Ring Ratings Update: Usyk wins Ring cruiserweight title, leaps forward in P4P rankings
Aleksander Usyk’s one-sided unanimous decision over Murat Gassiev in the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight final is the boxing clinic of the year, so far, the very definition of a “master class,” a virtuoso performance that inspired The Ring Ratings Panel to significantly advance the former amateur star up the pound-for-pound rankings.
On one special summer night in Moscow, Usyk unified all four major sanctioning organization belts, won the vacant Ring title and once again defeated an unbeaten titleholder in his opponent’s home region. Consider Usyk’s road to the undisputed championship: he outpointed Polish standout Krzysztof Glowacki in Poland, Latvian star Mairis Briedis in Latvia, and, finally, formidable Russian puncher Gassiev in Russia. And he did it in just 15 pro bouts.
The Panel suggested advancing Usyk from No. 10 to anywhere between No. 6 and No. 4 in the pound-for-pound rankings.
“Usyk was flawless picking apart Murat Gassiev,” said panelist Anson Wainwright. “He will undoubtedly advance (in the pound for pound top 10), it just depends how much we all agree on. I think possibly as high as No. 4. That is a big leap, though. I think No. 6 is about right, although his resume is better than (Mikey) Garcia’s and (Naoya) Inoue’s.”
Panelist Martin Mulcahey agreed with Wainwright’s placement.
“I like Usyk at No. 6 or No. 5 as well, especially since he has done a lot of his best work in the other guy’s hometown and in one of boxing’s toughest divisions,” said Mulcahey. “No. 5 is preferable.”
Panelist Mike Coppinger also preferred Usyk at No. 5.
“I can’t see Usyk jumping ahead of Mikey Garcia just yet,” Coppinger said. “But of course, we could change that depending on how (Garcia) looks vs. Robert Easter. But for now, Usyk to No. 5.”
However, Associate Editor Tom Gray believed the Ukrainian southpaw belonged inside the top five.
“Usyk to No. 4 sounds alright,” said Gray. “If anything, he could go higher. He just wiped out an entire division, shut out the No. 2 guy without dropping sweat and he’s had 15 fights.”
Panelists Adam Abramowitz and Michael Montero agreed with Gray.
“If we don’t put Usyk in the top five we’re gonna hear it from readers, and deservedly so,” said Montero. “The man has been a pro less than five years and already cleaned out his entire division; historic stuff. I’d put him in at No. 4 or No. 5 at the lowest.
“Usyk’s last seven fights have been in Ukraine, Poland, USA, Germany, Latvia and Russia – now that’s a WORLD champion! Truthfully, he’s done more than even (Gennady) Golovkin has at this point. Only (Vasiliy) Lomachenko and (Terence) Crawford are clearly more accomplished in my opinion. He’s gotta be in the top 5.”
The Editor-In-Chief agreed.
Pound for Pound – Usyk advances from No. 10 to No. 4.
Cruiserweight – Usyk is the new Ring champ. Mairis Briedis moves from No. 3 to No. 1. Gassiev remains at No. 2. Brooklyn-based Moldovan Constantin Bejenaru (13-0, 3 KOs) enters at No. 10.
“Usyk used terrific footwork, angles and kept Gassiev at the end of his jab. He won with relative ease and is now our champion,” said Wainwright. “Gassiev still holds a good position because of his terrific wins over Dorticos and Wlodarczyk. Mairis Briedis labored to a points win over unknown Brandon Deslaurier (on the Usyk-Gasiev undercard) but he looked better than Gassiev did against Usyk, so switch them. With Usyk now as the champion, it opens up a spot. There’s no obvious choice but I’d bring in Arsen Goulamirian at No. 10.”
Mulcahey agreed with Briedis moving ahead of Gassiev, as did most of the Panel, but he didn’t agree with Wainwright’s choice for the No. 10 spot.
“I’m fine with Briedis and Gassiev trading places on strength of performances against Usyk,” Mulcahey said. “My No. 10 would be Constantin Bejenaru, who’s beaten a better level of foe in my opinion, but he and Arsen Goulamirian are pretty even except in power department where Bejenaru is a bit weak. Both are probably not as good as Jai Opetaia in near future, but he has yet to face a dangerous foe.”
Super Middleweight – Rocky Fielding enters at No. 10 after stopping Tyron Zeuge in five rounds.
“Nice win and the best of his career,” Wainwright said of Fielding, “but it’s ridiculous that a WBA title was on the line; they have multiple ‘champions.’ Neither fighter was even top-10 rated beforehand, showing that in even a shallow division, both guys are decidedly average. I’m on the fence, maybe he enters at No. 10, however, think (Juergen) Braehmer is better even at this point.”
