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BoxingScene Pound for Pound Top Ten

By Cliff Rold

1) Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KO)
Age: 30
Current Titles: WBO Light Welterweight (2015-Present, 6 Defenses); WBC Super Lightweight (2016-Present, 3 Defenses); WBA Super Lightweight (2017-Present, 0 Defenses)
Lineal Titles: World/TBRB/Ring Lightweight (2014-15); World/TBRB/Ring Jr. Welterweight (2016-Present, 3 Defenses)
Additional Titles: WBO Lightweight (2014-15, 2 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 10-0, 7 KO; 5-0, 3 KO (Lineal only)
Last Five Opponents: Julius Indongo (KO3), Felix Diaz (RTD10), John Molina (TKO8), Viktor Postol (UD12), Hank Lundy (TKO5)

Next Opponent: TBA


The Take: Previously just behind Andre Ward and Roman Gonzalez, Crawford rose to the top spot as arguably the most complete active fighter in boxing right now. Many outlets are selecting him the 2017 Fighter of the Year. He made a quality case. Crawford can box from both sides effortlessly, he can punch, and he’s got an old school chip on his shoulder. Crawford had a Fighter of the Year-worthy run in 2014 and made a sensational move to 140 lbs. in 2015. The opponents were just okay and 2016 started off with the same problem. That was solved with a dominant win over Postol to declare a new king at Jr. welterweight. Crawford followed it with a one-sided thrashing of John Molina to stretch his mark to 3-0 on the year. The orthodox Crawford battled the former Olympian Diaz largely from a southpaw stance and dominated before an even more devastating blowout of Indongo to put the 140 lb. class in an iron grip. Next stop welterweight?

2) Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KO)
Current Titles: WBA Middleweight (2010-Present, 19 Defenses), WBC Middleweight (2014-Present, 7 Defenses), IBF Middleweight (2015-Present, 4 Defenses)
Additional Titles
: None
Record in Title Fights: 18-0-1, 17 KO (19-0-1, 18 KO including interim title fights)
Last Five Opponents: Saul Alvarez (D12), Daniel Jacobs (UD12), Kell Brook (TKO5), Dominic Wade (KO2), David Lemieux (TKO8)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Golovkin stuck around all these years at Middleweight to unify the division and get the big one. He got the latter before he could get his hands on the final belt he hasn’t snagged yet. It couldn’t get bigger for Golovkin than a showdown with Alvarez after getting by a tough challenge the fight before. Daniel Jacobs made a solid case for the duke against Golovkin in March 2017 and lost by only the narrowest margins on all three cards. Confronted with more movement than is the norm, Golovkin had to find new ways to win. While he had to settle for a draw against Alvarez, Golovkin had a strong case for deserving the win on the night and at the very least didn’t lose. It can be argued his three best foes have come in his last three fights. No one has figured out how to beat him yet.

3) Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KO)
Age: 30
Current Titles: WBC Lightweight (2017-Present, 0 Defenses)
Additional Titles: WBO Featherweight (2013); WBO Super Featherweight (2013-15, 1 Defense)
Record in Title Fights: 4-0, 2 KO
Last Five Opponents: Adrien Broner (UD12), Dejan Zlaticanin (KO3), Elio Rojas (TKO5), Juan Carlos Burgos (UD12), Roman Martinez (KO8)

Next Opponent: February 2, 2018 vs. Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KO)


The Take: Based on the form we’ve seen in 2017, it’s not unfair to think Garcia might be flirting with the top spot had he not lost over two years to inactivity. His destruction of Zlaticanin, a fighter of some proven quality, was highly impressive. The dismantling of Broner, who he moved up to face, was as much a technical masterpiece as it was a physical whooping. The stoic Garcia hasn’t lost a step since and appears even better than when he was first garnering momentum doing things like dropping Orlando Salido four times on the way to his first title. Now he aims for a title in his fourth weight class against Lipinets. Should we be dreaming about a showdown with Vasyl Lomachenko or Terence Crawford in the future?

4) Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KO; 16-1, 8 KO incl. World Series of Boxing contests)
Current Titles: WBO Super Featherweight (2016-Present, 4 Defenses)
Previous Titles:
WBO Featherweight (2014-16, 3 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 9-1, 7 KO
Last Five Opponents: Guillermo Rigondeaux (RTD6), Miguel Marriaga (RTD7), Jason Sosa (RTD9), Nicholas Walters (RTD7), Roman Martinez (KO5)

Next Opponent: December 9, 2017 vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO)

The Take: He’s looked technically superb from the start, even in losing his second (depending on who is counting) pro fight to Orlando Salido. Against Rocky Martinez, he looked like something more. Showing killer instinct and single shot power, he iced a man whose chin and durability had served him through many wars. Lomachenko could have done what many do, fighting a dozen or so no hopers to pad his record. He skipped that part and it’s paying dividends. His combination of speed, footwork, defensive fundamentals, and power is as good as anyone possesses in boxing. It’s forced four consecutive corner retirements, a rare feat at the title level, the last against a fellow legendary amateur in Rigondeaux. Will he stay at 130 or is a move to lightweight coming sooner than later?

5) Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 33 KO)
Age: 27
Current Titles: WBO Super Welterweight (2016-Present, 0 Defenses);
Ring Middleweight (2015-Present, 1 Defense)
Lineal: World Middleweight (2015-Present, 1 Defenses)
Additional Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2011-13, 6 Defenses); Ring/WBA Super Welterweight (2013); WBC Middleweight (2015-16, 1 Defense)
Record in Title Fights: 10-1, 6 KO
Last Five Opponents: Gennady Golovkin (D12), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (UD12), Liam Smith (KO9), Amir Khan (KO6), Miguel Cotto (UD12), James Kirkland (KO3)

Next Opponent: TBA


The Take: He wasn’t good enough to beat Mayweather. No one else was either. Despite taking a fairly safe road since winning history’s middleweight crown from Cotto, it’s hard to argue against the career choices of Alvarez. After much hand wringing, he took on Golovkin and while more thought he lost than won, a draw wasn’t unreasonable. Alvarez showed real chops, opening and closing strong. In a rematch, he may be even better and that might be the richest fight of 2018 unless Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder emerges as a supernova.

6) Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25 KO)
Current Titles: None
Previous Titles:
WBA/WBO Flyweight (2013-16, 5 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 6-1, 4 KO
Last Five Opponents: Carlos Cuadras (UD12), Anuar Salas (TKO5), Raymond Tabugon (UD10), Hernan Marquez (KO10), Rommel Asenjo (TKO3)

Next Opponent: February 24, 2018 vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KO)

The Take: On the list until injuries knocked him off, Estrada reminded the boxing world just how he good he is in an excellent win over Cuadras on the “SuperFly” card. Estrada fell behind early but methodically solved Cuadras, dropping him late. Unbeaten since the competitive 2012 loss to Roman Gonzalez that put him on the map, Estrada was a unified titlist at flyweight and now stands as the mandatory contender for Sor Rungvisai. No less a luminary than Nacho Beristain pegs Estrada, and not Alvarez, as Mexico’s best active fighter. In separating him on this list from Sor Rungvisai and Inoue, his total body of work is the edge. Sor Rungvisai looms in February as the main event of “Superfly 2.”  

7) Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KO)
Current Titles: WBA Welterweight (2013-Present, 7 Defenses), WBC Welterweight (2017-Present, 0 Defenses)
Additional Titles: None
Record in Title Fights: 4-0, 1 KO (8-0, 4 KO including interim title fights)
Last Five Opponents: Danny Garcia (SD12), Shawn Porter (UD12), Luis Collazo (RTD7), Robert Guerrero (UD12), Leonard Bundu (UD12)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: While he’s out of the ring recovering from injuries and subsequent surgery, Thurman stands as the leader in what is still in the debate for the deepest and highest quality division in boxing. He’s also its lone unified titlist. Thurman accomplished the feat with a solid decision over the previously unbeaten Garcia and that followed a winning war against Porter. Thurman might not always appear as refined as some of his peers but he keeps finding the victory circle. A possible rematch with Porter, or further unification with Errol Spence, gives him plenty of room to grow here.

