Ring Ratings Update: Devin Haney enters the pound-for-pound rankings, updates from April 30-May 20
A lot happened during the first 20 days of May, but nothing captured the attention (as well as the ire) of fans as the undisputed lightweight championship between Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) retained all of the 135-pound title belts with a unanimous decision (116-112, 115-113, 115-113) over the former champ, but while most agree that it was difficult to score, the majority of observers thought Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) deserved the win.
Some called it a robbery, others maintain that it was a close fight that could have gone either way. The debate was just as heated between members of the Ring Ratings Panel as it had been on social media all week.
Tom Gray didn’t say Lomachenko was robbed but he thought there was a clear winner of the May 20 showdown in Las Vegas, and it wasn’t the 24-year-old odds favorite to his eyes. Adam Abramowitz scored the fight a draw and doesn’t see why fans and media aren’t satisfied with having witnessed masterful performances from both boxers.
However, while Abramowitz viewed their fight as even, he doesn’t see the fighters on equal ground. Haney, he said, should be in The Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings while Lomachenko’s time among the mythical top 10 should finally come to an end.
“(Lomachenko) lost to Teo (Lopez), didn’t look good against (Jamaine) Ortiz,” said Abramowitz. “I don’t think last night was a robbery. I would bring Haney in at No. 9 pound for pound and drop Loma. I believe this panel has been a little too generous regarding Loma over the years. I don’t see him as a pound-for-pound top 10 guy anymore and I think he should be removed.”
Abramowitz’s opinion was shared by Abraham Gonzalez, but not by Anson Wainwright, who suggested Haney enter at No. 7 with Lomachenko dropping from No. 6 to No. 8.
Gray and Yours Truly were triggered by Abramowitz’s suggestion to drop Lomachenko following his inspired and impressive performance.
“I need to put up a different slant on this,” said Gray. “I never felt that Loma should go from P4P No. 1 to dropping off as a result of the Lopez loss. That just doesn’t happen. He had surgery after that fight, took time off, whacked out (Masayoshi) Nakatani and (Richard) Commey (both Ring rated at the time), then helped his country during the war. He was poor against Ortiz, but he had reason to be. He’s just come back, turned in an excellent performance and the vast majority of fans and experts have him the winner.
“I had it 7-4-1 Loma (granted, with swing rounds). Haney performed below expectations and won a controversial decision that was lambasted by the crowd. I’ve never seen a fighter look so disheartened leaving an arena after winning a superfight than Haney did. If you can convince yourself after that fight that Haney is better than Lomachenko, then maybe that’s the right decision. I’m struggling with it, and that’s before we factor in that Loma was probably outweighed by 10-12 pounds last night.”
Added the Editor-In-Chief: “I thought Lomachenko outpointed Haney, 115-113.
“I agree Lomachenko did not look like a pound-for-pound level boxer in his previous bout vs. Ortiz, but I thought he looked like an elite-level boxer vs. Haney. We witnessed a 35-year-old natural featherweight push a big, skilled, unbeaten natural lightweight (who is 10 years younger) to his limit – and arguably beat him in his hometown. That’s what pound-for-pound-level fighters do. They overcome those kinds of odds.
“I wouldn’t drop Loma. I would bring in Haney at No. 9 and land Loma at No. 10. Tank can be pushed out.”
Some panelists agreed with this compromise, others did not.
“I had it a draw, 5-5-2,” said Tris Dixon. “And I see both sides here. Loma might fail the ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ test, but I also agree with Dougie. He’s really a super-feather, 35 years old, and giving the best 135 pounders absolute nightmares. How can you fault him?
“But we/I have always had a habit of ‘grandfathering’ top pound for pounders based on their overall career achievements, and that’s definitely fair, but at the same time they have to come out at some point.
“There’s no easy answer here, but I’d agree with Dougie and say Haney to No. 9 and Loma to No. 10.”
Wainwright did not like the idea of removing Davis, who recently cracked the rankings. He had an alternative suggestion.
“Why don’t we take out Jermell Charlo? He’s been inactive a year and won’t be facing Tim Tszyu or anyone for a few more months yet anyway,” Wainwright said. “(Let’s) drop Charlo for inactivity and keep Tank.”
Countered Abramowitz: “I think (Charlo’s) plan will be to fight Tszyu next. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think if that isn’t next for him, or the absence is more prolonged, then he definitely should be considered for removal.”
Retorted Wainwright: “The Tszyu fight won’t take place until at least September and of course he could drop the WBO title after they put a deadline on him.
“To me, if we’re keeping it relevant, Charlo has been inactive for a year. If he wins on his return, I would think he’d almost certainly re-enter.”
And so, it was up to your favorite Editor-In-Chief to get a consensus.
“OK, it seems we’ve got three schools of thought regarding the latest pound-for-pound update:
- Drop Lomachenko out of the rankings and bring Haney in at No. 9.
- Bring Haney in at No. 9 and drop Lomachenko to No. 10 (pushing Davis out of the rankings).
- Drop Charlo out of the rankings, bring in Haney and keep Loma AND Tank in. (The three presumably occupy the last three spots in some order.)
“Let me know which option makes the most sense to you guys (or you can propose something different).”
Daisuke Sugiura went for option No. 3.
“Haney (No. 8), Loma (No. 9) and Tank (No. 10) for me,” he said. “I understand the reason for keeping Charlo but I’d love to give active fighters more credit. There’s just too many of them who are inactive and still keep their status.
