ESPN.com’s division-by-division rankings — middleweight

Boxing


Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below. If there is a lineal champion in a weight class, he is ranked No. 1.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results through Nov. 13. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com’s division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.

More Divisional Rankings


HeavyweightCruiserweightLight heavyweightSuper middleweight


MiddleweightJunior middleweightWelterweightJunior welterweight


LightweightJunior lightweightFeatherweightJunior featherweight


BantamweightJunior bantamweightFlyweightJunior flyweight/Strawweight


MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (UP TO 160 POUNDS)

1. Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1)

After nearly two years of waiting for the huge fight he had wanted for so long, unified world champion Golovkin finally got the opportunity to face Canelo Alvarez in the most significant fight of 2017. They finally met in a mega HBO PPV event on Sept. 16 and delivered the great fight we all hoped for. Most thought Golovkin did enough to clearly win a close fight, but it turned out to be a split draw with one judge, Adalaide Byrd, rendering a horrific scorecard that read 118-110 for Alvarez, which did not reflect even close to the reality of the fight. Nonetheless, GGG retained his title for the 19th time and moved within one defense of tying Bernard Hopkins’ all-time division record. A rematch with Alvarez is very likely to be made for May 5, and it will be anther good fight. Hopefully, there will be a knockout or better judging next time.
Next: TBA

2. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2)
Alvarez, the face of boxing in the post-Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao era, made unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin wait for nearly two years to face him but when they finally met on Sept. 16 in a massive event fans had looked forward to, and delivered the classic fight we all expected. Alvarez, in his first fight at 160 pounds though he had won the middleweight title at a catch weight of 155 pounds, fought well but most thought he lost a close decision. However, the fight was ruled a split draw, paving the way for a likely rematch next year. It will be another massive fight.
Next: TBA

3. Daniel Jacobs (33-2)
Jacobs defended his secondary title four times before squaring off with unified world champion Gennady Golovkin in a much-anticipated mandatory fight on March 18. Jacobs was a huge underdog, but did himself proud. Although he lost a decision in a very good fight, it was very close and he ended Golovkin’s 23-fight knockout streak to prove he belongs among the elite fighters in the world. If ever a fighter can win by losing, Jacobs did just that. He then signed with promoter Matchroom Boxing and HBO and had his first bout of those deals on Nov. 11, a one-sided decision against Luis Arias. Jacobs is expected back in April.
Next: TBA

4. David Lemieux (38-3)
Lemieux, a big slugger from Montreal, met fellow big hitter Golovkin on HBO PPV in October 2015 in a title unification fight, and got thrashed en route to a one-sided eighth-round knockout loss. Lemieux has won four consecutive fights since, including an absolutely crushing third-round KO of Curtis Stevens on March 11 on HBO and a one-sided decision against Marcos Reyes on May 6, in a fight contracted at 163 pounds on the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard. Talk of a Dec. 2 fight with Miguel Cotto was just that. Cotto didn’t want to fight at 160 pounds and Lemieux can’t possibly get any lower than that. Instead, Lemieux will get his mandatory title shot against Billy Joe Saunders (25-0), who will travel to Lemieux’s home turf in Quebec for the fight on HBO.
Next: Dec. 16 vs. Saunders.

5. Billy Joe Saunders (25-0)
England’s Saunders made his first title defense in December against obscure hand-picked Russian opponent Artur Akavov and although Saunders won a debatable decision, he looked awful. His next fight was scheduled to be a mandatory defense next against dangerous interim titlist Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2) on July 8 in London, but the fight was called off when Khurtsidze was arrested and indicted for being part of a Russian crime syndicate. Given clearance for an optional fight, Saunders made defense No. 2 against Willie Monroe Jr., who previously had been drilled by Gennady Golovkin in a world title fight, on Sept. 16. Saunders won a unanimous decision in one of his typically dreadful fights. Hopefully, his mandatory defense against big puncher and former titlist David Lemieux (38-3) will be more exciting.
Next: Dec. 16 vs. Lemieux.

6. Sergiy Derevyanchenko (11-0)
Born in Ukraine and based in New York, Derevyanchenko was a sensational amateur who has moved quickly in the pros. In July 2016, he knocked out former titlist Sam Soliman in the second round, followed with a fifth-round knockout of previously undefeated Kemahl Russell in March and then on Aug. 25 beat down tough Tureano Johnson. Derevyanchenko stopped Johnson in the 12th round of a title eliminator to earn a mandatory title shot against the winner of the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight.
Next: TBA

7. Andy Lee (35-3-1)
Ireland’s Lee, a former titleholder, lost his belt to Saunders by majority decision in December 2015 and decided to take a break during 2016. But Lee returned March 18 on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs undercard and shook off the rust with a one-sided decision win against KeAndrae Leatherwood. He had been mentioned as a possible fall opponent for Daniel Jacobs but that didn’t pan out.
Next: TBA

8. Jermall Charlo (26-0)
Houston’s Charlo made three junior middleweight title defenses and then vacated his belt in order to move up to middleweight. He made his debut at 160 pounds in a world title eliminator July 29 on the Mikey Garcia-Adrien Broner undercard and destroyed the hobbled and wildly overmatched Jorge Sebastian Heiland, dropping him twice and knocking him out in the fourth round to become one of Gennady Golovkin’s mandatory challengers.
Next: TBA

9. Royota Murata (13-1)
Murata, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist for Japan, faced France’s Hassan N’Dam for a vacant secondary title on May 20 in a major fight in Japan. Murata dropped N’Dam with a clean right hand in the fourth round and dominated the fight yet came up on the wrong side of a horrible split decision that ranks as one of the biggest scoring travesties in recent years. He won the fight and got absolutely robbed. WBA president Gilberto Mendoza Jr., whose organization sanctioned the bout, was so disgusted that a rematch was immediately ordered. They met again in Tokyo on Oct. 22 and Murata battered N’Dam into a seventh-round knockout to claim the belt.
Next: TBA

10. Demetrius Andrade (25-0)
Andrade, a two-time junior middleweight titlist, has had long stretches of inactivity due to his own questionable business decisions, but he appears back on track. He moved up to middleweight on Oct. 21 and dominated the much taller Alantez Fox to hand him his first defeat by one-sided decision on HBO. It wasn’t too exciting but that was mainly because Fox was in survival mode. Andrade has tremendous talent and hopes to get into the mix with some of the bigger names in the division.
Next: TBA



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