It’s been awhile since we updated our pound-for-pound rankings.
With several significant matchups transpiring the past nine months, let’s re-calibrate this mythical list as we head into the final quarter of 2021.
On a side note, it feels kind of strange writing that. Indeed, time flies fast. But apparently, it flies ever faster during a pandemic.
1. Saul Alvarez (56-1, 38 KOs). It’s not difficult to fathom why “Canelo” has remained on top of our rankings. This year, he registered two stoppage victories over top-notch opponents (Avni Yldirim and Billy Joe Saunders.)
The fight against then-WBO titleholder Saunders was particularly impressive as the latter appeared to have outworked him for the first half of the fight. However, Canelo rallied and broke him down as Sanders refused to get up on his stool to answer the bell for the 9th round.
2. Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs). The “Monster” retains his no. 2 spot after an impressive stoppage win over our very own Michael Dasmariñas last June. Inoue showed there are levels to this as he knocked down Dasmariñas three times all via the same deadly punch the latter seemingly was defenseless against a left hook to the liver.
3. Oleksander Usyk (19-0, 13KOs). Usyk seemingly came out of nowhere to score one of the biggest upsets in boxing history with a stoppage win over the hulking Anthony Joshua to annex the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight diadems.
When you consider that three fights ago, Usyk was campaigning as a cruiserweight, you get to appreciate the magnitude of his accomplishment.
That nets him a lofty ranking in our pound-for-pound list.
4. Tyson Fury (31-0, 22KOs). In one of the best heavyweight fights in recent memory, Fury got up from two knockdowns, and dished out three of his own to end a brutal war with fierce rival Deontay Wilder.
Fury is now undisputedly the best heavyweight in the sport right now. But Usyk might have something to say about that. Seldom have we seen two heavyweights in the top 10 of these rankings and should that fight transpire, expect it to be another war of attrition as none of these combatants appear to be gun shy.
5. Juan Francisco Estrada (42-3, 28KOs). “El Gallo” officially came storming back into the elite ranks with a split decision victory over the formidable Roman Gonzales in March of this year.
In doing so, he now holds the WBA and WBC super flyweight titles. Granted, the fight could have gone either way but Estrada has been consistently good for several years now and has racked up six straight victories ever since that disputed loss to Wisaksil Wangek in 2018.
6. Terence Crawford (37-0, 28KOs). Bud’s ranking is dipping not because of anything he has done but rather because of what he has not done yet this year, which is to fight.
Understandably, title fights are not easy to come by during a pandemic but his inactivity is partly due to the fact that he is too good and too dangerous that promoters tap dance their way around Crawford unless there is money to be made to make the risk worthwhile.
For that alone, he deserves his spot in these rankings.
7. Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12KOs). Ditto with Lopez who hasn’t fought ever since he dethroned erstwhile pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko in October of last year. He was supposed to make his defense against George Kambosos back in June but Lopez tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
That fight has been rescheduled for November and fans should be in for a treat as we get to witness once again his crowd-pleasing style.
8. Vasyl Lomachenko (15-2, 11KOs). After that closely fought battle against Lopez, Loma has bounced back nicely with an impressive stoppage win over Masayoshi Nakatani. The other loss on the latter’s record was inflicted by Teofimo Lopez, but the difference is that “The Matrix” was able to stop him via the abbreviated route.
Lopez has gone on record saying he will not give Loma a rematch, and if that truly is the case, woe to us fight fans as we will be deprived of another intriguing top-level matchup between two elite pound-for-pound champions.
LAST ROUND. It’s on one of my best buddies and my roommate back in my UP Diliman days, engineer Rey Cervera, who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!