Ring Ratings Update: Summer review (Whyte-Povetkin, Smith-Alvarez, Panel debates)

Ring Ratings Update: Summer review (Whyte-Povetkin, Smith-Alvarez, Panel debates)

Alexander Povetkin climbed back into the top five of the heavyweight rankings with his one-punch KO of Dillian Whyte. Picture By Mark Robinson.
02
Sep

Much has happened since the last Ring Ratings Update was posted (in late June), and it should come as no surprise that clashes between Ring-rated boxers produced the most stirring fights and the most significant changes to our rankings:

  • No. 6-rated heavyweight Alexander Povetkin’s shocking one-hitter-quitter in the fifth round of his crossroads showdown with No. 2-rated Dillian Whyte on August 22.
  • No. 8-rated light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr.’s impressive ninth-round stoppage of No. 4-rated Eleider Alvarez on August 22.
  • No. 10-rated junior bantamweight Joshua Franco’s hotly contested unanimous decision over previously unbeaten No. 6-rated Andrew Moloney on June 23.

Ramirez vs. Postol. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

The only exception is the Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol 140-pound title bout that took place this past Saturday (August 28). Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs), the No. 1 rated junior welterweight (behind Ring champion Josh Taylor), retained his WBC and WBO titles with a majority decision that more than a few observers thought could have gone to Postol, who was the No. 4 contender going into the WBC mandatory challenge. The Ring Ratings Panel agreed to allow Ramirez to remain No. 1, and to keep Postol (31-3, 12 KOs), who boxed well against the undefeated young pressure fighter, at No. 4.

Other changes in The Ring rankings occurred when fighters climbed in weight. former 140-pound beltholder Maurice Hooker announced that he could no longer make junior welterweight and would fight as a full-fledged welterweight going forward. Shakur Stevenson abdicated his WBO featherweight title to officially campaign at junior lightweight, so he exited the 126-pound rankings. Emanuel Navarrete did the same with his WBO 122-pound belt in order to stake his claim at featherweight, so he vacated the junior featherweight rankings.

View the divisional updates below to see who replaced Hooker, Stevenson and Navarrete in the junior welterweight, featherweight and junior featherweight top 10, and to see where Whyte, Povetkin, Smith, Alvarez, Franco and Moloney landed within their divisions. (As always, comments, opinions and debates between Panel members are included with significant ranking changes. The Ring Rankings are the most open and transparent in boxing.)

RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of Aug. 29)

Heavyweight – Dillian Whyte dropped from No. 2 to No. 4. Alexander Povetkin advanced from No. 6 to No. 3. Deontay Wilder was bumped back into the No. 2 spot.

Dillian Whyte

“Dillian Whyte looked for all the world on course to stop Alexander Povetkin, he had the fight in hand until Povetkin landed a perfect left (uppercut) to knock Whyte cold,” stated panelist Anson Wainwright, who proposed the following new order for the top heavyweights:

“Champion Fury, 1. Joshua, 2. Wilder, 3. Povetkin, 4. Whyte.”

Panelist Tris Dixon suggested advancing Povetkin higher than No. 3.

“We will get called hypocritical if Povetkin doesn’t go ahead of Wilder, I’m sure,” Dixon said. “It was a big away win over a decent fighter. I’d be inclined to move Povetkin to No. 2.”

Panelist Adam Abramowitz disagreed, not just with moving Povetkin higher than No. 3, but with the panel’s decision to advance Whyte to No. 2 following Deontay Wilder’s stoppage loss to Tyson Fury earlier this year.

“I agree with Anson,” said Abramowitz. “Ranking Whyte above Wilder originally was a mistake, a significant mistake in my opinion. Povetkin has lost twice and just had a recent draw to (Michael) Hunter. Wilder has only lost to Fury and his draw was to him. I think he should be above Povetkin.”

Panelist Michael Montero agreed with Wilder being ranked above Povetkin but defended the panel’s decision to drop Wilder to No. 3 following the Fury loss, which resulted in Whyte assuming the No. 2 spot.

