By Lewis Calvert @BigWriteHook
I’ve never really bothered with Pound 4 Pound ranking lists. They don’t interest me these days. I know who my favourite fighters are, you know who your favourite fighters are, let’s leave it at that. But then I think, “No. Why is it that I’m not bothered? These things are meant to be fun.”
One of the many reasons I consider these lists frivolous is because the fun has been sapped out of them by moaning boxing fans who will be incensed that my opinion is not exactly the same as theirs. And to be honest, when I see other people’s lists, I don’t particularly rate some of their choices either, so over the years I’ve chosen to ignore them.
Critics will try their hardest to point out any slight hypocrisy a list may have; for instance not including Canelo because he tested positive for Clenbuterol, but including Tyson Fury despite him serving a backdated drugs ban. In truth, nobody really knows what happened in these findings, you just have to make a judgement call on what you believe.
Another sticking point for me is that these lists are so easy to be shot at in 12 months’ time, with at least three of the fighters bound to have been beaten or embroiled in a drug scandal, such is the current state of the sport.
Then there are the hardest of hardcore fans who dig you out for not mentioning their favourite 6-0 Thai flyweight who is a Tyson, Ali, Manny, Floyd and whoever else, all rolled into one. Unfortunetly, I haven’t got the time to watch every single fight that happens to be taking place across the globe, mate, but good luck to you. I bet you’re a laugh in the pub.
The very notion it of these fictitious ranking systems is also very complex; we have to somehow rate a fighter’s speed, power, ring IQ, footwork, chin, stamina, mentality and so much more, scale them up or down to compare to each other, then rank them numerically. It’s too much for one brain to process.
Fury also once said words to the effect: “Pound 4 Pound is a load of bollocks… If I could swim under the sea like a dolphin I’d be able to shag a whale… how could a seven stone man beat an 18 stone man.”
We see this every time a smaller fighter attempts to “achieve greatness” i.e. make more money by jumping up a few divisions only to be overpowered; think Loma v Rigo, Spence v Garcia etc. the practicality of these lists very rarely plays out so well in real life.
But with all that being said… and it does look like one long winded way to pre-empt any form of criticism that could come my way, I do think they are fun and they create a bit of discussion, so fuck it, here’s my list with some quick reasons why.
10. Errol Spence Jr
The Truth is the real deal. His impressive hard hitting style coupled with perfect timing has seen him dominate everybody he has come up against. And the way he broke down Kell Brook was haunting.
9. Naoya Inoue
Hipsters across the boxing world love to cite the Monster as their favourite fighter due to his incredible knockout ratio and lack of mainstream attention. The Godzilla of the Bantamweight division is quickly becoming Asia’s biggest star and should he add the WBSS to his collection of World titles he will become a national hero. I have my doubts as to how a man that small can knockout so many people, and I put that down to educated cynicism rather than subconscious racism towards the Japanese, but until proven otherwise, Inoue is the man to beat at the lower weights.
8. Josh Taylor
Josh Taylor oozes natural ability, but don’t let that fool you, he puts in the hard hours in the gym. His combinations are a delight to watch and he throws his punches with a Scottish malice. (Like a normal punch, but a bit more bitter.) He has incredible grit and energy too. The Tornado is the unsigned hype of the British domestic scene and I could see him conquering America should he go on to win the WBSS as I expect.
7. Callum Smith
The Super Middleweight winner of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series, in a year that saw people back Chris Eubank Jr to beat George Groves and then Groves to subsequently beat Smith, Mundo proved he was legit. The Liverpudlian dispatched Groves in devastating KO fashion and he has blasted out almost every fighter put in front of him. Admittedly, they could be stronger, but beat them all he has. Having watched his career from it’s inception I believe he beats everyone in his division and up at Light Heavy too. He is also a Scouser, so there is some bias for my inclusion and I harbour hopes of watching him unify World titles at Anfield.
6. Saul Canelo Alvarez
It pains me to say it because of the Clen fiasco, but one look down Canelo’s boxing C.V. and you see it’s a “who’s who?” of boxing greats. Okay he was schooled by Floyd Mayweather, but he was young and weight drained. These days, Canelo is a powerhouse. His vast experience at the highest level and his unique physique make him almost unbeatable for the next few years as continues to pick off whatever champion holds the belt he desires. His frame is too compact for him to be stopped to the body, his neck to thick and chin always tucked to be KO’d to the head, his promoter too rich to lose on the scorecards. The only way I see Canelo losing is a 12 round shut out from a smaller fighter who boxes and runs for 12 rounds.
5. Gennady Golovkin
Triple G was robbed of a career defining win against Canelo in their first fight. Golden Boy promotions tried to catch him on the slide as he entered his late 30’s with the super-fight that came 3 years too late and still, GGG did enough for me to edge out the majority of the rounds with pressure and power punches. Golovkin arguably won the rematch, but there are legitimate claims to support a case for Canelo, so let’s leave that for now. Controversy aside, his incredible knockout streak of World champions and contenders is enough to see him make the top 5 of my list. I have no doubt he will slip out of this list soon enough though, as he slows down approaching 40 years old.
4. Tyson Fury
The Gypsy King does things that other heavyweight simply can not do. His hand speed and foot speed are all the more impressive due to his gigantic 6” 7’ size. In dislodging Wladimir Klitschko, the most dominant Heavyweight champion of the last two decades, to become The Man that beat The Man, he carries boxing oldest legacy on his back as the Lineal champion. Even as a fat, ring rusted version of himself, he managed to go 12 rounds with knockout merchant Deontay Wilder and despite being dropped twice, won every other round in my opinion. Until he is beaten, he reigns supreme at the top of the boxing pyramid.
3. Vasyl Lomachenko
Loma is revered for his skill and timing, footwork and speed, and climbing the weights so quickly to become a 3 weight World champion. The Matrix also done it a way that doesn’t bring the same kind of scepticism that surrounds Manny Pacquiao. Loma is just one fight away from becoming undisputed king at 135lbs. Technically, I can see no one better than him; he now just has to get the belts to prove it. Of course, if he does that, he goes in at number one because he has done it in such a short amount of pro’ fights. As bold a claim as it is, he may well be the best to ever lace up a pair of gloves.
2. Oleksandr Usyk
To become undisputed in your weight class, particularly one as heavy handed as Cruiserweight, guarantees you a spot at the top of a Pound 4 Pound list in my eyes. The only reason Usyk isn’t top is because he is yet to capture a title at Heavyweight, should he do that, the Ukrainian goes top for me. He is also hilarious with his constant photobombing and breakdancing. Keeping some much needed humour in the bloodsport we all love.
1. Terence Bud Crawford
Bud became the undisputed champion of the 14olbs division and that is instant HOF stuff for me. The fact he went up to capture a belt at 147 also adds to his credibility and if not for promotional issues I’m pretty sure he would be able to become undisputed at 147 too. A quiet, humble man, who lets his fists do the talking. He is currently the best on the planet and oddly enough, the best is yet to come from him.
Honorable Mentions: None. That’s my list. That’s the hard part about making it. All those big names you think are missing, are missing because I picked these people instead. @ me, bro.
You might also like
More from Articles
By Oliver McManus @OliverGMcManus Ultimate Boxxer V takes place this coming Friday, back at the O2 Indigo, with the super welterweights …