The mythical pound for pound list in boxing has enraptured as many fans as it has divided over the years. What started out as a way to highlight greatness, especially at the lighter weights, since the days of Sugar Ray Robinson and beyond has now become a byword for legitimacy by many fighters looking to cement both their legacy and marketing potential. With so many publications and organisations frequently coming up with their own list of p4p rankings, an opportunity presented itself to share this writer’s own view of who belongs on the most talked about list in boxing.
As with any list of this kind, the material is purely subjective and any opinion given is the opinion of the writer alone.
To begin, this list will be in descending order with some notable exceptions given at the end.
No. 10 – Shawn Porter
Some may consider ‘Showtime’ Shawn a rather puzzling inclusion on this p4p list considering he holds 2 losses in his last 4 fights. However, upon closer examination you realize the merits of those losses. Both fights were extremely close and a sizeable proportion of the boxing public gave Porter the decision over Keith Thurman in their fight last summer. Whatever side of the argument you may fall on concerning that decision there is no denying Shawn Porter’s attributes in the ring. Combining power, athleticism and a ferocious two handed attack he has seen off multiple champions in his rise to welterweight elite and ducks no-one.
No. 9 – Jorge Linares
The current WBA & Ring Magazine lightweight title holder Jorge Linares was an extremely late addition to this list. A fighter who until recently looked liked he hadn’t quite fulfilled the expectation attached to him as a youth. Being stopped by average fighters in Salgado, Thompson and DeMarco were among the top reasons for many p4p list omissions. However, it was Linares quintessential performance last Saturday night that garnered him a spot on this list. While one performance, no matter how comprehensive, is enough to warrant getting a place on the p4p list, it is Linares fulfillment of his original potential that we witnessed last weekend and one that if he can maintain it, will give serious trouble to any fighter from 135-140lb.
No. 8 – Danny Jacobs
Most of the boxing media downgraded Gennady Golovkin after the Kazakh star only narrowly beat Danny Jacobs on March 18th of this year, however I believe the narrow win had more to do with a serious underestimation of Jacobs rather than any over-valuing of Golovkin. Danny Jacobs has been a serious threat for a number of years in the middleweight division, but until recently was largely denied the limelight. Losing via stoppage to another under-valued fighter in Dmitry Pirog a number of years ago, Jacobs has been on a tear through the middleweight division since, looking better and better everytime he steps into the ring. A total destruction of former champion Peter Quillin in just one round put the boxing world on notice and Danny’s narrow loss to p4p superstar GGG only solidifies his claim further of being on this list.
No. 7 – Andre Ward
A controversial ranking for a fighter who many believe is the current p4p no. 1 right now. Andre Ward is a fighter who dominated the super-middleweight division and now looks to do the same at light-heavyweight, Ward is an obvious inclusion on this list. The reason I rank Andre Ward no. 7 is quite frankly I believe he lost the infamous title fight to Sergey Kovalev (a fighter who’s ranked no. 5 on this list) some four months ago. Combine this with being Ward’s only meaningful fight in about four years and while I am a huge fan of S.O.G’s ability as a boxer, I believe others warrant higher position on this list due to both activity and higher profile wins.
No. 6 – Saul Alvarez
Do I believe there are more technically gifted fighters than Saul Alvarez? Sure. But no-one on this list has fought the level of competition that Canelo Alvarez has at such a relatively young age. Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather, Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto.. Canelo’s resume reads like a who’s who of hall of famers in boxing. While some were razor thin victories along the way, especially against Erislandy Lara, he has nevertheless beaten everybody put in his path (bar Mayweather) and arguably hasn’t even hit his prime yet. A showdown against middleweight king Gennady Golovkin in the near future will no doubt prove how good Canelo and his patented left hook to the body really are.
No. 5 – Sergey Kovalev
The highest rated fighter on this list over the middleweight limit, Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev is an absolute beast. A true boxer-puncher, Kovalev has a terrific jab and power in both hands, which he uses to devastating effect. The biggest mistake many Kovalev opponents make is assuming ‘Krusher’ is a straight up power puncher, but Kovalev has continually shown his merits as a boxer throughout his career. Giving Bernard Hopkins one of the worst beatings of his career and dropping Andre Ward for the first time in his career also, Kovalev makes a solid case for being high up in the p4p conversation. A rematch in the very near future between Kovalev and Ward will hopefully settle the debate of who is the best light-heavyweight in the world.
