Rankings (April 18): Spence, Benn, and a welterweight shake-up

Errol Spence Jr keeps his top spot, but 147 has some movement | Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

We’ve got some rearranging at welterweight, where Errol Spence Jr still sits at No. 1.

Rankings go up on Mondays.

We will have an upset next Monday if Tyson Fury loses to Dillian Whyte; if not, we’ll update two weeks from now. If Fury just wins, which is what most expect, it’s just a fair bit of effort for no real update since this week is dead other than the Fury fight.

Ranked fights the next two weeks:

Heavyweight: (1) Tyson Fury vs (6) Dillian Whyte, Apr. 23

Junior Middleweight: (5) Liam Smith vs Jessie Vargas, Apr. 30

Junior Lightweight: (1) Oscar Valdez vs (2) Shakur Stevenson, Apr. 30

Bantamweight: (3) John Riel Casimero vs Paul Butler, Apr. 22

Minimumweight: (4) Masataka Taniguchi vs Kai Ishizawa, Apr. 22

Women’s P4P: (1) Katie Taylor vs (3) Amanda Serrano, Apr. 30

Upcoming Fights: (1) Tyson Fury vs (6) Dillian Whyte, Apr. 23 … (10) Tony Yoka vs Martin Bakole, May 14 … (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs (4) Anthony Joshua, TBA … (5) Andy Ruiz Jr vs Luis Ortiz, TBA

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

Upcoming Fights: (2) Dmitry Bivol vs Canelo Alvarez, May 7 … (8) Joshua Buatsi vs Craig Richards, May 21 … (1) Artur Beterbiev vs (3) Joe Smith Jr, June 18

Upcoming Fights: (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Dmitry Bivol [light heavyweight], May 7 … (2) David Benavidez vs David Lemieux, May 21 … (9) Zach Parker vs Demetrius Andrade, May 21

Upcoming Fights: (3) Demetrius Andrade vs Zach Parker [super middleweight], May 21 … (7) Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Danny Dignum, May 21 … (2) Jermall Charlo vs Maciej Sulecki, June 18

Upcoming Fights: (5) Liam Smith vs Jessie Vargas, Apr. 30 … (1) Jermell Charlo vs (1) Brian Castano, May 14

Notes: Errol Spence re-solidifies his spot at No. 1, though of course just like before you could have Terence Crawford No. 1. We might actually get to find out this year; PBC fighters are generally very good about not calling for fights they know aren’t going to happen for political reasons, but with Spence specifically saying he wants Crawford next and Crawford being ready to say he wants it next, too, it looks far better than ever that we’ll get that fight.

Spence demolished Yordenis Ugas, who is a good fighter. Even before the battered eye took Ugas fully out of the fight, Spence just looked better than him, full-stop. Not that Ugas didn’t have any success or whatever, and there’s a reason I still have Ugas at No. 3 for the time being. Nobody behind Ugas has done enough recently enough to prove they should be ahead of him. He took a big fight against a top guy and lost. Spence would be just as big a favorite against anyone under Ugas as he was against Ugas, and odds are he’d win there, too. Taking a big fight, a good or great fight, and losing should not be punished to the benefit of people who aren’t testing the waters on that level. That’s my opinion.

We do have some shake-up in the last four spots. Conor Benn is up to No. 7 after smashing Chris van Heerden; Eimantas Stanionis is in at No. 8 after beating the previous No. 8, Radzhab Butaev; Cody Crowley is up to No. 9 after a win over Josesito Lopez, who was game and, while he looked old, hadn’t been made to look that old by other opponents in his recent fights; and David Avanesyan falls to No. 10 because he is currently operating in an un-serious fashion.

I like Avanesyan, like watching him fight, but it is what it is. He’s not fighting at even the level Benn or Crowley are, and his big run since 2019 has been two wins over Kerman Lejarraga, then wins over Jose del Rio, Josh Kelly, Liam Taylor, and Oskari Metz. The Metz fight was pathetic for where Avanesyan should be, and signing with Queensberry, who have nobody in-house for him, was a red flag about what Avanesyan is really hoping to achieve. Avanesyan is 33 and has been in with better names in his career, and let’s not act like he did better than he did. He lost to Lamont Peterson in 2017, though it was competitive. He lost to Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018, and it wasn’t.

You may disagree, but how I see it right now, the decisions Avanesyan has made since last fall have him on a path to getting lapped out of the top 10 instead of going any further than he has.

Upcoming Fights: (5) Jaron Ennis vs Custio Clayton, May 21

Upcoming Fights: (10) Montana Love vs Gabriel Valenzuela, May 7

Notes: Isaac Cruz’s win over Yuriorkis Gamboa made me think a couple things while it was going on:

This is embarrassing, and major promoters have to stop feeding the 40-year-old Gamboa to legitimate contenders and titleholders. He had no business in the ring with Cruz.
Devin Haney is so boring he wouldn’t even take a risk to do much of anything against Gamboa, who can’t hold up to pressure at all anymore.

As for Cruz, I’d legitimately like to see him get a crack against Ryan Garcia this summer. Garcia is calling for it again. It still doesn’t seem likely, but it’d be more interesting than anything Garcia probably will wind up getting if he wants to fight in July or so.

Upcoming Fights: (5) Gervonta Davis vs Rolando Romero, May 28 … (1) George Kambosos Jr vs (4) Devin Haney, June 4

Upcoming Fights: (1) Oscar Valdez vs (2) Shakur Stevenson, Apr. 30 … (3) Jamel Herring vs TBA, May 21

Notes: Ruben Villa got back in the ring on Friday. I had him ranked before he went inactive, and I think he still belongs in the top 10. He gave Emanuel Navarrete a tougher fight than anyone else has since Navarrete broke through and he’s a legit contender.

Upcoming Fights: (2) Mark Magsayo vs (7) Rey Vargas, July 9

Upcoming Fights: (2) Stephen Fulton Jr vs (4) Danny Roman, June 4 … (1) Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs (8) Ronny Rios, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (3) John Riel Casimero vs Paul Butler, Apr. 22 … (1) Naoya Inoue vs (2) Nonito Donaire, June 7

Upcoming Fights: (10) Kosei Tanaka vs Masayoshi Hashizume, June 29 … (2) Kazuto Ioka vs Donnie Nietes, TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (4) Masataka Taniguchi vs Kai Ishizawa, Apr. 22

Upcoming Fights: (8) Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte, Apr. 23 … (1) Canelo Alvarez vs Dmitry Bivol, May 7 … (10) George Kambosos Jr vs Devin Haney, June 4 … (2) Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, TBA … (9) Kazuto Ioka vs Donnie Nietes, TBA

Notes: Alycia Baumgardner may not shine the way she did against Terri Harper every time out, but she fought and won against a 41-year-old Soledad Matthysse on Saturday and keeps her spot.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Katie Taylor vs (3) Amanda Serrano, Apr. 30 … (9) Chantelle Cameron vs Victoria Bustos, May 21 … (2) Claressa Shields vs (8) Savannah Marshall, TBA

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