With the end of the boxing season upon us, it’s time to dissect the current state of play in the pound-for-pound rankings. Here’s my take on the top ten as it stands...
1 - Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KO)
Three-weight world champion and a complete fighter: it’ll take a big effort to knock the Ring Magazine lightweight champion off his pound-for-pound perch. The Ukrainian has risen to every test thrown his way since turning pro in 2013; his disputed loss to Orlando Salido remains the only blotch on his copybook. Climbing off the canvas to defeat Jorge Linares in his most recent outing underlines his defiance as a fighter.
2 - Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KO)
A slick switch-hitter who is rising through the divisions. ‘Bud’ became undisputed light welterweight champion last August defeating Julius Indongo in emphatic fashion, since then, the undefeated Nebraskan has climbed to welterweight to defeat Jeff Horn for the WBO strap. Showdowns with Lomachenko or Errol Spence Jr. are likely to define his legacy in the upcoming years.
3 - Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KO)
Undisputed cruiserweight king and winner of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series: Usyk’s technical ability has left a trail of scratched heads at 200-pounds. Negating the threat of dangerous fighters such as Gassiev and Briedis showed the ‘Cat’ in his best light; a move up to heavyweight is the obvious next move in search for further riches in the sport.
4 - Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO)
After a long layoff from the sport, the four-weight world champion is back entertaining with his flashy, varied style. Recent UD wins against Adrien Broner, Serey Lipinets (at light-welter) and Robert Easter Jr. have cemented his standing in the world’s top ten, with the American claiming he would knockout Lomachenko and Pacquiao if they met. There are many big fights for the unbeaten 30-year-old to be apart of still, although a climb up to Errol Spence Jr. may be inadvisable.
5 - Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KO)
Inevitably at 34, ‘GGG’ is on the slide, however, a win against Canelo in their huge rematch next month would propel him back to the business end of the pound-for-pound rankings. Last year’s draw against the Mexican was highly controversial, with many believing the Kazakh did enough to get the W. He didn’t, and his CV still suffers from the lack of a conclusive run of ‘names’. A rematch with Daniel Jacobs or the Saunders-Andrade winner would be a convincing next step after the Canelo chapter has closed.
6 - Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14 KO)
The Japanese ‘Monster’ is a three-weight world champion who is turning his attention to the bantamweight version of the World Boxing Super Series. A huge puncher and huge bantam, Inoue’s body shots are a frightening prospect for the rest of the division. At 25, Inoue could yet climb further weights as he looks to keep his perfect record intact. Ryan Burnett and Zolani Tete would be his biggest challenges in the WBSS tourney.
7 - Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41 KO)
The lineal super-flyweight champion has enjoyed a historic rise over the past 18 months, after dethroning a former pound-for-pound star Roman Gonzalez. Back-to-back wins over the Nicaraguan were followed by victories over Juan Francisco Estrada and Young Gil Bae, as the Thai fighter looks to continue defending his green and gold superfly title.
8 - Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KO)
Spence’s stock is growing fast; the IBF welterweight strap-holder is gathering some solid names on his record. Hard-hitting, southpaw, slick with a great amateur pedigree, it is going to take a huge effort to take Spence’s ‘0’ in the near future.
9 - Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KO)
Mexican-meat-gate and the controversial draw with ‘GGG’ have resulted in Canelo sliding down the pound-for-pound rankings. Currently, I have him in at nine, however, a loss to the Kazakh could arguably see him slip out of the top ten. His powerful combinations and slippery defence make him a huge threat in this rematch; although, a win would breathe new life into the 28-year-old.
10 - Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KO)
Santa Cruz’s recent win over Abner Mares has enabled the Mexican to return to the pound-for-pound top 10. With fans still calling for a trilogy finale with Carl Frampton, the rangy featherweight may still return to a dust-up with his Northern Irish dance partner. Able to box, brawl and scrap, LSC always offers excitement inside the squared circle.
Notable mentions: Eleider Alvarez, Jermall Charlo, Isaac Dogboe