Down goes Wilder.

“We’re gonna get heat whichever way we go at heavyweight,” Montero said. “The biggest difference between Wilder and Whyte is that Wilder didn’t win a nanosecond of his latest fight, meanwhile Whyte was well ahead of Povetkin (coming off a 10-7 fourth round) before getting caught with that sweet uppercut.

“Wilder’s resume is still hot garbage for the most part. Two wins over (Luis) Ortiz, whose career accomplishment is beating Bryant Jennings (coming off a loss), and a (gift) draw with Fury in 44 pro fights. Exciting fighter, but let’s keep it real.

“Whyte has been a hypocrite, pricing himself out of fights and pissing hot, but his recent wins over (Oscar) Rivas, (Dereck) Chisora and (Joseph) Parker are solid. Even the (Robert) Helenius ‘W’ has aged well (after he beat Adam Kownacki). He’s clearly improved since the AJ loss. Truth is, if we see Povetkin-Whyte 2, I’m picking Whyte by stoppage.

“Having said all that, I’m good with Anson’s suggestion of: C. Fury, 1. Joshua, 2. Wilder, 3. Povetkin, 4. Whyte. Frankly, it’s Fury and AJ as the clear top two, and then the field below them at this point.”

Said panelist Martin Mulcahey:

“I had just tweeted how Povetkin was a dangerous but spent force and Dillian Whyte was commanding in all phases of the fight when that bomb detonated on Whyte’s chin,” he said. “As much as I admire Povetkin I think it needs to be said that he was getting beat up before rescuing himself. Still, the result is the result, so I find myself agreeing with the ‘C. Fury, 1. Joshua, 2. Wilder, 3. Povetkin, 4. Whyte’ line of thinking.”

Associate Editor Tom Gray concurred with that order.

Dillian Whyte is out before he hits the canvas from a left uppercut. Picture By Mark Robinson

“Whyte just got laid flat out, so that’s fresh in the memory, but he does hold wins over top players in the division. He got caught by an authentic knockout artist in a fight that he was winning; he’s not the first and he won’t be the last.

“I’m with Adam in that Povetkin’s form has been patchy. David Price was a terrific, albeit expected, knockout win. He gave Joshua a problem or two before being stopped. He fought smart against Hughie Fury and won on aggression. And I thought Povetkin lost to Hunter. He was also losing (to Whyte) before skelping (Scottish word) Whyte with a dream shot.

“Now, I can bring in the charity van and say Wilder only has one loss and a draw on his record, but I can also park that van and offer some high-powered perspective. Fury beat him twice, and from the moment he moved on to genuine Top 10-ranked fighters in title defenses (that’s Ortiz twice) Wilder has looked beyond vulnerable.

“When I add it all up, there’s not much in it for me, but I’ll stick with:

  1. Fury, 1. Joshua, 2. Wilder, 3. Povetkin, 4. Whyte.”

Cruiserweight – Alexei Papin (12-1, 11 KOs) entered the rankings at No. 10 off of a six-round stoppage of Ruslan Fayfer (25-2) on August 22.

Light heavyweight – Joe Smith Jr. (26-3, 21 KOs) advanced from No. 8 to No. 4. Eleider Alvarez (25-2, 13 KOs) dropped from No. 4 to No. 7.

Smith looked comfortable and focused from the get go. His heavy hands bothered Alvarez. Here, in this Mikey Williams pic, Alvarez feels the effects of both.

“Joe Smith is that kid who gets the most out of what looks like average potential, and poor Eleider looked like a spent force with no zip to his game,” said Mulcahey. “I think No. 4 a bit too high, would prefer No. 6 with (Badou) Jack and (Jean) Pascal ahead of Smith, and Alvarez to drop to No. 8. Maybe Smith did more to limit Eleider than I give credit for?”

Abramowitz was happy to give Smith his due credit.

“I think we should move Smith up to No. 3 above (Sergey) Kovalev. Kovalev has just been iced and looked completely done,” Abramowitz said, “on present form I’d put Smith there.”

