So it’s finally come to this: The Boxing Tribune has a pound for pound ranking list.
Well, not exactly. These “power rankings” reflect the opinion of the author and not the site in its entirety, so if you want to complain about why Deontay Wilder is not on this list then you can e-mail me below and I’m sure to have a good laugh.
The following are who I consider to be the best active competitors in the sport. Rankings will change at the end of every month and are always open for discussion.
Without further ado…
As of 08/29/2017
- Andre Ward
When Andre Ward cleaned out the Super Middleweight division, he rose to the occasion each time toppling quality foe one after the other until he was the unequivocal best. After a near three-year hiatus, he did the same at Light Heavyweight by dominating top contender Sullivan Barrera and beating boogeyman Sergey Kovalev not once, but twice, including a shocking stoppage over a listless Kovalev. Ward will not wait around until Adonis Stevenson either gives him his belt or grows a pair to fight him and may very well move up to Cruiserweight to face surging WBC champion Tony Bellew by year’s end.
- Terence Crawford
Crawford’s third-round KO of Julius Indongo made him the first undisputed champion in any division since Jermain Taylor defeated Bernard Hopkins in 2005, and will move on to Welterweight after a dominant run at Lightweight and Junior Welterweight. Though promotional politics may hinder potential fights Crawford needs to become a superstar, he is sure to be on the shortlist for the winner of the Manny Pacquiao/Jeff Horn rematch this November. There are very few fighters active that are as skilled and entertaining as Crawford today, and he is knocking on the door to becoming an all-time great.
- Guillermo Rigondeuax
Though in many ways Rigondeaux is the maestro of his own misery, the Cuban stuck to his script and may very well be getting the fight he’s been clamoring for. Talks are allegedly advanced for a fight with Vasyl Lomachenko, whom Rigondeaux has been feverishly pursuing for months, and boxing may very well get a fight that is as historic as it is significant. Rigondeaux will have to jump two weight divisions to face Lomachenko, a tremendously huge labor considering he has never weighed above 122 pounds in his career, but a victory will be enough vindication to shut up even his most ardent critics, including yours truly.
- Roman Gonzalez
While HBOs experiment to force Roman Gonzalez into superstar failed, the Nicaraguan legend remains a top pound for pound force even after a controversial loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last spring. In that fight, Gonzalez was left bloodied and bullied by a much bigger, stronger foe than the former four-division champion had ever faced before. The mileage may be catching up to Gonzalez, but he has the chance to prove otherwise as he faces Sor Rungvisai in hotly anticipated rematch next month.
- Gennady Golovkin
Quantity over quality is the easiest way to describe Gennady Golovkin’s reign of terror in the Middleweight division, as he has flourished into a fighter of legendary proportions at a time where the Middleweight division has been the absolute dregs. Most recently, Golovkin has looked extremely vulnerable against the best opponents he has faced in his career in overly ambitious ex-champ Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs, with many believing Jacobs did enough to earn the decision. Be it coincidence, timing or convenience, Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have finally come to terms and their mega bout is right around the corner.
- Saul Alvarez
Boxing’s biggest draw flexed his muscles in turning water to wine in a farce of a fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr last May that resulted in over a million buys. Not only that, Alvarez moved on from the biggest fight for his bank account right to the biggest fight for his legacy against long reigning Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin after months of being dragged through the mud by the boxing media and easy-to-influence fans. Say what you will about Alvarez, but a win over a fighter who has been made out to be a fearsome destroyer as Golovkin will leave critics and haters nowhere to turn and we are only a few weeks away from possible moment of truth.
- Vasyl Lomachenko
Similar to Golovkin, Vasyl Lomachenko’s accomplishments have been magnified in intensity with some facts being thrown out for the sake of convenience. The prodigious Ukrainian has had his way with almost everyone he’s stepped in the ring against since turning pro, often at times looking bored and brilliant at the same time, but the argument is there that he hasn’t taken a significant risk in the ring since losing to Orlando Salido, something many pundits seem to overlook in their never-ending praise of him. Lomachenko may stake his claim for true pound for pound supremacy this December as he and Guillermo Rigondeaux are nearing terms to finalize their long gestating grudge match.
