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Boxing Rankings (Aug. 22, 2022): Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, Callum Smith, Emanuel Navarrete, more

Oleksandr Usyk keeps his spot atop the heavyweight rankings and much more in this week’s update.

Oleksandr Usyk keeps his spot atop the heavyweight rankings
Oleksandr Usyk keeps his spot atop the heavyweight rankings
Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via 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. No update next week, not enough action this coming week.

Ranked fights the next two weeks:

  • Heavyweight: (4) Andy Ruiz Jr vs (8) Luis Ortiz, Sept. 4
  • Junior Middleweight: (5) Liam Smith vs Hassan Mwakinyo, Sept. 3
  • Junior Welterweight: (10) Jose Pedraza vs Richard Commey, Aug. 27
  • Lightweight: (7) Isaac Cruz vs Eduardo Ramirez, Sept. 4
  • Junior Bantamweight: (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Argi Cortes, Sept. 3

Notes: Oleksandr Usyk cemented his top spot status by beating Anthony Joshua again. He says it’s Tyson Fury or bust for him from here, and at 35 with a lot more going on in his life than just boxing, and having achieved about all there is to achieve other than fighting Tyson Fury, I wouldn’t be totally sure we haven’t seen him for the last time. But I get the feeling Fury will fight him.

I do not think Joshua deserves to fall below where he was. For one thing, no one else has done anything to really earn the bump up, for another, yeah, he lost to Usyk again. Usyk’s better than him. That’s why Usyk was ranked ahead of him already.

I had the No. 10 spot sort of up for grabs between Filip Hrgovic and Zhilei Zhang, but then Hrgovic got the nod in a fight I really didn’t think he won. So the out is picking someone else, because I just can’t give Hrgovic the spot for that performance — it was a good fight that I really enjoyed watching, but this is very serious stuff, fake boxing rankings. I’m going with Frank Sanchez, who believes he’s the only heavyweight who can out-box Usyk. I do not expect him to get the chance to prove it.

The next update in a couple weeks on Sept. 5 will sort of reassess heavyweight at that time. We’ll see how Ruiz vs Ortiz goes on Sept. 4 and go from there, because this could use some shuffling, I think, or at least a good, deep think, but we’ll do it then, because that’s coming soon enough.

Upcoming Fights: (4) Andy Ruiz Jr vs (8) Luis Ortiz, Sept. 4 ... (5) Joe Joyce vs (7) Joseph Parker, Sept. 24 ... (2) Deontay Wilder vs Robert Helenius, Oct. 15

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Callum Smith stays where he was after obliterating Mathieu Bauderlique in Jeddah. Bauderlique drops out and is replaced by 612-year-old Jean Pascal, who was also in the top 10 back in 2007, at 168 lbs. That was 15 years ago. He was atop this division in 2010. That was 12 years ago. Here he is again. I didn’t think Pascal was that impressive in May against Fanlong Meng, but this is a division that desperately needs new blood and fighters to break through.

Pascal may well face Joshua Buatsi next. Buatsi’s bid to fight Dmitry Bivol was turned down by the WBA to order the Zurdo mandatory, and the IBF ordered a Buatsi vs Pascal eliminator in July. Pascal shouldn’t beat Buatsi, but Pascal has an uniquely pesky veteran style about him, he’s awkward and kind of obnoxious in the way he fights, and he knows how to convince judges he won rounds that he probably didn’t.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Dmitry Bivol vs Zurdo Ramirez, Nov. 5 ... (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (9) Anthony Yarde, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Gennadiy Golovkin, Sept. 17

Upcoming Fights: (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez [super middleweight], Sept. 17 (5) Chris Eubank Jr vs Conor Benn, Oct. 8 ... (7) Carlos Adames vs Juan Macias Montiel, Oct. 8

Upcoming Fights: (5) Liam Smith vs Hassan Mwakinyo, Sept. 3 ... (3) Sebastian Fundora vs Carlos Ocampo, Oct. 8 ... (1) Jermell Charlo vs (4) Tim Tszyu, Jan. 28

Upcoming Fights: (7) Conor Benn vs Chris Eubank Jr [middleweight], Oct. 8

Notes: Alberto Puello in, Batyr Akhmedov out. Puello now holds the WBA title, picking up the vacant strap with a split decision win on Saturday. Akhmedov has now had two chances to really get over the hump and has just not done it, and it’s been Puello and Mario Barrios, not exactly the elites.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Jose Pedraza vs Richard Commey, Aug. 27 ... (9) Teofimo Lopez vs TBA, Dec. 10 ... (3) Regis Prograis vs (5) Jose Zepeda, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (7) Isaac Cruz vs Eduardo Ramirez, Sept. 4 ... (6) Zaur Abdullaev vs Jovanni Straffon, Sept. 11 ... (1) Devin Haney vs (3) George Kambosos Jr, Oct. 15 ... (5) JoJo Diaz vs William Zepeda, Nov. 5 ... (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jamaine Ortiz, TBA

Notes: Hector Garcia took the WBA title from Roger Gutierrez quite convincingly, and we are done with the “Roger Gutierrez is a world champion and top 10 fighter” phase of boxing. Garcia’s a very good boxer; still levels beyond Gutierrez and Chris Colbert, but the guy is good, dominated both of those fights, and has earned his spot.

