Ring Ratings Update: Teofimo Lopez wins 140-pound championship, re-enters pound-for-pound rankings
Many Ring-rated fighters were in action during the past three weeks (May 27-June 10), producing several highlights, including Teofimo Lopez’s upset victory over reigning Ring Magazine junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor, a fight-of-the-year candidate waged by Jaime Munguia and Sergey Derevyanchenko at super middleweight, and a serious shakeup of the featherweight rankings.
And, sadly, more top-level fighters exited due to inactivity.
But first, let’s look at the positive changes starting with where to rank Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), who scored a unanimous decision over the odds and media favorite. He won the Ring Magazine 140-pound title (along with the WBO belt), so he automatically advanced from No. 9 to the top of the junior welterweight rankings.
There was some debate as to where Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs), who owns wins over Nos. 1 and 2 contenders Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez. Some panelists believe the Scotsman has declined to a point where he should fall below Prograis despite his 2019 victory.
“On current form in his last two fights, Taylor is nowhere near the best guy at 140,” said Adam Abramowitz. “I’m a big resume guy, but Taylor just hasn’t looked like the same guy. The sharpness is gone. The intensity isn’t there. He’s getting beat to the punches. His reflexes aren’t what they were. And I’m someone who had Taylor edging Catterall.
“Taylor did beat Prograis in a close fight, but Prograis has maintained his level and even improved on it in a masterful performance against Zepeda. Taylor has slipped, noticeably.
“I’d go Lopez C, Prograis 1, Taylor 2.”
Anson Wainwright, Tom Gray and Diego Morilla favored Taylor at No. 1.
“Taylor has wins over Regis and Jose,” said Gray. “You’ll get strong arguments that he’s dipped since then, but those wins were legitimate during a remarkable run.”
Added Wainwright: “My thinking behind Taylor at No. 1 is partly on his wins over Prograis and Ramirez. I get the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately argument but also let’s let Regis fight this weekend and see how he looks. I know (Danielito) Zorrilla isn’t Ring ranked but if he looks really good it makes more sense. I’m a bigger fan of letting a fighter earn it.”
The majority of the panel voted in favor of Lopez re-entering the pound-for-pound rankings. There was one vote for Juan Francisco Estrada to re-enter at No. 10 (Abramowitz), but everyone else who weighed in on the discussion thought Lopez, who was a unified Ring champ at lightweight, should come back in at either No. 9 or 10.
This weekend of June 2-4 was a quiet one for men’s boxing as pound-for-pound queen Claressa Shields took center stage in Detroit, defending the undisputed middleweight championship against Maricela Cornejo.
However, while the Ring-rated men took a break, Wainwright took a look at those who had been on break for too long. The senior Ring Ratings panelist noticed that two top contenders – Brian Castano and Yordenis Ugas – have been out of the ring for more than a year.
Castano, who was No. 2 in the junior middleweight rankings, had been stopped by Jermell Charlo in the 10th round of their rematch for the undisputed championship last May. The rugged Argentine hasn’t fought since and does not have a fight scheduled.
Ugas, who was No. 4 in the welterweight rankings, was stopped by Errol Spence in the 10th round of their title-unification bout last April. The Cuban veteran has not fought since and does not have a fight scheduled.
It should be noted that Charlo, who has not fought since the Castano rematch, remains the 154-pound champion because The Ring’s championship policy allows 18 months of inactivity for Ring titleholders. However, the Houston native was dropped from the pound-for-pound rankings three weeks ago, which was not well received by some members of the Boxing Twitter community (including an influential network executive).
“At the risk of catching Stephen Espinoza’s ire, there are two more guys who fight on PBC that have been inactive for a year and don’t have anything scheduled,” noted Wainwright.
“Brian Castano has been inactive for a year, he doesn’t appear to have anything scheduled so unfortunately can come out. I think Charles Conwell could come in at No. 10.
“Yordenis Ugas has also been inactive for a year. Take him out and bring in Roiman Villa at No. 10.”
