Ring Ratings Update: Jaron Ennis enters welterweight top 10, Joe Smith Jr. advances
Highly touted welterweight up-and-comer Jaron Ennis and light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. headlined major cards in the U.S. on April 10 – both turned in standout performances.
Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs), The Ring’s 2020 Prospect of the Year, was as sharp and exciting as hardcore fans and media expected him to be while dominating rugged Sergey Lipinets to a sixth-round KO. Lipinets, a former 140-pound beltholder, entered the Showtime-televised bout as The Ring’s No. 9-rated welterweight.
Smith (27-3, 21 KOs) had his heavy hands full with seasoned Russian veteran Maxim Vlasov (45-4, 26 KOs), who was as tough and game as he was wily and unorthodox, but The Ring’s No. 4-rated 175 pounder dug deep and gutted out a hard-fought majority decision to win the vacant WBO title.
The Ring Ratings Panel was more impressed with Ennis than with Smith, who some thought should have a lost the hotly contested match with the unrated Vlasov, but they still suggested that the 31-year-old Long Island native advance past Sergey Kovalev in the light heavyweight rankings.
“Smith was lucky to get the decision,” said panelist Anson Wainwright, “but I say he should go up one place above Sergey Kovalev, based mainly on his activity. Vlasov showed he deserves a ranking, let’s bring him in at No. 10.”
Panelist Martin Mulcahey agreed with Wainwright’s suggestions (grudgingly in regard to Smith’s advancement).
“I had Vlasov beating Smith by two rounds, I can see a draw, but I do have reservations with Smith being given that win. Having said that, the judges do have best seat in house, so I defer to them on close fights.”
Nobody on the Panel objected to the new light heavyweight rankings. And nobody was against Ennis debuting at No. 8 in the welterweight rankings, in fact, some thought he could have been rated a little higher despite the depth of the glamor division.
“Ennis looked sensational,” said Wainwright. “That was the type of performance that had you thinking he might one day be the pound-for-pound king. A real standout performance in his biggest test to date. Lipinets, who was No. 9, should exit the rankings. Boots should enter at No. 8.”
Added panelist Diego Morilla:
“I could see Boots moving up even higher, but No. 8 is great for now in such a stacked division.”
Added panelist Daisuke Sugiura:
“Just as some (many?) of you would, I might already pick Jaron Ennis over anyone besides Errol Spence and Terence Crawford at 147, but I know Lipinets was a perfect step-up opponent for Ennis and he’s still unproven at elite level. No. 8 is a good call for now.”
Added panelist Martin Mulcahey:
“Once they got in ring it was obvious Ennis’ size and age advantages were much too large for game Lipinets to overcome. Great matchmaking there for Ennis, but I think he has the talent to where it matters little who they put in with him. Ennis could move above Garcia to No. 7 in my opinion, I think this is a matter of one boxer obviously on the uptick and the other on downward trajectory, but yes Garcia gets a break for his level of competition.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE:
Light heavyweight – Joe Smith Jr. advances one spot (from No. 4) to No. 3.
Welterweight – Jaron Ennis enters at No. 8. Sergey Lipinets (who was at No. 9) exits the rankings.
“Eimantas Stanionis came on strong to win a solid unanimous 12-round decision over Thomas Dulorme,” said Wainwright. “Stanionis is in the 11-to-15 range. Conor Benn continues to improve, impressively stopping Samuel Vargas in one round. Interesting to see how far he can go in a very strong division.”
Added Mulcahey: “I think we can bring Eimantas Stanionis in next. Conor Benn looks legit, that was an eye-opening win, easy to build upon.”
Featherweight – Mark Magsayo remains at No. 7 following a stay-busy four-round stoppage of unrated Pablo Cruz.
Junior bantamweight – Jerwin Ancajas remains at No. 4 after a tougher-0than-expected IBF title defense against unrated Jonathan Rodriguez.
“The Filipino titleholder had a little too much for Rodriguez. He can be hot and cold and didn’t look his best,” said Wainwright. “Doubtlessly, 16 months of inactivity (was a factor). No movement for Ancajas.”
“Ancajas proved himself ‘the best of the rest’ in a division packed with talent. I think he gained fans but (Rodriguez was) not enough of an opponent to move up in rankings.”
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