Added panelist Diego Morilla:

“The light heavyweight division is a realm where anything can happen. Stars and contenders rise and fall every other day. I’d stir the pot a little bit here and go with Smith at No. 4, or even No. 3, and let the Pascals and Kovalevs of the world prove they still got it. Alvarez was one of the most solid players in the division, and (Smith) demolished him.”

Wainwright and Mulcahey mentioned that Detroit-based Russian prospect Vladimir Shishkin (11-0, 7 KOs) is on periphery of the 175-pound top 10.

Super middleweight – David Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs), who lost his WBC title by failing to make weight for his defense against unrated Roamer Angulo, who he stopped after 10 rounds on August 15, remained at No. 1.

Mulcahey suggested dropping Benavidez for coming in heavy.

“Maybe we can take David Benavidez down one notch for not making weight? He says he will try to stay at 168 and think he has body type to do it, but you never know,” said Mulcahey. “He always looks great inside the ring but that is not the whole game as we know.”

His suggestion went unsupported among the Panel.

Middleweight – Rob Brant (26-2, 18 KOs) advanced from No. 9 to No. 8 following a stoppage (after five rounds) of unrated Vitali Kopylenko on August 22. Maciej Sulecki (29-2, 11 KOs) remained at No. 9 following a 10-round unanimous decision over unrated Sasha Yengoyan.

Noted Wainwright:

“No movement for Maciej Sulecki. Vincent Feigenbutz dropped down (from super middleweight) to 160 and won a 12-round unanimous decision over Jama Saidi. Interesting to see how he goes at the new, lower weight. Esquiva Falcao stopped Morramad Araujo in one round. Needs a better win to crack the top 10.”

Added Mulcahey:

“Last week we moved Brant over Maciej Sulecki, and I still think Sulecki is the better of two options but there is not much between them so no big argument. I do not think Vincent Feigenbutz has the body type to last long at 160, but he can use his one big asset (physicality) better at the weight. Esquiva Falcao has been my ‘next in’ for a while but agree a win over Morramad Araujo is not enough. I hope (Alfredo) Angulo hangs up the gloves now!”

Junior middleweight – Erislandy Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs) remained at No. 5 following a unanimous decision over Greg Vendetti (in defense of his WBA belt) on August 29.

Noted Wainwright:

“Israil Madrimov outpointed Eric Walker over 12 rounds. Not enough to crack the top 10. Sergio Garcia stayed busy stopping Noe Martinez Raygoza in three rounds. Sebastian Fundora impressively stopped Nathaniel Gallimore in six rounds.

“Jack Culcay edged past Abass Baraou over 10 rounds by split decision. Culcay showed he is still more than capable of fighting the top guys and Baraou showed enough to suggest with a few more fights he can come again. Tim Tszyu scored an impressive eighth-round stoppage over Jeff Horn, definitely in the 11-15 range.”

Added Mulcahey:

“Weird fight for Israil Madrimov, who is making name for himself that should catapult him into the top 10 soon, but he needs a better win than Eric Walker to make the jump. It was good to see he can maneuver 12 rounds no problem. I was most impressed with Sebastian Fundora. He is more than the freak show that I thought early on. He’s the first to stop Nathaniel Gallimore and I think that puts him in the top 15.

“Jack Culcay never matured into the real contender the Germans believed him to be, but he’s one of the better gatekeepers in all boxing. No doubting who Tim Tszyu’s father is, both facially and now with ring performances. He did a number on Horn and is not far from a top 10 ranking. He’s certainly is coming into contention and looks like he is not just a ‘name.’”

Welterweight – Shawn Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) remained at No. 5 after scoring a shutout 12-round decision over unrated Sebastian Formella (22-0) on August 22.

Noted Wainwright:

Porter vs. Formella. Photo by Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions

“Fine margins but Porter scored a solid win here and ran Errol Spence really close, I would go with him moving up one place. No issues with keeping it as it is either.”

