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Bad Left Hook Pound-for-Pound Top 10 (Jan. 2023): New year, but same list — for now

Naoya Inoue enters 2023 as our No. 1 fighter pound-for-pound, but will he sit there at the end of the year?

Naoya Inoue enters 2023 as our No. 1 fighter pound-for-pound
Naoya Inoue enters 2023 as our No. 1 fighter pound-for-pound
Photo by YUICHI YAMAZAKI/AFP via Getty Images

It’s a new year! Did you know that? Well, it is!

It’s also a new month, which happens 12 times a year, and it’s time for us to update the pound-for-pound rankings.

Bad Left Hook Pound-For-Pound Top 10

The voters: Scott Christ, Wil Esco, John Hansen, Patrick Stumberg, and Lewis Watson.

The total results for Jan. 2023:

Others Receiving Votes: Jesse Rodriguez 6, Kenshiro Teraji 6, Jermell Charlo 5, Regis Prograis 5, Shakur Stevenson 4, Stephen Fulton Jr 1

Just the Facts (by Scott): It’s the exact same as last month.

And now, some personal thoughts from your esteemed panel, and their ballots.

Scott Christ

  • (1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Terence Crawford, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Errol Spence Jr, (6) Artur Beterbiev, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Jermell Charlo, (9) Devin Haney, (10) Regis Prograis

The exciting world of pound-for-pound rolls on!

I am excited to look back at the end of 2023 on us having our own full year of doing this, see what changes over that amount of time. I expect a fair amount!

Wil Esco

  • (1) Jaron Ennis, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Errol Spence Jr, (5) Terence Crawford, (6) Dmitry Bivol, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Artur Beterbiev, (9) Devin Haney, (10) Vasiliy Lomachenko

New year, same list, at least to start 2023. If Boots doesn’t handle business in dominating fashion next weekend, he’ll take a tumble from his mighty perch. Until then, the status quo remains. Check back with me in February.

John Hansen

  • (1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Oleksandr Usyk, (3) Artur Beterbiev, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Jesse Roriguez, (6) Errol Spence Jr, (7) Regis Prograis, (8) Vasiliy Lomachenko, (9) Kenshiro Teraji, (10) Stephen Fulton Jr

No changes for me after a month without a lot of P4P relevant activity.

I thought about putting Terence Crawford back in, and briefly did… But then I had to figure out what to do with Tyson Fury, and I’m just going to leave them both out until either of them actually books a real fight. I’m not going to cut out a guy like Kenshiro Teraji, who won a unification war two months ago, for guys who just wasted time fighting David Avanesyan and Derek Chisora. Not as long as they’re fighting third or fourth tier opponents while legitimate contenders and mouth-watering undisputed fights are right there waiting.

You can easily make a case for Fury or Crawford over Stephen Fulton, and you are all welcome to do so in the comments. But, Fulton’s last three fights were for a belt, a unification, and a mandatory defense. Murodjon Akhmadaliev or Naoya Inoue are very likely next up for him. That’s a fighter that’s truly making a claim for greatness. This is all an exercise in personal taste and marketing, and I will make my promotional push and declare my affection for a fighter with the talent and courage of a Stephen Fulton, thanks very much.

For people who haven’t seen the explanation before, Devin Haney and Shakur Stevenson remain ineligible under the “Rigondeaux rule.” Pound-for-pound lists are how some casual fans decide which fights and fighters are worth their time, and I will not play a part in turning them off of the sport. Even the greatest boxer must surpass a minimum threshold of casual entertainment value to qualify for my list each month. Neither Haney nor Stevenson are there yet.

Patrick Stumberg

  • (1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Oleksandr Usyk, (3) Errol Spence Jr, (4) Terence Crawford, (5) Canelo Alvarez, (6) Dmitry Bivol, (7) Shakur Stevenson, (8) Vasiliy Lomachenko, (9) Artur Beterbiev, (10) Kenshiro Teraji

Well, damn, I was really hoping Ioka would make his way onto the list. With Charlo vs Tszyu getting bumped back to God knows when, I’m not seeing a lot of opportunities to shake up this lineup n the immediate future unless Anthony Yarde somehow pulls off a whopper.

Anyway, to keep things from getting too trite, my fringe contenders are (in no particular order): Bam Rodriguez, Regis Prograis, Jermell Charlo, Josh Taylor, Stephen Fulton, MJ Akhmadaliev, Devin Haney, Jaron Ennis, and Juan Francisco Estrada. If Ennis ices Chukhadzhian in a couple rounds this weekend, he might get a spot on next month’s list.

Lewis Watson

  • (1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Terence Crawford, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Canelo Alvarez, (6) Errol Spence Jr, (7) Devin Haney, (8) Kenshiro Teraji, (9) Jermell Charlo, (10) Artur Beterbiev

I’m not sure Naoya Inoue could have done anything against Paul Butler to push him up into my No. 1 spot, but that’s Butler’s fault rather than Inoue’s. The Japanese “Monster” is probably my favourite fighter to watch at the moment – excluding future P4P king (#jokingnotjoking) Sebastian Fundora – but Oleksandr Usyk’s record will always speak for itself. I guess the same could be said regarding a potential Terence Crawford climb following a win over a tough, but over-matched David Avanesyan.

There’s a real temptation to bring Juan Francisco Estrada into the mix, and I wish I could justify it, but Father Time is just dragging his ankles away from the top 10 as I try to push him in. Tyson Fury is also going to have to get a better win on his resume than 3/3 over a shot Derek Chisora in order to kick out places 8-10.

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