Rankings (July 4): Opetaia crashes cruiserweight division, more


Rankings go up on Mondays.

Ranked fights this week:

  • Junior Middleweight: (7) Israil Madrimov vs (8) Michel Soro, July 9
  • Junior Middleweight: (9) Magomed Kurbanov vs Patrick Teixeira, July 9
  • Featherweight: (2) Mark Magsayo vs (7) Rey Vargas, July 9
  • Flyweight: (9) Giemel Magramo vs Jerry Tomogdan, July 8
  • Minimumweight: (5) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs Naoya Haruguchi, July 6

Notes: Joe Joyce returned and won easily on the weekend, though he had the usual Joe Joyce performance that leads me to believe that he goes exactly as far as his cement head and his stamina/output will take him.

I love the way Joyce fights, to be clear; I really enjoy watching him and I think that cement head and stamina/output are two really damn good things to have. But Christian Hammer cracked him with some clean shots. What happens if that’s Wilder or Joshua? What happens if it’s Luis Ortiz or Dillian Whyte or even a Martin Bakole? Hammer can punch a lot, he’s not feather-fisted, but I think those guys are all bigger punchers and more stylistically challenging, perhaps.

That said, Joyce is a really intriguing guy, and his presence is very welcome. I wish he’d gotten to fight Joseph Parker, who might have been able to win some rounds, but my feeling is Joyce eventually wears him out. And I think that could happen to a lot of guys. The only heavyweight I see as clearly “too much” for Joyce is Tyson Fury, who also has a great gas tank, is taller and longer, and knows how to use his advantages. Wilder or AJ could crack him early, but what if they don’t? Usyk or even an on-point Ruiz could give him fits with their speed and boxing skills, but what if he gets on top of them with that “throw and hit something, anything” offense, where he’s imposing his will even without landing super clean?

The plan is for Joe to return on Sept. 24. At the moment, I wouldn’t expect much; promoter Frank Warren is hoping for Joyce to get a mandatory order for the Usyk vs Joshua 2 winner, so it’ll be more about keeping Joe from accumulating rust, most likely. Maybe someone like Carlos Takam or Jonathan Guidry get a call, maybe someone slightly but not terribly more compelling. We’ll see.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs (4) Anthony Joshua, Aug. 20 … (5) Andy Ruiz Jr vs (9) Luis Ortiz, Sept. 4 … (6) Joe Joyce vs TBA, Sept. 24

Notes: We weren’t going to do a rankings update this week originally, instead waiting to combine two weeks for a July 11 update, but Jai Opetaia’s upset of Mairis Briedis made it kind of a necessity. I’ve got a new No. 1 at the weight; generally I might not throw a guy in at No. 1 from outside the top 10 like that, but I think Opetaia fully earned it, combined with nobody else — Okolie, basically, others aren’t really in the discussion — having done enough more than Opetaia now to secure the spot for themselves.

I’ll get way deeper into Briedis and whatnot on the Tuesday podcast, but while this was a huge upset to boxing fans, it seems, the odds really weren’t that wide. Briedis was a -210 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Opetaia at +165. There was plenty of suspicion out there that this was a possible outcome. The Rodriguez vs Rungvisai fight that had many excited a week before had far wider odds. Turns out the oddsmakers had both fights more in line with reality than a lot of fans did. That doesn’t always happen and I’m not trying to make a smug point or anything, but just pointing it out in this case.

Opetaia vs Okolie would be a great fight to make, but I don’t know that we see it.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

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

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

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Notes: Kosei Tanaka won last week in Japan, stopping Masayoshi Hashizume in five. Tanaka might well beat, like, half the guys on this list, but this is a crazy strong division still. There aren’t many back halves of top 10s in the sport right now with five fighters as good as the back half here, and perhaps none that boast a top four as strong as this one.

Upcoming Fights: (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

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

Notes: No changes. I know someone won a fight in impressive fashion this week but everyone can’t be in the top 10.

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

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, Sept. 10

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