Tuesday, December 05, 2023  |


The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Middleweight

GGG gutted out a battle of attrition vs. Derevyanchenko. Photo / Matchroom Boxing USA
Fighters Network

The Ring first introduced its divisional ratings in 1925. Almost a century later, it’s no exaggeration to claim that these independent rankings are the most respected and talked-about in world boxing.

The Ring Ratings Panel is made up of a dozen experts from around the world. Opinions are shared, debate takes place, and the final decision on who should be ranked where is decided democratically every week. It sounds easy, but this can be an arduous and time-consuming process.

During the pandemic, we reviewed and broke down each division in full. In a two-pronged approach, we looked back at the respective achievements of the finest fighters in the world and analyzed what lay ahead.

Last year, we looked back on how each division was doing and have decided after a busy first half of 2023 to compile another divisional breakdown.

Next up is middleweight, which is currently in a state of transition without a clear No. 1 and doesn’t have much depth, similar to how it was a decade ago when Gennadiy Golovkin first emerged. As always, please enjoy the debate and respect other people’s opinions.



RECORD: 42-2-1 (37 KOs)

THE PAST: Golovkin was a 2003 World Championship gold medalist and a 2004 Olympic silver medalist. The Kazakhstan powerhouse unified IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles, defeating Matthew Macklin (KO 3), Daniel Geale (TKO 3), Martin Murray (TKO 11, David Lemieux (TKO 8), Kell Brook (TKO 5) and Daniel Jacobs (UD 12) along the way. The lone blemishes on his record came courtesy of Canelo Alvarez (D 12 and MD 12), however, most believe that GGG won the first fight and deserved no less than a draw in the rematch. Golovkin has bounced back to claim the vacant IBF title by outpointing Sergiy Derevyanchenko (UD 12) and the WBA title against Ryota Murata (TKO 9). Lost the rubber match to Canelo (UD 12) up at super middleweight. The future hall of famer vacated his IBF and WBA titles earlier this year.

THE FUTURE: It’s rumored that the legendary fighter, who is now 41, will have a farewell fight against an unknown opponent on Kazakhstan’s Independance Day, December 16.



RECORD: 14-0 (9 KOs)

THE PAST: Alimkhanuly won gold at the 2013 World Championships before representing Kazakhstan at the 2016 Olympics, where he lost at the quarter-final stage. As a professional, he moved quickly and scored impressive wins over Rob Brant (RTD 8) and Hassan N’dam (TKO 8). Alimkhanuly took apart Danny Dignum (KO 2) to win the vacant WBO interim title. When Demetrius Andrade didn’t return to middleweight, Alimkhanuly was upgraded to full champion. The 30-year-old southpaw looked average against Denzel Bentley (UD 12) but then returned to impressive form knocking out Steven Butler (KO 2).

THE FUTURE: Will look to unify with IBF titlist Vicenzo Gaultieri in Rosenberg, Texas on October 14.



RECORD: 23-1 (18 KOs)

THE PAST: The powerful Dominican Republic fighter was first noticed at junior middleweight, where he beat Frank Galarza (TKO 4) and Patrick Day (UD 10). Adames was upset by Patrick Teixeira (UD 12) when he bid to win the vacant WBO interim title. After returning to action, he won two fights before scoring a career-best win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko (UD 10). He became WBC interim titleholder (not recognized by The Ring) when he knocked out Juan Macias Montiel (KO 3) and retained his title stopping former unified junior middleweight titlist Julian Williams (TKO 9).

THE FUTURE: Adames wants to face inactive WBC titleholder Jermall Charlo. Whether that is next or if he has to defend his WBC interim title in the meantime is not known.

Erislandy Lara demolished an overweight and overmatched Ramon Alvarez, knocking him out in Round 2 in Minnesota. (Photo by Stephanie Trapp)


RECORD: 29-3-3 (17 KOs)

THE PAST: The Cuban amateur standout would have been a favorite to win Olympic gold in 2008 but defected. Went on to be a cornerstone of the junior middleweight division, defeating Austin Trout (UD 12), Vanes Martirosyan (UD 12) and Terrell Gausha (UD 12). He has never been beaten convincingly. Lara gave Paul Williams (L MD 12), Canelo Alvarez (L SD 12) and Jarrett Hurd (L SD 12) all they could handle in narrow points defeats. The 40-year-old southpaw moved up to middleweight last year and has won two fights.

THE FUTURE: Has been linked with a catchweight fight with Danny Garcia for months but so far nothing has been confirmed.



