Ratings Update: Canelo Alvarez regains Ring middleweight title, re-enters P4P rankings
Canelo Alvarez’s refusal to back down from Gennady Golovkin in their anticipated rematch made for a classic middleweight confrontation and earned the Mexican star a close majority decision over the unbeaten veteran on Saturday in Las Vegas. Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 knockouts) regained The Ring and WBC middleweight titles and also picked up the WBA belt with the hard-fought victory.
Alvarez had been stripped of The Ring title over the summer after being suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol in February. He was also dropped from the magazine’s pound-for-pound rankings. After serving his suspension and returning to the ring with arguably the best performance of his career, Alvarez has been reinstated in the mythical rankings, but his placement in the top-five was a point of debate among the Ratings Panel.
Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), who had begun to show his age last year, was unseated from the top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings with the first loss of his professional career. Vasyl Lomachenko, previously No. 2 in The Ring’s pound-for-pound top 10, advanced to No. 1 with fellow three-division titleholder Terrence Crawford moving up one spot behind him to No. 2. Alvarez re-entered at No. 3 followed by Golovkin, who many observers felt won a close nod or deserved a legit draw, at No. 4. Undisputed cruiserweight champ Aleksandr Usyk rounds out The Ring’s pound-for-pound top five.
Here’s how the email debate among Ratings Panelists and members of the Editorial Board ensued on Sunday:
Anson Wainwright (Panelist):
“I thought GGG won and seems most were of that belief. Excellent, close fight. My new P4P top 10:
- Lomachenko 2. Crawford 3. Canelo 4. GGG 5. Usyk 6. Mikey 7. Inoue 8. Srisaket 9. Spence 10. Nietes.”
Tom Gray (Editorial Board):
“I had 7-5 (in rounds to) Canelo but no matter what you had, you were right and wrong. For my money, the pair are bang even and separating them is a major chore. However, Canelo won legitimately and there’s an argument for him at 1, 2 or 3. I’ll take No. 2. He beat our pound-for-pound best and won an authentic superfight.
“Neither Crawford or Lomachenko has accomplished that YET, but I’ll stick with Bud at No. 1 for his title victories across three weights (undisputed at one of them).
“My P4P List:
- Crawford 2. Canelo 3. Lomachenko 4. Usyk 5. Golovkin 6. Garcia 7. Inoue 8. Srisaket 9. Spence 10. Nietes.”
Martin Mulcahey (Panelist):
“I like Anson’s re-figured top 10, except I would have Usyk at No. 3 since there are zero doubts about his wins and they all came in the other guy’s back yard! Can see argument for Crawford over Loma as well, but so close I prefer eclectic style of Loma who pushes himself more and beat most complete foe in Rigo and Linares.”
Adam Abramowitz (Panelist):
“I’d go with Crawford, Lomachenko, Usyk, Canelo, Golovkin.”
Mike Coppinger (Panelist):
“That’s not true, Anson. The majority of ringside media had it a draw, including myself, Dougie (Fischer), (Dan) Rafael, (Keith) Idec and a host of others. Fight could have went either way.”
“I’d go: Crawford, Canelo, Loma, GGG, Mikey.
Brian Harty (Editorial Board):
“I scored it a draw but there were probably three rounds where I was still trying to decide who won when the next round started. Totally fine with the result.
“With Crawford and Loma in the neighborhood I don’t like the idea of Canelo at No. 1, but just (to play) devil’s advocate… what are the arguments for not having him there? There was a similar issue that came up when Sor Rungvisai beat (Roman) Gonzalez… after the first fight, Gonz dropped to No. 4 but SSR didn’t enter the list at all because – if I’m remembering correctly – it was a mix of bad decision and performance slippage on Chocolatito’s part. After the second fight, Gonz was dropped completely and SSR still didn’t enter, and the reasoning was that Gonz was just damaged goods at that point and he had completely overreached his true weight and was up against a guy who he couldn’t dent, so SSR knocking him out wasn’t P4P-worthy.
“Let’s not forget that Canelo was ranked at No. 4 when he was removed for the suspension. So, if we pick up there… Anson, when you say he should be ranked No. 3, you’re essentially penalizing GGG but giving Canelo no credit for beating No. 1. Adam’s list is even sort of demoting Canelo. But like you said, Adam, there are a lot of things to consider:
– Does Canelo pick up where he left off in the ratings?
