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Bad Left Hook Pound-for-Pound Top 10 (Feb. 2023): Artur Beterbiev jumps over Canelo Alvarez, more

Artur Beterbiev and Canelo Alvarez have switched spots in this month’s P4P top 10.

Artur Beterbiev has moved up a spot in the February pound-for-pound rankings
Artur Beterbiev has moved up a spot in the February pound-for-pound rankings
Photo by Mark Robison/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

A new month! What glory and wonder for us all. And also, another pound-for-pound list from us, the people at the Bad Left Hook web site.

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 Feb. 2023:

Also Receiving Votes: Regis Prograis 5, Kenshiro Teraji 5, Jermell Charlo 4, Shakur Stevenson 4, Stephen Fulton Jr 1

And now, some personal thoughts from your esteemed panel, and their increasingly bit-heavy ballots that just might make some of you real mad about this very serious topic.

Scott Christ

  • (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

My list hasn’t changed. I think everyone is exactly as good as I did a month ago. I have considered a few things, but nothing really struck me enough for now.

There likely will be at least some real shakeup in the spring when we see Canelo return and see how he looks, even if it’s against John Ryder, plus Bivol might fight someone, Usyk might fight Fury, Inoue should (it seems!) fight Fulton in April, Spence will fight, Bud might fight, Haney will probably fight Lomachenko in late May, Jermell Charlo might stay inactive and start falling out of the lists he’s on, etc.

Wil Esco

  • (1) Vacant, (2) Jaron Ennis, (3) Naoya Inoue, (4) Oleksandr Usyk, (5) Errol Spence Jr, (6) Terence Crawford, (7) Dmitry Bivol, (8) Canelo Alvarez, (9) Artur Beterbiev, (10) Devin Haney

I know many of you have been waiting for this moment...I’ve given this month’s rankings a tremendous amount of thought because I have many, many thoughts on Jaron Ennis’ performance against Karen Chukhadzhian, but I’ll try to compress it down as succinctly as possible. On the one hand I openly opined that if Ennis didn’t thoroughly impress he would fall from his #1 ranking on my list, but on the other hand Chukhadzhian fought in an extremely negative style while showcasing elite level footwork that was able to keep him from engaging Ennis very much. Chukhadzhian proved to be much more capable than I thought, particularly on his feet, so how much do I really want to penalize Ennis here?

The fact is I think Ennis was fighting under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform, and really wanted to show out to prove his supporters right on a big card. Fighting that aggressively and offensively against a capable opponent is going to leave any fighter open at points. Is Ennis able to get hit? Yes, but this is boxing and basically anyone can get hit, particularly if they’re coming to inflict damage. Therefore I’m weighing it all out, and I think there’s only one fair and reasonable way to handle this situation for the time being.

John Hansen

  • (1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Oleksandr Usyk, (3) Dmitry Bivol, (4) Artur Beterbiev, (5) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (6) Errol Spence Jr, (7) Regis Prograis, (8) Vasiliy Lomachenko, (9) Kenshiro Teraji, (10) Stephen Fulton Jr

One change for me this month… I loved Beterviev-Yarde, but (as Scott and I discussed on this week’s podcast) I think some of the adversity Beterbiev marched through looked like troubling signs of the inevitable erosions of aging. He’s still amazing, he’s still must-see entertainment, but I compared him to Golovkin at age 37 in the sense that a guy who used to be an unstoppable, unbreakable force started to look at least a little bit human.

Ever since we started doing this feature together, I’ve always thought Beterbiev would probably win head-to-head with Dimitry Bivol, and ranked them accordingly. Based on what we saw from Bivol last year and what I’m inferring from the Yarde fight, though? Now, I’d favor Bivol over Beterbiev in the matchup that better not stay hypothetical for much longer. So, I swapped Bivol and Beterbiev in this month’s rankings, even though we just saw Beterbiev win an early Fight of the Year contender. If you’re mad, please consider that I’ve consistently ranked him higher than the rest of the team, and he’s still the 4th best P4P guy in the sport in my opinion. Unless everyone else has him higher than me this month, THEY’RE the ones you’re actually angry with. Direct your furious comments accordingly.

Crawford remains out until he books a serious fight or gets forced into a mandatory defense. Fury remains retired and out of consideration until he does the same. Haney and Stevenson remain ineligible under the Rigondeaux rule.

Patrick Stumberg

  • (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

Much as I love Artur Beterbiev, I was tempted to have him and Teraji switch places just based on the difficulty the former had with Anthony Yarde. Honestly, though, I’m willing to chalk that up to Yarde finally, finally firing on all cylinders, and the adjustments Beterbiev made to deal with Yarde’s aggression and ultimately pull out the win were commendable.

Doesn’t seem like February will offer many opportunities to shake the list up unless Mauricio Lara smashes Leigh Wood in like 30 seconds, but while I’m disappointed that my lineup has remained so static, is there anything more boxing than stagnation?

Lewis Watson

  • (1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Terence Crawford, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Canelo Alvarez, (6) Artur Beterbiev, (7) Errol Spence Jr, (8) Devin Haney, (9) Kenshiro Teraji, (10) Jermell Charlo

Artur Beterbiev’s contribution to one of the best fights I have seen live sees him catapult up four spots. The 38-year-old continues to walk through the light-heavyweight division relatively unscathed, defying the imminent knock from Father Time. Despite getting hit a fair deal by Anthony Yarde in London, the Russian’s engine refuses to fail and his shot selection and power is unquestioned. Beterbiev vs Bivol is THE fight that needs to be made at 175 lbs (okay, aside from a fan-favourite Joe Smith Jr vs Anthony Yarde shootout) - their opposing styles should make for an unforgettable clash.

The February slate doesn’t look like it’s going to make too big a dent on the future P4P rankings — that is of course unless Jake Paul beats a boxer? Go on – I dare one of ya to chuck him in.

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