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Women's boxing pound-for-pound rankings: A new No. 1 and a debut in the top 10 for Mikaela Mayer

Katie Taylor, above, defended her undisputed lightweight championship with a decision victory over Miriam Gutierrez. Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Katie Taylor, an Olympic gold medalist, two-weight world champion and current undisputed lightweight champion of the world, is now ESPN's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.

Taylor dominated Miriam Gutierrez to score a one-sided unanimous decision victory on Nov. 14. That win impressed most of our voters and pushed her past Claressa Shields for the top spot.

Shields has won world titles in three divisions and is the current undisputed middleweight world champion. She also has won two Olympic gold medals and is unbeaten as a professional.

But Taylor has not only been dominant in her recent victories, she's also been busier while fighting top opposition.

"Taylor deserves to be No. 1 because she has achieved more than Shields in the last 18 months," explains ESPN boxing writer Nick Parkinson. "Without taking anything away from Shields' achievements at middleweight and junior middleweight, Taylor has been busier and been in bigger fights than the American in 2020.

"Shields last fought in January, an impressive unanimous decision victory over Ivana Habazin, and made just one appearance in 2019, when she defeated Christina Hammer (No. 7 in the P4P rankings) to unify all four major titles in the middleweight division. Taylor has made five appearances in that time, including two decision wins over Delfine Persoon, who also appears in the P4P top ten. There were some doubts as to whether Taylor deserved to win their first fight, but the Irishwoman made sure there were none in an excellent display in the rematch with Persoon in August. The undisputed world lightweight champion also stepped up a division to become a two-weight world champion a year ago, and produced one of her most fluent performances against Miriam Gutierrez last Saturday."

If there is one criticism of Taylor, according to Parkinson, it is her knockout ratio.

"She was utterly dominant last week, yet could not force the stoppage despite putting Gutierrez down with a fantastic combination at the end of the fourth round," Parkinson said. "But that's something she can aspire to improve upon."

Boxing analyst Bernardo Pilatti agrees, saying that Taylor and Shields are the most dominant female boxers in the world today, and the tipping point for him was Taylor's activity and dominance.

"Taylor has faced competitive, demanding fights that she's won them in dominant fashion," Pilatti said. "It is true that Shields' quality is undeniable, but she is lacking top opponents in her résumé. There are talks of a possible rematch against Savannah Marshall, a former amateur world champion and current WBO middleweight champion. Marshall is the only fighter to beat Shields which came in the 2012 AIBA World Boxing Championship in Qinhuangdao, China. That fight would be a real challenge for Shields and the fight she needs to win in order to regain the top spot."

ESPN boxing collaborator Charles Moynihan has a different opinion and considers Shields the fighter with the most upside and the best pound-for-pound fighter.

"At just 25 years old, Claressa Shields has far more upside than the 34-year old Katie Taylor," Moynihan said. "Undefeated at 10-0, Shields has dominated her last two fights. While I believe what you see with Katie Taylor is as close to the finished product, Shields has just begun to tap into her unlimited potential."

Women's boxing is bigger than ever, and there's a case to make for a lot of the current top fighters.

So, who else is in the ESPN.com women's pound-for-pound rankings?

Our ESPN panel voted and here's the list.

Note: Results are through Nov. 19.

1. KATIE TAYLOR     Previous ranking: No. 2

RECORD: 17-0, 6 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Miriam Gutierrez, Nov. 14
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


2. CLARESSA SHIELDS     Previous ranking: No. 1

RECORD: 10-0, 2 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Ivana Habazin, Jan. 10
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


3. AMANDA SERRANO     Previous ranking: No. 3

RECORD: 38-1-1, 28 KOs
DIVISION: Featherweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO3) Simone Aparecida Da Silva, Jan. 30
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


4. JESSICA MCCASKILL     Previous ranking: No. 4

RECORD: 9-2, 3 KOs
DIVISION: Featherweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (MD10) Cecilia Braekhus, Aug. 15
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


5. CECILIA BRAEKHUS     Previous ranking: No. 5

RECORD: 36-1, 9 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight
LAST FIGHT: L (MD10) Jessica McCaskill, Aug. 15
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


6. DELFINE PERSOON     Previous ranking: No. 6

RECORD: 44-3, 18 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD10) Katie Taylor, Aug. 22
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


7. CHRISTINA HAMMER     Previous ranking: No. 7

RECORD: 25-1, 11 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight
LAST FIGHT: W (UD8) Florence Muthoni, Feb. 8
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


8. MIKAELA MAYER     Previous ranking: N/A

RECORD: 14-0, 5 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD10) Ewa Brodnicka, Oct. 31
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


9. TERRI HARPER     Previous ranking: N/A

RECORD: 11-0-1, 6 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Katharina Thanderz, Nov. 14
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


10. DANIELA BERMUDEZ     Previous ranking: No. 8

RECORD: 28-3-3, 9 KOs
DIVISION: Bantamweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO9) Alys Sanchez, Feb. 28
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.

Others receiving votes: Yesica Bopp (9), Layla McCarter (8), Seniesa Estrada (7), Hyun Choi (3), Chantelle Cameron (1)


How our experts voted

Timothy Bradley Jr.: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. Serrano, 4. Hammer, 5. McCaskill, 6. Mayer, 7. Harper, 8. Estrada, 9. Braekhus, 10. Persoon

Nick Parkinson: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. Serrano, 4. McCaskill, 5. Braekhus, 6. Persoon, 7. Harper, 8. Mayer, 9. Bopp, 10. Cameron

Salvador Rodriguez: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. McCaskill, 4. Braekhus, 5. Persoon, 6. Serrano, 7. Harper, 8. Bermudez, 9. Bopp, 10. Mayer

Bernardo Pilatti: 1. Taylor, 2. Shields, 3. McCarter, 4. Serrano, 5. McCaskill, 6. Hammer, 7. Persoon, 8. Braekhus, 9. Bermudez, 10. Mayer

Charlie Moynihan: 1. Shields, 2. Taylor, 3. Serrano, 4. Bermudez, 5. McCaskill, 6. Hammer, 7. Braekhus, 8. Choi, 9. Persoon, 10. Mayer

Kel Dansby: 1. Shields, 2. Taylor, 3. McCaskill, 4. Serrano, 5. Braekhus, 6. Bopp, 7. Estrada, 8. Mayer, 9. Persoon, 10. Harper


ESPN experts' poll

First place: Taylor (4), Shields (2)

Second place: Shields (4), Taylor (2)

Third place: Serrano (3), McCaskill (2), McCarter (1)

Fourth place: Serrano (2), McCaskill (1), Braekhus (1), Bermudez (1), Hammer (1)

Fifth place: McCaskill (3), Braekhus (2), Persoon (1)

Sixth place: Hammer (2), Serrano (1), Persoon (1), Mayer (1), Bopp (1)

Seventh place: Harper (3), Estrada (1), Braekhus (1), Persoon (1)

Eighth place: Mayer (2), Braekhus (1), Estrada (1), Bermudez (1), Choi (1)

Ninth place: Persoon (2), Bopp (2), Braekhus (1), Bermudez (1)

10th place: Mayer (3), Persoon (1), Harper (1), Cameron (1)