– Are we saying that GGG himself didn’t look like No. 1?
– Are we saying that Canelo’s case is harmed by these two fights being so close and even controversial, whereas Crawford and Loma win very clearly?
“Going into Ward-Kovalev I, Kovalev was No. 2 and Ward No. 4… afterward it was No. 3 and 2 respectively because of the controversial result. Nevertheless, Ward took Kovalev’s rank. Ward then became No. 1 when Gonzalez lost.
“That’s the closest comparison I can think of. I don’t think Kovalev should’ve been so high and wasn’t crazy about GGG at No. 1, so I’m fine with not putting Canelo at the top. Again, just curious to hear the arguments so we keep it as consistent as possible in a completely subjective list based on fantasy criteria, haha.”
“Brian, there are many considerations. I will speak freely here. Golovkin being No. 1 at Ring Magazine pre-dated my arrival on the panel. Personally, I didn’t feel it was the right choice, but so be it, that was out of my control.
“However, given the non-definitive nature of Alvarez’s win, (in addition to non-definitive wins against Lara and Trout), I don’t feel like Alvarez is remotely comparable to Ward, who only had one close fight in his whole career. The whole case for Alvarez being among the truly elite relies upon the magnanimity of judges. I’m not going to pretend that Canelo didn’t win those fights, nor will I refuse to accept their verdicts, but that is not the best fighter in the sport to me. In three of his four biggest tests, he left serious doubt as to if he actually won those fights. I think ranking him at No. 4 or No. 5 is more than fair.”
“My argument against Canelo would be that in the four fights against his best foes (Mayweather, GGG, and Lara) a case can be made that he lost all four. Loma faced one top 10 P4P guy and dominated him. Usyk only has two divisions to operate in because of size but has wiped out one without remorse or question and looks on his way to trying the same at heavyweight. When Usyk, Crawford, and Loma face elite there seems to be little slippage, not so with Canelo IMO. Not an easy (decision) and why I don’t like P4P since much comes down to eye test since there are no valid comparisons given these guys operate in different landscapes.”
DIVISIONAL RANKINGS UPDATE:
Heavyweight – Adam Kownacki advanced one spot to No. 9 after outpointing Charles Martin on September 8.
Middleweight – Alvarez is reinstated as champion. Golovkin remains at No. 1. David Lemieux advanced one spot, from No. 8 to No. 7, switching places with Demetrius Andrade, following his first-round one-punch KO of No. 10-rated Gary O’Sullivan, who exits the rankings. Once-beaten Maciej Sulecki takes Spike’s spot.
Junior welterweight – Jose Ramirez moves up one spot, from No. 4 to No. 3, switching places with Kiryl Rilkh, after scoring a lopsided but hard-fought decision over Antonio Orozco in their September 14 barnburner. Orozco drops to No. 10.
Junior bantamweight – Carlos Cuadras has moved to bantamweight and Hong Kong star Rex Tso’s career is on hold as he recovers from injuries and splits from his management, so the two contenders are out of the rankings, but have been replaced with three-division titleholders Kazuto Ioka and Donnie Nietes, who both took part in “SuperFly3” on September 8. Ioka debuts at No. 4 after winning a decision over McWilliams Arroyo. Nietes comes in at No. 7 after being held to a disputed draw by Aston Palicte, who also entered at No. 9. Unbeaten Australian up-and-comer Andrew Moloney moved up to No. 6 after stopping veteran Luis Concepcion on September 8. Arroyo fell to No. 10. And Roman Gonzalez confirmed his No. 5 ranking with a comeback KO of Moises Fuentes.
For the first time in its history The Ring awarded a championship belt to a female boxer, the inaugural Women’s Pound-for-Pound title to unified welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus on Thursday, September 13, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas during Canelo-Golovkin fight week.
Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs), a Colombian-born 36-year-old veteran from Norway, won her first world title in 2009 and unified all four major sanctioning organization belts (WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO) in 2014 – reigning as the undisputed champ for four years to the day of The Ring award ceremony in Las Vegas.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer