Hey, it’s December! Actually, it has been for a week, so this is a bit later than it’ll normally be, but the holidays are quite a time, folks, I tell you what.
Anyway, on with the show!
Bad Left Hook Pound-For-Pound Top 10
The voters: Scott Christ, Wil Esco, John Hansen, Patrick Stumberg, and Lewis Watson.
The total results for Dec. 2022:
Just the Facts (by Scott): The top two stay the same again, and Dmitry Bivol jumps up into a tie for third place with Errol Spence Jr. No changes otherwise, except Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez loses his tie spot in 10th with Vasiliy Lomachenko, because John dropped him a spot and thus a point.
Others Receiving Votes: Jesse Rodriguez 6, Kenshiro Teraji 6, Jermell Charlo 5, Regis Prograis 5, Shakur Stevenson 4, Stephen Fulton Jr 1
And now, some personal thoughts from your esteemed panel, and their ballots.
- (1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Terence Crawford, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Errol Spence Jr, (6) Artur Beterbiev, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Jermell Charlo, (9) Devin Haney, (10) Regis Prograis
I join John in PROGRAISMANIA, as Regis’ win over Jose Zepeda was really, really impressive. The drop-out for me was Shakur Stevenson, but I doubt he stays on the sidelines of the top 10 for long, and he’s going to spend the bulk of his remaining career here, I expect.
I got nothin’ else. See you next month.
- (1) Jaron Ennis, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Errol Spence Jr, (5) Terence Crawford, (6) Dmitry Bivol, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Artur Beterbiev, (9) Devin Haney, (10) Vasiliy Lomachenko
No changes on my list this month. If anything I only feel emboldened by the complete and utter avoidance of Jaron Ennis, who these other top welterweights want absolutely nothing to do with. Errol Spence appears to be conveniently headed towards a fight with Keith Thurman, and Terence Crawford (who often praises himself for being his own boss) conveniently mentions that Ennis’ name just “never came up” before he made a fight with much lower ranked David Avanesyan. Well guess what, Terence, when you’re your own boss, you’re the one who’s supposed to be floating the names! Heck, even Eimantas Stanionis’ team is rumored to have turned down an Ennis fight.
Anyway, I know there are still many out there who consider my list a gimmick, troll, or whatever, but it really is my genuine reflection of whom I believe are the 10 best fighters in the sport today with all size being equal.
- (1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Oleksandr Usyk, (3) Artur Beterbiev, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Jesse Roriguez, (6) Errol Spence Jr, (7) Regis Prograis, (8) Vasiliy Lomachenko, (9) Kenshiro Teraji, (10) Stephen Fulton Jr
Nobody enters or exits this month. Pretty proud of myself for nailing last month’s rankings so brilliantly. All I have to do this month is a little redecorating.
Bivol moves up because his dominant showing against Zurdo Ramirez closed his case for Fighter of the Year. Force me to pick between him and Beterbiev head-to-head, and I’ll lean slightly towards Beterbiev right now; but not by much, and certainly much tighter a margin than how I split them at the beginning of this year.
Bam Rodriguez moves down a bit since he’s dropping back down to 112 lbs. Still had a great year, still has interesting fights to make at flyweight. He still proved a lot jumping up to 115 and testing himself there in 2022.
Regis Prograis moves up a little, and I’m going to be very disappointed if I’m still the only one ranking him this month. Fantastic performance against Jose Zepeda, with two more potential showcase fights ahead of him against Jose Ramirez and Teofimo Lopez, assuming everything goes as the WBC anticipates.
Kenshiro Teraji drops down a bit. Was I too enthusiastic, intoxicated by the high of a hot unification fight when I put him at No. 5 last month? Maybe. Will he slide out completely once Terence Crawford is done with eight-figure glorified exhibitions and ready to box seriously again? Possibly.
- (1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Oleksandr Usyk, (3) Errol Spence Jr, (4) Terence Crawford, (5) Canelo Alvarez, (6) Dmitry Bivol, (7) Shakur Stevenson, (8) Vasiliy Lomachenko, (9) Artur Beterbiev, (10) Kenshiro Teraji
I’m afraid that beautiful son of a bitch Chocolatito has lost just enough of a step to fall off this list, and while Juan Francisco Estrada has a good argument to take his place, the sheer dominance with which Kenshiro Teraji asserted himself as the top dog at 108 was enough to get him the nod.
None of the others have great opportunities to move up in the immediate future. The only ones with fights booked are:
- Inoue, who’s already at the top,
- Crawford, who does not get brownie points for smashing David Avanesyan, and
- Beterbiev, who’s already expected to beat Yarde
I feel like I’ve hit a rut with my “well I made one list and nobody’s done enough to make me change it” shtick, so I should at least mention the ones right on the edge. A dominant beating of Tim Tszyu could earn Jermell Charlo a spot; same for Regis Prograis when he eventually takes on Jose Ramirez. Kazuto Ioka will have a strong argument if he gets past Joshua Franco, too.
- Ah sorry, my bad — after last week’s Prophets of Goom episode I was convinced we would slowly morph into a soccer/football/futbol/fußball/voetbal/ποδόσφαιρο (happy, John?) website!
- (1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Terence Crawford, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Canelo Alvarez, (6) Errol Spence Jr, (7) Devin Haney, (8) Kenshiro Teraji, (9) Jermell Charlo, (10) Artur Beterbiev
It’s a painful one for me, but I can’t convince myself – no matter how biased – that Chocolatito is a top 10 pound-for-pound guy anymore. There were still flashes of brilliance in his rubber loss to Estrada, but not enough to suggest that he isn’t heavily knocking on the door of Father Time. Estrada was most effective early in the fight – if the Mexican dominated the entire 12 rounds in style then I’d probably have edged him into the top 10.
Instead, I am giving some love to an even smaller man, Kenshiro Teraji, who opened up November with a fantastic win over Hiroto Kyoguchi. The junior-flyweight king flies up to eighth as Gonzalez tumbles out.
Bivol’s clinic over Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez sees him bump up to fourth – it’ll take something special from him to be able to break the current lock-in of Usyk, Inoue and Crawford.