Friday, June 09, 2023  |


Women’s Ratings Update: Cruz Hernandez up to No. 2 at 126, Berghult returns

Erika Cruz Hernandez - Photo courtesy of Matchroom Boxing
Fighters Network

One of the best possible matchups in women’s boxing now has an additional bragging right on the line.

A possible clash between Puerto Rico’s Amanda Serrano (No. 3 at pound-for-pound, No. 1 at featherweight) and Mexico’s Erika Cruz Hernandez just got a little bit more interesting, since Cruz Hernandez’s victory over her compatriot Melissa Esquivel this past Friday, Nov. 26 was deemed good enough by The Ring’s Women’s Boxing Panel to promote “Dinamita” to the No. 2 position in that weight class, setting up what would become a fight for the inaugural Ring belt in the 126-pound division.

The belt is ready, the fighters want it, and even their TV contracts are in line. All it takes for a brand new shinny Ring belt to be strapped around another great fighter’s waist is a couple of signatures.

“First off, I appreciated that DAZN Boxing showed the Cruz Hernandez-Esquivel fight on their platform as the main event,” said boxing historian Malissa Smith. “Given that Cruz Hernandez is the fighter that Amanda Serrano must fight in order to capture the undisputed featherweight title, it was very smart programming indeed.”

As for the fight, Smith said that “Cruz Hernandez swarmed Esquivel for most of the ten rounds, despite Esquivel’s superior technical skills. Unfortunately for her, she couldn’t figure out how to fight her offensively until the ninth and tenth rounds. That having been said, moving Cruz Hernandez to No. 2 makes absolute sense.”

In line with Smith’s thinking, most panelists expressed their doubts about Cruz Hernandez’s stylistic choices, but they nevertheless acknowledged that she gets the job done.

“Erika Cruz has an aggressive style that sometimes drives her to neglect her technique,” said Yesica Palmetta. “However, she deserves the No. 2 for her ability to resolve on the offensive.” Rincon Rojo magazine editor Irene Deserti agreed by saying “Like some, I am not a fan of Hernandez’s boxing skills, but I confess that it gives her results and that must be recognized.”

The solid credentials of Cruz Hernandez’s opponent added to her achievement.

“Melissa Esquivel, a counter-puncher, had trouble with the swarming fight-style of Erika Cruz Hernandez because she was constantly on defense dealing with the punch volume instead of punching,” said Mark Jones in defense of the former Mexican national amateur team member, while Lupi Gutierrez-Beagle said that she is “not a fan of Erika’s fighting style at all. But she brawls and wins.”

A few divisions above, an old member of the initial Ring ratings returned after a long layoff and was immediately ushered back into the top of her division.

“I hope that Patricia’s return will be productive for the division,” said Palmetta, in reference to the return of Sweden’s Patricia Berghult with a win over Olivia Belkacem in the suddenly stagnant junior middleweight division this past week. “And her record places her precisely in this new position within our ranking,” she added, regarding the suggestion to place Berghult in the No. 2 position ahead of Scotland’s Hannah Rankin, who was defeated by Berghult in her last fight two years ago.

The suggestion was approved unanimously.

Mark Jones added that “a potential matchup (between Berghult and No. 1) Marie-Eve Dicaire is a fight I’m looking forward to in 2022.”