Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Ring Ratings Update: Pirog enters middleweight rankings


Dmitry Pirog and Daniel Jacobs and had no business fighting for a so-called “major” title on the undercard of the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz rematch in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Despite perfect records, obvious talent and extensive amateur careers, neither middleweight up-and-comer had defeated a bona fide 160-pound contender, or even a fringe contender, going into their HBO Pay-Per-View-televised bout, which is why neither fighter was rated by THE RING.

That has changed in the wake of Pirog’s breath-taking one-punch KO of Jacobs, which occurred in the fifth round of their bout for a vacant 160-pound belt. Pirog, a 30-year-old technician who fights out of Gelendzhik, Russia, displayed a crafty, yet aggressive style in his U.S. debut.

Pirog (17-0, 14 knockouts) was busy without wasting punches. He pressed Jacobs (20-1, 17 KOs), who was favored by most of the U.S. media, but he was never reckless. Pirog seemed to want to draw Jacobs into exchanges but the Brooklyn native had a difficult time hitting his antagonist because of the Russian’s head movement, high guard and ability to block punches and switch stances as he advanced forward.

The few times Jacobs managed to slip in a flush shot Pirog appeared to take the punch well. Jacobs' ability to absorb a good punch was obviously not as good as the Russian's. Or maybe Pirog’s power is better than advertised.

Whatever the case, Pirog appears to be a complete-enough package of talent and skill to merit a No. 10 ranking in THE RING’s middleweight ratings.

“Even though undefeated Daniel Jacobs was not ranked going into his bout with fellow prospect Dmitry Pirog, we have decided to rate Pirog due to the spectacular nature of his victory over Jacobs,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “It also helped Pirog that the 160-pound talent pool is currently fairly shallow, but if he’s as good as he looked starching Jacobs, the division is stronger for his inclusion.”



Sakio Bika (No. 5 last week) drops to No. 6 due to his first-round DQ loss to Jean Paul Mendy, which allows Andre Dirrell to advance from No. 6 to No. 5. Mendy, however, showed nothing in the truncated bout to warrant inclusion in the Top 10.


Khoren Gevor (No. 5 last week) moved up to super middleweight and lost to Dimitri Sartison. Gevor exits, which allows everybody rated No. 6 or below last week to climb one rung each. Pirog debuts at No. 10.


Siphiwe Nongqayi (No. 3 last week) and Alexander Munoz (No. 5 last week) both exit. Nongqayi was knocked out by Juan Alberto Rosa, who enters at No. 9. Munoz departs because he has not fought at 115 pounds since losing to Cristian Mijares in May 2008. The shakeup also results in Nobuo Nashiro (No. 4 last week) moving up to No. 3 and everybody ranked No. 6 through No. 10 last week advancing two places each. Malik Bouziane is new at No. 10.


Juan Manuel Marquez retains his No. 3 ranking in THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound Ratings.

“Lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez’s repeat win over Juan Diaz confirmed his lofty status at a time when many thought his welterweight bout with Floyd Mayweather had diminished his fighting ability,” said Collins. “While Marquez is certainly in the twilight of a great career, THE RING believes he is still among the very best fighters in the world.”