Sherdog’s Boxing Pound-for-Pound Rankings

By Mike Sloan Jun 20, 2017
Three of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the sport have competed since this list was last revised. Coincidentally, two fought against one another at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and the other put his skills on display on the undercard. While a few changes have been made, these guys remain the best of the best.

1. Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (32-0, 16 KOs)

Ward did not have an easy time of it against rival Sergey Kovalev, as they locked horns for a second time in an anticipated rematch on June 17. Kovalev landed several hard punches, raked shots to the arms and body and wore down “S.O.G.” during the first half of the fight. However, the Oakland, California, native proved resilient. Ward stormed back with vicious punches to the body and exhausted the Russian with a constant game of tie-up before putting him away in the eighth round. A wicked right hand marked the beginning of the end for Kovalev, who covered up against the ropes and had to be rescued by referee Tony Weeks. While Ward appeared to land a few low blows during the flurry that finished the fight, he nevertheless strengthened his position as the top fighter in the sport.

3. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs)

“GGG” had wiped out virtually anyone and everyone who dared to step into the ring with him but struggled against Daniel Jacobs in March. Though the Kazakhstan native had his hand raised, many observers cried foul and suggested Golovkin had been gifted a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden in New York. Even so, no one can deny the resume the 2004 Olympic silver medalist has put together. Golovkin will meet Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a blockbuster matchup on Sept. 16.

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

“Krusher” was ahead on one of the three ringside judges’ scorecards in his rematch with Andre Ward, but he could not recover from a nasty right hand to the jaw in the eighth round. Ward’s punch short-circuited Kovalev’s equilibrium and led to the stoppage moments later. Stock in “Krusher” does not figure to fall much, if at all, considering that both of his career losses have come to the undefeated Ward. Plus, some believe low blows contributed to the result.

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

Though he suffered his first professional loss in a mesmerizing brawl with Wasaksil Wangek in March, the Nicaraguan knockout machine remains one of the best fighters on the planet. “Chocolatito” still has a few years left to dominate the smaller weight classes, and it starts with a rematch against Wangek. The two will square off again on Sept. 9 in California, as Gonzalez aims to avenge his majority decision loss and reclaim the WBC super flyweight championship.

5. Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs)

The Ukrainian may only have nine professional fights under his belt, but Lomachenko has made his mark. Arguably the greatest boxer of his generation, the two-time Olympic gold medalist has looked all but invincible in recent outings. He trounced Nicholas Walters and Roman Martinez in 2016 before tearing up Jason Sosa to retain the WBO junior lightweight title on April 8. Perhaps “Hi-Tech” will be back in the ring sooner rather than later.

6. Terence “Bud” Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs)

“Bud” might be the scariest fighter on this list, and the Omaha, Nebraska, native shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Crawford had a coming-out party in July, when he dominated Viktor Postol to a unanimous decision and has since delivered impressive knockouts of John Molina Jr. and Felix Diaz. The 29-year-old has hall-of-fame talent, and the results speak to it.

7. Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KOs)

Rigondeaux entered his June 17 clash with Moises Flores with plenty of wind in his sails, having broken the jaws of the last two men he fought. While he did not shatter Flores’ face on the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev 2 undercard, he did flatten him inside the first round. However, the punch that leveled “Chucky” connected well after the bell, and referee Vic Drakulich seemed uncertain about what steps to take when Flores crumbled to his back. After several minutes of deliberation, Rigondeaux was curiously awarded a knockout at 2:59 of the opening round.

8. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs)

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. did not mount much of a challenge to Alvarez in their mega fight on May 6, as “Canelo” gave his fellow Mexican a boxing lesson and embarrassed him across 12 rounds. Perhaps the sport’s biggest star at the moment, Alvarez can rocket up this list if he can defeat Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 16 in Las Vegas.

9. Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19 KOs)

Few outside of Japan know much about the WBC and The Ring bantamweight champion despite his 22-fight winning streak. The 34-year-old has already beaten Anselmo Moreno twice, pounded on Vic Darchinyan and successfully defended his 118-pound crown on 12 occasions. Fresh off a seventh-round technical knockout of Carlos Carlson in March, Yamanaka’s next assignment comes in an Aug. 15 pairing with Luis Nery in Kyoto, Japan.

10. Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs)

Easily one of boxing’s most gifted fighters, Thurman has reached a point in his career where he can become an all-time superstar like “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns or an overlooked great like Ike Quartey and Donald Curry. The 28-year-old Clearwater, Florida, native has all the tools and already owns victories over top-level opponents like Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. A much-talked-about clash with Errol Spence Jr. could come next.

Other Contenders: Errol Spence Jr., Naoya Inoue, Anthony Joshua, Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz, Wisaksil Wangek

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