Over the course of the past few years, Boxing’s pound-for-pound list has become somewhat of a controversial topic, scour the internet and you’ll rarely find a list produced by experts to sports news outlets that resemble another.
The main reason why I assume the lists vary is due to the lack of clear criteria, so to provide a ranking which has no bias I will first detail my personal criteria ordered from the most to least contributing factor.
Quality of opposition
Titles (Especially at multiple weights)
Manner of victories
#1 Andre Ward
Record: 32-0 (16 wins by KO)
Notable Wins: Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Chad Dawson, Sergey Kovalev.
Titles Held: WBA, WBC, & The Ring super middleweight world champion. WBA, IBF, WBO, & The Ring light heavyweight world champion.
The easiest spot to pick on the whole list for me, Winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament which featured many fighters either in or still close to their primes. Leading into the tournament there was no big favorite but Andre Ward showed he was a class above the rest of the competition.
Recently Ward took a huge risk by going up in weight to take on a man who was and still is viewed as one of the top fighters in the world. No catchweight, no glove stipulations, no rehydration clause, Kovalev was at his best. Some controversy surrounded the decision in the first fight and the stoppage in the second but record books will accurately depict that Ward was the victor in both.
#2 Canelo Alvarez
Record: 49-1-1 (34 wins by KO)
Notable Wins: Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto.
Titles Held: WBC, WBA, & The Ring light middleweight world champion. WBC, WBO, & The Ring middleweight world champion.
Only blemishes on Canelo’s career are a draw at 16 years old & the loss to Floyd Mayweather which was well before Canelo had entered his prime. I can’t hold the loss to Floyd against him because it was a difficult task trying to beat the greatest defensive fighter of all time without adequate experience.
Austin Trout was a tricky opponent as was Erislandy Lara, both fights from which Canelo had little to gain. The knockout of James Kirkland was rather impressive, the finish against Khan wasn’t too bad either although Khan was giving away a huge size advantage.
When Canelo fought Cotto he was past his best but I still think that version of Cotto is as good as or better than most of the opponents the rest of the fighters on this list have faced, the fashion in which Canelo outboxed him was masterful.
A two division world champion who’s wasted no time in taking on tough challenges with so much of his career ahead of him. You’ll struggle to find many Boxers with a record as strong as Canelo’s at only 27 years of age.
#3 Terence Crawford
Record: 31-0 (22 wins by KO)
Notable Wins: Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Viktor Postol.
Titles Held: WBO & The Ring lightweight world champion. WBO, WBC, & The Ring light welterweight world champion.
Crawford traveled to the U.K to win his first world title against Ricky Burns, many American fighters choose not to come over to the U.K because the judges have on occasion handed in some scorecards unfairly favoring home fighters. Crawford was confident in his ability to win in a decisive enough fashion that there would be no doubt he had won, that was exactly how it ended up playing out.
In the following fight against the gifted Yuriorkis Gamboa Crawford displayed his ability to come back from some early adversity and effectively switch stances securing a 9th round ko in a modern classic.
The undefeated Viktor Postol was expected to give Crawford some trouble, surprisingly that fight was a shut out another near perfect performance.
#4 Gennady Golovkin
Record: 37-0 (33 wins by KO)
Notable Wins: Matthew Macklin, Daniel Geale, David Lemieux, Daniel Jacobs.
Titles Held: IBO, WBA, IBF, & WBC middleweight world champion.
GGG’s been on a mission to become the undisputed Middleweight champion for quite some time, destroying fighter after fighter with his trademark Kazakh Thunder.
The systematic breakdown of David Lemieux was an exhibition of controlled violence, the back and forth affair with Kell Brook gave the fans a memorable night of boxing.
Danny Jacobs is the standout name on GGG’S record, he’s a similarly sized man with power and respectable boxing skills. GGG extended his unbeaten record against Jacobs earlier this year going to a decision for the first time since 2008, bringing to an end the consecutive run of 23 knockouts.
#5 Keith Thurman
Record: 28-0 (22 wins by KO) 1 no contest
Notable Wins: Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia.
Titles Held: WBA & WBC welterweight world champion.
Keith “One time” Thurman is as of now considered the best Welterweight in the world, the division is home to many talented fighters and two of those Thurman has already defeated.
Shawn Porter pushed Thurman hard for 12 rounds but couldn’t get the better of him, the fight was a candidate for The Fight of The Year award. Thurman displayed grit and determination in stoking the fiery offense of his game challenger.
Most recently Danny Garcia was handed his first loss at the hands of Thurman in a fight that was a tale of two halves. After a strong start from Thurman, Garcia worked himself back into the fight but could not close the gap enough in the final stages to win. Gracia was previously undefeated with a good record against championship caliber opponents.