Ring Ratings Update: Seven weeks of ups, downs, debates and house cleaning

Ring Ratings Update: Seven weeks of ups, downs, debates and house cleaning

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Teofimo Lopez celebrates the defense of his Ring Magazine and WBO 140-pound titles after defeating Jamaine Ortiz by controversial unanimous decision in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It’s been two months since the last Ring Ratings Update, so please forgive your favorite Editor-In-Chief for not compiling the Ratings Panel’s suggestions and votes in a timelier – and regular – manner. I promise to get on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule going forward. 

The following pound-for-pound and divisional updates took place over a seven-week span – the week ending on January 20 to the week ending on March 2. It does not include the results of the “Knockout Chaos” show that took place this past Friday (March 8) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, so please spare us the wiseass comments and ‘X’ rants about Zhilei Zhang and Joseph Parker. Rest assured Parker will be taking the No. 3 spot that Big Bang currently occupies after the Panel convenes over the next couple days. 

Now let’s get to the rankings.

RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of March 2):

POUND FOR POUNDTeofimo Lopez exited after a controversial victory over Jamaine Ortiz. Jesse Rodriguez returned at No. 10.

Not impressed by Teofimo Lopez against Jamaine Ortiz,” opined Anson Wainwright. “Is it enough to take him out? I think we keep him [rated] but I’d be interested to see what others have to say.”

Tris Dixon: “I’d take Teo out. This is the sort of thing that counts against us when we give fighters the benefit of the doubt and they stay in for months after a bad performance. I’d be tempted to reinstate Bam [Jesse Rodriguez]. 

“That said, I realize that means our No. 1-rated junior welterweight Haney would be above our champion, Teo [in the pound for pound]. But it is what it is.

“I think the last few months have shown it costs us to almost ‘grandfather’ fighters in. Pound for pound, in this era, is who is hot.

“The traditionalist in me might want Teo to stay, but I’d say change it up.”

Teofimo Lopez eats a right hand from Jamaine Ortiz during their 140-pound championship bout in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Adam Abramowitz, Daisuke Sugiura, Wasim Mather and Abraham Gonzalez were in favor of reinstating Rodriguez. 

“I would remove Teo after that performance. We just had Bam at number 10 a few weeks ago. He should come back,” said Abramowitz

“Junto Nakatani was mighty impressive dethroning Alexandro Santiago in six rounds,” noted Wainwright. “I could see him taking the No. 10 spot.”

Tom Gray: “I thought Nakatani was dazzling against Santiago. However, should he replace Bam? For me, Bam has the better resume and probably just holds on. Nakatani is in the 11-15 range and it’s just a matter of time.”

Dixon and Sugiura were in agreement with Gray.

CRUISERWEIGHTYuniel Dorticos exited due to inactivity. Canadian banger Ryan Rozicki (20-1, 19 KOs) entered at No. 10.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTJoshua Buatsi advanced to No. 3 following a competitive unanimous decision over fellow British contender Dan Azeez, who remained at No. 6. Anthony Yarde remained at No. 4 following his third-round stoppage of Marko Nikolic. Albert Ramirez advanced to No. 9 after scoring a 10-round decision over Artur Ziyatdinov. Ali Izmailov remained at No. 10 after his fourth-round stoppage of Britton Norwood.

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTJaime Munguia advanced to No. 5 following an impressive stoppage of veteran John Ryder, who dropped to No. 7 and later exited the rankings after announcing his retirement. Erik Bazinyan remained at No. 6 following a third-round stoppage of Billi Facundo Godoy. Edgar Berlanga remained at No. 9 following a sixth-round KO of Padraig McCrory. Cuban southpaw Osleys Iglesias (10-0, 9 KOs) entered at No. 10 a couple weeks before blitzing rugged Argentine gatekeeper Marcelo Coceres in one round.

Jaime Munguia (left) and John Ryder (right) during their January 27, 2024 fight at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ. Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

MIDDLEWEIGHT Hamzah Sheeraz advanced to No. 7 following a first-round blowout of veteran Liam Williams. Sergiy Derevyanchenko exited due to inactivity at middleweight. Houston up-and-comer Austin Williams (16-0, 11 KOs), who would soon score a seventh-round KO of unbeaten Armel Mbumba-Yassa, entered at No. 10.

WELTERWEIGHTShakhram Giyasov remained at No. 6 after an 11th-round technical decision over still-serviceable veteran Pablo Cesar Cano. Eimantas Stanionis exited due to inactivity. Venezuelan brawler Roiman Villa (26-2, 24 KOs) re-entered at No. 10.

“Villa just got brutally beaten by Boots,” noted Abramowitz. “I don’t see why he should be in our ratings. I like [Jin] Sasaski. I’m certainly open to other guys.”

