Joseph Parker has made his move at heavyweight | Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images

Joseph Parker has made his move at heavyweight, but how dangerous a contender is he?

Next update will come on Monday, April 1. That’s not a funny prank-joke, that’s just the date it will be.

Ranked fights this period:

  • Cruiserweight: (8) Arsen Goulamirian vs Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, Mar. 30
  • Middleweight: (9) Nathan Heaney vs Brad Pauls, Mar. 16
  • Super Welterweight: (1) Tim Tszyu vs Keith Thurman, Mar. 30
  • Super Welterweight: (3) Sebastian Fundora vs Serhii Bohachuk, Mar. 30
  • Lightweight: (4) William Zepeda vs (7) Maxi Hughes, Mar. 16
  • Lightweight: (10) Raymond Muratalla vs Agustin Quintana, Mar. 29
  • Super Featherweight: (5) Oscar Valdez vs (10) Liam Wilson, Mar. 29
  • Super Bantamweight: (6) Sam Goodman vs Mark Schleibs, Mar. 13
  • Women’s P4P: (6) Seniesa Estrada vs (7) Yokasta Valle, Mar. 29

Notes: Doing boxing rankings is fun and frustrating and weird and has to be looked at subjectively no matter who’s doing it, other than when the people who unfortunately matter — sanctioning bodies — are doing it, and then it has to be looked at as a sick joke.

The reason it’s fun/frustrating/weird is because you can poke holes in anything. Take the new top four here — Usyk, Fury, Joshua, Parker. Who’s got the most momentum there? Maybe AJ in some ways, but in more viable ways, it’s really Joseph Parker.

But it can be easy to forget now, and Tall Ed Hearn would prefer you do, that AJ wasn’t exactly earning rave reviews for his wins over Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius, and maybe a world class boxing champion treating an MMA guy like the novice boxer he is for once isn’t reason to assume, if you’re not making money on marketing him, that he is now the best heavyweight on the planet at this exact moment.

On the other hand, I liked how he looked against Otto Wallin in December, and that returned spitefulness (!) showed up big against Ngannou. AJ was there to make the only actual point he could in the matchup: That Francis Ngannou did not belong in a boxing ring with him. And he made it. No matter how cordial AJ was before or after, in the ring he menaced Ngannou and came to knock him clean out, which he did.

It’s impossible, though, to rank AJ ahead of Usyk or Fury, even considering how badly Fury struggled against Ngannou last year, and how much he had to turn his fight with the MMA star into a sluggish bore to get a deserved but uninspiring victory. I tend to agree with Tyson that “styles make fights” would play big into a fight between himself and AJ, and that that’s what we saw in their Ngannou bouts, too. The style for AJ against “The Predator” was “seek and destroy.” The style for Fury was “show up badly out of shape for a bit of fun and a big, easy payday — whoops, I’m on my hindquarters!”

Usyk, of course, beat Joshua twice, clean and clear. Maybe a sharpened Joshua, who I think does seem to have settled into a nice groove getting different eyes on him in camps since the Usyk rematch, could beat Usyk finally. But perhaps not! Maybe Usyk is just all wrong for him and always would be.

Usyk, meanwhile, didn’t exactly look incredible beating Daniel Dubois last year, and now has the Fury fight lined up for May. If they’re both in shape, my feeling is still that Fury is all wrong for Usyk. Again, styles.

Then there’s Joseph Parker, who won a title years ago and is still just 32, now coming off of the two biggest wins of his career over Deontay Wilder and Zhilei Zhang, two fearsome punchers he out-boxed. Both Wilder and Zhang are flawed fighters, and the outcomes were similar.

Zhang was dangerous and put Parker down twice, but Joe Parker clearly won that fight, and Zhang can only blame himself and the fact that he just does not have 12 rounds of gas to his game. He’s in his 40s, that’s never going to be something that works for him. Wilder, of course, was dangerous but did absolutely nothing for an entire 12 rounds. Parker was ready for him to try, he just never tried.