Added Mulcahey:

“Two classes of boxer with Shawn Porter and Sebastian Formella. I was rooting for the German to go the distance, but I knew he could not trouble Porter. (Keith) Thurman (rated No. 4) still owns win over Porter so I would not advance Porter over Thurman on basis of that win over Formella.”

Added Abramowitz:

“I would keep Thurman above Porter. Thurman’s head-to-head win over Porter still carries weight.”

(Montero agreed with Mulchaey and Abramowitz)

Junior welterweight – Jose Ramirez remained at No. 1. Viktor Postol remained at No. 4. Arnold Barboza (24-0. 10 KOs) remained at No. 8 following a one-sided 10-round decision over unrated Tony Luis on August 29. Jose Zepeda advanced one spot, from No. 7 to No. 6, following a 10-round decision over Kendo Castaneda on July 7. Maurice Hooker exited the rankings to campaign at welterweight. Shohjahon Ergashev (18-0, 16 KOs) entered at No. 10.

Noted Mulcahey:

Jose Ramirez. Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank

“Jose Ramirez is still classy in and out of the ring, and Viktor Postol is never easy for anyone. I thought a draw was in order, but if someone earned the victory it was Ramriez with his aggression and punch volume. Ramirez stays No. 1 for me but I favor (Josh) Taylor in a head-to-head. It was a good sign that Ramirez says he believes their fight deserves a huge crowd so prefers the fight to be in the UK. Keep Postol where he is, he lost to better caliber opposition than (No. 5-rated Kiryl) Relikh and looked more threatening. I still prefer (No. 7-rated Mario) Barrios over Barboza, a bit more maturity with him (survived cut in last fight and gone 12 rounds) but again not much between them.”

Added Abramowitz:

“Good rundown. I would keep Postol and Barboza where they currently are. The version of Tony Luis that Barboza beat wasn’t much to write home about.”

Junior lightweight – Miguel Berchelt remained at No. 1 following a sixth-round stoppage of unrated Eleazar Valenzuela on June 27.

Noted Wainwright:

“Oscar Valdez stopped Jayson Velez in 10 rounds. I would take out No. 8 Miguel Roman, move No. 9 and 10 up and bring in Valdez. I think Roman has seen better days and though he hasn’t lost, overall, I feel Valdez is more a look to the future.

Retorted Abramowitz:

“We have been over this before, but it’s an arbitrary and I believe bad precedent to remove a fighter who didn’t fight this cycle and is not being penalized for inactivity.

“The ratings are what they are. We can’t play mad scientist to remove people by whim. We lose credibility that way. Miguel Roman will eventually lose his spot if other people surpass him legitimately, by his own performance or by inactivity. But he needs to stay where he is for now.”

Added the Editor-In-Chief:

“I think Roman and Nos. 9 and 10 (Sharkatdzhon Rakhimov and Chris Colbert) should stay put. Valdez is knocking on the door of a junior lightweight ranking, but he’s only got two fights at 130 pounds – the stoppages of Adam Lopez and Jayson Velez, and while that’s quality opposition, those two aren’t world-ranked (and Valdez struggled with both).

Berchelt (right) tags Miguel Roman.

“Roman is getting long in the tooth and is on the slide, but he’s more established at the weight. He’s gone 6-2 in his last eight bouts and the losses were to world-ranked junior lightweights (Takashi Miura – in a war that he was winning until being stopped in Round 12, and our current No. 1-ranked 130 pounder). Between those losses Roman stopped Orlando Salido.

“If anyone wants to make an argument for Valdez replacing Colbert (at No. 10), I’m all ears.”

Adam replied:

“Comparing Colbert to Valdez, I think I would pick Colbert there. I think his win over former champ Jezreel Corrales is better than Valdez’s win over Velez.”

(Gray and Dixon agreed with Adam.)

Added Montero:

“Although Roman hasn’t fought in 2020, he still has fought within the last calendar year (Sept 2019), so he hasn’t exactly been inactive. I’m good with keeping him at No. 8.

