1. Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO, WBA/WBO/IBF/RING)
Fury's rise to the top of the division has been pretty meteoric, and his jump from beating Christian Hammer to beating Wladimir Klitschko is pretty impressive. Fury, 27, has refined his game over the years and become so much more than would be stereotypically expected of a guy with his dimensions. Likely his next fight will be a rematch with Klitschko in the spring.
2. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO)
Wladimir lost, but this is as far as he drops. Near a decade of domination earns him that much respect, anyway, and he's still done a lot more than anyone else on this list, including Fury. Well, I mean, kinda. You know what I'm saying. Or you don't and we can move on anyway. There's no reason to totally count Klitschko out in a rematch with Fury, but he's up against it and the pressure is on the aging Ukrainian to adjust, because Fury surely has a lot more to offer than he presented in that first fight, too.
3. Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KO)
Povetkin's win over Mariusz Wach was his fourth straight stoppage win since his ugly '13 loss to Klitschko, even if it did come via injury 50 seconds into the 12th round. Povetkin, 36, isn't getting any younger, and he's had some terrible timing in his pro career. He's a skilled fighter, a good puncher, but he's 6'2" with a 75-inch reach in an era that was first dominated by the two Klitschkos, and now new giants Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have come along. He's the mandatory for Wilder, if and when that actually gets enforced. There's a good chance that Povetkin will have a full pro career, and a pretty decent one, without ever really winning a world title. (He had the WBA's "world" title, but that was while Klitschko held the WBA "super world" title.)
4. Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KO, WBC)
Wilder being ranked fourth may seem disrespectful of what he's achieved, but fact is that there are three very good fighters ahead of him. Wilder's win over Bermane Stiverne was very good, but his first two defenses have been against mediocre opposition. He's still being handled with kid gloves to a degree, though less than before. What's good about the 30-year-old "Bronze Bomber" is he doesn't seem to let those criticisms bother him. He just works, and when it's fight time, he's always in shape and always ready to go. If one were to believe that Klitschko is just past it and cannot hope to beat Fury, then Wilder is probably the biggest threat to Tyson Fury out there, based on size, style, power, and youth.
5. Kubrat Pulev (21-1, 11 KO)
The 34-year-old Bulgarian returned on October 17 with an easy win over veteran George Arias, and has Maurice Harris set up for December 5 in what should be another tune-up outing for him. Pulev, like Povetkin, is a very good fighter with a strong amateur background, but timing is terrible for his career. He's bigger than Povetkin, but even at 6'4" he's small compared to the guys who have ruled the title scene.
6. Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KO)
Jennings faces Luis Ortiz on December 19 in a fight to stay relevant in the division, which is 50-50 on paper. Jennings has the better pro experience, but Ortiz has size and power. You don't see a lot of 6'4" guys with an 84-inch reach throwing bombs the way that Ortiz can. Jennings acquitted himself pretty well in a loss to Klitschko earlier this year, and remains the No. 2 American heavyweight for the time being.
7. Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KO)
Is Glazkov really the seventh best heavyweight in the world? Probably not, and he's certainly not better than seventh best. But he's got a few wins, and it looks like he'll get to fight for the soon to be vacated IBF belt. Glazkov, 31, is a competent fighter who has no standout skills or attributes, but can handle himself in the ring, but the feeling is he's quite lucky to be undefeated.
8. Carlos Takam (33-2-1, 25 KO)
Takam sort of represents the ceiling for a lot of heavyweights that have come around in recent years. He's an OK fighter, not special, but an OK fighter. He's got a little power. He's not the worst boxer. But he is out of his depth against really well-schooled fighters, as we saw in 2014 when he was knocked out by Alexander Povetkin. You get a short run on top ten lists like this one, but little more. Maybe a paper belt if you get lucky.
9. Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KO)
Like Bermane Stiverne, who was lucky enough to briefly hold a paper belt, and whose value is still tied up in that. Stiverne is here mostly because (1) he held that WBC belt for a spell, and (2) not enough fighters have really stepped up to claim a spot. Stiverne is 37, and whatever his best days were, they're almost certainly behind him. Ringside reports were that he didn't look great in his November 14 win over Derric Rossy, and he was dropped in the first round. Stiverne can probably ride his bit of name value into another title fight or at least a trip to the United Kingdom to serve as a "former titleholder" victim for Anthony Joshua.
10. Erkan Teper (15-0, 10 KO)
Pretty much the very definition of a top ten placeholder. There are others who could go here, and I chose Teper, whose recent wins over Johann Duhaupas and David Price are decent enough. At 33, Teper isn't a young fighter, but he's young in the sport, at least, and he could easily become another version of Francesco Pianeta, a fighter who could back into a world title shot at some point and get crushed.
Other Heavyweight Notes
A win over Bryant Jennings would put Luis Ortiz into the top ten, obviously.
David Haye, 35, is returning to the ring in January after a three and a half year break from the sport. He'll face Australia's Mark de Mori in a fight that will tell Haye whether or not this comeback should really be pursued. If Haye looks good, he'll be right back in the mix. He's just too charismatic and too ambitious to not be.
Anthony Joshua is a name on many minds these days, but no, he is not a top ten heavyweight. The 26-year-old Olympic gold medalist is an impressive prospect and it's easy to see why people dream on him. He's got the look, the punch, the background. Some of those same people will tell you that his last opponent, Gary Cornish, was "no mug." This is debatable at best.