Rankings (June 27): Jesse Rodriguez, Akhmadaliev, McCaskill, Budler, more


Rankings go up on Mondays. There will be no rankings update next week before the coming weekend is really light and also next Monday is Independence Day in the U.S.

Ranked fights the next two weeks:

  • Heavyweight: (6) Joe Joyce vs Christian Hammer, July 2
  • Cruiserweight: (1) Mairis Briedis vs Jai Opetaia, July 2
  • Junior Middleweight: (7) Israil Madrimov vs (8) Michel Soro, July 9
  • Junior Middleweight: (9) Magomed Kurbanov vs Patrick Teixeira, July 9
  • Junior Lightweight: (7) Hector Garcia vs (9) Roger Gutierrez, July 10
  • Featherweight: (2) Mark Magsayo vs (7) Rey Vargas, July 9
  • Junior Bantamweight: (10) Kosei Tanaka vs Masayoshi Hashizume, June 29
  • Minimumweight: (5) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs Naoya Haruguchi, July 6

Upcoming Fights: (6) Joe Joyce vs Christian Hammer, July 2 … (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs (4) Anthony Joshua, Aug. 20 … (5) Andy Ruiz Jr vs (9) Luis Ortiz, Sept. 4

Upcoming Fights: (1) Mairis Briedis vs Jai Opetaia, July 2

Upcoming Fights: (2) Artur Beterbiev vs (9) Anthony Yarde, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Gennadiy Golovkin, Sept. 17

Upcoming Fights: (1) Gennadiy Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez [super middleweight], Sept. 17

Upcoming Fights: (7) Israil Madrimov vs (8) Michel Soro, July 9 … (9) Magomed Kurbanov vs Patrick Teixeira, July 9

Upcoming Fights: (6) Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Michael McKinson, Aug. 6

Upcoming Fights: (9) Jose Pedraza vs Richard Commey, Aug. 27 … (8) Subriel Matias vs Jeremias Ponce, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (5) Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna, July 16 … (8) Isaac Cruz vs Eduardo Ramirez, Sept. 4 … (1) Devin Haney vs (3) George Kambosos Jr, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (7) Hector Garcia vs (9) Roger Gutierrez, July 10 … (1) Shakur Stevenson vs (6) Robson Conceicao, Sept. 23

Upcoming Fights: (2) Mark Magsayo vs (7) Rey Vargas, July 9 … (9) Joet Gonzalez vs Isaac Dogboe, July 23

Notes: Takuma Inoue comes in at No. 10, where he’s replacing Brandon Figueroa in the rankings, as Figueroa is officially and fully going up to 126 for his next fight, a WBC eliminator against Carlos Castro, two guys coming off of losses at 122. Makes sense. WBC is good. Make sure you listen to every new update they have on what a franchise title means.

I’m not dropping Ronny Rios any for losing to Murodjon Akhmadaliev, and I’ve had things like that before, but in this specific case it’s two-fold:

  1. Everyone thought Akhmadaliev would beat Rios. It’s what was supposed to happen, and Rios didn’t fight poorly, he was just the second-best guy in the fight.
  2. This division has been effectively cleaned out by Fulton and Akhmadaliev and it lacks quality depth right nowt

On that second point, There is a major need for fresh faces and contenders. What am I going to do, drop Rios out for Ionut Baluta or TJ Doheny? They’re all about the same level. I’m confident Rios or Ryosuke Iwasa would still beat the guys they’ve been beating. Now, if someone wants to book a Rios-Doheny or Rios-Baluta fight to make sure either way, I’d be up for that. Both sound like solid fights to me.

That said, I weighed out Baluta and Takuma for that last spot and just barely edged to Takuma. Iwasa goes officially inactive in October if he doesn’t schedule a fight by then. We’ll see what happens. This could all shake up a little.

The big thing is we hopefully will get Fulton vs Akhmadaliev. It’s the only fight to make. That’s not literally true, of course, PBC could easily do Fulton vs Luis Nery and Matchroom could do Akhmadaliev vs Hovhannisyan (which would be a blast but ain’t The Fight), etc. But you know what I mean.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Jesse Rodriguez is a problem. His domination of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai was another eye-opener, not just about his talent, but about how big he really is at 115, how fresh and skilled, and — let’s be real — how primed this division just might be to be taken over by him, considering the ages of the remaining top stars he hasn’t already beaten down this year.