“I covered the (Haney-Lomachenko) fight in person and had it a draw, 6-6. It was an extremely difficult fight to score, especially in the arena because of the pro-Loma crowd. That said, I agree with the opinion that Loma showed he’s still a P4P-level fighter, although I have a slight hunch that this could be his last great performance at this level. Loma was just so determined for this one.”
Abramowitz was also for option No. 3 but with a different order.
“If that is the scenario, I would go: Haney at No. 8, Davis at No. 9 and Loma at No. 10.”
Gonzalez, Gray, Dixon and Wainwright agreed with this order.
Diego Morilla added:
“Great opinions all around. A touchy subject indeed. Loma is an all-time great, and the way we deal with his output is the way we will have dealt with his legacy, down the road.
“This option gives us cover on all fronts, it’s by far the most ‘diplomatic’ one and honestly the one that leaves our Top 10 looking like a more believable picture of who’s who in boxing today. Let’s say I don’t like the way we got there, but I like the final result.”
[Editor’s Note: Jermell Charlo remains The Ring junior middleweight champion per our rules, which state that reigning Ring champions are not stripped until after a period of 18 months without scheduling a fight.]
RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of May 20):
POUND FOR POUND – Canelo Alvarez remains at No. 5 after defending the undisputed super middleweight champions against John Ryder. Jermell Charlo exits due to inactivity. Haney enters at No. 8. Lomachenko drops to No. 10.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT – Joshua Buatsi remains at No. 7 following a 10-round unanimous decision over unrated Pawel Stepien. Oleksandr Gvozdyk re-enters at No. 9 after coming out of retirement to stop unrated Richards Bolotniks in six rounds.
“Nice win for ‘The Nail’ who I think can re-enter the rankings,” noted Wainwright. “I’d put him at No. 9 and remove Craig Richards, who came in on strong showings in losses to Dmitry Bivol and Joshua Buatsi but has also not fought in a year.”
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT – Alvarez remains champion. Ryder remains at No. 5.
MIDDLEWEIGHT – Janibek Alimkhanuly moves to No. 2 after stopping unrated Steven Butler in two rounds.
“Alimkhanuly dropped Butler three times to retain his WBO title,” noted Wainwright.
JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT – Magomed Kurbanov drops from the rankings following a controversial victory over veteran Michel Soro, who re-enters at No. 10.
“Kurbanov won a highly controversial 12-round split decision over Soro,” said Wainwright, who originally suggested the Russian remain in the rankings. “Kurbanov is going to be impossible to beat in Russia, ask Liam Smith and Michel Soro! I could see Soro re-entering at No. 10 but he’s also coming off the two Madrimov fights so keep him out for now.”
Countered Abramowitz: “I don’t see why we don’t use our robbery clause for the Kurbanov fight. I haven’t seen a single person who thought he won. Treat the fight like he lost then. Bring Soro in at number 9 or 10, remove Kurbanov.”
WELTERWEIGHT – Keith Thurman exits. Alexis Rocha enters at No. 10.
Your EIC was reminded by a Tweet from @calixboxing2 that Thurman has been inactive for more than a year without a fight scheduled, so it was brought before the panel, which said bye-bye (for now) to the former unified titleholder.
“Well over 15 months and without another fight named,” said Abramowitz. “Time to take him off.”
Added Gonzalez: “Yes, I think we kept Keith up there due to the discussions of him fighting Spence. Now that those have been quieted and he has no rumored opponents other than Showtime saying he would be back this summer, I would say to remove him and place Alexis Rocha at No. 10 for now.”
Added Wainwright: “Yes, I also agree. I think Thurman was in the shake up for Spence, hence we left him in but it’s been more than long enough. Take him out and bring in Rocha as suggested.”
JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT – Albert Puello exits (due to positive PED test). Sandor Martin enters at No. 10.
LIGHTWEIGHT – Haney remains champion. Lomachenko remains at No. 1. Raymond Muratalla enters at No. 10 after a second-round stoppage of fringe contender Jeremia Nakathila. William Zepeda remains at No. 8 following stopping unranked Jaime Arboleda in two rounds.
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT – Oscar Valdez remains No. 1 after scoring a 10-round decision over unranked Adam Lopez.
BANTAMWEIGHT – Jason Moloney moves to No. 1 following his decision victory over Vincent Astrolabio, who drops to No. 6.
“Moloney outboxed Astrolabio over 12 rounds to win a majority decision that probably should have been unanimous to claim the vacant WBO title,” noted Wainwright.
JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHT – Junto Nakatani advances to No. 3 after scoring a brutal 12th-round KO of Andrew Moloney, who drops to No. 10. Kosei Tanaka advances to No. 6 off of his 10th-round stoppage of unranked Pablo Carillo.
“Nakatani dropped and eventually scored a highlight reel knockout over Moloney in the final seconds of Round 12 to win the vacant WBO title,” noted Wainwright. “Nakatani is a monster.”
“I strongly favor Nakatani moving to No. 3 in his division,” added Corey Erdman. “That was as thorough a domination and stoppage of a high-level fighter as we’ve seen in a while.”
FLYWEIGHT – Julio Cesar Martinez remains at No. 2 after a 11-round stoppage of unrated Ronal Batista.
“Martinez retains his WBC title,” noted Wainwright.
JUNIOR FLYWEIGHT – Hekkie Budler remains at No. 3 following first-round stoppage of unrated Wichet Sengprakhon.
Hiroto Kyoguchi exits following his flyweight debut. Regie Suganob enters at No. 10. Elwin Soto remains at No. 4 after scoring a 10-round split decision over unrated Brian Mosinos.
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