Saturday, February 24, 2024  |

By Brian Harty | 

Ratings Update


(THROUGH FIGHTS OF March 27, 2021)

POUND FOR POUND: Juan Francisco Estrada’s split decision over Roman Gonzalez (see “Co-fighters of the Month” and “Bring on the Thrilogy” in this issue) lifted him from No. 8 to No. 7, and it didn’t matter that some members of the Ratings Panel thought Gonzalez should’ve won; even they couldn’t argue against rewarding such a brilliant performance. 

HEAVYWEIGHT: Joseph Parker (No. 7 last month) got a one-rank promotion after he scored a unanimous decision over fellow Kiwi Junior Fa (unrated) – not mind-blowing, but a solid enough win. 

Dillian Whyte stopped Alexander Povetkin (No. 3 last month) in four rounds, leading some on the panel to wonder if Povetkin’s long tenure at the elite level has finally come to an end. The Russian veteran fell to No. 8 and Whyte went from No. 4 to No. 3.

CRUISERWEIGHT: Lawrence Okolie picked up a belt and rose from No. 6 to No. 3 after a surprisingly dominant stoppage of Krzysztof Glowacki, who plunged from No. 3 to No. 8.

Is winning a wide unanimous decision over a Russian hero in Russia a praiseworthy accomplishment? The panel thought so, promoting Thabiso Mchunu from No. 7 to No. 4 after the South African handed Olympic gold medalist Evgeny Tischenko his first pro defeat.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT: Artur Beterbiev held the No. 1 spot with a forgettable but effective 10th-round stoppage of Adam Deines.

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT: Fedor Chudinov (No. 7 last month) fought to a draw with perennial gatekeeper Isaac Chilemba but didn’t look great, so the panel decided to drop the former titleholder from Russia down to No. 9. Similarly, No. 4-rated Anthony Dirrell was lowered to No. 5 after an uninspiring split draw against Kyrone Davis (unrated), although some members of the panel thought Dirrell won the fight.

There were no deviations from the script as 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez rolled over unrated Avni Yildirim, whose corner surrendered after three rounds of wishful thinking. With that out of the way, Canelo is now set to face WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders (No. 4) on May 8.

David Benavidez honored his position at No. 1 with a stoppage of Ronald Ellis (unrated) in the 11th round.

WELTERWEIGHT: An impressive seventh-round knockout of Maurice Hooker (unrated) was enough to get undefeated Vergil Ortiz on the list at No. 10, where he replaced Mikey Garcia. 

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT: Kiryl Relikh (No. 8) was dropped for inactivity, his last fight being in April 2019. His removal happily coincided with a solid performance from Robert Easter Jr., who outboxed Ryan Martin (unrated) to a wide unanimous decision, so Easter took the vacancy at No. 10. 

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT: Despite going in as the underdog, former featherweight titleholder Oscar Valdez was already well on his way to taking the WBC title from Miguel Berchelt (No. 1 last month) as the 10th round ticked away. And then Valdez countered with a monster hook that you’ll be hearing more about when it’s time to nominate candidates for Knockout of the Year. The performance had some members of the panel saying he should enter the list at No. 1 and even be considered for pound-for-pound inclusion, but ultimately he settled below the more proven Gervonta Davis at No. 2. Berchelt dropped to No. 4 and No. 10-rated Rene Alvarado was pushed out.

JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHT: The top three saw action, but the numbers didn’t change. Estrada and “Chocolatito” held their respective positions at Champion and No. 2 after what could conceivably become the Fight of the Year, and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (No. 1) stayed sharp with a third-round stoppage of unrated Ekkawit Songnui in Thailand. An Estrada-Gonzalez rubber match could be next.

FLYWEIGHTS: McWilliams Arroyo rose from No. 10 to No. 9 and moved to within arm’s reach of another title shot with a fifth-round stoppage of Abraham Rodriguez (unrated).

STRAWWEIGHT: Pedro Taduran slipped from No. 9 to No. 10 after losing his IBF belt to countryman Rene Mark Cuarto, who prevailed by a slim but unanimous decision. Cuarto jumped onto the list at No. 9, which meant that Melvin Jerusalem (No. 10 last month) had to move out.


APRIL 3 — 154: Tim Tszyu rose a spot to No. 8 after a fifth-round stoppage of Dennis Hogan (unrated). 130: Jamel Herring stopped Carl Frampton (unrated) in six rounds and jumped from No. 5 to No. 3 on the list. 122: No. 1-rated Murodjon Akhmadaliev scored a fifth-round TKO of Ryosuke Iwasa, who dropped from No. 4 to No. 10.

APRIL 10 — 175: Joe Smith Jr. went from No. 4 to No. 3 after a majority decision win over Maxim Vlasov, who entered at No. 10, for a vacant title. 147: Jaron Ennis broke into the ratings at No. 8 after an impressive knockout of Sergey Lipinets, who dropped off the list from No. 9.


WOMEN’S RATINGS: Claressa Shields became the Ring champion at 154 pounds with a 10-round shutout of Marie-Eve Dicaire (No. 2 last month), though the fact that Dicaire became the new No. 1 in such clear defeat should say something about Shields’ potential “GWOAT” status, as one panelist put it. 

Claressa Shields (left) vs. Marie Eve Dicaire. Photo credit: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Claressa Shields (left) vs. Marie Eve Dicaire. (Photo by Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

At welterweight, Jessica McCaskill captured the inaugural Ring belt with a debate-ending victory over Cecilia Braekhus in their rematch. McCaskill also smashed into the pound-for-pound rankings with her victory, taking Braekhus’ No. 3 spot and swatting her down to No. 7.

McCaskill was then leapfrogged by featherweight Amanda Serrano, who took No. 3 after knocking out fellow pound-for-pounder Daniela Bermudez, who performed admirably and held her position at No. 8 on the P4P list. Serrano’s ninth-round knockout was impressive enough for multiple panelists to say that the Puerto Rican star (she’s also No. 1 at 126 and currently holds a record of 40-1-1 with 30 KOs) could in fact be the best fighter in the world.

Mexican veteran Jackie Nava assumed the No. 1 spot at 122 pounds, surpassing Marcela Acuna, with a unanimous decision over Karina Fernandez.

Seniesa Estrada gave up her No. 5 spot at junior flyweight (which went to Kim Clavel) in order to fight at 105 pounds, but it proved to be a good move. The Los Angeles native, undefeated at 20-0, grabbed her first title and became the new strawweight No. 1 with a complete rout of Anabel Ortiz on the scorecards. Ortiz, who was dropped by a right to the chin in Round 2, slipped to No. 4.