Wainwright’s suggestions were seconded by panelists Abramowitz and Abraham Gonzalez.
On May 27, two featherweight world titles were on the line. One was defended – by Luis Alberto Lopez, who stopped Michael Conlan in the fifth round – and the other changed hands when Leigh Wood avenged his February stoppage loss to Mauricio Lara by outboxing the dangerous Mexican slugger over 12 rounds. The unanimous decision victory made Wood a two-time WBA beltholder.
Lopez, who defended the IBF belt for the first time, extended his win streak to 11-0 since dropping a decision to then-prospect Ruben Villa in May 2019.
“Wood exacted a measure of revenge by winning a wide 12-round unanimous decision over a rather listless Lara,” noted Wainwright. “Full credit to Wood but Lara missing weight and then laying an egg in the fight was a disappointment.
“Lopez made good on the old adage winning a world title makes you a better fighter by drilling Conlan in five rounds. Lopez somewhat made up for the disappointing performance of his countryman Lara. Nick Ball stopped Ludumo Lamati in the 12th round. Ball looks a real handful. Lamati is in the hospital. Hope he’s doing OK. Featherweight is stacked (suggested lineup):
- Lopez, 2. Vargas, 3. Figueroa, 4. Ramirez, 5. Wood, 6. Magsayo, 7. Lara 8. Warrington, 9. Abe, 10. Ball.”
Gray disagreed with Wainwright’s suggested new 126-pound rankings.
“I’m not buying the featherweight ratings,” said Gray. “A fighter’s job starts when they accept a fight. What Lara did in terms of preparation is nothing to do with Wood. It’s the very same reason why I NEVER accept the ‘woe is me’ argument from Duran fans when they cry over the Leonard rematch.
“As I said on Twitter last night, this was a victory for professionalism, discipline, and self-belief. Wood has a better resume than most guys on this Top-10. Sure, he’d start as underdog against some of them, but he’s the one winning the big fights. He handed Xu Can his first loss in seven years; he took Conlan’s unbeaten record; and now he’s knocked off The Ring’s No. 1 featherweight. I don’t think you can put him at No. 5 with a straight face. (Gray’s suggested lineup:)
- Lopez, 2. Vargas, 3. Wood, 4. Figueroa, 5. Ramirez, 6. Magsayo, 7. Lara, 8. Warrington, 9. Abe, 10. Ball.
“And even though Vargas sits above Wood, I’d also endorse a Lopez vs. Wood fight for The Ring title.”
Abramowitz suggested Wood climb to No. 3 and Lara drop to No. 6.
Your favorite Editor-In-Chief opened the floor to the No. 10 spot that Wainwright suggested for Ball.
“I agree with Tom and Adam’s featherweight ranking for Wood. No. 3 makes sense to me. I’m fine with Lara dropping anywhere between Nos. 6-8. Does anyone else have an opinion on Lara’s ranking?
“Is everyone good with Anson’s choice of Nick Ball entering the featherweight rankings at No. 10? I have no problem with it, but there might be other 126-pound fringe contenders/up-and-comers worthy of that spot, such as Ruben Villa and Victor Morales.”
Wainwright explained his choice of Ball.
“I did think about other options at 126, including Villa and Morales,” he said. “I’d probably pick Villa over Ball if not for the fact he had been off so long and is still finding his way back. Also worth mentioning are Joet Gonzalez and Otabek Kholmotov, while Raymond Ford and Jazza Dickens are a little further back but add depth. It’s not lightweight but is pretty solid.”
Abramowitz suggested Villa at No. 10 and Lara to drop to No. 6.
Gray seconded Abramowitz.
“I’ll go for Adam’s choice here,” he said. “Lara to No. 6 (he holds stoppage wins over Wood and Warrington). Villa at No. 10 makes sense.”
Wainwright added: “I do prefer Villa but he hasn’t done much lately, he’s on his way back up. While Ball is in good form.”
Corey Erdman gave a nod to the aforementioned Ford.
