’s Boxing Pound-for-Pound Top 10

By Mike Sloan Oct 16, 2016
The eyes of the boxing world have fixed on their latest target.

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev will put his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles on the line against Andre “S.O.G.” Ward in a blockbuster showdown on Nov. 19 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Kovalev, 33, will enter the ring on a 14-fight winning streak, while Ward cleared his final hurdle to their super fight by taking a 12-round unanimous decision from Alexander Brand on Aug. 6 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

Kovalev and Ward have combined for a 60-0-1 record and hold prominent places in the latest pound-for-pound rankings:

1. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs)

“Chocolatito” has dominated everyone he has faced, capturing world titles in four different weight classes. The Nicaraguan last appeared in an exciting decision victory over Carlos Cuadras in September, when he proved he could prevail in a back-and-forth battle that goes the distance. Gonzalez has already beaten formidable foes like Brian Viloria, Edgar Sosa and Akira Yaegashi en route to winning the WBA minimumweight, WBA light flyweight, WBC flyweight and WBC super flyweight championships.

2. Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs)

Russia’s Kovalev remains one of the most feared punchers in the world. Though his most recent win was not as electrifying as so many others before it, his decision over Isaac Chilemba in July proved he still has what it takes to go 12 hard rounds. The WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion has torn his division to shreds, having dominated Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal (twice) and Nathan Cleverly. “Krusher” will face the most difficult test of his career on Nov. 19, when he faces off against fellow pound-for-pound ace Andre Ward in one of the year’s most anticipated fights.

3. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs)

The boxing world has fallen in love with “GGG” -- and rightfully so. He knocks out almost everyone he faces, and he has begun to ramp up the quality of his opposition. A mega fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has moved to the top of the wish list, and Golovkin claims he desperately wants it. “GGG” victimized welterweight champion Kell Brook on Sept. 10, and the WBA, IBF and WBC middleweight titleholder hopes to land his shot at Alvarez in 2017.

4. Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs)

Before battling injuries and management/promotional issues, Ward was pegged as the heir to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s pound-for-pound throne. He seemed destined for all-time greatness after whipping through the middleweight division, with victories over Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika, Carl Froch and Chad Dawson. However, the last three years have proven difficult for Ward, who has fought sporadically and against subpar competition. “Son of God” will get a golden opportunity to reclaim some of his past shine on Nov. 19, when he squares off with fellow unbeaten light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev.

5. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs)

Alvarez ranks among the best fighters in the world at any weight. The former WBC middleweight champion took the WBO junior middleweight title from Liam Smith on Sept. 17 and has targeted a 2017 showdown with Gennady Golovkin. Though, he lost a majority decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. a little more than four years ago, “Canelo” has rattled off wins over Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan to keep himself firmly entrenched among the pound-for-pound elite.

6. Terence “Bud” Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs)

Crawford has enjoyed a quick ascent on the boxing ladder. With “Bud” having already captured the WBO lightweight and the WBO and WBC junior welterweight championships, the sky seems to be the limit for the 29-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, native. Wins over Yuriorkis Gamboa, Thomas Dulorme and Henry Lundy highlight the Crawford resume, along with a unanimous decision victory over the previously unbeaten Viktor Postol. Rumors of a potential showdown with Manny Pacquiao were quashed, leaving Crawford without a dance partner for the time being.

7. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs)

His greatness has never come into question, but Rigondeaux has thus far suffered from one serious flaw: a lack of activity. Few can match the Cuban skill for skill, but it becomes hard to maintain excitement around him when he fights so infrequently. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has fought just six times since 2012. Rigondeaux, 36, last competed on July 16, when he returned from an eight-month layoff to stop James “Jazza” Dickens in the second round of their matchup in Wales.

8. Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs)

Pacquiao has done it all as the only eight-division champion in boxing history. While the 37-year-old Filipino superstar’s lopsided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2015 hurt his current pound-for-pound credentials, he returned 11 months later to thoroughly outclass Timothy Bradley in their rubber match. Pacquiao will be back in the ring on Nov. 5 in Las Vegas, where he will lock horns with the once-beaten Jessie Vargas.

9. Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs)

Frampton was victorious in one of the three best bouts of 2016 so far, as he outslugged Leo Santa Cruz to a majority decision on July 30. The win brought with it the WBO featherweight title, adding to the IBF and WBA super bantamweight championships he already had in his possession. Frampton has not yet achieved global stardom, but his crowd-pleasing style and undeniable talents figure to change that in the not-too-distant future. The undefeated 29-year-old has already defeated Scott Quigg, Kiko Martinez (twice) and Alejandro Gonzalez Jr.

10. Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs)

That someone with only seven pro fights to his credit appears on this list serves as a testament to his otherworldly abilities. Lomachenko is widely regarded as the top amateur boxer in history, and the two-time Olympic gold medalist has begun to wow crowds as a pro. Aside from a hotly contested split decision loss to Orlando Salido in his second professional bout, “Hi-Tech” has taken care of everyone he has faced. He edged Gary Russell Jr. to capture the WBO featherweight crown in 2014 and has successfully defended the belt three times. In his most recent appearance, Lomachenko greased Roman Martinez on June 11 in one of the most electrifying knockouts of the year to claim the WBO super featherweight championship. He will look to continue his magnificence on Nov. 26, when he confronts fellow unbeaten stud Nicholas Walters in Las Vegas.

Other Contenders: Shinsuke Yamanaka, Keith Thurman, Timothy Bradley, Danny Garcia, Daniel Jacobs


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