Pound for Pound

By Cain Bradley on January 5, 2019
Pound for Pound
Loma crushed Walters and Rigondeaux to the point it feels that they may never return.

He made Gary Russell look like a relative novice and showed his guts as well as his patented skill when stopping Jorge Linares with a vicious body shot…

1. Vasyl Lomachenko
The top three are really hard to separate for me. Lomachenko gets the edge for how dominant he looks in the ring, it feels like no one could ever beat him at times. In thirteen fights he has won world titles in three weight divisions. He has had four great wins in that time span, crushing Nicholas Walters and Guillermo Rigondeaux to the point it feels that they may never return. He made Gary Russell look like a relative novice and showed his guts as well as his patented skill when stopping Jorge Linares with a vicious body shot.

2. Canelo Alvarez
The only man on the list with a victory over someone who was regarded a top five pound for pound fighter at the time of their bout. It was controversial, but he did overcome Gennady Golovkin. I had him winning both bouts with his better work snatching rounds for me. He then moved up and won a world title in his third weight division. Canelo possibly has more options than Lomachenko for big fights this year which could see him move to the top spot.

3. Terence Crawford
Crawford is my personal favorite of the three but a lack of quality names on his resume put him in third here. He was the dominant force in a poor Lightweight division, his best win being Yuriorkis Gamboa. Then, he unified all four belts in a poor Light Welterweight division. Wins over Viktor Postol and Julius Indongo were impressive but cannot compared to the wins of the above two. Even this year, he beat Jose Benavidez and Jeff Horn comfortably, but neither are that highly rated. Hopefully Crawford gets a big fight soon, I have a feeling it will bring the best out of him.

4. Naoya Inoue
Another three-weight world champion, Inoue has dominated the lighter divisions. He won a title at Light Flyweight before skipping straight to Super Flyweight where he destroyed long-time division ruler Omar Narvaez. He moved up to Bantamweight this year and sent shockwaves through the division when crushing Jamie McDonnell and Juan Carlos Payano in a combined three minutes and two seconds. He is heavy favorite to win the Bantamweight World Boxing Super Series in 2019.

5. Oleksandr Usyk
The inaugural World Boxing Super Series was held at the Cruiserweight division. Usyk had become world champion in his tenth bout but the way he came through the field, constantly fighting away was impressive. He stopped Marco Huck, edged a war with Briedis before utterly embarrassing Gassiev. Just to remove any doubts about his dominance in the division he came to England and crushed Tony Bellew stopping him in the eighth. The heavyweight division awaits.

6. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
It was a quiet end to the year for Srisaket, but he’s earned it. He had three consecutive huge fights, winning two wars and finishing one fight viciously. He beat Estrada and Gonzalez by decision and also stopped Gonzalez. He has solidified himself as the number one Super Flyweight in the world using his strength and work-rate.

7. Mikey Garcia
Mikey Garcia is looking to win a world title in his fifth weight division when he takes on Errol Spence in March. He begun by winning titles at Featherweight and has gone up to Light Welterweight. Who knows where he would be if he had not taken over two years off. It has been a big two years with Garcia defeating Dejan Zlaticanin, Adrien Broner, Sergey Lipinets and Robert Easter. He is as classy as any boxer, technically sensational.

8. Gennady Golovkin
Golovkin is the highest ranked fighter to have had a recent loss. His two fights against Canelo were incredible back and forth affairs that many believed Golovkin won. He had dominated the Middleweight division prior to those fights, although it was a weaker division at that time.

9. Donnie Nietes
10. Kazuto Ioka

It is Nietes who got the win in their fight to make himself a four-weight world champion, with Ioka also fighting for that honor. I did believe, like seemingly the majority, that Ioka did enough to get the decision and have them ranked together instead. Both have dominated the lighter weights and it was an exciting fight. Nietes started fast and was landing big counter punches but Ioka wore him down with his body shot and control of distance. A rematch would make complete sense.

11. Kosei Tanaka
Lomachenko set a record when winning world titles in three weight divisions in only twelve fights. Kosei Tanaka matched that earlier this year. Starting at Minimumweight and moving up to Light Flyweight, he has constantly impressed, mainly in a fight of the year contender against Sho Kimura.

12. Leo Santa Cruz
The Mexican just missed out on the top ten, mainly because he has shied away from the biggest fights over the last two years. Since his two fight series with Carl Frampton, which saw him overcome the Irishman in the second he has only fought twice. He had beaten Chris Avalos and Abner Mares whilst Miguel Flores is lined up for February. In a buzzing weight class, he should be taking on bigger challenges.

13. Errol Spence Jr.
Spence is incredibly talented and has a chance to get arguably his defining win when he takes on Mikey Garcia. He won the title with a crushing stoppage of Kell Brook but his defenses have been against lesser level fighters. In a strong Welterweight division, you would hope he has more big fights made in 2019.

14. Jarrett Hurd
I was late to the Hurd party. Sure he can beat guys like Trout and Harrison but I did not believe he could at the top level. Then he beat Lara. It was a close decision but he showed how dangerous an opponent he is; a last round knockdown sealing the win. He is absolutely massive at the weight and his pressure is so draining.