- Jorge Linares
There has to be something said about the staying power of Linares, who has been a top ten pound-for-pound fighter for most of his career yet has only now been given an opportunity under the big lights. Next up for Linares will be a bout against fellow top Lightweight Luke Campbell, and he’ll have an emerging division to feast on once he handles Campbell as everyone expects him to. The fight to make is a title unification fight with Mikey Garcia, an all-action bout that would certainly have “Fight of the Year” written all over it.
- Naoya Inoue
“The Monster” has finally come stateside. Japan’s Inoue has been one of boxing’s best kept secrets before making his United States debut, and it is upon us as Inoue will be part of HBOs excellent Super Flyweight tripleheader next weekend. The possibility of Inoue versus Roman Gonzalez is a fight fan’s dream, and it says a lot about his skill that many hardcore fans believe Inoue will win that fight. There may be very few people who will be able to hang with Inoue in the coming years, and his US debut is must-see TV.
- Erislandy Lara
One could argue that Lara should be ranked higher in most cases, but a recent string of poor opposition and boring performances have sandbagged the Junior Middleweight division’s best fighter and nothing seems to be changing. Lara will face off against Terrell Gausha in a mismatch of tremendous proportions on an otherwise stacked Junior Middleweight card this October with hopes that the reclusive Demetrius Andrade will commit to a fall fight. Once upon a time, Lara/Andrade would have been a big fight, but both Lara and Andrade are guilty for spoiling the bout’s relevance with their recent bodies of work.
- Keith Thurman
There’s something to be said when you are the top fighter in the best division in boxing, and that’s a distinction Keith Thurman has earned and deserves. Thurman defeated both Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia to stake his claim as the best at 147, but he has little time to rest on his laurels as many worthy foes are set to challenge him in the months to come. Thurman owes Porter a mandatory rematch of their thrilling bout last year and may also have to face Lamont Peterson down the line; neither of which are easy tasks as Thurman sits out the rest of 2017 while recovering from elbow surgery.
- Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua is the Heavyweight the division has been clamoring for since the glory days of the 1990s and is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in the sport. Joshua proved his mettle by sending Wladimir Klitschko into retirement in an 11 round war that was one of the best Heavyweight fights in recent memory and now has to deal with two mandatory defenses of his titles before moving on to more lucrative fights. Joshua has Kubrat Pulev to deal with on October 28, and may face the winner of the proposed Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz match in 2018 for Heavyweight supremacy.
- Leo Santa Cruz
Leo Santa Cruz avenged his loss to Carl Frampton and reclaimed his titles last January, also making him the best fighter at Featherweight. With Frampton’s promotional situation up in the air, a trilogy fight between the two may not be on the cards any time soon. Instead, Santa Cruz will be making his return this October in a stay busy fight with designs for a rematch with Abner Mares in 2018, a fight he should win as handily as he did the first time around.
- Badou Jack
“The Ripper” should have left the ring as the unquestioned king at Super Middleweight after his fight with James DeGale, but had to settle for a tough draw in an otherwise amazing fight. Jack successfully made his Light Heavyweight debut over the weekend pummeling Nathan Cleverly on the undercard of Mayweather/McGregor, looking every bit as good as he did at Super Middleweight. There really is only one fight for Jack to make right now and that’s against WBC Light Heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, which would be a fantastic fight between two explosive punchers.
- Manny Pacquiao
The fighting Senator from the Philippines saw his long run at the top of the pound for pound list come unceremoniously crashing down after a shocking defeat to the unknown Jeff Horn a few months back. At 38 and clearly past his best days, Pacquiao was taken to the limit against Horn and was on the wrong side of a questionable decision. What is not questionable is that Pacquiao is done as an elite fighter, which goes to show that the upcoming rematch with Horn this November is a 50/50 fight as opposed to the first fight being a widely criticized joke.
Five Fighters Who Could Be Here Shortly
Errol Spence Jr., Mikey Garcia, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Carl Frampton, Luis Neary
Critical Fights for September:
SEPTEMBER 9, 2017
StubHub, Carson, CA, USA (HBO)
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Roman Gonzalez II
Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Carlos Cuadras
Naoya Inoue vs. Antonio Nieves
SEPTEMBER 16, 2017
T-Mobile, Las Vegas, NV, USA (HBO PPV / BoxNation)
Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez
Copper Box, Hackney Wick, London, UK (BoxNation / BT)
Billy Joe Saunders vs. Willie Monroe Jr.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2017
Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA (HBO)
Jorge Linares vs. Luke Campbell