Sports

Boxing pound-for-pound rankings: Josh Taylor drops after controversial victory

Josh Taylor made a big statement in May, when he defeated Jose Ramirez to win all four major junior welterweight belts. Taylor had another opportunity to show the world that his victory wasn’t just a one-off this past weekend, when he faced mandatory challenger Jack Catterall. But while Taylor won a split decision, many boxing experts thought Catterall deserved the nod. Even the British Boxing Board of Control announced days after the bout it would investigate the scoring.

Some of our panelists also believed Taylor lost the fight, prompting them to drop him down the rankings. Some took Taylor completely out of their lists.

ESPN senior boxing writer Mike Coppinger dropped Taylor from his P4P rankings altogether, saying it’s hard to keep him even after the victory.

“Taylor is undoubtedly a pound-for-pound talent, but it’s tough to justify a top-10 ranking after such a lackluster performance against an untested challenger,” Coppinger said. “Catterall might prove to be an elite boxer with time, and the decision wasn’t the robbery some suggest. Perhaps Taylor was weight-drained and will return to form fighting one division above at 147 pounds. He’ll have ample opportunity to reestablish himself as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world at welterweight.”

ESPN writer Michael Rothstein agrees, noting he thought Taylor lost the fight.

“Taylor may still be an undisputed champion, but after seeing him fight against Catterall, his pound-for-pound ranking took a major hit,” Rothstein said. “Now that he’s talking about going up a weight class too, he needs to show some dominance at 147 before I would consider ranking him again.

“Taylor is a good fighter, but there are many good fighters in boxing.”

Did that mediocre performance cost Taylor his spot in the top 10? Our panel of Mike Coppinger, Andre Ward, Tim Bradley, Joe Tessitore, Michael Rothstein, Eric Raskin, Teddy Atlas, Nick Parkinson, Ben Baby, Eric Woodyard, Claudia Trejos, Michelle Joy Phelps, Kel Dansby, Bernardo Pilatti, Charles Moynihan and Salvador Rodriguez share their votes.

More rankings: Divisional rankings and ESPN’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results are through March 2.


1. CANELO ALVAREZ     Previous ranking: No. 1

RECORD: 56-1-2, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Super middleweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO11) Caleb Plant, Nov. 6
NEXT FIGHT: May 7 vs. Dmitry Bivol


2. TERENCE CRAWFORD     Previous ranking: No. 2

RECORD: 38-0, 29 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO10) Shawn Porter, Nov. 20
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


3. NAOYA INOUE     Previous ranking: No. 3

RECORD: 21-0, 18 KOs
DIVISION: Bantamweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO8) Aran Dipaen, Dec. 14
NEXT FIGHT: TBD


4. OLEKSANDR USYK     Previous ranking: No. 4

RECORD: 19-0, 13 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Anthony Joshua, Sept. 25
NEXT FIGHT: TBA vs. Anthony Joshua


5. TYSON FURY     Previous ranking: No. 5

RECORD: 31-0-1, 22 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO11) Deontay Wilder, Oct. 9
NEXT FIGHT: April 23 vs. Dillian Whyte


6. ERROL SPENCE JR.     Previous ranking: No. 6

RECORD: 27-0, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Danny Garcia, Dec. 5, 2020
NEXT FIGHT: April 16 vs. Yordenis Ugas


7. VASILIY LOMACHENKO     Previous ranking: No. 8

RECORD: 16-2, 11 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Richard Commey, Dec. 11
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


8. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA     Previous ranking: No. 9

RECORD: 42-3, 28 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, March 13
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


9. JOSH TAYLOR     Previous ranking: No. 7

RECORD: 19-0, 13 KOs
DIVISION: Junior welterweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Jack Catterall, Feb. 26
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


10. GERVONTA DAVIS     Previous ranking: 10

RECORD: 26-0, 24 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Isaac Cruz, Dec. 5
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


The formula

The rankings are based on a descending points system, with a first-place vote receiving 10 points, a second-place vote receiving nine points and so on. A tie goes to the fighter with the highest ranking and then the one with the most votes at that ranking.


Others receiving votes: George Kambosos Jr. (16), Artur Beterbiev (9), Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (5), Gennadiy Golovkin (3), Teofimo Lopez (2), Stephen Fulton (2), Shakur Stevenson (1), Jermell Charlo (1), Stephen Fulton (1), Nonito Donaire (1).


How our writers voted

Atlas: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Usyk, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Spence, 7. Fury, 8. Davis, 9. Estrada, 10. Beterbiev

Bradley: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Usyk, 4. Inoue, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Kambosos, 7. Fury, 8. Spence, 9. Davis, 10. Donaire

Ward: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Fury, 4. Usyk, 5. Spence, 6. Inoue, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Estrada, 9. Taylor, 10. Davis

Coppinger: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Gonzalez, 9. Estrada, 10. Estrada

Tessitore: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Usyk, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Fury, 7. Spence, 8. Estrada, 9. Taylor, 10. Stevenson

Parkinson: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Usyk, 6. Kambosos, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Spence, 9. Taylor, 10. Estrada

Baby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Usyk, 4. Inoue, 5. Fury, 6. Spence, 7. Estrada, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Fulton, 10. Davis

Rothstein: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Davis, 9. Estrada, 10. Kambosos

Woodyard: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Fury, 4. Inoue, 5. Spence, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Taylor, 9. Davis, 10. Kambosos

Raskin: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Fury, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Estrada, 9. Gonzalez, 10. Beterbiev

Trejos: 1. Alvarez, 2. Usyk, 3. Fury, 4. Crawford, 5. Inoue, 6. Taylor, 7. Beterbiev, 8. Spence, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Estrada

Phelps: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Taylor, 7. Fury, 8. Kambosos, 9. Lopez, 10. Charlo

Dansby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Usyk, 3. Crawford, 4. Inoue, 5. Fury, 6. Spence, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Davis, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Taylor

Moynihan: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Fury, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Golovkin, 9. Estrada, 10. Kambosos

Pilatti: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Spence, 4. Alvarez, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Fury, 7. Estrada, 8. Usyk, 9. Davis, 10. Taylor

Rodriguez: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Fury, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Spence, 8. Taylor, 9. Estrada, 10. Davis


ESPN experts’ poll

First place: Alvarez (11), Crawford (5)

Second place: Crawford (9), Alvarez (4), Usyk (2), Inoue (1)

Third place: Inoue (6), Fury (4), Spence (3), Usyk (2), Crawford (1)

Fourth place: Inoue (7), Usyk (3), Fury (3), Alvarez (1), Crawford (1), Spence (1)

Fifth place: Usyk (6), Lomachenko (4), Fury (3), Spence (2), Inoue (1)

Sixth place: Spence (5), Fury (3), Usyk (2), Taylor (2), Kambosos (2), Inoue (1), Lomachenko (1)

Seventh place: Lomachenko (8), Fury (3), Spence (2), Estrada (2), Beterbiev (1)

Eighth place: Spence (3), Estrada (3), Davis (3), Taylor (2), Usyk (1), Lomachenko (1), Kambosos (1), Golovkin (1), Gonzalez (1),

Ninth place: Estrada (5), Taylor (3), Davis (3), Lomachenko (1), Fulton (1), Beterbiev (1), Lopez (1), Gonzalez (1)

10th place: Davis (3), Kambosos (3), Beterbiev (3), Estrada (2), Taylor (2), Jermelll Charlo (1), Stevenson (1), Donaire (1)

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