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Ring Ratings Update: Gennadiy Golovkin exits the middleweight rankings

Gennadiy Golovkin takes a bow before his middleweight title unification bout vs. Ryota Murata last April, his most recent victory. Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Gennadiy Golovkin’s long tenure as The Ring’s No. 1-rated middleweight has come to an end due to inactivity. 

The former long-reigning unified champ has not fought since dropping a unanimous decision to his archrival Canelo Alvarez in a bid for the undisputed super middleweight championship last September.

Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs), an amateur star from Kazakhstan who won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, has been at the top of The Ring’s 160-pound rankings for more than 10 years. The technical pressure fighter supplanted Daniel Geale as the publication’s No. 1-rated middleweight following his brutal third-round body shot KO of Matthew Macklin on June 29, 2013. 

Golovkin assumed the No. 1 middleweight spot after demolishing respected former title challenger Matt Macklin.

Golovkin – who held the WBA (twice), IBF (twice) and WBC titles over two championship reigns – first cracked The Ring’s middleweight rankings back in December 2011, following his first-round KO of Lajuan Simon, entering at No. 10. 

At the time, Sergio Martinez was the Ring champ. The middleweight top 10 was as follows: 1. Geale, 2. Felix Sturm, 3. Macklin, 4. Grzegorz Proksa, 5. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., 6. Sebastian Zbik, 7. Dmitry Pirog, 8. Hassan Ndam, and 9. Martin Murray, with GGG at the back. But Golovkin would rapidly rise up the ranks, and over the next few years, he would eventually defeat those who were rated ahead of him via head-turning stoppages: Proksa (in his U.S. and HBO debut in September 2012), then Macklin, then Geale, then Murray

“GGG had one of the most dominant runs I have ever seen in boxing,” said promoter Tom Loeffler, who represented Golovkin. “When I first started working with him, Felix Sturm was in The Ring ratings for 500 weeks and our goal was to break his mark.

“GGG shattered that mark, selling out arenas all over the world against top-level opponents.”

In all, Golovkin faced 12 Ring-rated middleweights. The others include Curtis Stevens, Marco Antonio Rubio, David Lemieux, Daniel Jacobs, Alvarez (twice), Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Kamil Szeremeta and Ryota Murata.  

Gennadiy Golovkin’s rematch with Canelo Alvarez was Ring Magazine’s 2018 Fight of the Year.

Earlier this year, Golovkin vacated his IBF and WBA titles. The 41-year-old veteran has made fortune during a first-ballot hall-of-fame worthy career and it’s no secret that he’s close to retirement, although he’s made no official announcement. There are rumors that Golovkin could have a final fight in Kazakhstan, but with nothing officially scheduled the Ring Ratings Panel voted to remove him from the rankings.

Adam Abramowitz proposed Golovkin’s exit. Tom Gray seconded the suggestion.

“I’m with Adam here. I was applying champion rules to GGG, which would give him 18 months. Given the fact that he’s only got 12 months and that he dropped a couple of belts, it looks like he has no interest in returning for now.”

Anson Wainwright, Abraham Gonzalez, Diego Morilla and Daisuke Sugiura agreed, as did your favorite Editor-In-Chief, who brought up more potential house cleaning.

“I agree that it’s past time to remove Golovkin from the rankings,” stated the EIC. “Today (October 15) is the one-year anniversary of Deontay Wilder‘s last bout. Do we give the heavyweight a grace period (and assume that the seemingly never-ending talk of an Anthony Joshua showdown is akin to a scheduled bout) or do we continue to clean house?

“I’m sure there are a few other Ring-ranked fighters who haven’t fought in a year or more. Erislandy Lara hasn’t fought since last May. My guess is we’ve kept him rated because of rumors of him facing Danny Garcia at a 155 catchweight. 

“I know Vergil Ortiz and Callum Smith have been out since last August, but Callum’s mandatory shot against Artur Beterbiev has finally been rescheduled and Ortiz’s comeback (on Jan. 6 at junior middleweight) was recently announced at the WBO conference.

Shohjahon Ergashev hasn’t fought since last August, either, but he just had a title date with Subriel Matias announced. 