RECORD: 14-5 (10 KOs)

THE PAST: Highly decorated amateur who has moved quickly since turning professional in 2014. The teak-tough Ukrainian has wins over Sam Soliman (TKO 2), Tureano Johnson (TKO 12) and Jack Culcay (UD 12). However, Derevyanchenko is 0-3 in world title fights, losing razor-thin decisions to Daniel Jacobs (SD 12) and Golovkin (UD 12) before being dominated by Jermall Charlo (UD 12). Was edged out by Adames (MD 10) but got back to winning ways against Joshua Conley (UD 10) before dropping a close decision  to Jaime Munguia (UD 12).

THE FUTURE: Looks like he’ll always be the bridesmaid and not the bride, but he remains a tough outing for anyone.



RECORD: 33-3 (24 KOs)

THE PAST: Learned on the job as a pro before narrowly dropping a decision to the much more experienced Billy Joe Saunders (UD 12). Stepped up to 168 pounds and bested Arthur Abraham (UD 12) and Avni Yildirim (KO 3) before dropping a decision to George Groves (UD 12) in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Bounced back with a win over James DeGale (UD 12) and has since dropped back down to 160 pounds. The 34-year-old floored Liam Williams four times en route to a wide 12-round unanimous decision and was shockingly stopped by Liam Smith (TKO 4) but has returned with a comprehensive win (TKO 10) in their rematch.

THE FUTURE: It has been suggested he will face Conor Benn in a grudge match for the ages potentially in the middle east in December. Has also called out Canelo, GGG and Alimkhanuly over recent weeks.



RECORD: 19-0 (11 KOs)

THE PAST: Nursultanov was a talented amateur before embarking on a pro career in America in 2016. The 30-year-old boxer puncher has since fought around the globe and owns wins over Andrey Sirotkin (RTD 5), former world title challenger Marcelo Coceres (UD 10) and, most recently, taking the unbeaten record of Kazuto Takesako (TKO 8).

THE FUTURE: Nothing scheduled, which is a shame because he looks like someone who could have a big say in the future of the division.



RECORD: 16-0 (13 KOs)

THE PAST: Turned professional at 16 in Mexico, where his first five fights took place. Then when he was of age began to fight in his hometown of Phoenix and then won three fights on PBC shows in 2022. The 20-year-old has won all three fights this year impressively stopping previously unbeaten Amilcar Vidal Jr. (KO 4), outpointing Kevin Salgado (UD 10) on the undercard of Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia, and, most recently, stopping Jose Resendiz (TKO 8) on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez-Jermell Charlo.

THE FUTURE: This year has been a breakthrough for the youngster, who will look to work towards a title shot next year. It’s not a deep division and that opportunity may not be far away.

Amilcar Vidal takes a left to the body from Elijah Garcia. (Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime)


RECORD: 16-0 (10 KOs)

THE PAST: Won his first 10 fights and claimed the Commonwealth title with a first-round stoppage of overmatched Nigerian Rasheed Abolaji. Followed that up with wins over fellow Brits Jack Cullen (TKO 8) and Jason Welborn (TKO 5). Next came unbeaten British champion Denzel Bentley, in which he scored a career best third-round stoppage. However, that was April 2021, and he’s fought just twice since, getting off the canvas twice to outpoint Magomed Madiev (UD 10) and marking time last December with a routine win over a journeyman.

THE FUTURE: Had been tabbed to face Matteo Signani on April 1, that feel out as did plans to face Austin Williams over the summer. Needs to get back in action soon as he’s lost some momentum.



RECORD: 33-4-1 (20 KOs)

THE PAST: Smith is one of four fighting brothers. He won British and Commonwealth titles before claiming the WBO 154-pound title in 2015. Smith made two defenses before losing to Canelo Alvarez (TKO 9). Got back in the win column against future middleweight title challenger Liam Williams (RTD 9/ MD 12) before dropping a decision to Jaime Munguia (UD 12). “Beefy” won three fights before controversially losing to Magomed Kurbanov (UD 12). However, he has bounced back strongly with three wins, notably stopping former two-weight division world champion Jessie Vargas (TKO 10). Split two fights with Chris Eubank Jr. (TKO 4/ L TKO 10).

THE FUTURE: Would like a rubber match with Eubank Jr. not sure if he’ll get it and may need to look elsewhere but it’s still early days after the loss.


On the Cusp: Vincenzo Gaultieri, Shane Mosley Jr., Hamzah Sheeraz, Austin Williams and Michael Zerafa

Jermall Charlo isn’t ranked due to inactivity.




The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Pound for Pound – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Strawweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior flyweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Flyweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior bantamweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Bantamweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior featherweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Featherweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior lightweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring ratings Reviewed 2023: Lightweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior welterweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring Ratings Reviewed 2023: Welterweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)

The Ring ratings Reviewed 2023: Junior middleweight – The Ring (ringtv.com)


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].