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Boxing Rankings (May 9, 2022): Dmitry Bivol breaks through! Who’s No. 1 pound-for-pound? Canelo, Montana Love, more

Dmitry Bivol staked his claim as one of boxing’s best with his win over Canelo Alvarez, but who’s No. 1 pound-for-pound now?

Dmitry Bivol staked his claim as one of boxing’s best with his win over Canelo Alvarez
Dmitry Bivol staked his claim as one of boxing’s best with his win over Canelo Alvarez
Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Rankings go up on Mondays.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Heavyweight: (10) Tony Yoka vs Martin Bakole, May 14
  • Light Heavyweight: (4) Gilberto Ramirez vs Dominic Boesel, May 14
  • Junior Middleweight: (1) Jermell Charlo vs (1) Brian Castano, May 14
  • Welterweight: (5) Jaron Ennis vs Custio Clayton, May 14
  • Flyweight: (8) Angel Acosta vs Janiel Rivera, May 12
  • Women’s P4P: (6) Delfine Persoon vs Elhem Mekhaled, May 14

Upcoming Fights: (10) Tony Yoka vs Martin Bakole, May 14 ... (9) Otto Wallin vs Rydell Booker, May 26 ... (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs (4) Anthony Joshua, TBA ... (5) Andy Ruiz Jr vs Luis Ortiz, TBA ... (6) Joe Joyce vs (8) Joseph Parker, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Mairis Briedis vs Jai Opetaia, TBA

Notes: I’d say Dmitry Bivol did OK on Saturday, really held his own with Canelo Alvarez by dominating him pretty clearly and getting a trio of 7-5 cards for it.

I think Bivol has to be called the top light heavyweight right now; he took his game to another level, one that might simply be about motivation. Bivol himself admitted when speaking semi-privately with Eddie Hearn that his prior two fights, where he got mixed reviews at best, simply didn’t motivate him. He also indicated that if he’d looked better in those fights, he probably wouldn’t have gotten the fight he got with Canelo.

Bivol was great. He still wasn’t flashy or thrilling! with his work, but man is he good at it. Canelo couldn’t “be Canelo,” but he also didn’t really try. Canelo had the idea to start aggressively, which allowed Bivol to counter-punch, but Bivol also took the initiative enough to catch the judges’ eyes.

I am a huge Artur Beterbiev fan, if you’ve been around a while you know that. I think Beterbiev is a tremendous fighter, even better than he’s often given credit for being. But I think the top dog at 175 now has to be Bivol. Maybe we’ll finally get to see Bivol and Beterbiev settle it sometime, maybe not; Beterbiev has a good one up next himself.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Gilberto Ramirez vs Dominic Boesel, May 14 ... (8) Joshua Buatsi vs Craig Richards, May 21 ... (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Joe Smith Jr, June 18

Notes: Canelo is still king at 168. He’s nearly cleaned out the division, he’s still undisputed champion, he’s not moving from the top spot here for losing to Bivol at 175. That should go without saying, but I think lots of things go without saying and someone still needs it said, so let’s just say it.

Upcoming Fights: (2) David Benavidez vs David Lemieux, May 21 ... (5) David Morrell Jr vs Kalvin Henderson, June 4

Upcoming Fights: (7) Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Danny Dignum, May 21 ... (2) Jermall Charlo vs Maciej Sulecki, June 18

Upcoming Fights: (1) Jermell Charlo vs (1) Brian Castano, May 14

Upcoming Fights: (5) Jaron Ennis vs Custio Clayton, May 14

Notes: Montana Love picked up a solid win over Gabriel Gollaz on the Canelo-Bivol card. It was competitive, he definitely didn’t dominate, and both settled in a bit tentative after trading knockdowns in the first two rounds. It was a strangely tepid affair after a fast start and considering it remained competitive throughout. I wound up having it 113-113, but the scores of 114-112 across the board for Love were totally fine.

