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Rethinking P4P: Trying to Measure Who Beat Who...and When

What have you done for me lately?

And in a sport where just three fights in a year has become almost a unicorn at the title level, what does lately really mean?

In trying to weigh the merits of fighters in different weight classes, we can start by identifying levels of competition relative to weight classes.

How winning looks is important.

Who winning is against should matter more.

Every publication, site, and network seems to have their own entry in the pound for pound debate. There is always a question of what any particular fighter has done recently versus their career achievements, longevity, and the impression they leave. It’s hard to find one that distinctly narrows things down to level of opposition in a specific time frame.

How long is long enough before yesterday is a diminishing return? When does fresh accomplishment mean more than established credentials? Who is doing the most possible in the field available to them to prove their merits?

With these thoughts and questions in mind, and boxing still coming out of the temporary freeze COVID-19 has unleashed on the sports world, it seemed a good time to play with a new approach. Rather than a singularly subjective pound-for-pound list, it sounded like fun to evaluate the best in boxing against a standard number of fights within a general time frame, making room for fighters who exceed the standard within the time frame.

A competition index if you will.

Those who read an earlier series here at BoxingScene examining the most accomplished of the 2010’s will be familiar with the basic foundation applied here.

With some tweaks from that original formulat, it goes like this. Using the most recent ratings available in a print issue of Ring or the most recent archived Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ratings prior 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.

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.
Three years seemed a reasonable time frame given current activity levels across the top of the sport. It also allows for a diminishing return line for how long a particular win matters against what’s going on right now. As the list is updated, the timeline will adjust to new dates. It’s enough time to see if a fighter is getting better, maintaining, or slowing down. With five fights, high quality losses don’t have to remove anyone who is also posting enough high quality wins but it certainly favors winning over not.

Winning is the point after all and fighters who have more wins over contenders did better. For those who wonder where some huge fan favorites like Manny Pacquiao, off his inspiring win over Keith Thurman, or Gennady Golovkin are just look at their last five official results. Legacy placements based on things that happened more than three years ago aren’t the intention here. It’s no reflection on the overall careers to be discussed there.

Using Ring and TBRB allows for some space to correct if a fighter is potentially over or underrated by one or the other and both are a reasonable place to look for the picture of any division’s best.

In total, 62 fighters were evaluated for this first run. If anyone reading thinks a fighter was potentially missed, feel free to say so in the forum. Below, readers will find a top ten fully laid out with the next fifteen listed quickly afterwards. Here are some interesting notes from the results.

> Of the fighters evaluated, only three faced a fighter rated by Ring, TBRB, or both in each of their last five fights: Vasyl Lomachenko, Saul Alvarez, and Yuniel Dorticos. Only Dorticos missed the top 25.

Five current titlists evaluated have not faced or defeated a single opponent rated in the top ten in any weight class by Ring or TBRB in their last five fights: Arsen Goulamirian, Jermall Charlo, Patrick Texiera, Devin Haney, and Emanuel Navarrete. Of those five, only Navarrete benefited from an additional score for high activity based on his two wins over Issac Dogboe.

Only eight of 62 evaluated had an additional win or wins since July 2017 providing them a scopring bonus.

Even in this evaluation, every quality win likely won’t get the credit it deserves. Where it can be noted and impacts the top ten, it will be in text but not a fighter’s score. Movement between divisions and inactivity rules that remove names from the ratings used can miss something. As this is based only on the ratings that were, and the official results (no corrections are made for debated decisions), it’s worth knowing what this is and isn’t.

Feel free to debate the merits of this approach and the final results. It’s just another way to have a familiar conversation.

With all that said, here’s one answer to ‘what have you done for me lately.’

1) Vasyl Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KO; 20-1, 10 KO incl. World Series of Boxing contests): 40.23 Pts. 

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: TBA

The Take: Lomachenko is one of only three fighters examined for this list who has faced a fighter rated by Ring, TBRB, or both in each of his last five fights. The other two: Saul Alvarez whose name comes next here and cruiserweight titlist Yuniel Dorticos. All five of Lomachenko’s were rated by both. 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 hoped to be 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.  

canelo-alvarez (4)_30

2) Saul Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO): 35.94 Pts.

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 dramatically 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. 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): 28.81 Pts.

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: TBA

The Take: Spence is likely to be back from his horrific auto accident last year in the fall and the names bandied about indicate more top ten fare in the ever dangerous welterweight class. 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. Sharing his promotional/management umbrella are Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, and Keith Thurman. 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): 27.7 Pts.

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: TBA

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 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.  

5) Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KO): 24 Pts.

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: 2-0

Last Five: Regis Prograis MD12 (#1 - 140), Ivan Baranchyk UD12 (#6/#7 - 140), Ryan Martin TKO7 (Unrated), Viktor Postol UD12 (#2/#3 - 140), Winston Campos TKO3 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes - Ohara Davies TKO7 (Unrated/#9 - 140)

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. Of the 62 boxers evaluated for this list, Taylor was one of just eight to have enough activity against rated fighters to receive a boost since July 2017. It shows how quick his ascent has been. The best fight in his division right now would be with the man who holds the other two major alphabet straps, Jose Ramirez. 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): 21.5 Pts.