“I’d be OK with bringing in Valdez at No. 10, moving Colbert to No. 9, and bouncing Rakhimov out. Oscar’s two wins at 130 are better than Rakhimov’s recent work for sure.

“But that would kinda bring us back to Adam’s original point of moving fighters down/out who haven’t fought in the recent cycle.”

Featherweight – Shakur Stevenson, now fighting at 130 pounds, exited the rankings. Christopher Diaz (26-2, 16 KOs), who was coming off a 10-round decision over Jason Sanchez on June 23, re-entered at No. 10.

Junior featherweight – Angelo Leo (20-0, 9 KOs) advanced from No. 10 to No. 7 following a unanimous decision over unrated Tramaine Williams to win the vacant WBO title on August 1. Emanuel Navarrete exited rankings to campaign at featherweight.

Stated Anson:

Leo vs. Williams.

“Williams was a very solid late replacement moving up the card. I was impressed by Leo, who justified us bringing him in at No. 10 a few weeks back. I’d like to see him move to No. 8, and I look forward to him facing a fit and healthy (No. 10) Stephen Fulton. Could see him moving a little higher but not sure that much of a bump is the correct move.”

Added Adam:

“Anson, I’d suggest moving Leo up to No. 6. It’s not like Tomoki Kameda had accomplished a lot at 122.”

Added Montero:

“I’m good with the move to No. 6 as well. Kameda has obviously faced better opposition, but he’s come up short. And, vacant title or not, Leo has a world title right now.”

Added Mulcahey:

“Very good performance by Leo, but simply winning a world title should not be main qualifier for a top-10 ranking, and Leo has not beaten a top-10 opponent yet. Both he and Fulton are in the lower top 10 because others have not stepped up as much. I understand the Kameda argument since he’s shown himself wanting against the elite, but I feel a jump from No. 10 to No. 6 on the basis of win over an ordinary Williams is a lot. I would vote for No. 8 spot, since (No. 7 Hiroaki) Teshigawara is on a very good streak. Maybe drop Kameda anyhow, and move Teshigawara above him at No. 6 and move Leo to No. 7? I just do not want to overvalue a title belt over opposition.

Added Morilla:

“I was also very impressed with Leo, and with the way he dealt with a tough, sneaky counterpuncher like Williams, who seemed to have a great night too for the first few rounds. I expected a serious jump for him, but No. 6 seems a bit too much for me too. My card had him ahead for 4-5 points, I couldn’t really understand the 6- or even 8-point advantage in the official scorecards. No. 8 seems just right for me at this point.

Added Gray:

“Since we seem to be toggling repeatedly between No. 6 and No. 8, would No. 7 make sense?”

Added Montero:

“Great points everyone.  I’m good with No. 7 or No. 8.”

Bantamweight – Jason Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) advanced from No. 6 to No. 5 following a stoppage (after seven rounds) of unrated Leonardo Baez on June 25.

Stated Anson:

“Moloney forced Baez to retire after seven rounds. Moloney should hold his ranking, but this was a very solid win.”

Added Adam:

“At 118, I’d move Moloney up to No. 5. (No. 5 Zolani) Tete just got iced by (No. 3 John Riel) Casimero. And his title reign left a lot to be desired. I’d put Moloney No. 5, Tete No. 6.”

Added Gray:

“As much as I love Tete and hate the way his career trajectory went, I’m with Adam here.”

Added Montero:

“Same. Moloney deserves to be above Tete.”

Junior bantamweight – Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-5-1, 41 KOs) remained at No. 1 following a unanimous 10-round decision over unrated Amnat Ruenroeng on August 1. Joshua Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) advanced from No. 10 to No. 6. Andrew Moloney (21-1, 14 KOs) dropped from No. 6 to No. 8.

Strawweight – No. 9-rated Daniel Valladares exited the 105-pound rankings following a decision loss to journeyman Hugo Hernandez at flyweight. South African veteran Nkosinathi Joyi entered at No. 10.

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s Periscope every Sunday.

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