaelyan, Jan. 21
Upcoming Fights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (8) Anthony Yarde, Jan. 28 ... (10) Jean Pascal vs Michael Eifert, Feb. 9
Upcoming Fights: (10) Christian Mbilli vs Vaughn Alexander, Dec. 17 ... (2) David Benavidez vs (3) Caleb Plant, TBA
Notes: Felix Cash won an eight-round tune-up bout on Saturday in Leeds, but man, he did not look like a top 10 middleweight in either of his fights this year, and this is not a division that is overloaded with red hot fighters on the rise. If Cash looks better in a planned spring bout with Austin “Ammo” Williams, he could be back. But for now, it’s hard to have him here. Meiirim Nursultanov is in, making for three Kazakh fighters in the top 10, and no Kazakh fighters ranked in any other top 10.
Upcoming Fights: (4) Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith, Jan. 21 ... (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs Esquiva Falcao, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (5) Liam Smith vs Chris Eubank Jr [middleweight], Jan. 21 ... (1) Jermell Charlo vs (4) Tim Tszyu, Jan. 28
Notes: Terence Crawford did about as it was figured he would against David Avanesyan. Seems like we say that a lot on this site, covering this sport. Almost like it might be slightly more interesting to not have constant main events with -1500 favorites. I don’t know, just thinkin’!
Crawford stays at No. 2, behind the guy people want to see him fight. Let me be clear: I also don’t want to see Errol Spence Jr vs Keith Thurman. I don’t think there’s a lot more to learn about Spence than we already know by having him fight a faded Thurman. The fight remains Spence-Crawford. Anything less is a disappointment from either guy.
Avanesyan drops out. He fought his best, and was found wanting at that level. That’s no surprise, but it ends the momentum he had dominating at Euro level. Egidijus Kavaliauskas, who smashed Avanesyan in 2018, is in at the No. 10 spot, but others will have chances to claim it, it’s a pretty loose grip he has on the ranking. It’s there for the taking.
Upcoming Fights: (4) Jaron Ennis vs Karen Chukhadzhian, Jan. 7
Notes: Teofimo Lopez officially got the win over Sandor Martin on Saturday, a split decision on home ground at Madison Square Garden. Wil scored it 95-94 Martin live; I had it 95-94 Martin watching it later that evening. I don’t think it’s any robbery for Lopez to have gotten a 95-94 card, but he struggled all the same.
Giving credit here, Sandor Martin is a good boxer, tough, and his coming in on short notice also means Lopez had to fight him on short notice after preparing for Jose Pedraza, who falls out this week to make room for Martin to return at No. 9.
We’ll get more into Lopez on Tuesday’s podcast.
Upcoming Fights: (7) Ryan Garcia vs Mercito Gesta, Jan. 28 ... (1) Josh Taylor vs (2) Jack Catterall, TBA ... (7) Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis, Apr. 15
Upcoming Fights: (10) Michel Rivera vs Frank Martin, Dec. 17 ... (3) Gervonta Davis vs Hector Luis Garcia, Jan. 7 ... (3) Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia, Apr. 15
Upcoming Fights: (4) Hector Luis Garcia vs Gervonta Davis [lightweight], Jan. 7 ... (1) Oscar Valdez vs Emanuel Navarrete, Feb. 3
Notes: This remains an incredibly, uniquely annoying division to rank. Luis Alberto Lopez was on the fringes for me before, and he jumps in at No. 7 after an IBF title-winning upset of Josh Warrington on Saturday. I scored the fight even, I think either guy could have shaded it and would have been fine with it. As much as Lopez built the early lead, Warrington came back hard late and made it a debate for sure.
So Warrington only slips to No. 8. You have Leo Santa Cruz who still has the WBA belt and is doing God knows what — they had intended to do a unification with Rey Vargas, then that was scrapped, and Vargas intends to go to 130 as Emanuel Navarrete will be doing, and neither have vacated their belts (WBC for Vargas, WBO for Navarrete). Santa Cruz vs Leigh Wood would be the WBA order, but we don’t actually know what Leigh Wood is doing after an injury. Santa Cruz hasn’t actually fought in this division in nearly four years, and has had one fight total in the last two-plus.
I might reexamine this again in a few weeks when the rankings return; there’s a chance we’ll actually know a bit more by then what Vargas and/or Santa Cruz will be doing, even Wood. But I mean, there’s a top four here that I believe in; one is moving up for sure, one probably is, and then you get into a mish-mash of people who had a recent good win, or not, or they’re barely even active, or hard to figure at the moment. This is a mess. I hate this division, which has a lot of really good talent who could make for fun fights if matched together.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Emanuel Navarrete vs Oscar Valdez [junior lightweight], Feb. 3
Upcoming Fights: (7) Takuma Inoue vs Jake Bornea, Dec. 13
Upcoming Fights: (1) Naoya Inoue vs (8) Paul Butler, Dec. 13
Notes: Kosei Tanaka did win on Sunday, beating Yanga Sigqibo by decision in Nagoya, Japan. Despite his loss to Kazuto Ioka when he moved up and a tough outing with Sho Ishida a year after that, he’s a viable player at 115, he just hasn’t blitzed through every division the way Naoya Inoue has, or had the success yet that Ioka has. Not many do, though.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Kazuto Ioka vs (5) Joshua Franco, Dec. 31
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (7) Masamichi Yabuki vs Ronald Chacon, Jan. 28
Upcoming Fights: (3) Masataka Taniguchi vs Melvin Jerusalem, Jan. 6 ... (4) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs (9) Daniel Valladares, Jan. 6
Upcoming Fights: TBA