RING Ratings Update: A new pound-for-pound No. 1
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai’s controversial victory over Roman Gonzalez on Saturday has forced us to revisit pound-for-pound supremacy for the first time since Gonzalez became king in September 2015.
How far should Gonzalez fall? Should he fall at all? And who should be No. 1 if he does? Those are the questions we had to answer.
We for a nanosecond considered leaving Gonzalez at the top but quickly dismissed that notion because we can’t ignore results; he lost to Sor Rungvisai and fought tooth and nail against Carlos Cuadras in his previous fight.
That means we had to name a new No. 1. And after discussing a number of possibilities, we decided to do what made the most sense to us in an environment where there was no clear-cut successor: Elevate No. 2.
That would be Andre Ward, the former super middleweight titleholder who defeated then-No. 2 Sergey Kovalev by a unanimous decision last November in Las Vegas.
Our decision was made with a degree of hesitation because of the controversial nature of Ward’s victory over Kovalev but we felt he was the best among a short list of questionable options.
Kovalev is coming off a loss. Gennady Golovkin (No. 4 last week) didn’t do enough in his tight victory over Daniel Jacobs in the main event Saturday at Madison Square Garden. And while Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomchenko (Nos. 5 and No. 6 last week) might be the hottest fighters at the moment, we believe they must accomplish more to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
In effect, Ward ended up No. 1 by elimination.
So where does Gonzalez end up? More than one member of the Ratings Panel, swayed by his shaky performance against Cuadras and the loss, suggested we drop the Nicaraguan from the list entirely.
The Editorial Board opted not to go that direction because of two reasons. One, Gonzalez moved up in weight and faced two Top 5-rated fighters in succession. Who does that? And, two, we can’t dismiss what we saw in the fight. Most observers thought Gonzalez did enough to win the decision and were surprised he didn’t.
In terms of precedent, we dropped Kovalev only one spot (from No. 2 to No. 3) because most people thought he deserved the decision. In that spirit, we decided to drop Gonzalez to No. 4, behind only Ward, Kovalev and Golovkin.
One member of the Editorial Board suggested Gonzalez fall to No. 3 but we decided against that because he has had problems in consecutive fights, evidence that he might be too small to fight full-fledged junior bantamweights.
This is the new Top 10:
- Andre Ward
- Sergey Kovalev
- Gennady Golovkin
- Roman Gonzalez
- Terence Crawford
- Vasyl Lomachenko
- Guillermo Rigondeaux
- Canelo Alvarez
- Shinsuke Yamanaka
- Naoya Inoue
Let the debate begin.
We also had to adjust the junior bantamweight ratings. Gonzalez (No. 2 last week) drops to No. 3 and Sor Rungvisai (No. 4 last week) jumps to No. 2, which pushes Cuadras (No. 3 last week) to No. 4.
Cuadras looked so-so in his unanimous-decision victory over pesky David Carmona on the Golovkin-Jacobs card.
In other divisions:
Firat Arslan (No. 8 last week) held his position after stopping Gezim Tahiri (unrated last week) in two rounds Saturday in Istanbul.
Golovkin and Jacobs (Nos. 1 and 2 last week) remained in those slots after their competitive fight.