Canelo Holds, Unified Champs Make Moves: BoxingScene Competition Index Mid-Year Update

Boxing Scene

There are a lot of fighters doing tremendous work up and down the scale.

No other conclusion can really be reached about the elite level of the sport. High quality activity since the last update in May has provided tremendous movement in this top ten. This has been an exceptional year so far for the sport in the ring and there are reasons to think the next six months will keep the drama high.

Watching the results over the last two months, one big question was whether Saul Alvarez would remain in the top slot or slip out of the top ten altogether. 

The way this list is generated, fighters are scored and ranked in three categories with the average of those rankings generating a top ten. The final top ten is then generated by re-sorting the list by overall score. 

Jai Opetaia’s lineal cruiserweight title win shook up the scoring categories just enough to keep Alvarez on top. The gap between Alvarez’s body of work over the last few years and his peers has narrowed considerably though with Alvarez’s decisive loss to Dmitry Bivol. 

A spate of unification clashes this year, and in the last couple months, factored into the new top ten here and we should continue to see movement as the trend of top five faceoffs in multiple weight classes multiplies.    

Here’s a few notes on the update:

  • A pool of 49 fighters was evaluated for this update. They include non-titlists Roman Gonzalez, Gervonta Davis, Vasyl Lomachenko, all of whom can factor prominently in current pound-for-pound debates. The overall pool has shrunk slightly with additional title consolidation in the last two months. 
  • There was a three-way tie between Saul Alvarez, Naoya Inoue, and Oleksandr Usyk at tenth in their average category rankings for total score, unique wins, and last-two contests. It created a set of twelve boxers for spots in the top ten. When the final re-sort was done by total score, Usyk slipped out of the top ten. 
  • Newly crowned undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney was the next man out after the final re-sort. His overall average score ranked eighth.  
  • Activity and results since the May update pushed Lomachenko and Roman Gonzalez out of the top ten. 
  • Naoya Inoue returned to the top ten after his rematch victory over Nonito Donaire. Inoue slipped out of the top ten following consecutive wins over unranked opponents.
  • Jermell Charlo returns and Artur Beterbiev debuts for this update. Both end up in the top five with Charlo narrowly missing the top spot. His score changed dramatically with the first fight against Tony Harrison no longer a scoring factor.
  • 19 of 49 fighters evaluated have three or more wins against fighters ranked in the top ten by TBRB and/or Ring in their last five fights or since July 4, 2019. Welterweight Errol Spence and Flyweight Junto Nakatani have the longest win streaks against that pool at four in a row.  

Here’s how it shakes out as with six months to go in 2022.

1) Saul Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KO) 

Overall Points Rank: 1 (32.94 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 1 (4 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 26 (6.6 pts)

Age: 31

Current Lineal Titles: World Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBA Super Middleweight (2020-Present, 3 Defenses); WBC Super Middleweight (2020-Present, 3 Defenses); WBO Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense); IBF Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Lineal Titles: World Middleweight (2015-21, 4 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2011-13, 6 Defenses); Ring Super Welterweight (2013); WBC Middleweight (2015-17, 2 Defenses; 2018-19, 1 Defense); WBO Super Welterweight (2016-17); IBF middleweight (2019); WBO Light Heavyweight (2019); WBA Middleweight (2018-21, 1 Defense); TBRB/Ring Magazine Middleweight (2015-17, 1 Defense; 2018-21, 1 Defense); Ring Magazine Super Middleweight (2020-Present, 3 Defenses); TBRB Super Middleweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 17-2-1, 10 KO (18-2-1, 11 KO including WBA secondary title fights)

 Last Five: Dmitri Bivol L12 (Ring #2/TBRB #1 – 175[+]), Caleb Plant TKO11 (#2 – 168), Billy Joe Saunders RTD8 (Ring #5/TBRB #6 – 168), Avni Yildirim RTD3 (Unrated), Callum Smith (Ring Champion/TBRB #1 – 168)

