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Pound For Pound

BoxingScene Pound for Pound Competition Index

by Cliff Rold

1) Vasyl Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KO; 20-1, 10 KO incl. World Series of Boxing contests)

Points Rank: 1 (40.23 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 1 (5 Unique Wins)

Age: 32

Current Alphabet Titles: WBA Lightweight (2018-present, 3 defenses); WBO Lightweight (2018-Present, 2 Defenses)

Additional Titles: Ring Magazine Lightweight (2018-present, 3 defenses)

Previous Titles: WBO Featherweight (2014-16, 3 Defenses); WBO Super Featherweight (2016-18, 5 Defenses); WBC Lightweight (2019)

Record in Title Fights: 13-1, 9 KO

Last Five: Luke Campbell UD12 (Ring Magazine #2/TBRB #7 - 135), Anthony Crolla KO4 (#4/#7 - 135), Jose Pedraza UD12 (#3 - 135), Jorge Linares (Champion/#2 - 135[+]), Guillermo Rigondeaux RTD6 (#1/Champion - 122[--])

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: October 17, 2020 vs. Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KO)

The Take: Lomachenko is one of only two fighters examined for this list who has faced a fighter rated by Ring and TBRB in each of his last five fights. The other is rated right below Lomachenko. This includes a Rigondeuax who, while two divisions smaller than a Lomachenko who was in his final contest at Jr. lightweight, has yet to lose to anyone near his natural weights. Lomachenko’s next fight is a showdown with fellow lightweight titlist Teofimo Lopez. Win or lose, it would be his fifth straight top ten foe at 135 lbs. It’s hard to ask for much more from anyone in any division.  

2) Saul Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO)

Points Rank: 2 (35.94 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 2 (4)

Age: 29

Current Alphabet Titles: WBA Middleweight (2018-Present, 1 Defense)

Lineal Titles: World/Ring Middleweight (2015-Present, 4 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2011-13, 6 Defenses); Ring/WBA Super Welterweight (2013); WBC Middleweight (2015-17, 2 Defenses; 2018-19, 1 Defense); WBO Super Welterweight (2016-17); IBF middleweight (2019); WBO Light Heavyweight (2019)

Record in Title Fights: 13-1-1, 7 KO (14-1-1, 8 KO including WBA secondary title fights)

Last Five: Sergey Kovalev KO11 (#2 - 175[++]), Daniel Jacobs UD12 (#2 - 160), Rocky Fielding TKO3 (#9 - 168[+]), Gennady Golovkin MD12, D12 (#1 - 160)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: The results of the two Golovkin fights make a big impact on Alvarez’s placement. The draw in the first fight and win in the second both have detractors, more for the former. Flip either, or both, into the loss column and this reads a lot different but the official outcomes are what they are. So too is Alvarez’s sheer willingness. Like Lomachenko, he has faced five straight opponents rated by both Ring and TBRB, and Alvarez has done it in three different divisions. As the biggest money draw in the sport right now, Alvarez is in a position to pick and choose few enjoy (or will be again when current promotional and network issues resolve). Because of that, like Leonard, Mayweather, Pacquiao, and other rainmakers before him, the bar of public opinion is often higher for him than his peers and who he isn’t fighting is often an argument against who he is. The bottom line on Alvarez is, from Austin Trout to Erislandy Lara to Golovkin, he has fought the fighters many insisted he would avoid and makes a habit of giving those who earn a bite at the biggest apple around their chance to bare their teeth.

3) Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KO)

Points Rank: 3 (28.81 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 3 (4)

Age: 30

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Welterweight (2017-Present, 4 Defenses); WBC Welterweight (2019-Present, 0 Defenses)

Previous Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 5-0, 3 KO

Last Five Opponents: Shawn Porter SD12 (#4 - 147), Mikey Garcia UD12 (#1/#2 - 135[--]; Unrated/Champion -140[-]), Carlos Ocampo KO1 (Unrated), Lamont Peterson RTD7 (#6/#8 - 147), Kell Brook KO11 (#2/#3 - 147)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No 

Next Opponent: November 21, 2020 vs. Danny Garcia (36-2, 21 KO)

The Take: Spence is scheduled to return from his horrific auto accident last year and he’s going right back at legitimate top ten action. Spence could have picked a lighter touch than the experienced Garcia; we’ll know where Spence is by night’s end. While there is frenzied debate about who would win a fight with Terence Crawford, the work of each over their last five contests is advantage Spence. The Texas Olympian has matured with serious class and character in the ring. He’s played the road warrior in winning his first belt against Brook, dominated a smaller elite talent in Garcia, and pulled out a competitive unification win over Porter with a knockdown to boot. Crawford might be the generational clash, but there are mines along the road as the wait rolls on. So far, Spence has met every challenge.      

4) Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KO)

Points Rank: 4 (27.7 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 4 (4)

Age: 26

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Bantamweight (2019-Present, 1 Defense); WBA “super” Bantamweight (2019-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBC Light Flyweight (2014, 1 Defense); WBO Super Flyweight (2014-18, 7 Defenses); Ring Magazine Bantamweight (2019-Present, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 12-0, 10 KO (14-0, 12 KO including WBA secondary title fights)

Last Five: Nonito Donaire UD12 (#3/#4 - 118), Emanuel Rodriguez KO2 (#3/#6 -118), Juan Carlos Payano KO1 (#5 - 118), Jamie McDonnell TKO1 (#2/#5 - 118 [+]), Yoan Boyeaux TKO3 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: October 31, 2020 vs. Jason Moloney (21-1, 18 KO)

The Take: While his reign at Jr. bantamweight wasn’t all it could have been, Inoue has been making the most of his prime since moving to bantamweight. Four straight top ten opponents, four straight wins. With a little more luck on the count against Donaire, it could have been four straight top ten stoppages. Regardless, Donaire gave him some scary moments and we learned Inoue is more than an offensive dynamo. Foes who know what sort of frightful finishing pop awaits them now have to reckon with the evidence that Inoue can take as good as he gives and come back harder. Losing a unification bout with Johnriel Casimero to COVID was unfortunate but Inoue at least returns with a consensus top ten foe, his fifth in a row at bantamweight. Considering the growing war of words (and tweets), there’s no reason Casimero can’t be revisited if Inoue wins his next.

5) Josh Taylor (17-0, 13 KO)

Points Rank: 5 (23 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 8 (3)

Age: 29

Current Alphabet Titles: IBF Jr. Welterweight (2019-Present, 1 Defense); WBA Super Lightweight (2019-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: Ring Magazine Jr. Welterweight (2019-Present, 0 Defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 3-0, 1 KO

Last Five: Apinun Khongsong KO1 (UR), Regis Prograis MD12 (#1 - 140), Ivan Baranchyk UD12 (#6/#7 - 140), Ryan Martin TKO7 (Unrated), Viktor Postol UD12 (#2/#3 - 140) Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: The World Boxing Super Series provided a platform and opponents for Taylor to go from hot rising contender to halfway toward undisputed at Jr. welterweight. The best fight in his division right now would be with the man who holds the other two major alphabet straps, Jose Ramirez. Both took care of business in their last outings to clear the way to make it happen. The winner of that fight if it happens, based on promotional and network alignments, might be staring down the barrel at Terence Crawford sooner than later. Taylor has the sort of foes that could move him up, or down, with a bullet.  

6) Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10 KO)

Points Rank: 6 (21.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 8 (3)

Age: 28

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC Light Flyweight (2017-Present, 7 Defenses)

Additional Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 8-0, 5 KO

Last Five: Randy Petalcorin TKO4 (Unrated), Jonathan Taconing TKO4 (Unrated), Saul Juarez UD12 (Unrated), Milan Melindo TKO7 (#4/#5 - 108), Ganigan Lopez KO2 (#5/#6 - 108)

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes - Pedro Guevara (#2/#1 - 108)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Talk of the best divisions in boxing is incomplete without a discussion of the current Jr. flyweight field. It has depth, talent, and an exciting blend of styles. Teraji is the most proven of the bunch. Overshadowed a bit internationally by countrymen Kazuto Ioka, Kosei Tanaka, and Inoue, Teraji has been one of the sport's more consistent titlists since winning his strap. With three top five wins since July 2017, it’s hard to argue many are doing more than he is relative to his weight class. A unification clash with Hiroto Kyoguchi could be the best clash at 108 lbs. since Ivan Calderon-Giovani Segura.

7) Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17 KO)

Points Rank: 7 (20 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 10 (3)

Age: 28

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC Super Lightweight (2018-Present, 4 Defenses); WBA Super Lightweight (2019-Present, 1 Defense)

Additional Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 5-0, 1 KO

Last Five: Viktor Postol MD12 (#4 - 140), Maurice Hooker TKO6 (#4/#5 - 140), Jose Zepeda MD12 (Unrated), Antonio Orozco UD12 (#5/#4 - 140), Amir Imam UD12 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Ramirez has three top ten wins in his last four starts and a then-unrated Jose Zepeda has picked up some big wins since to underline Ramirez’s quality of opposition. A little bit of luck never hurt anyone and Ramirez danced on the edge of defeat with both Zepeda and Postol in highly competitive affairs the judges saw Ramirez’s way. Heading into 2021, all eyes are on a potential showdown with Josh Taylor that could be one of the best fights in boxing. Ramirez’s win over Hooker gave him half of the major hardware in the division but we can’t know who is truly the champ at Jr. welterweight until Ramirez-Taylor goes down.    

8) Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KO)

Points Rank: 14 (14.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 5 (4)

Age: 30

Current Alphabet Titles: WBA/IBF/WBO Heavyweight (2019-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: IBF Heavyweight (2016-19, 6 Defenses), WBA Heavyweight (2017-19, 3 Defenses), WBO Heavyweight (2018-19, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 8-1, 7 KO

Last Five Opponents: Andy Ruiz UD12 (#3/#1 - Heavyweight), Andy Ruiz TKO by 7 (Unrated), Alexander Povetkin TKO7 (#3/#5 - Heavyweight), Joseph Parker UD12 (#3 - Heavyweight), Carlos Takam (Unrated/#6 - Heavyweight)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: December 12, 2020 vs. Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KO)

The Take: Joshua’s disastrous loss to Andy Ruiz hurts his point total but he sneaks into the top ten with a combination of three wins over top five opponents in his class and the diversity of his opposition. Joshua has yet to face Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder but he’s faced more of the rest of the top ten in the last few years than either of them. Next up for Joshua is a Kubrat Pulev rated in the top ten by both TBRB and Ring but that’s not what is generating the most excitement. In 2021, if both stay winning, we are likely on the verge of Joshua challenging Fury for the lineal heavyweight throne. We very likely need a COVID vaccine before it can happen because that’s as big a stadium show as boxing can make.    

9) Terence Crawford (36-0, 27 KO)

Points Rank: 8 (14.5 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 11 (3)

Age: 33

Current Alphabet Titles: WBO Welterweight (2018-Present, 2 Defenses)

Lineal Titles: World/TBRB/Ring Lightweight (2014-15); World/TBRB/Ring Jr. Welterweight (2016-17, 3 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBO Lightweight (2014-15, 2 Defenses); WBO Light Welterweight (2015-17, 6 Defenses); WBC Super Lightweight (2016-17, 3 Defenses); WBA Super Lightweight (2017); IBF Jr. Welterweight (2017)

Record in Title Fights: 14-0, 11 KO

Last Five Opponents: Egidijus Kavaliauskas TKO9 (#8/#10 - 147), Amir Khan TKO6 (Unrated), Jose Benavidez Jr. TKO12 (Unrated), Jeff Horn TKO9 (#5/#4 - 147[+]), Julius Indongo KO3 (#2/#1 - 140)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No

Next Opponent: November 14, 2020 vs. Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KO) 

The Take: He’s among a handful of men who are regularly argued as the best overall competitor in the sport. Win or lose against Kell Brook, he’s likely to fall out of the top ten here after his next bout because Brook is unrated by TBRB or Ring and the Indongo win will cease to be a scoring factor. To be sure, the pride of Omaha did just about everything he could at lightweight and Jr. welterweight but the best of that work is getting increasingly stale. There’s plenty of debate about where the fault lies, but the fact is Crawford’s opposition since moving to welterweight hasn’t given him a wealth of opportunities to further his argument as among the best in the game. Fighters seem to age better in 2020 than they did, say, thirty years ago but Crawford is now 33. Is the clock ticking?

10) Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KO)

Points Rank: 9 (18 pts)

Unique Rated Wins Rank: 12 (3)

Age: 33

Current Alphabet Titles: None

Lineal Titles: World/TBRB/Ring Cruiserweight (2018-19, 1 Defense)

Additional Titles: WBA Cruiserweight (2018, 1 Defense); WBO Cruiserweight (2016-19, 6 Defenses), WBC Cruiserweight (2018-19, 2 Defenses); IBF Cruiserweight (2018-19, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 7-0, 3 KO

Last Five Opponents: Chazz Witherspoon RTD7 (Unrated), Tony Bellew TKO8 (Unrated), Murat Gassiev UD12 (#2 - 200), Mairis Briedis MD12 (#3/#6 - 200), Marco Huck TKO10 (#7/#10 - 200)

Three Year Activity Kicker: No 

Next Opponent: October 31, 2020 vs. Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KO)

The Take: Now competing at heavyweight, the Ukrainian Gold Medalist and former Cruiserweight king is lying in wait for a mandatory crack at unified beltholder Anthony Joshua. But for a little bit of timing, Usyk could easily have been in the middle of this top ten. Bellew was highly rated at cruiserweight before moving up to heavyweight for a pair of wins over David Haye. He moved back down in weight to challenge Usyk, allowing Usyk a veritable cleaning out of the division. It’s a high quality ‘unrated’ win. Like Crawford, Usyk is likely to fall out of the top ten win or lose against Chisora but the big picture is what matters for Usyk. With a title picture controlled by Joshua and current lineal king Tyson Fury, can Usyk be the first former Cruiser champion to climb the highest peak in boxing?    

The Rest of the Top 25: Josh Warrington (Rated 10 on pts/13 on unique wins), Mikey Garcia (12/14), Kosei Tanaka (13/15), Hiroto Kyoguchi (18/16), Leo Santa Cruz (14/21), Emanuel Navarrete (11/24), Callum Smith (19/17), Mairis Briedis (16/22), Jermell Charlo (35/6), Miguel Berchelt (20/23), Wanheng Menayothin (26/18), Dmitry Bivol (23/24), Knockout CP Freshmart (26/25), Tie - Gary Russell (26/26), Tyson Fury (16/36)

Where These Numbers Come From: Using the most recent ratings available in an issue of Ring or the most recent archived Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ratings prior to to a fight:

  • Every primary WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO titlist, some select recent former titlists, and fighters who appeared in either the Ring or TBRB pound for pound top ten in the last year or so were evaluated based on the official results against their last five opponents and what those opponents were rated heading into the fight.
  • Wins over rated opponents started at 11 points for a recognized TBRB or Ring champion down to one point for defeating a number ten contender. Draws got half credit. No points were given for a No Contest or No Decision but the result will be noted.
  • Fighters who have produced a higher activity level were given a kicker score for any wins over rated opposition in the last three years no later than July 1, 2017. Everyone evaluated was scored for their last five opponents even if that was past the three year mark.
  • Losses to rated opponents were given an inverse score, beginning with -1 for a champion down to -11.
  • Losses to unrated opponents received a universal score of -12.
  • Wins over unrated opponents were worth nothing.
  • If there is a difference between a fighter’s Ring and TBRB rankings, the average of the two numbers was used (i.e. a win over a fighter rated second by one body and fifth by the other would be worth 7.5 pts).
  • If a fighter was rated by only Ring or TBRB, half credit was given for a win based on the single rating. A loss total would come from an average of -12 and the point loss that would apply to the rating that was in place.
  • Moves between weight classes were adjusted for by taking into consideration the body weight shift between weight classes. In other words, if a rated Jr. welterweight jumped up to beat a rated welterweight, the math would work like this: 147/140 multiplied by the divisional rating score. It works in reverse for a win over a fighter rated lower (i.e. 160/168 multiplied by the smaller man’s rating in his class). In an over the weight class fight, the divisions the men were rated in were used.
  • Fighters from a higher class are noted with a [+], from a lower [-], after the weight limit of their respective weight class.
  • The totals generated result in a rating.
  • Each fighter evaluated is given a score for how many unique wins they have against rated opponents; beating the same opponent twice counts for only one unique win. They are then rated based on unique wins. The two ratings are averaged for a final rating.

All divisions were treated equally based on the idea fighters can only face the men in their division while they are there and all point totals were applied based on official results.That doesn’t make it any less fun to argue about.

As always, feel free to agree…and disagree. This list is for entertainment purposes only and looks at things through only one set of standards. Neither it nor any other such list should be used to forward corporate agendas of any kind.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com


 

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