Eimantis Stanionis hasn’t fought since last April, but it’s hardly been his fault with two or three scheduled dates with Ortiz being scuttled for health reasons. I’m not sure what we do with cases like this.

“Also, maybe it’s time we revisit Joshua Franco‘s place among the junior bantamweights. He said he’s retiring after losing to Kazuto Ioka in June. It looks like he’s sticking to that announcement.”

Said Wainwright: “I’m good with GGG coming out, he doesn’t look near fighting weight and nothing is on the horizon despite talks of a December farewell at home.

“I think we keep all the ones Doug mentioned except Franco, who it appears is sticking to his retirement talk. He can always come back if he returns. Wilder, Smith, Lara, Ortiz (he can come out when he fights at 154), Stanionis and Ergashev have things in the works. I’d say maybe leave it a little longer and if their situation becomes more clear then remove.”

According to Dan Rafael, Lara-Garcia and Stanionis vs. Keith Thurman could co-headline a PBC/Showtime PPV event on December 9. 

In the meantime, with Golovkin’s exit, his countryman Zhanibek Alimkhanuly advances to the No. 1 spot in the middleweight rankings.


RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of Oct. 14):

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTErik Bazinyan remains at No. 6 following a sixth-round stoppage of tough gatekeeper Ronald Ellis.

MIDDLEWEIGHTGennadiy Golovkin exits. Zhanibek Alimkhanuly advances to No. 1 after unifying the WBO and IBF titles with a one-sided stoppage of Vincenzo Gualtieri. England’s Hamzah Sheeraz (18-0, 14 KOs) enters at No. 10.

JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTTim Tszyu remains No. 1, following a unanimous decision over Brian Mendoza, who remains at No. 3.

Tim Tszyu delivered the performance of the week with the first defense of his WBO 154-pound title. Photo by Zain Mohammed

“Tszyu won a 12-round unanimous decision over iron-chinned Brian Mendoza to retain his WBO title. Tszyu remains No. 1 and Mendoza drops to No. 4 behind Fundora, which isn’t ideal but [Mendoza] has to drop from the loss?” suggested Wainwright. “He showed a great chin, took a lot of punches from Tszyu. Could also see [him dropping to] No. 6, keeping Lubin and Ramos together but that seems harsh.”

Harsh indeed. The rest of the Panel disagreed.

I see no reason why Mendoza needs to drop below Fundora, whom he just beat, or Lubin or Ramos, who fought a terrible fight with most thinking that Ramos won anyway,” said Abramowitz. “Once one of those guys gets another solid, clean win, we can move them above.”

Added Gray: “Mendoza knocked Fundora into the middle of next week, so a drop beneath him makes no sense. I actually thought Mendoza fought very well against Tszyu and would keep him where he is.”

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTSam Goodman remains at No. 6 following his dominant 12-round unanimous decision over Miguel Flores. John Riel Casimero remains at No. 10 after a disappointing four-round no-contest with Yukinori Oguni. 

BANTAMWEIGHTKeita Kurihara exits after getting blasted by veteran Froilan Saludar in one round. Mexico’s David Cuellar (25-0, 17 KOs) enters at No. 10.

“Kurihara was caught in the opening seconds and dropped by Saludar,” said Wainwright. “Two more knockdowns and just a minute in and the fight was over. Shocker! Kurihara comes out, no obvious candidate to enter [but] David Cuellar stopped former flyweight titlist Luis Concepcion in eight rounds. Cuellar has been at bantamweight for the past few fights and I think can enter at No. 10.”

JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHTDavid Cuellar exits. Four-time world title challenger Israel Gonzalez (28-5-2, 11 KOs) enters at No. 10. 

FLYWEIGHTAngel Ayala Lardizabal remains at No. 5 following a razor-thin unanimous decision over veteran Felix Alvarado, who remains at No. 8.

“Lardizabal and Alvarado threw down and although Alvarado scored a knockdown and was initially announced the winner, Ayala was [later] announced as the winner by 1 point on all three scorecards. Due to the closeness and controversial nature. I’d keep Ayala where he is and bring Alvarado up to just behind him.”

READ “Gennady Golovkin: The Quiet Man” (November 2017 issue of The Ring Magazine)