Sugiura seconded the nod to Sasaki. Wainwright, Gonzalez and Mather backed Villa.

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTTeofimo Lopez remained champ following a unanimous decision over Jamaine Ortiz. 

Steve Claggett stayed sharp, stopping Marcos Gonzalez in two rounds,” noted Wainwright. “Claggett is in the 11-15 range in a strong division.”

LIGHTWEIGHTJamaine Ortiz exited. Virginia technician Keyshawn Davis (10-0, 7 KOs), fresh off a sixth-round stoppage of former two-division titleholder Jose Pedraza, entered at No. 10. 

Rising star Andy Cruz shutout Brayan Zamarripa over 10-rounds,” noted Wainwright. “It’s probably just a matter of time until he cracks the top 10 but for now he’s working his way towards it.”

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTO’Shaquie Foster remained at No. 2 following a competitive split decision over Abraham Nova. Shavkatzdzhon Rakhimov exited after suffering an 11th round stoppage to Eduardo Nunez, who entered at No. 8. Roger Gutierrez exited following a 10-round decision loss to Zaur Abdullaev. Towering Toledo, Ohio native Albert Bell (25-0, 8 KOs) re-entered at No. 10.

FEATHERWEIGHTLuis Alberto Lopez moves to No. 1 after scoring an eighth-round stoppage of game Reiya Abe, who exits the rankings. Raymond Ford Jr. enters at No. 6 following his thrilling come-from-behind final-round stoppage of game and dangerous Otabek Kholmatov. Mauricio Lara, now campaigning at junior lightweight (and not looking so hot battling Daniel Lugo to a majority draw) exited the rankings. Then-unbeaten Englishman Nick Ball (19-0, 11 KOs) entered at No. 10 (we’ll see where the scrappy Liverpudlian ranks after battling No. 3-rated Rey Vargas to a split-draw on March 8).

“Raymond Ford Jr. came on strong to score a come from behind knockout in the final round over Otabek Kholmatov to win the vacant WBA title,” noted Wainwright. “Ford to enter at No. 10 but could also see a place or maybe two higher.”

Raymond Ford (right) hurts Otabek Kholmatov en route to 12th round stoppage to win vacant WBA featherweight title (Photo credit: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank)

Gray suggested much higher: “Kholmatov came into that fight with the reputation of a legitimate bad ass and he fought like one. Given Ford’s performance level and the ability to finish an unbeaten fighter like that in the closing seconds, I’d take him up to No. 6.”

Abramowitz: “Agree with Tom. Ford to six. Lopez to one.”

Wainwright: “I’d keep [Rafael] Espinoza (No. 5) and [Rafael] Ramirez (No. 6) together, such was the closeness of their fight.”

Gonzalez: “I’m going to recommend Ray Ford to come in at No. 7. He was in a tough fight and showed everyone he wanted it just a little more.”

New Senior Writer and Ratings Panelist Jake Donovan: “Agreed with all suggestions. Can maybe argue that Ford enters a touch higher but fine with 10. Brandon Figueroa will come out due to inactivity unless he suddenly schedules something at 126 (or anywhere), so everyone will move up one spot soon enough.”

“(I managed to accidentally confirm that Brandon Figueroa is waiting on a date for a planned fight this spring, at featherweight. That said, I don’t see the harm in taking him out in two weeks if his fight isn’t announced by then.)”

BANTAMWEIGHTJunto Nakatani entered at No. 1 following his impressive sixth-round KO of Alexandro Santiago, who dropped to No. 6. Takuma Inoue advanced to No. 5 following his ninth-round body-shot KO of former 115-pound titleholder Jerwin Ancajas. David Cuellar remained at No. 10 following a lopsided 10-round UD over Pablo Ariel Gomez.

Keita Kurihara exacted revenge over Froilan Saludar to regain his OPBF title in eight rounds,” noted Wainwright. “Kurihara is a fun gunslinger and in the 11-15 range.

Junto Nakatani, the winner of the 2023 KO of the Year, scored another thrilling stoppage against veteran Alejandro Santiago. Photo Naoki Fukuda / Top Rank

JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHT – Veterans Roman Gonzalez and Francisco Rodriguez Jr. exited (due to inactivity). Mexico’s Jonathan Rodriguez (25-2-1, 17 KOs), who held Israel Gonzalez to a draw in his most recent bout, and veteran former beltholder Pedro Guevara (41-4-1, 22 KOs) entered at Nos. 9 and 10. Kosei Tanaka advanced to No. 3 after scoring a 12-round unanimous decision over Christian Bacasegua. Nakatani, now at bantamweight, exited the rankings. Flamboyant Los Angeles native John Ramirez (13-0, 9 KOs) entered at No. 10 (pushing Rodriguez and Guevara to Nos. 8 and 9). Srisaket Sor Rungvisai dropped to No. 7 after struggling to a six-round decision over inexperienced Chinese journeyman Guangheng Luan. 