So then how impressive is Parker, really? REALLY? And that’s my point — holes in everything, if you want to do it. This is really a pretty strong top four at the moment, but you can pretty easily find a way to discredit every single one of them.

Let’s do it a little bit again, too, just to close this section out, for fun. Zhang drops to sixth with the loss, as you now have to go back to respecting the Official Result for his fight with Filip Hrgovic, who hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire as a pro but is sturdy and competent.

Being No. 6 is nothing to be scoffed at and he remains someone who would be dangerous for half a fight or so against everyone, but also, maybe Joe Joyce was just tailor-made for Zhang. Joyce doesn’t and/or can’t defend himself. Terrible flaw against a guy who has wicked power and good timing and fundamental boxing skills. No defense gives him a chance to spark you out before the tank empties. So how good is Zhang?!?!

In short, everyone is terrible.

Upcoming Fights: (8) Jared Anderson vs Ryad Merhy, Apr. 13 … (1) Oleksandry Usyk vs (2) Tyson Fury, May 18

Upcoming Fights: (8) Arsen Goulamirian vs Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, Mar. 30 … (1) Jai Opetaia vs Mairis Briedis, May 18 … (2) Chris Billam-Smith vs (3) Richard Riakporhe, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Dmitry Bivol vs (2) Artur Beterbiev, June 1 … (7) Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs David Benavidez, TBA

Upcoming Fights: (8) Diego Pacheco vs Shawn McCalman, Apr. 6 … (1) Canelo Alvarez vs (4) Jaime Munguia, May 4

Upcoming Fights: (9) Nathan Heaney vs Brad Pauls, Mar. 16

Notes: Israil Madrimov jumps up to No. 2 after thrashing Magomed Kurbanov to win the WBA title in Saudi Arabia. Kurbanov has never been the most impressive fighter or anything, and his two best wins are both questionable, but Madrimov just absolutely torched him, took him to the woodshed. In a division that is largely sitting stagnant, it’s impressive and important.

Xander Zayas is in at No. 10. I agree that it’s a little early to be sure about him — same with Agyarko, in fact, but what they’ve done so far is every bit as impressive as any other viable option ever has.

Upcoming Fights: (1) Tim Tszyu vs Keith Thurman, Mar. 30 … (3) Sebastian Fundora vs Serhii Bohachuk, Mar. 30 … (7) Yoenis Tellez vs Joseph Jackson, Apr. 26

Upcoming Fights: (3) Jaron Ennis vs (7) Cody Crowley, May 4

Upcoming Fights: (1) Devin Haney vs (7) Ryan Garcia, Apr. 20 … (4) Jack Catterall vs Josh Taylor, Apr. 27

Upcoming Fights: (4) William Zepeda vs (7) Maxi Hughes, Mar. 16 … (10) Raymond Muratalla vs Agustin Quintana, Mar. 29 … (1) Vasiliy Lomachenko vs (9) George Kambosos Jr, May 11

Upcoming Fights: (5) Oscar Valdez vs (10) Liam Wilson, Mar. 29 … (1) Joe Cordina vs Anthony Cacace, May 18

Notes: I had Vargas vs Ball even on my card, but if anyone deserved the win, it was Nick Ball. And I think he was more impressive in that fight than Rey Vargas. But however annoying, Vargas was still competitive.

Still, Vargas drops a spot, Ball goes up a couple. They should rematch. Unless the WBC order it — and even if they do — I don’t know that Vargas will be interested.

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (6) Sam Goodman vs Mark Schleibs, Mar. 13 … (1) Naoya Inoue vs (2) Luis Nery, May 6

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (7) Suzumi Takayama vs Akio Furutani, Apr. 25

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: TBA

Upcoming Fights: (1) Yudai Shigeoka vs (5) Melvin Jerusalem, Mar. 31 … (2) Ginjiro Shigeoka vs ArAr Andales, Mar. 31

Upcoming Fights: (6) Seniesa Estrada vs (7) Yokasta Valle, Mar. 29

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