15. Tyson Fury
The King is back! He may not have won the heavyweight title but he gave Wilder all he can handle. He gets the nod on this rankings as a legacy bonus for his past performances, notably ending Wladimir Klitschko’s reign as heavyweight champion. 2019 should see him in more big fights.

16. Deontay Wilder
He may but crude and lack the boxing skills of others on this list, but he is effective. He twice landed his huge power punches on Tyson Fury to clinch himself a draw. Other big fights will surely come in 2019 and the power of Wilder means he has a chance in them all.

17. Jorge Linares
The first South American on this list, Linares is another three-weight world champion. He lost in a war to Lomachenko earlier in the year but his performance impressed. Arguably, he hasn’t beat anyone at the top level but his performances for at least a few rounds in every fight tend to be special.

18. Hiroto Kyoguchi
Kyoguchi got a big win on New Years Eve. He dominated and became the first man to stop Hekkie Budler, who impressed when beating Ryoichi Taguchi earlier in the year. He had already been a champion at Minimumweight. He is a serious terror and a potential all-Japanese clash with Ken Shiro would be seriously intriguing.

19. Anthony Joshua
The Brit is now at the back of the Heavyweight queue. He unified the belts in 2018 and took care of a mandatory in Alexander Povetkin. The tide is beginning to turn against him and you feel he needs to take on either Wilder or Fury at some point this year.

20. Eleider Alvarez
The beginning of a Light-Heavyweight triumvirate, Alvarez has the best win of the trio when stopping Sergey Kovalev. He was down on the scorecards when he caught Kovalev with a punch that changed the fight. He will have to prove it was no fluke in the rematch.

21. Dmitry Bivol
My favorite of the three is Bivol. A decorated amateur, he won a world title in his twelfth bout. He stopped Trent Broadhurst in one and looked unstoppable when stopping Sullivan Barrera. Two decision victories have followed against Isaac Chilemba and Jean Pascal, in arguably unimpressive fashion. He is a perfect stylist with scary punching power who I think will only improve as his opposition improves.

22. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
Finally, the Ukrainian who brought an end to the Adonis Stevenson reign. Controversially down on the scorecards, he rallied to viciously finish Stevenson in the eleventh. He also has an incredible amateur background and looked particularly destructive in his early career.

23. Ken Shiro
Ken Shiro is utterly dominating the Light Flyweight division. He won the world title in his tenth fight against Ganigan Lopez. The rematch, which took place earlier this year, was either more dominant for Shiro. He also has wins over Pedro Guevara and even more impressively Milan Melindo.

24. Daniel Jacobs
Jacobs arguably had his best performance in a 2017 loss against Gennady Golovkin, where many people believed he won. He won back a world title with a close victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. He is surely a tough fight for anyone in the division and given the quality of the division you would expect a big fight in 2019.

25. Gervonta Davis
I am a big believer in Gervonta Davis. Let’s remember to win his first world title, he crushed Jose Pedraza. He has serous ability and has not long turned 24. His career has arguably been mismanaged with poor defense and issues outside the ring. The speed and power is just frightening though and I think his potential is limitless.

26. Josh Warrington
Two huge wins from the Leeds man this year. He upset Lee Selby to win a clear decision and then did the same against Carl Frampton. He was another that I just didn’t believe him. His aggression, physical strength and technical ability have allowed him to cause these shocks and now big fights await him.

27. Keith Thurman
Could be too low or too high depending on your view. More talented than his position, with wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, many consider him to be the best Welterweight in the world. He has been out of the ring for almost two years though and I would consider him to be fortunate to have got both of those results.

28. Mairis Briedis
Hard to position the Latvian. He gave Usyk all he could handle, with many believing he beat him in the World Boxing Super Series semi final. He looked a lot less impressive when edging Noel Gevor in the quarter final of the second season.

29. Callum Smith
The other winner of the World Boxing Super Series was Callum Smith. He joined Andre Ward and Carl Froch as the only men to have beaten George Groves when viciously stopping him in the final. He has always had talent but that victory started to show him fulfilling it.

30. Juan Francisco Estrada
Since becoming an elite fighter, Estrada has only two losses. He lost to Roman Gonzalez and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in incredibly tight fights which both possibly should have seen rematches. He has wins over a strong cast including Milan Melindo, Carlos Cuadras and Brian Viloria. He should be included in any discussion on the Super-Flyweight division.

Just missed out: Badou Jack, Erislandy Lara, Moruti Mthalane, Miguel Berchelt and Wanheng Menayothin
Will be here soon: Regis Prograis, Luis Nery, Jermall Charlo, Gary Russell and Knockout CP Freshmart

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Andrew S 08:52am, 07/23/2019

    How in the world can you possible put Canelo at number 2.That is pure out despicable.He never beat GGG once in 2 fights and I can care less what the paid off judges said.80 percent of the World is not wrong.You have to put Crawford in number 2 for now at least.Canelo is in Top Ten but no where near number 2 and getting caught doing any kind of substances you should not even be considered!

