World champions exist in every boxing division, and each of them is great in their way, in their weight classes. But who is the best among the best, regardless of weight class? That’s where pound for pound rankings come in.
The pound for pound ranking lists down the best fighters on the planet, regardless of weight division. Pound for pound is based on several criteria like record, quality of opposition and how many wins are by stoppage. The rankings are determined relative to their fighting weights and since these fighters do not necessarily fight against each other, these rankings are subjective.
Currently, five major organizations have pound for pound rankings for professional boxers. These are The Ring, ESPN, Boxing Writers Association of America, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and BoxRec. For this article, we will use The Ring rankings as of March 29, 2020, as its rankings are considered the most valuable.
Here are the Top 10 pound for pound boxers in the planet today:
1. Saul Alvarez
Known as Canelo ( cinnamon ) for his red hair, Saul Alvarez is boxing’s biggest draw since the departure of Floyd Mayweather Jr. The 29-year old Mexican is a multiple-time world champion in four different weight classes. He is currently the WBC, WBA, Ring and Lineal middleweight champion since 2018. Canelo defeated Gennady Golovkin in a rematch last September 2018 after they fought to a split draw one year earlier.
He is considered as the world’s to pound for pound fighter by The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Known as a counter puncher, Alvarez knocked out Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight title in his last bout last November 2, 2019.
2. Vasyl Lomachenko
The best amateur fighter of all-time is also one of the best pound for pound fighters on the planet. Loma amassed an amateur record of 396-1 and his lone loss was avenged twice. He won gold medals in back to back World Championships and captured gold in consecutive Olympic games. Lomachenko set a record by fighting for a world title in his only second professional fight, tied another record for winning a world title in his third fight, plus set records for winning a second weight class in his seventh bout and a third division in only his 12th fight. Lomachenko is 14-1 with 10 knockouts. He defended his WBO junior lightweight title four times, forcing all four opponents to quit on their stools. Lomachenko has fought at lightweight in his last four bouts and has won all bouts, all title fights.
3. Naoya Inoue
Naoya Inoue is the highest-rated fighter from Asia in the pound for pound list. He is dubbed as the “Monster” for his vicious knockout power and he has a record of 19-0 with 16 knockouts. Inoue is a three-division world champion, having held world titles in the bantamweight, junior bantamweight, and light flyweight divisions. He has knocked seven out of his last eight opponents and is coming off a 2019 Fight of the Year candidate against former world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. in the championship of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament. Inoue’s last four wins have been against current or former world champions and he was booked to fight a fifth one in Filipino Johnriel Casimiero on April 25th before that bout was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
4. Terence Crawford
Terence Crawford burst into the world scene after a spectacular knockout win over Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2014. Since then, Bud has risen not just in the weight classes but also in the pound for pound rankings. Crawford has won world titles in three different weight classes. Currently, he is the WBO welterweight champion, having won the belt with a sensational 2018 stoppage of Jeff Horn, the Aussie who defeated Manny Pacquiao a couple of years back. Crawford is considered the best technical boxer today and he has an undefeated record of 36-0 with 27 knockouts. Including the Gamboa win, Crawford has stopped 10 out of his last 11 opponents. Crawford is coming off a 9th round TKO win over Egidijus Kavaliauskas last December 14, 2019.
5. Oleksandr Usyk
Usyk is the second fighter from Ukraine on our list after VasylLomachenko. The hard-hitting southpaw is the first fighter in cruiserweight history to unify all four major belts: WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO. He won three of the belts during the inaugural World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament where he was the recipient of the first-ever Ali Trophy. Usyk is also the first undisputed champion from Ukraine and the fifth four-belt undisputed champion in boxing history.
Before turning pro, Usyk won the gold medal in the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics. He has a record of 16-0 with 12 KOs. After scoring a brutal 8th round TKO of Tony Bellew in November 2018, he made his heavyweight debut last October 12, 2019, by knocking out Chazz Witherspoon.
6. Errol Spence Jr.
Spence represented the United States in the 2012 Olympics and reached the quarterfinals stage before he was eliminated. Since turning professional, he has not lost a professional bout and is 26-0 with 21 knockouts. Spence has fought as a welterweight since his pro debut and in 2017, he stopped Kell Brook to win the IBF welterweight title. He has since defended the belt four times. In his last bout just last September 28, 2019, the Truth outpointed Shawn Porter to add the prestigious WBC belt to his collection. Spence was involved in a car accident the following month and is currently recovering from his injuries. No fight plans were on deck when the pandemic struck.
7. Gennady Golovkin
The Kazakh god of war remains in the Top 10 after a hard-fought win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko last October 5, 2019, where Golovkin recaptured the IBF and IBO middleweight titles. Triple G has won back to back fights after his loss and draw to Canelo Alvarez which hurt his ranking and record. The loss to Canelo was disputed and so was the draw in their first bout. Other than those two fights, Golovkin has been a monster. He went on a 23 knockout streak from 2008 to 2017 and has the highest knockout to win ratio in middleweight title history at 87.2%. Triple G is also the longest-reigning unified middleweight champion with five successful title defenses made. His record is 38-1-1 with 34 knockouts. Golovkin is known to have a granite chin as he’s never been knocked down in 390 total fights since he was an amateur. A third fight versus Alvarez is in the works for September but Golovkin is now 37 years old and clearly past his prime.
8. Juan Francisco Estrada
Juan Francisco Estrada is the WBC, Ring and Lineal super flyweight champion. The 29-year old Mexican is a two-weight division champion, having won world titles at flyweight. After losing in his first title challenge against Roman “Chocolatito: Gonzalez, he defeated Brian Viloria to win the WBA (unified) and WBO flyweight titles. Estrada defended the belts successfully five times before moving up in weight. He lost to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in his first crack at the super flyweight gold but defeated the Thai fighter in a rematch one year later. In his last fight, Estrada defended his super flyweight belts against Dewayne Beamon via 9th round TKO.
9. Artur Beterbiev
Artur Beterbiev is the unified light heavyweight champion from Dagestan in Russia. The 35-year old won a silver medal at the 2007 World Championships and a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships. This former two time European Championships gold medalist has a record of 15-0 with all his wins coming by way of knockout. In his last fight, Beterbiev proved that he belonged in the ranks of pound for pound greats when he defeated the more heralded Oleksandr Govzdyk via 10th round TKO. Beterbiev entered that fight as an underdog against the technically superior Gvozdyk. However, he used his brute strength and punching power to stop a previously unbeaten world champion.
10. Manny Pacquiao
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion makes the Ring’s list at #10. The Filipino ring legend is already 41 years old and is a busy politician in his native country. However, Manny Pacquiao isn’t retired yet and while he is no longer the Pacman of old, he is still very good enough to beat the top fighters of this generation. After going just 2-2 from 2015-2017, Pacquiao has won three straight bouts, defeating world champions in all bouts.
After knocking out Lucas Matthysse to win the secondary WBA welterweight title, he successfully defended it against Adrian Broner in a one-sided beat down. In his last fight, Pacquiao dropped and scored a unanimous win over Keith Thurman to win the WBA (super) welterweight title.