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 the next man on this list could be the best clash at 108 lbs. since Ivan Calderon-Giovani Segura. 

7) Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9 KO): 21 Pts.

Age: 26

Current Alphabet Titles: WBA “Super” Light Flyweight (2018-Present, 2 Defenses)

Additional Titles: Ring Magazine Jr. Flyweight (2018-Present, 2 Defenses), IBF Minimumweight (2017-18, 2 Defenses)

Record in Title Fights: 6-0, 2 KO

Last Five: Tetsuya Hisada UD12 (#9/Unrated - 108), Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart UD12 (Unrated), Hekkie Budler TKO10 (Champion/#2 - 108), Tibo Monabesa TKO4 (Unrated), Vince Paras UD12 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes - Carlo Buitrago TKO8 (#6/Unrated - 105), Jose Argumedo UD12 (#4/#3 - 105)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: For the better talents, there is seldom time wasted in the land of the rising sun. Kiyoguchi has been more active than most major title holders since winning his first belt at strawweight and it hasn’t been hollow. Kiyoguchi doesn’t get extra credit here for moving up to face Budler as the move in weight came against Monabesa. Kiyoguchi having already won belts in two classes, it will be no surprise if he’s chasing a strap at flyweight sooner than later but he’s expressed willingness to unify in the near term. The stalking style of Kyoguchi is fan friendly and his opponent selection has been too.   

8) Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO): 18.5 Pts.

Age: 28

Current Alphabet Titles: WBC Super Featherweight (2017-Present, 6 Defenses)

Additional Titles: None

Record in Title Fights: 7-0, 6 KO

Last Five Opponents: Eleazar Valenzuela TKO6 (Unrated), Jason Sosa KO4 (Unrated), Francisco Vargas RTD6 (#4/#5 - 130), Miguel Roman TKO9 (#6/#5 - 130), Jonathan Barros TKO3 (Unrated)

Three Year Activity Kicker: Yes - Takashi Miura UD12 (#5/#4 - 130)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Berchelt is one of those TV friendly battlers whose ring IQ is higher than his style might imply. Since winning his title, he’s faced a solid share of real contenders. He’s the presumptive leader at Jr. lightweight but unification would tell us more. A potential showdown with former featherweight titlist Oscar Valdez would be tremendous entertainment. So would a possible permanent rise to lightweight where Berchelt could make a tantalizing foe for a potential Lomachenko-Lopez winner.     

9) Terence Crawford (36-0, 27 KO): 18.33 Pts.

Age: 32

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: TBA

The Take: He’s among a handful of men who are regularly argued as the best overall competitor in the sport. 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 the overall best in the game. Fighters seem to age better in 2020 than they did, say, thirty years ago but Crawford will be 33 in the fall. Is the clock ticking? 
10) Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KO): 18 Pts.

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: TBA

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. With a title picture controlled by Joshua and current lineal king Tyson Fury, can Usyk be the first former Cruiser champion (since Evander Holyfield) to unify the highest peak in boxing?    

The Rest of the Top 25: Josh Warrington - 17.5, Emanuel Navarrete - 16, Mikey Garcia - 15.75, Juan Francisco Estrada - 15, Kosei Tanaka - 14.77, Tie - Srisaket Sor Rungvisai/Anthony Joshua/Leo Santa Cruz - 14.5, Tyson Fury - 14, Jose Ramirez - 13, Callum Smith - 12.92, Deontay Wilder - 10.75, Artur Beterbiev - 10.5, Jeison Rosario - 10, Tie - Dmitry Bivol/Teofimo Lopez/Muradjon Akhmadaliev - 9
This List and Future Updates can be found at: 

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 

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Cypocryphy on 07-20-2020

[QUOTE=Citizen Koba;20650919]:lol1: Now that's a pretty serious oversight there Cliff! FWIW I like your numerical approach to these kindsa problems, they're never gonna be perfect but you just gotta take 'em for what they are. Anything that makes folk think…

Comment by Cypocryphy on 07-20-2020

[QUOTE=crold1;20650836]Yeah, I was approaching it the way the divisions were established in part as a percentage of body weight between jumps. I hadn't considered the possibility of Rigo vs. Fury.[/QUOTE] [FONT="Franklin Gothic Medium"][SIZE="4"]A little late in responding, but yeah. I…

Comment by Dasmius Shinobi on 07-11-2020

Not against the list of P4P, but also in not favor. We see list P4P like these everywhere and all of us always put a list of P4P here or in another forum. :boxing:

Comment by buge on 07-11-2020

[QUOTE=crold1;20650836]Yeah, I was approaching it the way the divisions were established in part as a percentage of body weight between jumps. I hadn't considered the possibility of Rigo vs. Fury.[/QUOTE] That was an example. Sure it was extreme, but it…

Comment by UNBANNED on 07-10-2020

[QUOTE=Curt Henning;20649552]lmao what a dunce crawford doesnt have a single win as good as porter, mikey or brook crawford is trying to fight everyone? lol thats funny...because i specifically remember arum and crawford both saying they were looking at shawn…

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