I do think Love showed some issues that will get him trouble against better fighters, or at least could. Gollaz is a good fighter, don’t mix that up, I don’t think Love disappointed. But the more you see of fighters and the better the competition, the more you can learn. Love has a spot in the top 10 already, but some of the big hype may have cooled a smidge. That’s fair, and it happens. We’ll see how he goes forward; Eddie Hearn wants to have him in a world title fight by next year, and considering Love is 27 now, that’s not a silly time frame to go for it.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (5) Gervonta Davis vs Rolando Romero, May 28 ... (1) George Kambosos Jr vs (4) Devin Haney, June 4

Upcoming Fights: (3) Kenichi Ogawa vs Joe Cordina, June 4 ... (9) Zelfa Barrett vs Faroukh Kurbanov, June 4

Upcoming Fights: (2) Mark Magsayo vs (7) Rey Vargas, July 9

Upcoming Fights: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (4) Danny Roman, June 4 ... (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, June 25

Upcoming Fights: (7) Jason Moloney vs Aston Palicte, June 4 ... (1) Naoya Inoue vs (2) Nonito Donaire, June 7

Upcoming Fights: (3) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs (6) Jesse Rodriguez, June 25 ... (10) Kosei Tanaka vs Masayoshi Hashizume, June 29 ... (2) Kazuto Ioka vs Donnie Nietes, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (8) Angel Acosta vs Janiel Rivera, May 12 ... (3) Julio Cesar Martinez vs (7) McWilliams Arroyo, June 25

Upcoming Fights: (1) Hiroto Kyoguchi vs (8) Esteban Bermudez, June 10

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: I like to restructure and reevaluate rankings from time-to-time instead of getting static and stuck, or at least in an attempt not to do that, and I figure with Canelo losing, it was a good time to take a look at the men’s pound-for-pound list and see how I’m feeling today.

And that’s how I’m feeling today. Great talk.

Alright, fine.

I think you can make a pretty good argument for Oleksandr Usyk, Naoya Inoue, or Terence Crawford. I think you could make one for Bivol or Spence.

Someone may argue it’s still Canelo, and 175 is simply too heavy for him. It probably is, as far as being maximum effective, but it’s not like he went up there and got clobbered, and I expect he’d still beat most fighters at 175, including almost everyone in our or any top 10. Not everyone executes the way Dmitry Bivol did, nor are there many people as flat-out good as Dmitry Bivol. So I really can’t see it.

Canelo at 175 is sort of like Lomachenko at 135 for me, it’s not where they’re at their very best but it’s not like they don’t compete and can’t win at a very high level still. Something similar could happen to Crawford at 154 if/when he eventually moves up, and it has happened to many great fighters who go up in weight repeatedly. Just for the modern eras, Oscar De La Hoya found his wall at 160, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley at 154, Nonito Donaire at 126. All of those guys could fight at those weights, and they were/are great so they’re not going to be completely embarrassed or whatever, but it was clear they were pushing it.

Shakur Stevenson comes in now. I hesitated last week, wanted to let some other stuff play out, too, but I think he’s shown the talent. But there are so many fighters you could include here, too. Boxing doesn’t actually have two good fighters at a time no matter what someone on Facebook or Twitter might insist. Other contenders include a trio of guys at 115 (Juan Francisco Estrada, Kazuto Ioka, and Chocolatito Gonzalez), this coming week’s Charlo-Castano 2 winner, Artur Beterbiev, Tank Davis, and even the old lads Donaire and GGG have plenty of resume on their side and are still fighting very well.

Lots of ways you could go. You could still have Canelo higher. But pound-for-pound to me is competitive, this isn’t a division or whatever where OK, maybe you lost, but you took a good fight and you losing didn’t make someone who’s been playing it safe better. With P4P, a loss is significant, even a “good loss” like Canelo’s. Being No. 6 or whatever in the entire world for the moment is no great shame. I think he’s still a great fighter, and there’s every chance he could climb back up to the top again someday depending on how things shake out for him at 168 and, maybe, at 175 in the future, what opponents are available, how he does, all that.

Upcoming Fights: (9) George Kambosos Jr vs Devin Haney, June 4 ... (2) Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire, June 7 ... (1) Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (9) Chantelle Cameron vs Victoria Bustos, May 21 ... (2) Claressa Shields vs (8) Savannah Marshall, TBA

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