Gray disagreed with Wainwright.
“Zeuge was Ring-ranked not so long ago,” the Associate Editor said. “Fielding, as a British and Commonwealth champion, juxtaposed alongside a strong winning run, has superseded both Braehmer and (No. 9-ranked) Chris Eubank Jr. in my view. Braehmer is a part-timer who is 1-1 over the last two years. Eubank Jr. is a Ferrari without a steering column.”
“I have always been a backer of Braehmer (AKA Jürgen Brähmer) in terms of talent, but he is either getting in trouble or postponing matches instead of displaying his talent. I would vote Fielding over Brähmer since he has been at weight longer and in action more. Beating Zeuge in Germany is as good as beating Rob Brant. Head to head I like Brähmer but for ranking purposes give me Fielding.”
Junior middleweight – Jaime Munguia remains at No. 4 after a tougher-than-expected distance battle with veteran Liam Smith. Smith drops to No. 10.
“Munguia won a wide unanimous decision but the scores were a bit harsh on Smith, who started pretty well,” said Wainwright. “It was a good learning experience for Munguia, who will have to shore up his defense against better opposition. Smith is a sturdy, solid type, who got the absolute most out of himself. I don’t see Munguia advancing, (Erislandy) Lara has done much more than Munguia at this point. This was more a win that showed he deserves his previous good ranking. Smith to drop to No. 10.”
Welterweight – Manny Pacquiao advanced one spot, from No. 6 to No. 5, with his impressive stoppage of Lucas Matthysse, who drops out of the rankings. Yordenis Ugas re-enters at No. 10.
“Lucas Matthysse was dropped three times en route to being stopped by Manny Pacquiao in seven rounds,” recapped Wainwright. “Pacquiao to move up one place. He was impressive but Matthysse looked shot to pieces. Matthysse to drop out of the ratings, either Ugas or Qudratillo Abdukquarov to enter at No. 10. I’m split between both. I think maybe Qudratillo’s youth or Ugas experience. I’ll go with Qudratillo.”
Gray was in favor of the future hall of famer switching places with Danny Garcia.
“Can I stand for vaulting Pacquiao up for beating Matthysse? Well, when I see Danny Garcia beat Brandon Rios in his last fight, yes I can,” he said. “Pac swaps places with Garcia to No. 5.”
“Agree with Anson here, move Pacman up a spot given some of the negative notes we heard on him entering this fight it was a very impressive performance. Also agree Matthysse out of Top 10. Put my vote for Ugas to enter at No. 10. I think his entrance has been coming for awhile and would hate to him nipped at the finish line. Though I do see the value of Qudratillo (or Abdukakhorov), along with Alexander Besputin.”
Wainwright is keeping an eye on prospect Jaron “Boots” Ennis.
“Nice win on ShoBox, stopping Armando Alvarez, passed the eye-test at this point,” he said. “Ennis still needs a few bigger wins but somebody on our radar for the future.”
Junior welterweight – Regis Prograis remains at No. 1 after stopping Juan Jose Velasco in eight rounds.
Mulcahey is keeping an eye on prospect Sergey Vorobiev, who “scored a great win in his seventh fight beating Konstantin Ponomarev, which puts him on edges of the top 10 in my opinion.”
Mulcahey also noted two lightweight prospects – Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos.
“Lopez knocked out William Silva who went 10 rounds with (Felix) Verdejo,” he said. “I think he beats our current No. 10, (Jose) Pedraza, and will enter the top 10 soon enough. Not yet though. I appreciated what I saw from Kambosos. Hope he can finally break Australia’s losing streak but think he is more Zappavigna than Fenech.”
Junior lightweight – Albert Machado remains at No. 3 after scoring a one-sided decision over unbeaten and unrated Rafael Mensah. Undefeated (25-0, 23 KOs) Mexican prospect Eduardo Hernandez enters at No. 10 following a first-round blowout of Marlyn Cabrera.
Flyweight – South African veteran Moruti Mthalane moves to No. 1 with a close, IBF title-regaining decision over Muhammad Waseem, who drops to No. 10
Junior flyweight – Carlos Canizalez moves up one spot, from No. 4 to No. 3, after stopping Bin Lu in 12 rounds.
Strawweight – Vic Saludar advanced to No. 5 after winning the WBO title with a unanimous decision over Ryuya Yamanaka, who drops to No. 8. Simphewe Khonco moves up one spot to No. 6 with a unanimous decision Toto Landero.
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