Ring Ratings Update: Josh Taylor vaults to No. 5 on pound for pound list
Five has been a very lucky number for new undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor in recent days. Five consecutive wins over previously undefeated fighters. Five world title belts collected (Ring, IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO). And now, following the weekly debate by The Ring ratings panel, “The Tartan Tornado” has moved to No. 5 on the pound-for-pound list, four places north from the No. 9 position he previously occupied.
Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) turned in another excellent performance to dethrone WBC and WBO unified beltholder Jose Ramirez at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on Saturday. The fight was entertaining and competitive, but Taylor’s toughness, tenacity, talent and a brace of explosive left hand knockdowns made him a worthy unanimous decision winner.
Not everyone agreed with the No. 5 position, however:
“Josh Taylor had a difficult opening five rounds against the aggressive Jose Ramirez,” said Anson Wainwright. “but used the Mexican American’s strength against him to score a pair of knockdowns that were ultimately decisive on the scorecards to edge him home in a really good fight. Taylor to No. 7.”
Tris Dixon, whose new book Damage: The Untold Story of Brain Trauma in Boxing has just been released, was first to suggest a bigger jump.
“I’d put Taylor #5 P4P,” stated Dixon. “It’s a phenomenal run with plenty of unbeaten scalps, and the two big wins (Regis Prograis and Ramirez) are exceptional results in good fights.”
With Taylor being my countryman and also the first Scotsman to claim undisputed honors in over half a century (and yes, that’s before I was born), the panel were likely to take my input with a pinch of salt. However, I had to offer my thoughts regardless, and despite me being over the moon to see Taylor make history, my opinion was put forth without bias or agenda.
“The combined record of Taylor’s last six opponents is 136-1,” was my mathematical offering on the morning after the night before. “Three of those fighters were reigning world champions, one of them was a former world champion, and all four were stationed comfortably inside the Top 5 of The Ring’s 140-pound ratings. Those statistics are insane for a modern-day fighter.
“Tris has suggested No. 5 and I’m going to go with that. Lomachenko (No. 8) is coming off a loss, Estrada (No. 7) could easily have lost to Gonzalez in their rematch, Lopez (No. 6) has the BRILLIANT career-definer over Loma and the blast out of Commey but can’t match Taylor’s overall resume and neither can Spence (No. 5). That’s the way I see it, but opinions will probably vary here.”
Japanese-based boxing scribe Daisuke Sugiura was next up and, following some contemplation, agreed with Dixon and myself.
“I was initially thinking of putting Teofimo & Spence ahead of Taylor, because Teo deposed the PFP king and Spence beat all those big names. But, well, Mr. Tom Gray convinced me and I have no objection to Taylor at No.5 now,” said Sugiura.
Martin Mulcahey thought No. 5 or No. 6 was a reasonable jump for Taylor but argued harder for No. 5.
“I am good with Josh Taylor at #5 or 6,” he said. “Would argue he deserves #5 spot, as I think we overrate Teofimo on back of one performance, while Taylor has won overseas and unified a tougher division. Spence (did win title overseas), but he’s not exactly giving anything up to chase superfight with Crawford, and outside of Porter has not scored a KD or hurt an elite foe in 3 years.
“Sadly, more and more, these P4P ratings rely on opinion more than facts because the two best in a division are not facing each other anymore.”
Well, the two best fighters in the junior welterweight division did face off on Saturday and it’s Taylor who has been rewarded. His remarkable run should – and hopefully will – make certain elite-level players take a long, hard look at themselves. Daring to be great against the best fighters in your weight class will justify comparisons to the elite-level warriors that preceded you. History will not be kind should you believe otherwise.
Adam Abramowitz and Michael Montero also agreed with the No. 5 position for the new undisputed junior welterweight champion. And Montero perhaps offered the perfect soundbite to justify his decision on Taylor: “The numbers say it all.”
Taylor is also the first British fighter since Joe Calzaghe (in 2008) to make the Top 5 of The Ring Magazine pound-for-pound list.
Ramirez’s first professional defeat led to him being dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 at 140 pounds. He swaps places with Regis Prograis, whom Taylor outpointed in October 2019.
Tom Gray is Managing Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
GET THE LATEST ISSUE AT THE RING SHOP (CLICK HERE)