Here are the 10-best pound-for-pound boxers in the world proving that there is still an abundance of talent throughout the fight game:
- Vasyl Lomachenko (13-1, 10 KOs)
Loma appeared to be a transformed fighter in his brutal demolition of hapless mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla on April 12. Of course, many did not expect the Brit to put up much resistance, but the world’s no. 1 fighter still won in impressive fashion. Beliefs that the Ukrainian is slowing down were probably put to rest after that performance.
Next Fight: After the fight, Lomanchenko told ESPN he wants to fight Mikey Garcia, but it appears that the current (IBF) belt holder will vacate his title to pursue fights elsewhere. This likely means that Vasyl will get a shot instead at Richard Commey, who he was originally supposed to fight before an injured hand forced the Ghanaian to bow out. Prospect Teofimo Lopez also has expressed an interest in meeting Lomachenko.
- Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs)
‘Bud’ climbs back up to the #2 spot after thoroughly outclassing and then stopping Amir Khan in the 6th round for the biggest win of his career on April 20th. The ending of the fight, however, was dissatisfying when the Bolton man was unable to recover from an illegal punch to the groin. Crawford would have likely knocked Khan out anyway, so trainer Virgil Hill effectively saved his fighter from further punishment.
Next Fight: Crawford wasted no time in calling out IBF champion Errol Spence Jr for a unification match in the post-fight interview. Negotiations could be tricky between bitter promotors Arum and Haymon but it’s the fight that most fans want to see. Their clash is inevitable but not immediate as I foresee them both taking one more fight before coming together to create the sport’s next super-fight.
- Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs)
Widely considered boxing’s biggest star, puts cheeks in seats period and has the numbers to back it up. Last year’s 5-year, 11-fight deal worth $365 million with DAZN effectively makes him the highest paid athlete in the world. The red-haired Mexican slugger is what the sport needs – a young, dynamic superstar to carry the mantle in this post-Mayweather/Pacquiao era. By all accounts, he is doing just fine.
Next Fight: Alvarez-Jacobs is in full motion as the two fighters continue to prepare for their May 4th 160-pound mega title bout.
- Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs)
The 6’3” southpaw Usyk has the height, speed and dynamic technical skill as a 2012 Olympic gold medalist to give many heavyweights fits as he is expected to do. It’s not known whether the reigning unified cruiserweight champion has the chin or punching power to compete with the modern era of super heavyweights in Wilder, Joshua and Fury.
Next Fight: Usyk should get a huge test from French-Cameroonian fighter Carlos Takam in his debut at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland on May 25.
- Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs)
The undefeated Spence Jr seems to be improving with each fight as he continues to add quality names like Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson, Carlos Ocampo and Mikey Garcia to his resume. The Texas-based fighter is clearly peaking and should be the frontrunner in the race to unify the division.
Next Fight: The WBC has now ordered a welterweight unification fight between Spence and titlist Shawn Porter in what should be an entertaining and potentially explosive matchup.
- Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs)
Golovkin’s split with longtime trainer Abel Sanchez has dominated recent news. His replacement will probably be key in the Kazakh’s success during the second installment and final lap of a fabulous career.
Next Fight: Golovkin will make his long-awaited return to Madison Square Garden on June 8 against Steve Rolls of Canada in the first of a six-fight, $100 million deal with living-streaming giant DAZN.
- Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs)
In a somewhat head-scratching move, Garcia vacated his lightweight belt on April 25. The WBC also announced that it would give Garcia the rare designation of “champion emeritus,” meaning that he could return to the 135-pound weight class and immediately challenge for the title. Some have rightly observed that this could be a prelude to a potential three-belt unification fight with pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko.
Next Fight: Garcia will look at options at 147-pounds feeling that he can still win a title in that weight class despite being shut out by Errol Spence Jr back on March 16.
- Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs)
To be fair, Thurman has not been very exciting as a top draw in boxing in recent years. Injuries have mostly kept ‘One Time’ sidelined and he has taken tune-up fights with mixed results whilst regaining his form. Still it’s hard to dismiss those two major wins over current world champion Shawn Porter and former world champion Danny Garcia. Those wins look better on his resume as time has progressed.
Next Fight: The front runner for Thurman’s next opponent is reportedly Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao and despite the rumours of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Pac-Man is most likely to square off against the WBA Super Champion this summer.
- Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs)
The exciting featherweight world titlist is still waiting on his next opponent to be announced after dissecting a game Rafael Rivera over 12-rounds back in February. He needs to stay busy and land quality opponent to remain on this list.
Next Fight: Fantasy opponent Gary Russell Jr will defend his WBC world featherweight title against former world champion Kiko Martinez in the co-feature to Wilder vs. Breazeale on Saturday, May 18. If Russell Jr pulls through, this should be the next unification fight to be made.
- Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs)
The hard-punching and undefeated Japanese fighter replaces troubled WBO light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev. We have not seen the exciting technician since he flattened former champion Juan Carlos Payano at 1:10 of the first round in October 2018 of the WBSS tournament.
Next Fight: Fortunately, boxing fans will get to see Inoue when he challenges Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF bantamweight title on May 18 in Glasgow, Scotland. The talented Puerto Rican boxer-puncher will be a huge underdog against the murderous punching pound-for-pound star.