Gervonta Davis makes his Ring pound-for-pound rankings debut. Photo by Esther Lin / Showtime
What a month April has been. In a span of just three weeks, fans were treated to a fight-of-the-year candidate (Cordina vs. Rakhimov), three major upsets (Zhang over Joyce, Tapales over Akmadaliev, and Mendoza over Fundora), the most successful pay-per-view event since the first two Canelo-Golovkin bouts (Davis vs. Garcia), and a shining performance of a future pound-for-pound star (Shakur Stevenson’s lightweight debut).
But while Stevenson, who invaded his third weight class with a sixth-round stoppage of Suichiro Yoshino, inches closer to cracking The Ring’s mythical rankings, the Ratings Panel debated Gervonta Davis’ immediate pound-for-pound inclusion. Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) – who has been Ring-ranked at junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight – scored the most significant victory of his 10-year pro career by halting fellow star Ryan Garcia with a body shot in Round 7 of their April 22 showdown.
The victory didn’t move Davis up the lightweight rankings, where he currently holds the No. 2 spot (behind champion Devin Haney and former champ Vasiliy Lomanchenko), but Tris Dixon brought up the 28-year-old Baltimore native’s merits as an elite-level boxer.
“No one has mentioned Tank as P4P,” said Dixon. “Fighters have come in for less. Do you guys think he’s in that 10-15 range?
Abraham Gonzalez was the first to respond.
“P4P is always a topic of discussion fresh off of these performances,” said Gonzalez. “Although for some it’s a ‘being in the moment’ type of thing, this situation is different. I believe that Tank has earned his way to that No. 10 spot for now. He could move up later in the year depending on the outcomes of potential fights. He had a special performance on Saturday night. Tank is a high level fighter but fought at an even higher level against Ryan Garcia. He now has the glow (excuse my ‘80s cinema reference lol) and should be on the P4P list.”
Adam Abramowitz agreed with Gonzalez.
“I would bring Tank in at No. 10,” said Abramowitz.
Tom Gray recognized Davis’ talent and potential but didn’t think the names on his record are on par with the opponents faced by the current P4P top 10.
“I would leave Tank out of the P4P debate for now,” said Gray. “He’s brilliant, and it’s a matter of time, but the guys in there beat him out for overall resume.”
Anson Wainwright agreed with Gray.
“I also wouldn’t bring Tank into the pound-for-pound ratings,” said Wainwright. “It hadn’t even occurred to me until Tris brought the topic up. Like Tom said, those on the list have a stronger resume than he does.”
Daisuke Sugiura disagreed.
“At this point, I’d support Tank to be ranked in the P4P,” Sugiura said. “He clearly passes the eye test, doesn’t have any controversial wins (like Nos. 9 and 10 Jermell Charlo and Juan Francisco Estrada) and his resume is just getting better although it’s still easy to be questioned. It’s a difficult call, I might change my opinion tomorrow, but I’d say yes today for him to be No. 10 or even No. 9.”
Your favorite Editor-In-Chief gave his two cents:
“I’m glad we’re talking about Tank’s possible P4P inclusion. If we had forgotten to bring it up, Boxing Twitter would be ‘outraged’ LOL. So, thank you, Tris.
“Personally, I think Davis is worthy of the No. 9 or 10 spot, but I think the same thing about Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney and Stephen Fulton. These young guns need more activity and more significant fights to separate themselves from each other. Fortunately, Haney’s up next against No. 6-rated Lomachenko, and then Fulton gets his shot at glory vs. No. 2-rated Inoue. Tank’s TRUE path into our pound-for-pound rankings should be to face the Haney-Lomachenko winner.”
“Appreciate I started this…. I don’t vote to include him yet but did figure it’s worthy of discussion, as proved.”
Diego Morilla said he would be in favor of Davis entering the pound-for-pound rankings but only under a specific condition.
“I do have a problem with our P4P ratings,” said Morilla. “It seems like no matter how hard it is to get in (the P4P rankings) it’s even harder to leave. I don’t see Lomachenko as No. 8 and Charlo at No. 9 at all, at least not right now. And moving one of them out to move Davis in is even worse. Dropping (No. 10-ranked Juan Francisco) Estrada over Davis is something you’ll have to do over my dead body. A conundrum, I guess.