8) Srisaket Sor Rungivisai (44-4-1, 40 KO)
Current Titles: WBC Super Flyweight (2017-Present, 1 Defense)
Additional Titles:
WBC Super Flyweight (2013-14, 1 Defense)
Record in Title Fights: 4-1, 2 KO
Last Five Opponents: Roman Gonzalez (MD12, KO4), Oley Taladklangladsawai (TKO4), Suriya Maneephan (TKO4), Daetcharit Sitlekpet (TKO3), Ical Tobida

Next Opponent: February 24, 2018 vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25 KO)

The Take: While there can still be ample debate about who deserved to win their first fight, Sor Rungvisai made a statement in the rematch about the better man after 16 logged rounds with Roman Gonzalez. It was arguably the best win by a Thai fighter since Pone Kingpetch beat Fighting Harada in the 1960s. After waiting more almost three years for the title he lost in a cut shortened contest against Carlos Cuadras in 2014, Sor Rungvisai is a two-time titlist in a red hot 115 lb. class. Estrada is going to be a stiff test and, if he can pass it, a showdown of big punchers with Inoue could be mouth watering. For now, the resume still looks a little light but Gonzalez is a huge scalp and the opportunities for more are right over the horizon.

9) Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KO)

Age: 29

Current Titles: WBA Featherweight (2017-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: IBF Bantamweight (2012-13, 3 Defenses), WBC Super Bantamweight (2013-15, 4 Defenses), WBA Featherweight (2015-16, 1 Defense)

Record in Title Fights: 13-1, 7 KO

Last Five Opponents: Chris Avalos (KO8), Carl Frampton (L12, MD12), Kiko Martinez (TKO5), Abner Mares (MD12), Jose Cayetano (UD10)


Next Opponent: TBA


The Take: Already a titlist in three weight classes, Santa Cruz’s two fights with Carl Frampton have seen his esteem further elevated. Santa Cruz is a high volume offensive fighter who still manages to think his way through the action. He showed maturity, and the critical ability to adjust, in defeating Frampton the second time around. While a rubber match seemed logical, it may not come off. Santa Cruz appears headed to a Mares rematch and Frampton will soon be facing Nonito Donaire.


10) Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KO)

Age: 34

Current Titles: WBA Light Heavyweight (2017-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Titles: WBC Super Middleweight (2015-17, 3 Defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 4-0-1, 1 KO

Last Five Opponents: Nathan Cleverly (TKO5), James DeGale (D12), Lucian Bute (DQ12), George Groves (SD12), Anthony Dirrell (MD12)


Next Opponent: TBA


The Take: Written off by some after a shocking first round loss in 2014, Jack shook it off and has embarked on a run of consistently tough opponents with no real end in sight. Rumors abound he will face Adonis Stevenson early in 2018 in what would be his second unification fight in his second weight class. Jack should have been a unified titlist at 168 lbs. but was unlucky in a draw against James DeGale. He was similarly unlucky in a widely ridiculed draw against a resurgent Bute later proved to have failed a test for PEDS (thus the changed result). Jack is a steady, fundamentally sound fighter who gives the fans a good show while still showing excellent ring IQ.

Five More Who Could Easily Be Here: Jermall Charlo, Roman Gonzalez, Naoya Inoue, Sergey Kovalev, Donnie Nietes

Five for the Future: Jermell Charlo, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Anthony Joshua, Errol Spence, Oleksandr Usyk

As always, feel free to agree…and disagree.  This list is for entertainment purposes only and based purely on imagination, hypotheticals, and conjecture just like every other pound for pound list ever written.  Neither it nor any other such list made up of such illusory ingredients should be used to forward corporate agendas of any kind. 

That doesn’t make it any less fun to argue about.

For the latest BoxingScene Divisional Ratings:

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]


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