“Not to elongate this debate, but I feel like Ray Ford deserves consideration for the No. 10 spot. He feels like a bigger threat to the top names at featherweight than Villa is, to me, but that’s of course only one way of evaluating who belongs in the rankings.”
All of which left Yours Truly in charge of tallying up the votes.
“Thank you for the addition, Corey. And no need to apologize. I’d rather delay the process than overlook any worthy new blood to the rankings, and Ray Ford looks like a future player in the 126-pound division. He’s been matched tough recently and he just grabbed the scalp of his first former world titleholder (Jessie Magdaleno) in his 15th bout.
“So far, it’s two for Ball (Anson and Abe) and two for Villa (Adam and Tom). One for Ford. I’m leaning toward Villa.”
Daisuke Sugiura had the final say in the featherweight shakeup.
“I’d love to go with Ford, because his latest win was impressive, but Villa for now. And Lara to No. 6 is fine to me too. Thank you.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of June 10):
POUND-FOR-POUND – Taylor exits. Lopez comes in at No. 9.
HEAVYWEIGHT – Joseph Parker remains at No. 9 following a first round stoppage against overmatched and unrated Faiga Opelu.
CRUISERWEIGHT – Chris Billam-Smith advances to No. 4 after outpointing fellow Ring-rated contender Lawrence Okolie, who drops to No. 6.
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT – Erik Bazinyan remains at No. 6 following a 10-round unanimous decision
over unrated veteran Jose de Jesus Macias. Jaime Munguia enters at No. 9 following his rousing unanimous
decision over Sergey Derevyanchenko.
“Munguia told us (the DAZN broadcast booth) that he would absolutely not be going back to 160 and will be chasing fights at 168,” said Erdman, who was the blow-by-blow commentator for the live DAZN broadcast of the fight. “Obviously fighters change their minds for money all the time, but he was pretty definitive (it’s also the first time he wasn’t a skeleton during fighter meetings, so it’s probably healthiest anyway). Derevyanchenko was not definitive about leaving 160, I think he can/will go back down.”
MIDDLEWEIGHT – Munguia exits. Sergey Derevyanchenko remains at No. 6. Elijah Garcia enters at No. 10.
JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT – Brian Castano exits due to inactivity. Charles Conwell enters at No. 10.
WELTERWEIGHT – Yordenis Ugas exits due to inactivity. Alexis Rocha advances to No. 8 following a fifth-round KO of unrated Anthony young. Roiman Villa enters at No. 10.
“I would move Rocha up one spot to 8,” suggested Abramowitz. “He’s looked great in his last few fights. And if you’ve seen Young beat (Sadam) Ali, he’s not a bad opponent at all. In addition, (David) Avanesyan coming off a loss has been treading water.”
JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT – Lopez is the new champion. Taylor drops to No. 1. Jack Catterall remains at No. 4 after scoring a 10-round decision over tough-but-unrated Darragh Foley.
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT – Robson Conceicao remains at No. 6 following a two-round No Decision with Nicolas Polanco.
FEATHERWEIGHT – Luis Alberto Lopez advances to No. 1. Leigh Wood advances to No. 3. Mauricio Lara drops to No. 6. Michael Conlan drops out of the rankings. Ruben Villa enters at No. 10.
FLYWEIGHT – Sunny Edwards remains at No. 1 following a unanimous decision over undefeated but unrated Andres Campos. Ricardo Sandoval remains at No. 8 after scoring a 10-round decision over unrated Rocco Santomauro.
JUNIOR FLYWEIGHT – Carlos Canizales advances to No. 6 after fighting to an eight-round technical decision over fellow Ring-rated contender Daniel Matellon, who drops to No. 7.
STRAWWEIGHT – Oscar Collazo advances to No. 3 following a seven-round retirement stoppage of fellow Ring-rated contender Melvin Jerusalem, who drops to No. 8.
“How impressive was Collazo? He was getting hit hard early but weathered the storm and stayed true to his game plan,” said Gonzalez.
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