FLYWEIGHTSeigo Yuri Akui advanced to No. 4 following a somewhat controversial unanimous decision over Artem Dalakian, who dropped to No. 5. David Jimenez remained at No. 7 following a stay-busy 10-round UD over journeyman Pablo Macario. Felix Alvarado remained at No. 9 following a fifth-round stoppage of journeyman Jose Ramirez Armenta. 

I thought Dalakian was COMPLETELY ripped off against Akui,” Gray declared. “That’s a situation where the winner moving up FIVE SPOTS wouldn’t sit well with me. I gave that kid three of 12 rounds. I don’t know what you do there. Did anyone think Akui came close to winning that fight?”

Yours Truly agreed with Gray’s opinion and scorecard but added “I saw more than a few social media posts from veteran observers who thought the winning scorecards for Akui were legit. I’m also interested in the Panel’s thoughts on this decision.”

Sugiura, who was ringside, weighed in.

“I was very close to the ring and action and I didn’t think it was a robbery,” said Sugiura. “I talked to Tom after the fight so I know what he (and Doug too now) thought and I have so much respect for you guys, but, for this particular fight, to me, Dalakian’s punch didn’t have any zip or snap, he looked tired and defeated. Akui wasn’t efficient but he initiated and kept pressing the action. More than anything, Akui’s punch was three times more lively than Dalakian’s.  I didn’t see 119-109 (for Akui) at all but I thought Akui barely edged it and people around me pretty much agreed.

“These are quotes from Dalakian at the post-fight presser.

‘Akui is an excellent boxer, and he’s younger than me. I wasn’t in bad shape, but I felt that the passage of time is cruel.’”

Abramowitz thanked Sugiura for his perspective (that’s the wonderful thing about the Ring Ratings Panel).  

JUNIOR FLYWEIGHTKenshiro Teraji remained Ring champion following a hard-fought majority decision over Carlos Canizales, who advanced to No. 6 despite the loss. Jonathan Gonzalez remains at No. 1 following a competitive unanimous decision over Rene Santiago. Sivenathi Nontshinga advanced to No. 2 after scoring a thrilling 10th-round stoppage of nemesis Adrian Curiel, who dropped to No. 3. Shokichi Iwata advanced to No. 9 following a sixth-round stoppage of former 105-pound beltholder Rene Mark Cuarto.

Carlos Canizales gave as good as he got during his challenge to Ring 108-pound champ Kenshiro Teraji. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Kenshiro Teraji edged home by 12-round majority over game-as-they-come Carlos Canizales in a classic,” noted Wainwright. “Both men were on the floor, but Teraji shaded things to retain his Ring, WBA and WBC titles. Teraji is our champion but despite the loss maybe we undervalued Canizales. I think he could go up to No. 3, he did better head-to-head against Teraji than Hekkie Budler.”

Abramowitz: “The only question I have is about Canizales. Everybody we would be moving him above has been a legit world champion in the division. I know the fight was a toss up that Teraji won, but if we respect the result and it’s an official loss, then I don’t know if he has the body of work to move up to third in the division. I’m not fixed on this; I’m just posing the question to the panel. No. 7 to No. 3 is a big jump there. Anyone have thoughts on this?”

Gray: “Yeah, I’m with Adam on this. I had Canizales winning by one point, so the decision going the other way was perfectly acceptable. When you have an out and out robbery, those are the times where a loser can be moved up based on performance level. When it’s close like this, you need to be careful. I also believe that Teraji is done at junior flyweight and that was one of the reasons for his poor showing. Keeping Canizales at No. 7 is an acknowledgment that he both earned that position and deserves to keep it.”

Gonzalez: “I’m with Adam, moving Canizales from No. 7 to No. 3 on a close decision loss is too big of a jump. Let’s keep him at No. 7 but if a move has to be made, then bring him in at No. 6. I don’t see the requirement to do so right now.”

STRAWWEIGHTOscar Collazo remains at No. 4 after his third-round stoppage of Reyneris Gutierrez. Rene Mark Cuarto exits after suffering his second consecutive stoppage loss. Uzbekistani Olympic gold medalist Hasanboy Dusmatov (6-0, 5 KOs) enters at No. 10.

Oscar Collazo stopped Reyneris Gutierrez in three rounds to retain his WBO title,” noted Wainwright. “I’m not sure this deserves a move up, but it definitely puts heat on Ginjiro Shigeoka just above him.”

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s or Doug’s IG Live most Sundays.

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