Ring Ratings Update: Jermell Charlo enters pound-for-pound ratings
The never-ending debate about who is worthy of being rated among Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound top 10 continued in the wake of Jermell Charlo’s thrilling 10th-round stoppage of Brian Castano in their anticipated rematch for the undisputed junior middleweight championship.
With the decisive return-bout performance, Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) defended his Ring, WBA, WBC and IBF 154-pound titles and added the WBO belt to his collection. Charlo rebounded from a split-draw verdict against Castano (17-1-2, 12 KOs) in their first bout, last July, and ran his world title record up to 8-1-1 dating back to 2016. The 32-year-old Houston native split two bouts with Ring-rated Tony Harrison in 2018 and 2019. Charlo’s other notable victories include a first-round KO of Ring-rated Erickson Lubin, a majority decision over former titleholder Austin Trout, and his Ring belt/title unifying eight-round KO of Jeison Rosario.
Ratings Panelist Anson Wainwright was impressed by Charlo but not enough to suggest that he enter The Ring’s loaded pound-for-pound rankings.
“Jermell Charlo is now the undisputed champion at 154 pounds and deserves a mention for cracking the pound-for-pound top 10,” said Wainwright. “He’s probably our next guy in, but for me, I wouldn’t have him jump (No. 10) Chocolatito (Roman Gonzalez).”
Panelist Adam Abramowitz wasn’t hearing any of that.
“When Jermell Charlo won three belts (vs. Rosario), a distinction that few in the sport have, I nominated him to be pound for pound,” said Abramowitz, “he was rejected by this panel. Now he has four belts, is undisputed, a distinction that only seven guys have had in 20 years and somehow isn’t in our top ten fighters? Ludicrous in my opinion.
“Josh Taylor just had a fight where the majority of observers thought he lost (myself not included) yet he remains comfortably in our top 10. At the very least he looked awful. I still don’t understand what Lomachenko is doing in our top 10. Charlo had completely dominated the division, knocked out the only people who have disputed claims over him.
“Anson, I would strongly ask you to reconsider this. Not putting an undisputed fighter in the pound for pound is against the mission of the exercise. It is our job to identify the best in the sport. Well, he has identified himself and made it clear. I’m beyond belief that his accomplishment wouldn’t get recognized.
“Bring Charlo in at No. 7 pound for pound.”
Wainwright defended Lomachenko’s pound-for-pound placement.
“Adam, I actually think Jermall is the better of the twins,” he said. “However, yes, his accomplishments certainly mean he should be discussed. He’s a hot and cold fighter and certainly brought it (vs. Castano).
“I wouldn’t take Loma out. He’s otherworldly gifted and has done like Canelo, looked to move up to unnatural weights to test himself. He had one off night and still ran Teofimo Lopez close with a bad shoulder. He’s proved in his last two fights he deserves to be in the pound-for-pound top 10.”
Again, Abramowitz wasn’t hearing it.
“Beating (Richard) Commey doesn’t prove anything, Anson,” said Abramowitz. “He’s a flawed but fun B+ fighter. And (Masayoshi) Nakatani, c’mon now. This is a strange argument.”
Retorted Wainwright: “Respectfully disagree, Adam. To my eyes, Lomachenko is one of the most gifted fighters in the world and has the resume to back it up. If he isn’t top 10 in the world, I don’t know what is.”
Retorted Abramowitz: “The resume is thin on elite wins. Same argument can be made for some others I guess. But it’s not like there are too many hall of famers or even best-of-his-era types on his ledger. Lots of B+ guys, which is fine.”
Replied Wainwright: “Aside from Canelo would that not be the same for most? Loma passes the eye-test more than most.”
Abramowitz: “Which is now a different argument than what you just said. It’s fine if you like the guy. But there are guys with better resumes than him not in our p4p list.”
Wainwright: “I think Lomachenko’s resume is fine. I don’t think he has avoided anyone. He’s been sensational aside from the Lopez loss and even then he fought hard and well. To me, he’s top 10 worthy. In my eyes he ticks the boxes.”
Abramowitz: “And I thought his effort in that fight was embarrassing, not representative of a fighter who believes he’s among the best. Can’t win a fight if you can’t be bothered to throw punches. Terrible performance.”
Wainwright: “He shouldn’t have fought with a bad shoulder but even then gave Lopez a six round head start and ran him close.”
The Wainwright-Abramowitz debate over Lomachenko could probably have gone on for a couple of days (for the record, I scored it a draw), but panelist Michael Montero interrupted by posing the question of dropping Lomachenko due to his current situation (which would make room for Charlo if the Panel agreed).
“With Jermell Charlo winning the undisputed 154lb championship, I think he’s earned the right to crack the top 10. Thing is, you could make a rational argument that everybody in our current top 10 is more accomplished than Charlo in terms of overall resume/opposition. But there is one thing to consider:
“Vasiliy Lomachenko is yet to fight in 2022; will likely not fight at all this year. I know it’s a delicate situation with him being involved in the Ukrainian War, but do we consider removing him from our P4P List? If so, Charlo is absolutely in at No. 10.
“Bottom line, Jermell Charlo is undisputed, and that’s a heck of an accomplishment that deserves recognition. Especially when other guys on our list have been inactive (regardless of reason).”