No. 4 – Keith Thurman
Keith Thurman is the current king of the welterweight division and awaits the eventual winner of the upcoming Brook/Spence clash to truly determine who is the best at 147. With recent narrow wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia (both p4p candidates themselves), Thurman nevertheless deserved both decisions and a win over Brook or Spence in the near future will arguably put ‘One Time’ at the very top of this list. With terrific power and fluid boxing skills, Thurman is steadily making his case for top p4p inclusion.
No. 3 – Gennady Golovkin
GGG, up until very recently, was viewed as perhaps one of the two best boxers in the sport p4p by most ranking organisations. That all changed two weeks ago with Golovkin’s narrow unanimous decision over Danny Jacobs. However, with his opponent weighing in at a cruiserweight range of 183lb (and forfeiting his chance at the IBF belt because of this), Golovkin vs. Jacobs looked to any casual observer like man against boy. Yet despite this, Golovkin dropped Jacobs hard in the 4th round, pounded the bigger man with his jab in the middle rounds and landed the more clinical and numerous power punches throughout the fight. Frankly, no-one has looked as dominant as Golovkin has in recent years, and a points victory over an excellent Danny Jacobs only solidifies his high place on this list.
No. 2 – Mikey Garcia
The lightweight divison is boxings current hot division right now. With Vasyl Lomachenko, Mikey Garcia, Jorge Linares and Terence Crawford all within a few pounds of each other, there are a literal plethora of super-fights to be made should these fighters be willing to put ink to paper. Mikey Garcia holds the WBC lightweight title and despite a protracted layoff, he stormed back and captured the WBC crown in only his second fight back at the end of January in Las Vegas. This sets him up with a unification clash against WBA champion and current p4p fighter himself, Jorge Linares in the very near future for all the marbles. Whoever emerges from that clash should rightly consider themselves p4p no. 1.
No. 1 – Terence Crawford
What can be said about Terence Crawford? Since soundly beating the current WBA super-lightweight champion Ricky Burns over in Scotland three years ago Crawford has been unstoppable, and not even outside the ring problems can derail the current unified WBO/WBC super-lightweight champions success. Crawford makes good fighters look decidely average. Yuriokis Gamboa? Broken down and stopped. John Molina Jr? Completely outboxed. Not even a showdown against then unbeaten champ and Freddie Roach trained Viktor Postol could slow down ‘Bud’ Crawford. Over a completely lopsided 12 rounds, Crawford gave the excellent Viktor Postol a boxing lesson and for much of the fight the big Ukranian simply looked lost as he was getting systematically undressed by the far superior Crawford. At 29 years of age Crawford is perhaps at the height of his powers and with both lightweight and welterweight superfights beckoning for the Nebraska native, it will be interesting to see what he does from here.
Roman Gonzalez – A tough loss to Srisaket just drops Gonzalez off our list as he looked extremely fatigued against Cuadras also. The higher weights may finally be taking their toll on the former p4p no.1.
Naoya Inoue – While ‘Monster’ certainly looks like a future p4p star, at only 12 fights in he has to be omitted until a true test emerges.
Chayaphon Moonsri – Despite being 45-0 and the recognised miniumweight world champion, ‘Kaiyanghada’ has never fought outside of his native Thailand and this relegates him from our top 10 p4p list.
Kell Brook – Kell Brook was a difficult omission from this list. Despite beating Shawn Porter, a fighter who did make this list, in a razor thin decision back in August 2014, I felt Porter maintained the stronger momentum of the two. For various reasons (difficult matchmaking, a machete attack) Brook has regressed since then and a series of wins against Frankie Gavin and Joe Joe Dan did little to lift his profile. May’s showdown against Errol Spence should clarify if Kell Brook belongs back on this list or not.
Vasyl Lomachenko – Some are already calling the former Olympic champion the best in the sport today, but at only 8 fights in and a career best win against a one dimensional Nicholas Walters, I have yet to be convinced. The one serious pressure fighter Lomachenko came up against, Orlando Salido, beat him and questions remain still about Lomachenkos ability against a high pressure style. A move up to the deep waters of 135lb should determine how much Lomachenko has improved since his loss to Salido or whether there are still holes in his game. Time will tell.
So there you have it! A comprehensive breakdown of my current top ten pound for pound list. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and who you believe I left out of this list.
Thanks for reading!