Along with Gutierrez dropping out, I’m taking Leo Santa Cruz out as he is pretty officially set to go back down to 126 to fight Leigh Wood in early November. He’s just eating up a spot here for three months by leaving him, so out he goes. In are O’Shaquie Foster and Lamont Roach Jr, which isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but most things aren’t, man, that’s life.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Shakur Stevenson vs (5) Robson Conceicao, Sept. 23

Notes: Emanuel Navarrete won another “stay-busy” level title defense, which has been the majority of both of his runs with belts at 122 and 126. I hate to knock the guy because I think he’s a really good fighter who presents unique challenges for everyone, I just want to see him in a good fight that’s an actual challenge, where if he has a “bad night” like he kinda did against Eduardo Baez it might actually result in something other than a clear win anyway.

Santa Cruz back in here; been a while, but I don’t care, it’s where he’s belonged the whole time anyway. I think No. 8 is fair enough; he could really still be much higher, but we’ll wait and see how he does against Wood, who has been fighting well. If Santa Cruz dominates — and he might — then he rockets back up.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Ryosuke Iwasa is out; he hasn’t fought in a while, but he hadn’t quite hit the 18 months I’m counting for “inactive” now when I choose to bother with that at all on a case-by-case basis, but he is set to return in October and is moving up to 126, so again, would just be taking up a spot. Zolani Tete is in.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Rau’shee Warren is out after a six-round loss on PBC’s prelims on Saturday to Francisco Pedroza Portillo, who is now 18-11-2. Shit can happen in a six-rounder, but still shouldn’t have here, it’s still a notable upset and, let’s be clear, a terrible loss for a 35-year-old Warren, who was hanging on to the hope that he might get one more crack at a belt. It is a huge, huge setback.

Being honest, right now this is a division with a glut of pretty good to good fighters and zero intrigue until Inoue moves up.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs Argi Cortes, Sept. 3 ... (4) Jesse Rodriguez vs Israel Gonzalez, Sept. 17 ... (6) Fernando Martinez vs (9) Jerwin Ancajas, Oct. 8

Upcoming Fights: (10) Giemel Magramo vs Taku Kuwahara, Oct. 25

Notes: Canizales won a stay-busy in Mexico on Saturday.

Upcoming Fights: (7) Masamichi Yabuki vs Thanongsak Simsri, Sept. 10

Upcoming Fights: (1) Petchmanee CP Freshmart vs Norihito Tanaka, Aug. 31

Upcoming Fights: (2) Claressa Shields vs (8) Savannah Marshall, Sept. 10 ... (5) Mikaela Mayer vs (10) Alycia Baumgardner, Sept. 10

Update: I do not care about pound-for-pound lists or arguments. Frothing at the mouth over whether someone is ranked No. 4 or No. 7 out of the thousands of boxers in the world holds no appeal for me. I have said this 1,000 times now, and it was true every time.

On that note, I have decided to remove the men’s pound-for-pound rankings because I do not give a damn about them and the near-weekly debates on whether or not the latest guy to win a fight should be on the pound-for-pound list has worn on me.

This is not about the site specifically; I believe media overall have developed a ridiculous, awful obsession with “the pound-for-pound list,” which I get on some level. It’s something to talk about, but I no longer have any interest in contributing to this fantasy madness. If you want pound-for-pound, offer your own in the comments every week. If you actually believe what you come up with, then it’s as legitimate as mine or The Ring’s or ESPN’s or TRBB’s or anyone else’s.

I will continue to do the women’s pound-for-pound for a few reasons. First, it’s the only reason I brought back the men’s pound-for-pound, because I wanted representation for the women in our rankings, and felt that if I did that without also adding the men, it would be just plain defiant to the many asks to have a men’s pound-for-pound list. Now I think, so what?

Second, it is borderline impossible in many divisions to build even a legitimate top five for women’s boxing. That’s just the reality of the lack of depth. But there are a lot of good fighters out there, and they deserve mention. So they get pound-for-pound still. Men don’t. I may even expand the women’s pound-for-pound to 15 soon, we’ll see.

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