Ring Ratings Update: Parker, Ruiz spark heavyweight shuffle, Edwards crashes flyweight rankings
Heavyweights were in action this past Saturday as Ring-rated Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz took on battle-tested veterans in high-profile main events hosted in Manchester, England and Carson, California.
Both contenders were dropped early en route to outboxing their determined foes in tougher-than-expected distance bouts. In Manchester, Parker (29-2, 21 KOs) got up from an opening round knockdown to score a 12-round split decision over Dereck Chisora by scores of 116-111 and 115-113. One judge scored the bout 115-113 for Chisora (32-11, 23 KOs), who more than a few observers thought deserved the nod.
In Carson, Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) finally rebounded from his disappointing December 2019 rematch loss to Anthony Joshua with a 12-round unanimous decision over Chris Arreola by scores of 118-109 (twice) and 117-110, but not before getting up from a second-round knockdown and surviving a wobbly moment in Round 3. Some observers thought the official scorecards should have been closer.
However, the most of Ring Ratings Panel believed that both Parker and Ruiz acquitted themselves well enough to advance a spot in the heavyweight rankings, displacing former two-time WBC title challenger Luis Ortiz.
Anson Wainwright was one of the few panelists who did not think either heavyweight performed well enough to advance. However, he was outvoted by Managing Editor Tom Gray and the majority of the Panel.
“I expected more (from Ruiz), on this performance he isn’t moving up,” said Wainwright. “Joseph Parker recovered from a torrid start to outbox Dereck Chisora in the home straight. On paper, Parker’s wins over previously unbeaten Junior Fa and now-gatekeeper Chisora look like solid results, however, he didn’t overly impress in either bout, so he maintains his position.”
Gray begged to differ.
“I was impressed with Parker given that he was caught cold in Round 1 and put under severe pressure in the first half,” Gray said. “He adjusted well, boxed much better than he did against Fa and deserved the win. I would move him from No. 5 to No. 4. (Luis) Ortiz hasn’t done anything significant for a long time.”
Panelist Adam Abramowitz agreed with Gray’s opinion and reasoning.
“I would move Parker up to No. 4, Ruiz to No. 5 and drop Ortiz to 6,” he said. “Ortiz has been dining out on his losses to (Deontay) Wilder for too long.”
Panelists Michael Montero, Diego Morilla and Daisuke Sugiura supported the proposed Nos. 4-to-6 Parker-Ruiz-Ortiz heavyweight ranking order.
“Ruiz and Parker have better wins than Ortiz, who’s best ‘W’ is Bryant Jennings coming off a loss,” said Montero.
Added Morilla: “Sounds about right, more on the strength of level of opposition than on the quality of their performances, honestly.”
However, Martin Mulcahey disagreed with ranking Parker ahead of Ruiz.
“I think Andy Ruiz in an odd way has to adjust to his newish body as well as his style with a new trainer,” he said. “I did expect him to stop Arreola though. Still, I am going against the Panel a bit and would actually move Ruiz up one spot ahead of Parker, who had a comparable foe to Arreola but fared worse against Chisora than Ruiz did against Arreola in my opinion. This may be hard to compute since Parker beat Ruiz head-to-head, however, Ruiz has the best win of the duo over AJ so think it is justifiable on current form. I have no problem with moving Ortiz down below both Ruiz and Parker.”
The Panel was divided on where to rank previously unrated Sunny Edwards after the unbeaten flyweight prospect unseated The Ring’s No. 1 rated 112 pounder, Moruti Mthalane, over 12 rounds to win the IBF title.
Panelist suggested Edwards (16-0, 4 KOs), the first boxer to defeat the accomplished South African veteran in 12 years, enter the rankings anywhere from No. 4 to No. 1. But most agreed that the 38-year-old Mthalane (39-3, 26 KOs) should drop to No. 5.
“Sunny Edwards boxed out of his skin to win the IBF title against Moruti Mthalane,” said Wainwright. “It’s going to take a very good fighter to beat Edwards in this form. I think (he should enter at) No. 3 but could also see No. 2. I’d like to see him put a couple of defenses together and then if he continues to impress, maybe he can zone in on the No. 1 position he covets. Mthalane should drop to No. 5. Mthalane looked old early but came on stronger in the last four rounds. I wonder if he has another run in him, at 38 he may well retire.”
Gray pushed for a No. 2 ranking for the 25-year-old Londoner.
