Boxing is largely an international sport, but America has plenty of talent too among its crop of fighters who apply their trade at the highest level. We looked at their most recent opponents, overall resume and willingness to take on all-comers to help determine the five best American fighters in boxing today.
- Errol Spence, Jr.
IBF/WBC World Welterweight Champion
(26-0, 21 KOs)
Spence used his high boxing IQ and diverse skill set to completely outclass another great in multi-division world champion Mikey Garcia back in March. You can argue that Garcia was coming up in weight but it was still an impressive display to see Spence win every round against such an elite opponent. He then turns around six months later to give boxing fans a potential Fight-of-The-Year brawl against Shawn Porter in their March bout, where he unified the IBF and WBC welterweight world titles. A horrific, near-fatal, one-car accident in October and subsequent DWI charge will likely keep the champion out of the ring through the first half of 2020.
- Terence Crawford
WBO World Welterweight Champion
(36-0, 27 KOs)
Bud fought twice at the MSG in 2019, winning both by knockout over decent but largely inferior opponents. The gifted southpaw can only beat the fighters placed in front of him as he continues to be locked out of the more competitive fights at 147. His April fight with Amir Khan ended bizarrely in a disappointing 6th round TKO but Crawford was already on his way to eventually stopping the Brit. We would see Crawford in the single hardest fight of his career against Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas, where he was repeatedly hit with right hands. Crawford turned up the heat though to score a TKO in the ninth round. What separates Crawford from other especially elite fighters is his deeply ingrained desire to hurt people. He’s a fighting intellectual, able to read situations and make adjustments but he also wants blood.
- Deontay Wilder
WBC World Heavyweight Champion
(42-0-1, 41 KOs)
The lanky 6’7” Wilder is an enigma in the hurt business. He was a late starter to boxing at 20 years old and has relied mostly on natural God-given ability rather than skill to obtain success. Wilder’s calling card is his punching power which saw him add two additional knockout victims to his ledger this year. He needed just 2:17 to dispatch mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale with a clean right hand square to the jaw that left him spinning as he hit the canvas in a heap. The sound of that single shot was partially horrifying and yet wonderful at the same time. In November, he accepted an unnecessary and dangerous rematch against nemesis Louis Ortiz. That fight once again ended in highlight reel 7th round knockout for ‘The Bronze Bomber’ after losing every single round beforehand. Wilder now sets his sights upon another familiar foe in Tyson Fury when the two behemoths collide for their highly-anticipated rematch in February 2020.
- Jermall Charlo
WBC World Middleweight Champion
(30-0, 22 KOs)
After two wins in a row by decision, Charlo was eager to return to his knockout ways which he accomplished against Dennis Hogan last time out on December 7 in a co-main event bout in Brooklyn. It was his second successful defense of the WBC middleweight strap he secured after being elevated to full 160-pound belt-holder when Canelo Alvarez was stripped in June. The 29-year-old Houston native previously held an interim title within the division and once held a title at 154-pounds before moving up in weight almost three years ago. People sometimes forget that Charlo is indeed a world-class fighter and once stopped current junior middleweight champion Julian Williams in 2016 when Williams was then undefeated. Jermall is perhaps even good enough to beat the likes of Alvarez or Golovkin, who both hold other titles within the division should they ever tangle.
- Teofimo Lopez
IBF World Lightweight Champion
(15-0, 12 KOs)
Brooklyn’s Lopez is a star in the making. Top Rank considers the lightweight to be its shiniest prospect, and it is easy to see why: he cracks. He is athletic, he can knock you out with either hand, and his ultra-aggressive streak is tempered only by absolute necessity. At the age of 22, he is already a world champion having recently dispatched Richard Commey, a rugged Ghanaian who is rugged enough to give any lightweight in the world a tough fight. Except for Lopez, who landed a perfect straight right hand to Commey’s head in the second round, which sent him down, then up again to stumble forward and fall once more. It was over shortly after that and suddenly Lopez finds himself in the sweepstakes to face Pound-for-Pound Lomachenko in 2020. What a difference a fight can make considering that Teofimo struggled in his previous fight against the tall and awkward Masayoshi Nakatani in a fight that went the distance and saw him awarded a controversial decision.
Gary Russell Jr.
By Richard Corley