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes – Sergey Kovalev KO11 (#2 – 175[++])

Next Opponent: September 17, 2022 vs. Ring Magazine/TBRB #1 – 160 Gennadiy Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KO, WBA/IBF) 

The Take: Alvarez is tied with Spence and Nakatani for the most wins in the last three years against top ten competition (four) across three weight classes. He’s also coming off a defeat for the first time since a loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. Alvarez sliding between weight classes hadn’t been a problem but the skill of Dmitry Bivol certainly was. Alvarez heads back to super middleweight for his next outing. This time it is his opponent coming up the scale as Golovkin will make his super middleweight debut in their trilogy contest. Since the first Golovkin fight, Alvarez has faced only one fighter unranked by TBRB or Ring.

2) Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KO) 

Overall Points Rank: 2 (29.75 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 7 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 6 (13.75 pts)

Age: 32 

Lineal Titles: World Jr. Middleweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses); WBA “super” Super Welterweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses); IBF Jr. Middleweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses); WBO Jr. Middleweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses) 

Additional Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2016-18, 3 Defenses); Ring Magazine Jr. Middleweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses); TBRB Jr. Middleweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 7-1-1, 6 KO

Last Five Opponents: Brian Castano KO10 (#1/#2 – 154), Brian Castano D12 (#3/#2 – 154), Jeison Rosario KO8 (#2/#1 – 154), Tony Harrison KO11 (#6/#3 – 154), Jorge Cota KO3 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Six years after winning his first belt in the division, Jermell Charlo stopped Brian Castano to plant his flag as the defining Jr. middleweight of his era. After a first fight plenty felt Castano had won, Charlo replied in emphatic fashion. Charlo is the first to unify all four major sanctioning body titles in the class and all signs point to Charlo keeping the titles together for at least his next defense. Tim Tszyu may get the first crack, and Sebastian Fundora is looming, but the real question is whether the winner of a Errol Spence-Terence Crawford fight would come for Charlo’s throne.  

3) Errol Spence Jr. (27-0, 22 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 3 (28.31 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 2 (4 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 8 (12.5 pts)

Age: 32

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Welterweight (2017-Present, 6 Defenses); WBC Welterweight (2019-Present, 2 Defenses); WBA Welterweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Previous Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 7-0, 4 KO

Last Five Opponents: Yordenis Ugas TKO10 (#3- 147), Danny Garcia UD12 (#6/#7 – 147), Shawn Porter SD12 (#5/#4 – 147), Mikey Garcia UD12 (#1/#2 – 135[–]; Unrated/Champion -140[-]), Carlos Ocampo KO1 (Unrated) 

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA 

The Take: Spence rebounded from more than a year off and a horrific auto accident to dominate a game Danny Garcia. Then Spence lost another year and change to an eye injury, scuttling a planned showdown with Manny Pacquiao. It did not matter as Spence battered Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas to add a third belt at welterweight and set the table for a showdown with Terence Crawford. 

4) Tyson Fury (32-0-1, 23 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 4 (26 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 20 (2 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 2 (16.5 pts)

Age: 33

Current Lineal Titles: World Heavyweight (2015-Present, 8 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC Heavyweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses)

Additional Titles: IBF Heavyweight (2015); WBA/WBO Heavyweight (2015-16); TBRB Heavyweight (2015-16; 20-Present, 1 Defense), Ring (2015-18; 20-Present, 1 Defense) 

Record in Title Fights: 8-0-1, 5 KO including all lineal title fights; 4-0-1, 3 KO including only sanctioning body title fights

Last Five: Dillian Whyte TKO6 (#4/#3 – Hvy), Deontay Wilder KO11 (#2 – Hvy), Deontay Wilder TKO7 (#2/#1 – Hvy), Otto Wallin UD12 (Unrated), Tom Schwarz (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: The heavyweight king finished his rivalry with Deontay Wilder in one of the wildest heavyweight shoot-outs of all time. The rivalry ends decisively in Fury’s favor and fight fans saw the encore with a one-sided, one-punch knockout of Dillian Whyte. Fury says he’s retired but he hasn’t vacated his WBC belt just yet so there’s no need to take that seriously yet. The best heavyweight fight out there right now is with unified titlist Oleksandr Usyk to crown an undisputed champion. 

5) Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KO)

Overall Points Rank: Tie – 5 (24.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 8 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 5 (14 pts)

Age: 37

Current Lineal Titles: World Light Heavyweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC Heavyweight (2020-Present, 2 Defenses)

Additional Titles: IBF/TBRB Light Heavyweight (2017-Present, 6 Defenses); WBC Light Heavyweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses); WBO Light Heavyweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses) 

Record in Title Fights: 7-0, 7 KO

Last Five: Joe Smith Jr. TKO2 (#3/#2 – 175), Marcus Browne KO9 (#6/#5 – 175), Adam Deines (Unrated), Oleksandr Gvozdyk TKO10 (#1/Champion – 175), Radivoje Kalajdzic KO5 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA 

The Take: Beterbiev turned heads early on with knockouts of former titlists Tavoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo but injuries and inactivity left many wondering about how far he might go. After his knockout of Smith, the question is can anyone stop him? The most fearsome light heavyweight in the world has only the most cerebral, Dmitri Bivol, in the way of joining a growing legion of undisputed champions.  

6) Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KO)

Overall Points Rank: Tie – 5 (24.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 3 (4 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: Tie – 11 (10 pts)

Age: 31

Current Lineal Titles: World Jr. Welterweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Jr. Welterweight (2019-Present, 4 Defenses); WBO Jr. Welterweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Additional Titles: Ring Magazine Jr. Welterweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses); TBRB Jr. Welterweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense); WBA Super Lightweight (2019-22, 3 Defenses); WBC Super Lightweight (2021-22, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 5-0, 1 KO

Last Five: Jack Catterall SD12 (Unrated/#10 – 140), Jose Ramirez UD12 (#1/#2 – 140), Apinun Khongsong KO1 (Unrated), Regis Prograis MD12 (#1 – 140), Ivan Baranchyk UD12 (#6/#7 – 140)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Taylor is here largely by the grace of the official decision. Plenty felt Catterall did enough to beat him. It doesn’t erase other good work for Taylor and signs point to a Catterall rematch now that Taylor has shed the WBC and WBA straps.. The two knockdown performance against Ramirez was the culmination of, in terms of total fights, a rapid ascent. The World Boxing Super Series provided a platform and opponents for Taylor to go from hot rising contender to halfway toward undisputed at Jr. welterweight. 

7) Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KO)

Overall Points Rank: 7 (22.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 21 (2 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 13 (9.5 pts)

Age: 29

Current Lineal Titles: World Bantamweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Bantamweight (2019-Present, 5 Defenses); WBA “super” Bantamweight (2019-Present, 4 Defenses); WBC Bantamweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses) 

Additional Titles: WBC Light Flyweight (2014, 1 Defense); WBO Super Flyweight (2014-18, 7 Defenses); Ring Magazine Bantamweight (2019-Present, 5 Defenses); TBRB Bantamweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 16-0, 14 KO (18-0, 16 KO including WBA secondary title fights)

Last Five: Nonito Donaire TKO2 (#1/#2 – 118), Aran Dipaen TKO8 (Unrated), Michael Dasmarinas KO3 (Unrated), Jason Moloney KO7 (#6/#5 – 118), Nonito Donaire UD12 (#3/#4 – 118)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: While his reign at Jr. bantamweight wasn’t all it could have been, Inoue has been making the most of his prime since moving to bantamweight. Inoue is 8-0 in the division with six wins against fighters ranked in the top ten by TBRB, Ring, or both. The most recent, a second-round atomization of Donaire, was breathtaking. Inoue may be the most eye-popping combination of speed, technique, and power since a young Roy Jones. The WBO belt is the only strap missing from his collection and titlist Paul Butler will make Buster Douglas look like an odds favorite if the fight occurs. The real business is at Jr. Featherweight. Will that business be with Murodjon Akhmadaliev or Stephen Fulton?  

8) Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KO) 

Points Rank: Tie – 8 (20.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: Tie – 9 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 3 (15.5 pts)

Age: 27

Current Alphabet Titles: WBO Jr. Featherweight (2021-Present, 2 Defenses); WBC Super Bantamweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense)

Additional Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 3-0

Last Five Opponents: Daniel Roman (#3 – 122), Brandon Figueroa MD12 (#4/#3 – 122), Angelo Leo UD12 (#6 – 122), Arnold Khegai UD12 (Unrated), Isaac Avelar KO6 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No 

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Fulton joined fellow Jr. Featherweight Murodjon Akhmadaliev as a double-belted titlist after a rousing win over Figueroa. It was Fulton’s fourth consecutive win over an undefeated opponent. Fulton made it three in a row against top ten opposition with a lopsided decision over Daniel Roman. Fulton wants to complete unification of the class and, if he does, a showdown with Inoue might emerge as the best fight in all of boxing. 

9) Juan Francisco Estrada (42-3, 28 KO)

Overall Points Rank: Tie – 8 (20.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: Tie – 9 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 13 (9.5 pts)

Age: 32

Current Lineal Titles: World Jr. Bantamweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC “Franchise” Super Flyweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses); WBA “Super” Super Flyweight (2021-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBA/WBO Flyweight (2013-16, 5 Defenses); TBRB/Ring Jr. Bantamweight (2019-Present, 3 Defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 9-2, 5 KO

Last Five: Roman Gonzalez SD12 (#2 – 115), Carlos Cuadras TKO11 (#10/Unrated – 115), Dewayne Beamon TKO 9 (Unrated), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai UD12 (World Champion – 115), Victor Mendez RTD7 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Inactivity is the biggest matter of note for “El Gallo.” Estrada should be back in 2022, but the pendulum has swung between Joshua Franco and Roman Gonzalez as his next opponent. After seeing Franco’s brother, Jesse “Bam”Rodriguez, steamroll Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, it might be wise for Estrada and Gonzalez to settle their trilogy at the most money they can before the tide of youth washes into them. Franco, Rodriguez, and Felix Martinez all still feel fresh as some of this golden age at Jr. bantamweight succumbs to time. For now, history’s crown remains with Estrada,

10) Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 19 KO)

Overall Points Rank: Tie – 10 (19 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: Tie – 22 (3 unique wins)

Last Two Starts Rank: 1 (18.5 pts)

Age: 24

Current Lineal Titles: World Jr. Lightweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Current Alphabet Titles: WBO Jr. Lightweight (2021-Present, 1 Defense); WBC Super Featherweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBO Featherweight (2019-30)

Record in Title Fights: 3-0, 1 KO (4-0, 1 KO including interim title fights)

Last Five: Oscar Valdez UD12 (Unrated/#2 – 130), Jamel Herring TKO10 (#1/#2 – 130), Jeremia Nakathila UD12 (Unrated), Toka Kahn Clary UD12 (Unrated), Felix Caraballo (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes – Joet Gonzalez UD12 (#10/Unrated – 126)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: The 2016 US Olympic Silver Medalist might have realistically lost only the third round to the tested veteran Valdez in his last outing. Officially it was only the second time in Stevenson’s career where he’s lost more than one round in a fight on more than one card. Stevenson’s biggest tests are likely to come as he matures into the lightweight division but for now he’s the clear leader at 130 lbs.     