“I do believe that Davis has the stuff to make us proud as our new No. 10, but only if we move one of those two out. I’d say Charlo is due for an activity-based demotion, or lack thereof. If we could oust him, I’d bring Davis in at No. 10 and then let the winner of Haney-Loma fight it out with him.
“Bottom line: Davis in at No. 10 only if anyone but Estrada comes out. Otherwise, let’s wait for his next big fight and see.”
Wainwright, Gonzalez and Abramowitz were not in favor of dropping Charlo.
“Let’s give Charlo a little longer,” said Wainwright. “If he’s not announcing the (Tim) Tszyu fight soon, Tszyu has suggested he may take another fight. How about we reassess after Haney-Loma?”
Senior Editor Brian Harty echoed Morilla’s thoughts, but mentioned No. 8-rated Josh Taylor as the fighter to remove to allow Davis in.
“What Diego said sort of mirrors my thoughts: ‘It seems like no matter how hard it is to get in it’s even harder to leave.’
“I am in favor of Tank entering, but honestly I think Josh Taylor is in a weak-ish position and should also be considered.”
“I’m good with Tank replacing Estrada at No. 10 and all that would mean is Estrada holds the number No. 11 position at least for a little bit until some of the guys on the list have some fights.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE (as of April 22):
POUND FOR POUND – Gervonta Davis enters at No. 10.
HEAVYWEIGHT – Zhilei Zhang enters at No. 4 after scoring a sixth-round TKO of huge odds favorite Joe Joyce, who drops to No. 7. Jared Anderson enters at No. 10.
“Frank Sanchez stopped Daniel Martz in one round in a fight that amounts to nothing more than a stay busy one,” said Wainwright. “Jared Anderson impressively stopped George Arias in three rounds. Sanchez seems to be going nowhere quickly and Anderson is moving fast. Two guys moving in opposite directions. I’d go with Anderson to enter in Sanchez’s place at No. 10.”
Offered the Editor-In-Chief: “Anderson looks like the heavyweight truth at 14-0, but that was only his second scheduled 10 rounder. Sanchez is indeed ‘treading water’ like so many contenders, unfortunately, but he’s been at the 10-round level since 2019, and he’s got that 2021 decision over Efa Ajagba.”
Abramowitz was in favor of leaving Sanchez at No. 10, but the majority of the panel was in favor of Anderson cracking the rankings.
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT – David Morrell moves to No. 4 after smashing unrated veteran Yamaguchi Falcao in one round.
MIDDLEWEIGHT – Meiirum Nursultanov advances to No. 8 after stopping unrated Kazuto Takesako in eight rounds.
JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT – Brian Mendoza enters at No. 6 after a shocking seventh-round KO of Sebastian Fundora, who drops to No. 7.
Commented your Editor-In-Chief: “I can see Mendoza entering a little higher than No. 6 at junior middleweight given his three-bout KO streak and that he just starched our No. 3 contender, but I guess the loss to Jesus Ramos (No. 8) holds him back?”
LIGHTWEIGHT – Davis remains at No. 2 after his seventh-round body shot KO of Ryan Garcia, who drops to No. 4. Stevenson enters at No. 5 off of his sixth-round stoppage of Yoshino, who exits the rankings. Keyshawn Davis enters at No. 10 following his ninth-round stoppage of veteran Anthony Yigit.
“Davis had too much for Garcia and stopped him with a body shot,” said Wainwright. “Davis to stay at No. 2 but could move to No. 1 in the fallout from Haney-Lomachenko next month. Garcia to drop to No. 5.”
Added Dixon: “I wouldn’t drop Garcia. Sounds like he will be moving up, anyway, but I’d leave them just where they are and wouldn’t punish them for breaking the ice with the superfights at 135 we have wanted for so long.”
Added Adam: “I would move Ryan Garcia down one spot. After all, Issac Cruz was far more competitive against Davis than Garcia was.”