  2. don from prov 07:18am, 01/09/2019

    Mr. Bradley—I would begin by saying that one problem with the sport of boxing at the moment is the lack of depth at too many divisions, and that leads to final judgements about fighters who have not really had to face a wide variety of quality opponents: GGG became a P4P how?  What was his path to his esteemed position?  I like Golovkin and always found him an interesting fighter but withheld any sweeping judgement.  A slight step up to Jacobs found him struggling.  The fact that he refused to go to the body against Alvarez and wear him down though GGG was going to be countered anyway, and surely appeared able to take the shots, tells me something about Golovkin, not about Alvarez.  I don’t know where you think he suddenly found stamina but that is something i have not seen before this far into someone’s career.  The second fight?  If it had been a Hagler or LaMotta in with Canelo, ripping to the body and not giving him a second of rest and he had beat THEM—then I’d say that some stamina miracle had taken place.

    As far as the right hand being all Wilder needs—maybe in this HW division.
    Remember Mac Foster?  Knocked everyone out until he had to fight a real guy.To me, drawing with Fury = so what?  Giraffe on crack who convulsively feints more than he punches.  He is tall, awkward, and has some good defensive instincts, but if you think he is a tall Tunney, then we disagree.
    I respect you putting out a P4P even if I question some of it.  Good stuff.

  3. Koolz 07:08am, 01/08/2019

    Cain Bradley

    Fair enough good sir.  I happen to like my opinion which belong to the mainstream anything is joke.

    So Judges favored Canelo in draw and win.  I don’t think to highly of professionals who wine and dine before big events.

  4. Herbs 04:20am, 01/08/2019

    Anthony Joshua below Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury is unjustified. AJ has beaten 5 top ten heavyweights, unified belts, revived a ailing division, all in 22 fights, after winning Olympic gold. Fury has fought once in 3 years and Wilder has only beaten Ortiz of note. Also, he lost that fight with Fury, no argument, unless you’re blinded by fandom.
    Having said that, if you genuinely believe Canelo won the first fight with GGG, you’re clearly tilted by personal favouritism.
    Apart from the above, pretty accurate list all in all in my opinion.

  5. Cain Bradley 04:06am, 01/07/2019

    Mau-Mauing: All opinions, I felt GGG was ineffective in the first fight, with Canelo landing the better punches and stealing rounds. I also think drawing with Fury is a better result than anything Joshua has managed so have to give him the credit for that.

    Donfromprov: You maybe could have said that about Canelo before the second fight but I think he proved himself against GGG. Sometimes that right hand is all you need, it got him a draw against Tyson Fury.

    Koolz: Once again, it’s all opinions, I personally had him winning twice and according to the judges he did once. The thing that holds me back about Usyk are the quality of his wins. The two that are relevant are Briedis and Gassiev. Briedis should have lost his last bout against Gevor and took Usyk to the brink whilst Gassiev looked a class below to the extent that you could doubt his form. I really rate Usyk but in terms of wins, when we look back in 2-3 years it may not seem as impressive. And yes GGG lost so he’s behind Mikey Garcia, a four weight world champion. And if we are taking it literally as if they weighed the same who wins, I think Mikey schools him.

  6. Koolz 04:09pm, 01/06/2019

    At the very top is Legend you know Pacman then there is PnP.

    Usyk as Five?  What!!!!!!

    Canelo as two?  What!!!!!!!

    Canelo never beat GGG not even ever.

    Usyk would be 1

    Lomachenko would be 2.  It’s rather debatable I guess it could go either way.

    Bud at 3(fighting Khan will be tough fight for him)

    Garcia before GGG what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can’t continue.

  7. don from prov 08:58am, 01/06/2019

    Alvarez lacks the stamina to be considered one the best P4P—

    Whether or not there are any MWs to take advantage is another thing.
    Wilder flat out does not know how to fight.  Can crack with that right, but…

  8. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 08:52am, 01/06/2019

    I had Canelo winning the rematch with G-tree,  but there is no way in hell that Golovkin lost their first fight. No way do I see Wilder as a better heavyweight or better fighter than Joshua. IMO, Wilder was exposed in his fight with Fury. The first knockdown in the 9th round was more of Fury being off balance. Fury wasn’t tagged with a solid shot at all and clearly wasn’t hurt. The knockdown in the 12th round was totally legit, however. No doubt that Fury was tagged and hurt.

  9. Cain Bradley 01:50am, 01/06/2019

    I also thought Lara beat him but had Canelo beating GGG twice personally. Smith maybe, Hurd and Spence don’t beat him. I’d have him as favourite against both Charlo’s and edging it against Jacobs.

  10. fan 03:41pm, 01/05/2019

    hoping that future pound for pound ranking will be based on criteria and comparison rather than comment.

  11. Erect On Demand 11:05am, 01/05/2019

    Inside the ring and not on skewed/screwed score cards like Auntie Addy Byrd’s, Mayweather beat your number 2 P4P, so did Lara and GGG did it twice. .Callum Smith beats him, so does Hurd and Spence….Jacobs and the Charlos are 50/50 fights!

Leave a comment