Your favorite Editor-In-Chief chimed in: “Regarding Lomachenko’s inactivity, he last fought in December (vs. Commey). If he remains out of the ring until December without having a fight scheduled, he will be dropped from the rankings – lightweight and P4P – per our rules. I don’t think we should drop him based on speculation on what he may or may not do due to his involvement in his country’s defense.
“If there are members who don’t think he’s worthy of being in the top 10, that’s a separate debate.”
Added Managing Editor Tom Gray: “Taking Loma out of the pound-for-pound ratings for inactivity – given his current circumstances – is an absolute s__t bomb. I highly recommend that we don’t do that.”
Added Wainwright: “I agree, it’s been six months and doesn’t seem fair or in line with what we already do. If we take anyone out, it has to be Chocolatito.”
Clarified Montero: “I agree. Was just playing devil’s advocate and making a suggestion to get everyone’s thoughts. Wasn’t sold on it.”
And with that the debate of Charlo’s pound-for-pound worthiness continued with panelist Daisuke Sugiura.
“It’s not exactly a dispute,” said Sugiura, “but one thing I feel uneasy about Charlo is I still think he actually lost the first fight with Castano. It was a draw in Texas. If we mentioned (Josh) Taylor just had a fight that a lot of people thought he lost, I think it’s fair to point out Charlo had a similar fight in his last fight too, although I think Charlo fought considerably better than Taylor.
“This whole situation reminds me of Ward vs. Kovalev or Canelo vs. Golovkin. Would the immediate rematch have happened if the judges gave it to the ‘B-side’ fighter in their first fight? As a foreigner living in the U.S, I feel for them and I think certain fighters have a huge advantage when we consider the rankings too.
“Sorry for the rant. Everything being said, the rematch actually happened, and Charlo looked like a P4P top-10 level operator. I totally agree with that. Even if I feel Charlo should have been 1-1 in his last 2 fights, it’s against top level opposition, he eventually proved he’s the better one and he’s the undisputed champion now. I do think he should be in too.
“I like Charlo at No. 10, replacing Chocolatito. He could be higher, yes, but I think Loma’s and Taylor’s resume are considerably better. And Bivol just beat the No. 1 guy, so…”
Added Montero: “I’m good with Charlo coming in at No. 10 for Chocolatito, even though I felt Chocolatito beat (Juan Fracnsico) Estrada last year. It’s a tough situation without a perfect fix.”
Martin Mulcahey agreed with bringing Charlo in at No. 10, as did Diego Morilla.
“I do believe Charlo belongs in the Top 10 too,” said Morilla. “Sure, having ‘lost’ his first fight against Castaño is not a great look, but there are plenty of great fighters who only enhanced their legacy by getting it right the second time (Joe Louis did it more than once, Patterson, Ali, etc and many more) and he did get it right in demolishing fashion against an unbeaten opponent. Taylor is yet to accomplish that, for example. If he does, I’d be the first to suggest a bump in the ratings for him as well.
“For now, as much as I’d love to avenge my boy’s Castaño’s robbery in the first fight, and even though I am a founding member of Atheists for Chocolatito, I’d say bring in ‘Mell at No. 10.”
We’ll give the managing editor the final word on this.
“Nice debate on the P4P,” said Gray. “The answer is relatively simple here. Bring Jermell in and drop Chocolatito. We can’t retain these great champions out of nostalgia. We did the same with Pacquiao, which was absolute ass, and should have learned our lesson.
“Adam, the reason Jermell didn’t enter with three belts (after beating Rosario) was because Josh Taylor didn’t enter with two after defeating a vastly superior opponent (Regis Prograis) a few weeks prior. That led to a P4P reshuffle.
“Jermell just bested a terrific fighter by KO and has earned his spot. I vote for No. 7.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE (May 14):
Pound-for-pound – Jermell Charlo enters at No. 10.
Light heavyweight – Gilberto Ramirez advances one spot to No. 4 after a fourth-round stoppage of unrated Dominic Boesel.
“I gotta say Gilberto Ramirez is impressing me more and more,” said Mulcahey. “I’ve always been higher on him than most but admit he is an acquired taste. He can do it all, like a B-level Mickey Garcia for me. I fully back his moving up one place to No. 4.”
Junior middleweight – Charlo remains champion. Castano remains at No. 1.
“Excellent fight, both landed bombs,” said Wainwright. “Charlo is our champion. Drop Castano one place, he gave Charlo a really tough fight so I wouldn’t drop him too far.”
Retorted Abramowitz: “I would not drop Castano whatsoever after his performance.”
Welterweight – Jaron Ennis advances one spot to No. 3 following a second-round TKO of unrated Custio Clayton.
“Boots is a special talent,” said Wainwright. “I think we expected him to win but not in two-rounds. We discussed Boots going above (Yordenis) Ugas, now, with this win, I think he can.”
Lightweight – William Zepeda re-enters at No. 10 after a hard-fought decision over veteran Rene Alvarado.
“Very good win for Zepeda, and overall he has a better recent record than (current No. 10) Lemos,” said Mulcahey. “Now, I really like Lemos and his time is coming, but he did beat a (Lee) Selby coming off a long layoff and moving up in weight. I think Zepeda deserves re-entry, while Lemos should be our next in.”
Junior featherweight – Marlon Tapales remains at No. 9 after a two-round stoppage of journeyman Jose Estrella.
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