“That was a brilliant win by Sunny Edwards,” he said. “Given the level of performance, I can see him coming in as high as No. 2. (Artem) Dalakian (the current No. 2) is the WBA titleholder and has a few defenses, but his best win came against Brian Viloria, who was long past his best and, unlike Mthalane, hadn’t done anything significant for several years. Martinez should be No. 1 for now, he has wins over three fighters that were rated by Ring Magazine: Andrew Selby, Christofer Rosales and Jay Harris.
“As tempting as it is to vote Sunny in at No. 1, we need to remain consistent. Neither Andy Ruiz or Oscar Valdez went from being unrated to No. 1 after taking down Anthony Joshua and Miguel Berchelt respectively.”
“I would put Edwards at No. 1. He dominated the No. 1 guy in a spotless performance. And while Martinez has some solid wins, I wouldn’t call any of them great wins. I like Sunny at No. 1.”
Added Montero: “I agree that Edwards should be No. 2 behind Martinez at No. 1. Dalakian should stay at No. 3, with (Junto) Nakatani at No. 4 and Mthalane at No. 5.”
“I can’t see Sunny any higher than No. 2. He had a career-best night against a great champion, yes, but he will have to show much more in other departments in order to keep that position.”
“Sunny Edwards is a very likable and he showed a great pair of feet and an accurate jab to beat the never-dull Moruti Mthalane. For now, I would place him at No. 4 (because it could be a style thing where Edwards shines against a Mthalane who was nearly out for two years but a Mexican who can put more pressure on might turn the trick like we’ve seen on recent Eddie Hearn cards, ha ha). This is still the first top-10 win that Edwards has. Mthalane to No. 5 makes sense, will second that.”
“It’s a tough call but Martinez at No. 1 for me, followed by Edwards, Dalakian, Nakatani, with Mthalane at No. 5 for now. Edwards looked so good against Mthalane, and he has the best win among 112 pounders in a while, but Martinez has also been impressive against solid opponents. Hopefully, these titleholders are going to start fighting each other.”
Amen to that, Daisuke.
RING RATINGS UPDATE:
Heavyweight – Joseph Parker advances to No. 4. Andy Ruiz advances to No. 5. Luis Ortiz drops to No. 6.
Light heavyweight – Dmitry Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) remains at No. 2 following a 12-round unanimous decision over unrated Craig Richards in defense of his WBA title.
Middleweight – Chris Eubank Jr. (30-2, 22 KOs) remains at No. 6 following a 10-round unanimous decision over unrated Marcus Morrison.
Junior middleweight – Erislandy Lara (28-3-3, 16 KOs) remains at No. 2 following a one-punch first round KO of unrated Thomas LaManna in a middleweight foray. Sebastian Fundora (17-0-1, 12 KOs) remains at No. 10 following a fourth-round stoppage of unrated Jorge Cota.
“Lara splattered LaManna in a round,” said Wainwright. “Lara did what he has always done when in with an inferior opponent, take them out early. Shame he’s wasting the tail end of his career with these kinds of fights. No ranking at middleweight (where the fight took place) but his team says he’ll fight where the opportunities are, so, for now, keep him (ranked) at 154 where the lion’s share of his career has been.
“Fundora stopped Cota in four rounds. He only recently came into the rankings; this win solidifies his inclusion.”
“LaManna had no business being in same ring with Lara, but credit to Lara for actually showing this instead of cruising to a mid-round stoppage. I can see Lara as the next in (the middleweight rankings) if he gets a credible foe at 160 pounds.
“For now, keep Lara at No. 2. This weight skipping looks like a permanent feature now. Sebastian Fundora is showing himself to be more than a circus freakshow, he looks to have a solid chin to with a great punch. That win, while showing defensive lapses, justifies current position.”
Bantamweight – Mike Plania (25-1, 12 KOs) remains at No. 9 following a stay-busy six-round unanimous decision over unrated Emmanuel Mogawa.
Flyweight – Sunny Edwards debuts at No. 2. Moruti Mthalane drops to No. 5.
Strawweight – Jose Argumedo remains at No. 7 following a four-round stoppage of unrated Noe Medina.
In notable non-rated action, Belfast-born former amateur star Michael Conlan improved to 15-0 (8 KOs) with a close majority decision over Ionut Baluta in a 12-round junior featherweight bout.
“This fight might turn out to be an invaluable learning curve, but it’s not enough for Conlan to crack the junior featherweight top 10,” said Wainweight.
“I have had doubts about Michael Conlan for a long while, but I am not sure if he is someone who fights up to level of his opposition when he gets the opportunity. He showed in amateurs he can hang with the elite, and his mindset is solid, so I kinda hope he is a Daniel Zaragoza-type who never wins big but always wins. He stays outside of the top 10 again despite this win.”
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