Rankings go up on Mondays. No update next week.
Ranked fights the next two weeks:
- Light Heavyweight: (4) Callum Smith vs Pawel Stepien, Mar. 11
- Junior Middleweight: (4) Tim Tszyu vs (8) Tony Harrison, Mar. 12 [Mar. 11 U.S. time]
- Featherweight: (5) Mark Magsayo vs (10) Brandon Figueroa, Mar. 4
- Junior Featherweight: (10) Sam Goodman vs TJ Doheny, Mar. 12 [Mar. 11 U.S. time]
Upcoming Fights: (4) Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin, Apr. 1 ... (5) Joe Joyce vs Zhilei Zhang, Apr. 15
Notes: Badou Jack added the WBC cruiserweight title to his career collection, claiming a world title in a third weight class with a minor but notable upset of Ilunga Junior Makabu on Sunday in Saudi Arabia.
I still don’t really think the 39-year-old Jack is a great cruiserweight, but watching the fight and observing the division over the last couple of years, it really hit me: There isn’t a great cruiserweight in the world right now. I’ve said before that the cruiserweight division of recent times has a lot of fighters bunched pretty close together in ability, and now I think it might be even more — past a top 10 — than I already believed, and that there’s not really anyone who stands wildly apart from the pack. Lawrence Okolie’s height and reach might be the biggest factor of any potential matchup in the division.
Skill-wise, Jack was clearly better than Makabu, who looked every second of his 35 years and then some. That part actually didn’t surprise me that much; that Makabu never got much chance to unleash the power that many figured would be the difference-maker was a surprise. He’s often been a slow starter, but he never fully got out of the blocks in this one.
That said, I also didn’t think Jack DOMINATED! the way the commentary cheerleader squad made out on the broadcast, but I did have him up by a lot when the fight was stopped. Jack is 39, he’s small for the division, but he’s earned this. He’s earned everything in his career.
Other than that, a bit of tidying up. Richard Riakporhe jumps to No. 4, Jack in at No. 6, Makabu down to No. 8, and little bits otherwise with a bunch of guys who are about as good as the first five I don’t have in the top 10.
Upcoming Fights: (2) Lawrence Okolie vs David Light, Mar. 25
Upcoming Fights: (4) Callum Smith vs Pawel Stepien, Mar. 11 ... (10) Jean Pascal vs Michael Eifert, Mar. 16 ... (5) Gilberto Ramirez vs Gabriel Rosado, Mar. 18 ... (9) Craig Richards vs Ricards Bolotniks, Apr. 1
Upcoming Fights: (9) Carlos Gongora vs (10) Christian Mbilli, Mar. 23 ... (2) David Benavidez vs (3) Caleb Plant, Mar. 25 ... (1) Canelo Alvarez vs (6) John Ryder, May 6
Notes: Ryota Murata announced his retirement. Meiirim Nursultanov is in now. I think it may be time to abolish the middleweight division. It had a good run.
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (4) Tim Tszyu vs (8) Tony Harrison, Mar. 12 [Mar. 11 U.S. time] ... (3) Sebastian Fundora vs Brian Mendoza, Apr. 8
Upcoming Fights: (8) Cody Crowley vs Abel Ramos, Mar. 25 ... (6) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs (7) Eimantas Stanionis, Apr. 29
Notes: Subriel Matias won his first world title, calmly smashing through an incredibly spirited Jeremias Ponce, who gambled on fighting Matias’ fight and lost, with his corner stopping the fight between rounds, which has been the result of four straight Matias fights.
Matias is terrifying. I think I’d pick him head-to-head over Taylor, Catterrall, or Ramirez right now, and that’s with respect to them. (Also I know I get a lot of official Fight Picks wrong, but I’m a lot more rational on Sunday and Monday than I am on Thursday when I often want to talk myself into things being more interesting.)
If it’s an on-point, dialed-in Taylor, then I think Josh has too much skill, but it’s, you know, been a while. Matias is beatable, like anyone, but he’s also a destroyer. I don’t think there’s anyone in this division that’s going to be aching to fight him, other than maybe Rougarou, but he swims with gators and shit, that dude is on another plane.
Also, Gary Antuanne Russell is in. Probably should have been before. Now, what convinced me of this finally was not “oh jeez who have Ryan and Teofimo beaten at 140,” like, Gary Antuanne’s in ahead of them for that reason, but it was when I asked myself, “Hey, do you really think Alberto Puello is one of the 10 best fighters in this division right now, or is he just here because he has a belt?” And I concluded that he probably was just here because he has a belt. Now, if he beats Rolando Romero convincingly, we’ll have some more to think about; not that Rollie Rolly is so great, but, like, how many guys here really have wins you’d call “so great” in the division? Like, so great? So that’ll be a thought if it comes.
But we may also see things loosen up in the months to come, especially with the Taylor vs Teofimo news. And it would have been nice if Russell just fought Puello as was apparently the original plan, but maybe Gary Antuanne has been advised that he just fought last July, and he needs to slow it down some. Now that he’s officially seen as A Contender, it might be time to get on the tried-and-true Once-A-Year Plan.
Upcoming Fights: (4) Jose Ramirez vs Richard Commey, Mar. 25 ... (7) Ryan Garcia vs Gervonta Davis, Apr. 22 ... (2) Josh Taylor vs (9) Teofimo Lopez, June 10
Upcoming Fights: (3) Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia [junior welterweight, technically], Apr. 15 ... (1) Devin Haney vs (2) Vasiliy Lomachenko, May 20
Upcoming Fights: (2) Joe Cordina vs (3) Shavkat Rakhimov, Apr. 22 ... (9) Zelfa Barrett vs Alex Dilmaghani, Apr. 22
Notes: Gary Russell Jr’s out. He hasn’t fought in 13 months, has nothing scheduled, and while our usual standard is 15 months for Officially Inactive, he’s also indicated he won’t be fighting at 126 anymore, and that there’s a chance he simply won’t fight again at all. So why keep piddling around here? Brandon Figueroa has the No. 10 spot, and could be significantly higher next update, since he faces Mark Magsayo on Mar. 4.
Upcoming Fights: (5) Mark Magsayo vs (10) Brandon Figueroa, Mar. 4 ... (8) Isaac Dogboe vs (9) Robeisy Ramirez, Apr. 1 ... (5) Luis Alberto Lopez vs Michael Conlan, May 27
Upcoming Fights: (10) Sam Goodman vs TJ Doheny, Mar. 12 [Mar. 11 U.S. time] ... (2) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (6) Marlon Tapales, Apr. 8 ... (9) Liam Davies vs Jason Cunningham, Apr. 29 ... (1) Stephen Fulton Jr vs Naoya Inoue, TBA
Notes: Rigondeaux returned this past Friday in Florida with an early stoppage win over a journeyman. He’s still here. He’d still be a pain for anyone in this top 10.
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (9) Taku Kuwahara vs Jose Rivas, Mar. 14
Upcoming Fights: (1) Kenshiro Teraji vs (3) Jonathan Gonzalez, Apr. 8
Upcoming Fights: TBA
Upcoming Fights: (5) Seniesa Estrada vs Tina Rupprecht, Mar. 25 ... (6) Mikaela Mayer vs Christina Linardatou, Apr. 15 ... (2) Katie Taylor vs (3) Amanda Serrano, May 20