Added Gray: “Ryan showed balls by going after Tank like he did, but MY GOD, that was wreckless. You can’t go after any elite fighter like that, especially one who’s renowned for being a concussive counter puncher. He was lucky to see Round 3. I thought Tank was a level above and Garcia fell short. That being the case, I think he needs to drop one spot.”
JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT – Joe Cordina moves to No. 3 following his epic split-decision victory over previously unbeaten Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, who drops to No. 5.
“Rakhimov-Cordina was a real dog fight,” said Wainwright. “Privileged to have been ringside. Rakhimov showed a huge heart to recover from an early knockdown to come back and hurt the Welshman. Ultimately Cordina won a 12-split decision to regain his IBF title. I felt Cordina won by a few rounds. The scorecard for Rakhimov was very wide. The division looks wide open and for the taking with Shakur Stevenson now at 135 pounds. I think this fight showed we pretty much had both guys correctly ranked. I would switch Cordina and Rakhimov around.”
Added Dixon: “I like your analysis and happy you got to be ringside for that banger. That one scorecard was very bad, in my opinion.”
Added Abramowitz: “130 is interesting. I think with the Ogawa and Rakhimov wins, that no one has two better wins in the division. I would move Cordina to number one. I’d keep Rakhimov where he is.”
Added your Editor-In-Chief: “I think Joe Cordina is worthy of a top three spot at junior lightweight. He might be the best boxer/ring general in the division, which is saying something.
Added Dixon: “Regarding Cordina, I’m high on his last two fights like Dougie. I’d back a more significant rise.”
Added Corey Erdman: “Regarding Cordina, it’s a tricky situation because (Oscar) Valdez and Hector Luis Garcia are Nos. 1 and 2 but both coming off losses, and then (No. 3) O’Shaquie (Foster) is coming off a really good looking win. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with Cordina leapfrogging O’Shaquie? The safe play seems to be just moving Cordina to No. 4, but I wouldn’t be outraged if we moved him higher and did some reshuffling.”
Added Gray: “I like Cordina up to No. 3. He’s legitimately dethroned two highly respected fighters in succession, and this fight should really have been his first defense. For me, usurpring Ogawa and Shavkat back to back is superior to Foster outpointing Rey Vargas.”
FEATHERWEIGHT – Reiya Abe enters at No. 10 after scoring a lopsided unanimous decision over veteran Kiko Martinez, who exits the rankings.
JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHT – Marlon Tapales enters at No. 2 after scoring a split-decision over two-belt titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who drops to No. 3. Takuma Inoue, who dropped back down to bantamweight, exits the rankings. Sam Goodman (14-0, 7 KOs), who scored a 10-round decision over former beltholder TJ Doheny in March, enters at No. 10.
BANTAMWEIGHT – Takuma Inoue enters at No. 8 after scoring a unanimous decision over Liborio Solis, who exits the rankings.
JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHT – Jesse Rodriguez, who dropped down to flyweight, exits the rankings. David Cuellar (23-0, 16 KOs) enters at No. 10.
FLYWEIGHT – Jesse Rodriguez enters at No. 4 following a unanimous decision over Cristian Gonzalez.
“I know Bam Rodriguez didn’t look great over the second half of his title win over unrated Cristian Gonzalez (but he showed uncommon grit in winning with a broken jaw),” said your Editor-In-Chief. “I could see him entering the flyweight rankings higher than No. 4, in part because I thought both (No. 2 Julio Cesar) Martinez and (No. 3 Artem) Dalakian looked poor during their most recent title defenses.”
JUNIOR FLYWEIGHT – Kenshiro Teraji remains champion following a ninth-round stoppage of inexperienced-but-game late substitute Anthony Olascuaga.
STRAWWEIGHT – Ginjiro Shigeoka advances to No. 5 after an up-from-the-canvas ninth-round stoppage of Rene Mark Cuarto, who drops to No. 8. Yudai Shigeoka re-entered the rankings at No. 6 following a seventh-round KO of Wilfredo Mendez, who drops to No. 9.
“I prefer to take out (Masataka) Taniguchi and leave (Oscar) Collazo in, a nod to the future, especially as we don’t know if Taniguchi will fight at 105 again,” said Wainwright.
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