DEBATE: WHO ARE THE CURRENT TOP 5 POUND-FOR-POUND FIGHTERS?



There has been renewed interest this week in the debate over the top pound-for-pound fighters in the boxing world, following Johnny Nelson’s surprise inclusion of Gervonta Davis at number four

Nelson provided his list as part of the Lomachenko v Crolla build up, where he discussed whether Lomachenko is the current number one pound for pound boxer.

Opening himself up for perhaps similar criticism, yet nonetheless bravely ‘nailing his colours to the mast’, below is this writer’s definitive pound for pound list, highlighted against the current rankings of Johnny Nelson, Ring magazine and BoxRec.


​1. OLEKSANDER USYK (Nelson: Usyk; Ring: Lomachenko; BoxRec: Canelo)

Embarrassingly, BoxRec rates neither Lomachenko nor Usyk in its top 5 current pound-for-pound rankings. I consider them interchangeable at the top. Both highly decorated and enjoying unprecedently rapid professional success, Usyk presently edges Lomachenko on the simple fact that he is remains currently undefeated.

FACTS AND STATS:

- First cruiserweight boxer in history to hold all four major world championships by defeating Murat Gassiev (26-0-0 at the time)

- Won the World Boxing Super Series Muhammad Ali Trophy, as well as the Ring magazine and Lineal cruiserweight titles

- As an amateur, he won gold medals at the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics, both in the heavyweight division.


2. Vasyl Lomachenko

(Nelson: Canelo; Ring: Crawford; BoxRec: Crawford)

Despite having only had 13 professional fights, one of which he lost, Lomachenko is already a three-weight world champion. His pre-eminent footwork is dazzling and unrivaled. His fluidity of movement defies expectations and the previous conventions of how fighters are supposed to manoeuvre; and his smooth, calculated high pressure style has already resulted in four successive fighters ‘retiring on their stools’, earning him the nickname ‘No-Mas-Chenko’, a reference, of course, to the classic 1980 fight (Leah link) between ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran, where the latter reportedly quit during the fight by shouting ‘No mas! No mas!’

FACTS AND STATS:

- Currently the unified lightweight champion (holding the WBA, WBO and Ring magazine belts)

- Won his first world title in his third fight, his second in his seventh fight and his third in his twelfth fight.

- His only loss was a contentious split decision to Orlando Salido in his second fight.

- He has an amateur record of 396-1 and won gold medals in the 2008 European Championships, the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.


3. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez*

(Nelson: Lomachenko; Ring: Canelo; BoxRec: Golovkin)

There is an asterisk next to Canelo as this writer had him losing the first fight versus Golovkin, with the second being an acceptable draw. Had the decision been awarded to Golovkin in the first fight, I would be in agreement with the Ring’s ranking and would be replacing Canelo with Golovkin. However, Canelo got the decision. He is also undeniably elite and certainly worthy of being in the conversation of current top pound for pound boxers. He is a multi-weight, multi-time world champion and he deserves respect and acknowledgment for searching for and making the biggest fights possible, in a time when few fellow fighters are taking similar risks. His CV boasts impressive wins over Golovkin* (I have to add the asterisk), Smith, Khan (who was lighter but brutally KO'ed), Cotto, Kirkland, Lara, Trout, Mosley, Ndou, Baldomir and Matthew Hatton; and may soon also include IBF middleweight champion, Daniel Jacobs, who he will face in a unification fight in Las Vegas on May 4th.

FACTS AND STATS:

- His only loss was a