Juan Francisco Estrada is 32, Kazuto Ioka is 33, Chocolatito Gonzalez is 35. They’d all be significant tests for him, that’s not my point, but Rodriguez is an extremely promising young talent, could really be a pound-for-pound type guy in the making.

Now that said, the word right now is he’ll likely vacate the WBC at 115 and move back down to 112, which is trainer Robert Garcia’s idea. That’s not set in stone; Eddie Hearn might come in with a big fight and big money offer that’s too good to pass up at 115, and there is no fight at 112 that would be as big as fighting Estrada or Chocolatito in particular.

But there are potential great fights at 112. Bam Rodriguez against Junto Nakatani? Sign me up. Like, immediately sign me up. Bam Rodriguez against Sunny Edwards? I know a lot of you will pick Bam to destroy him because Sunny’s not a puncher, but I’m not sleeping on Sunny, who is crafty, slippery, annoying to fight, and tough on top of all that. Bam against Julio Cesar Martinez? Man, imagine if Martinez actually showed up!

Rungvisai drops to No. 7. It was a “good loss” in that he fought a good opponent, but it was a clear loss and this remains a very competitive division. If Srisaket is going to get back into the mix, he has work to do.

Upcoming Fights: (10) Kosei Tanaka vs Masayoshi Hashizume, June 29 … (2) Kazuto Ioka vs Donnie Nietes, July 13 … (1) Juan Francisco Estrada vs (5) Joshua Franco, Aug. 20

Upcoming Fights: (9) Giemel Magramo vs Jerry Tomogdan, July 8 … (6) Ricardo Sandoval vs David Jimenez, July 16

Notes: Two notable fights this week, with Jonathan Gonzalez retaining his WBO title against Mark Anthony Barriga in a good fight, and Hekkie Budler upsetting Elwin Soto on the road in Mexicali.

Gonzalez, when he doesn’t make big mistakes, is a really good fighter, and he showed that again. Barriga was able to box with him for most of the fight, but “Bomba” took over down the stretch and solidified his titleholder status with a successful defense. I’d be up for seeing him fight anyone at this weight.

Budler is firmly back in the mix for real now. That fight being decided by a 12th round knockdown of Soto is homer scoring; Budler won eight or nine rounds in that fight for me. He flustered Soto terribly in the second half especially. Soto is a solid fighter, but he can be out-boxed, and you have to wonder — even though he’s only 25 — if we haven’t seen the book written on him or even if he’s seen his peak come and go. But there are lots of good fights for Soto out there. He’s fun to watch. I wouldn’t at all object to seeing him move to 112 and rematch Tito Acosta, but I’d also like to see him fight Esteban Bermudez or Carlos Canizales or any number of other guys at 108/112.

Upcoming Fights: (5) Daniel Matellon vs Ivan Garcia, July 16 … (7) Masamichi Yabuki vs Thanongsak Simsri, Aug. 11

Upcoming Fights: (5) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs Naoya Haruguchi, July 6 … (7) Erick Rosa vs Carlos Ortega, July 15

Upcoming Fights: (1) Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, Aug. 20 … (6) Canelo Alvarez vs Gennadiy Golovkin, Sept. 17 … (9) Shakur Stevenson vs Robson Conceicao, Sept. 23

Notes: Jessica McCaskill bulldozed past Alma Ibarra, who didn’t want to be there after a few rounds — if at all — and quit on the fight. I have little more to add about that because I don’t think there’s much more that’s useful to say.

McCaskill is right to be disinterested in continuing at welterweight despite being the most important possible thing in the world, a modern “undisputed champion,” unifying four belts that exist mainly so there can be “a world title fight” every week because it helps boxing promoters not have to actually promote anyone. Just stick a belt on ‘em and call ‘em “the champ.” But if you put them all TOGETHER, see…

Anyway, there’s nothing else of any interest for McCaskill to do at 147. She can make 140. There are at least two good fights at 140 in titleholders Chantelle Cameron and Kali Reis. Those two were supposed to fight each other but clearly aren’t gonna, so Cameron vs McCaskill sounds great.

Upcoming Fights: (3) Amanda Serrano vs Brenda Carabajal, Aug. 6 … (4) Seniesa Estrada vs Anabel Ortiz, Aug. 6 … (2) Claressa Shields vs (8) Savannah Marshall, Sept. 10 … (5) Mikaela Mayer vs (10) Alycia Baumgardner, TBA

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