Rest of the Top Thirty: Devin Haney (Ranked 15 on Overall Points/11 on Unique Wins/4 on Last Two Starts), Oleksandr Usyk (10/22/11), Vasyl Lomachenko (14/5/19), Jesse Rodriguez (19/25/7), Roman Gonzalez (16/12/16), Dmitri Bivol (20/26/10), Tie – Kazuto Ioka (13/4/30)/Jai Opetaia (24/35/9), Gennadiy Golovkin (24/16/19), Petchmanee CP Freshmart (12/34/17), Hiroto Kyoguchi (18/13/32), Ilunga Makabu (27/29/22), Jermall Charlo (30/36/17), Gervonta Davis (23/15/32), Terence Crawford (29/31/22), Tie – Sunny Edwards (21/14/35)/Josh Warrington (46/33/13), Lawrence Okolie (22/27/30), Tie – Junto Nakatani (34/6/36)/Roger Gutierrez (28/30/27)/Jonathan Gonzalez (35/39/19)   

Previous Competition Index Updates

July 2020

November 2020 

January 2021 

March 2021

July 2021

January 2022

May 2022

Here’s how it works.

  • Using the most recent ratings available in a print issue of Ring or the most recent archived Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ratings prior to a fight:
  • Every primary WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titlist, some select recent former titlists, and fighters who appeared in either the Ring or TBRB pound for pound top ten in the last year or so were evaluated based on the official results against their last five opponents and/or last three years of activity and what those opponents were rated heading into the fight.
  • Wins over rated opponents started at 11 points for a recognized TBRB or Ring champion down to one point for defeating a number ten contender. Draws got half credit. No points were given for a No Contest or No Decision but the result will be noted.
  • Fighters who have produced a higher activity level were given a kicker score for any wins over rated opposition in the last three years no later than July 4, 2022. Everyone evaluated was scored for their last five opponents even if that was past the three year mark.
  • Losses to rated opponents were given an inverse score, beginning with -1 for a champion down to -11.
  • Losses to unrated opponents received a universal score of -12.
  • Wins over unrated opponents were worth nothing.
  • If there is a difference between a fighter’s Ring and TBRB rankings, the average of the two numbers was used (i.e. a win over a fighter rated second by one body and fifth by the other would be worth 7.5 pts).
  • If a fighter was rated by only Ring or TBRB, half credit was given for a win based on the single rating. A loss total would come from an average of -12 and the point loss that would apply to the rating that was in place. 
  • Moves between weight classes were adjusted for by taking into consideration the body weight shift between weight classes. In other words, if a rated Jr. welterweight jumped up to beat a rated welterweight, the math would work like this: 147/140 multiplied by the divisional rating score. It works in reverse for a win over a fighter rated lower (i.e. 160/168 multiplied by the smaller man’s rating in his class). In an over the weight class fight, the divisions the men were rated in were used.
  • Fighters from a higher class are noted with a [+], from a lower [-], after the weight limit of their respective weight class. 
  • The totals generated result in a rating. 
  • Each fighter evaluated is given a score for how many unique wins they have against rated opponents; beating the same opponent twice counts for only one unique win. They are then rated based on unique wins with tiebreakers decided by whoever holds higher total points. The rating for total points and unique wins is averaged.
  • That average score is then averaged against a rating for the score generated for each man’s last two wins. The top ten remaining after that is then reordered again by total overall score. The remainder of the list is not resorted.   
  • All divisions were treated equally based on the idea fighters can only face the men in their division while they are there and all point totals were applied based on official results.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com  

Articles You May Like

Santa Cruz and Wood come to terms, target early Nov.
‘AJ’ Needs Triumph in Usyk Rematch to Avoid Dubious List
Oleksandr Usyk: Guys on The Frontline Are Praying For My Victory, That Motivates Me
Ring Magazine title on the line for Usyk vs Joshua 2, Fury vacates
Wilder Picks Usyk To Beat Joshua, Ortiz To Best Ruiz In ‘Devastating Fashion’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.