Rankings go up on Mondays.
Ranked fights this week:
- Light Heavyweights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Joe Smith Jr, June 18
Upcoming Fights: (6) Joe Joyce vs TBA, July 2 ... (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs (4) Anthony Joshua, TBA ... (5) Andy Ruiz Jr vs (9) Luis Ortiz, TBA
Notes: I’d said a few times in these updates that if Richard Riakporhe beat Fabio Turchi convincingly and impressively, I’d probably see a spot for him in the top 10. Well, he did, stopping Turchi in two on a body shot, so here he is.
This is not something that’s clear, just the edge he needed to get in over Ryad Merhy, the prior No. 10 man. From Makabu and even a handful of guys past my top 10, it’s a group of fighters I think are all right about the same level, where “styles make fights” will really tell the tale in any potential matchup. And they are pretty much all “potential matchups” at the moment, because mostly they don’t fight each other. If they would fight one another — and again, this stretches beyond the top 10 here — we could have a really fun division. But for the most part lately, they have not. The World Boxing Super Series was specifically built for divisions like cruiserweight, and while I’m fairly certain it’s a dead idea, I’d love to see it come back, and love to see them run the cruisers a third time.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Mairis Briedis vs Jai Opetaia, July 2
Notes: Sometimes there’s a situation where a No. 2 or No. 3 fighter can leapfrog a current No. 1 if they score a really good win. Boxing doesn’t keep an organized sport’s schedule, rankings are often perception as much as anything, and things can change. But I want to say ahead of time there is nothing Beterbiev or Smith can do against one another this Saturday to take Bivol’s spot. If Beterbiev beats Smith, well, really good win, but he’s kinda supposed to, he’s a heavy betting favorite (though I think Smith is an abnormally live dog at his odds). If Smith beats Beterbiev, excellent for him, but Bivol’s already pretty handily beaten Smith.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Joe Smith Jr, June 18
Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Gennadiy Golovkin, Sept. 17
Notes: Jaime Munguia didn’t look great fighting at a 165 lb catchweight against Jimmy Kelly, but when he was able to pounce he made it count, dropping Kelly three times for a fifth round stoppage. It was a mismatch going in where Munguia lost a couple of the first four rounds and then finished. It wound up being entertaining to watch, and Kelly gave the good effort I expected, but was also bowled over as I expected, too.
Munguia needs better opposition. Now, that might result in some losses, which of course Oscar De La Hoya the great and brave promoter is not afraid of for his fighters, but I’ll get into that and more with regards to Munguia on Tuesday’s podcast.
And I want to say this part here, too: OK, so you couldn’t make the Jermall Charlo fight. Let’s all just put any other questions aside and say it’s 100 percent that certain person Al Haymon, right, good, we’re settled on that for the sake of discussion.
The next-best option after Jermall Charlo was not Jimmy Kelly. It wasn’t D’Mitrius Ballard before that, it wasn’t Gabe Rosado or Kamil Szeremeta before that. But, again, more on the podcast. Munguia got his assigned job done and keeps his spot here at No. 6.
Upcoming Fights: (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez, Sept. 17
Upcoming Fights: (7) Israil Madrimov vs (8) Michel Soro, July 9
Upcoming Fights: (6) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Michael McKinson, Aug. 6
Upcoming Fights: (8) Subriel Matias vs Jeremias Ponce, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (5) Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna, July 16
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (2) Mark Magsayo vs (7) Rey Vargas, July 9
Upcoming Fights: (2) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, June 25
Notes: Naoya Inoue scored probably the biggest win of his career last Tuesday, stopping Nonito Donaire in the second round.
I talked about this in the comments of some post or other on that fight, but I’ll bring it here, too. There’s been this conversational point since that fight that it “never should have happened” and all “real fans” knew the outcome would be as it was. That second part is fine, whatever, Inoue was a strong favorite and should have been, and the sense that he would stop Donaire was definitely out there.
But it’s another one of those things that social media boxing fans in particular tend to say but with nothing behind it. Inoue vs Donaire 2 was the biggest fight to make in the division, by miles. Their first fight was a classic, a Fight of the Year. No one else has near the name value they do. And nobody else has done anything that really matches what they both had done since that fight.
And yet, it “never should have happened.” There is no suggestion of what better fight there was for Inoue to take, just the insistence that this one was awful. The closest argument for an alternate fight within the bantamweight division was John Riel Casimero, who has spent about a year getting in his own way repeatedly and winding up stripped of his WBO title, as well as talking himself out of a fight date with Donaire last year.
It is absolute nonsense to say Inoue and Donaire shouldn’t have fought again. They were universally seen as the top two fighters in the division, they both brought world titles to the table, it was the biggest money fight, the fight the most people wanted to see, and a rematch of a great fight.
What we saw was Naoya Inoue do something incredible. I know it’s often hard for people in the online boxing “community” to admit someone is just good, but Inoue is more than good, he’s great. Someday, he will lose to someone, and in those same brains we’re talking about here, it will invalidate everything he ever did. He will have been nothing more than a hype job. The person who beat him will have done nothing special. And in turn, that person also still sucks.
Anyway, I still think Donaire deserves to be called the No. 2 guy. Look at the rest of the division and find a better argument. Is it Casimero, whose win over Guillermo Rigondeaux was questionable and he hasn’t fought since? Is it Oubaali, whom Donaire knocked out a year ago? Vincent Astrolabio? Jason Moloney? Emmanuel Rodriguez?
Inoue has established a dominance at this weight. He has earned being considered a clear distance ahead of the pack. And Donaire, even at his age, still deserves the recognition of being a top fighter, even though he lost. He was in great shape, he was moving well — Andre Ward pointed it out, too, if you won’t hear me on it, consider hearing him — he had a clear plan, and he got blasted by a fantastic, elite tier fighter, because Naoya Inoue is great.
On another note: Zolani Tete is very clearly moving up to 122, scheduled to fight Jason Cunningham for a minor IBF belt and the Commonwealth title on July 2, so he’s out at 118, and Gary Antonio Russell comes in at No. 10.
Upcoming Fights: TBA
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, July 13 ... (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (5) Joshua Franco, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (3) Julio Cesar Martinez vs (7) McWilliams Arroyo, June 25
Notes: Hiroto Kyoguchi picked up a pretty good win on the road in Mexico, stopping Esteban Bermudez in the eighth round of a very entertaining fight.
Kyoguchi’s best fight from here is clearly Kenshiro Teraji, but they’ve been the best fight for one another for years and it still hasn’t happened, so I’m not holding my breath. Kyoguchi has some dog in him, mixes it up, puts on a good show, gets physical, isn’t afraid to take a shot. He’s a really, really entertaining fighter, and when it’s all flowing for him, you see just how good he is, too.
Upcoming Fights: (3) Jonathan Gonzalez vs Mark Anthony Barriga, June 24 ... (4) Elwin Soto vs (9) Hekkie Budler, June 25 ... (5) Daniel Matellon vs Ivan Garcia, July 16 ... (7) Masamichi Yabuki vs Thanongsak Simsri, Aug. 11
Upcoming Fights: (5) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs Naoya Haruguchi, July 6
Upcoming Fights: (1) Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, TBA
Upcoming Fights: (7) Jessica McCaskill vs Alma Ibarra, June 25 ... (2) Claressa Shields vs (8) Savannah Marshall, TBA ... (5) Mikaela Mayer vs (10) Alycia Baumgardner, TBA