The only question after Alvarez’s wide decision win over rugged mandatory challenger John Ryder is how far removed the 32-year-old superstar now appears to be from the title of pound-for-pound best that he once wore unanimously in recent years.
While Alvarez largely dominated Ryder, the fact that the fight went the full 12 rounds was one of many indicators, along with the generous swelling across his face, that the four-division champion is naturally slowing down. It’s also a continuation of the theme that began last year when Alvarez lost cleanly while challenging light heavyweight titleholder Dmitry Bivol before looking sluggish in a fall trilogy win over Gennadiy Golovkin.
Considering Alvarez turned pro at age 15 and now has 63 pro fights under his belt, a gradual decline is only natural. But it feels somewhat startling considering the level Alvarez had been operating at in recent years where weight classes no longer seemed to matter as he carried his power with him up in weight.
Alvarez is still a calculated technician capable of adjusting to any style. But he’s no longer the same explosive force for the full three minutes of every round and he took a surprising amount of clean shots from the limited yet crafty Ryder, who was willing to walk through hell to make it to the final bell.
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The problem is, Ryder is the exact type of opponent Alvarez would’ve finished even two years ago and he appeared close to doing so after bloodying him in Round 3 before dropping him two rounds later yet was unable to finish him off.
Alvarez’s next move will certainly be his most scrutinized one as he seems persistent upon landing a rematch with Bivol at 175 pounds in September even though his own division is heating up as fans continue to clamor for a super middleweight showdown against unbeaten former champion David Benavidez.
Regardless of which lane he chooses, Alvarez will need to slightly alter his style with age and return to his counterpunching ways as a former 154-pound sniper who relied on timing to offset his disadvantages in hand and foot speed.
Using a criteria that takes into account everything from accomplishments to current form, let’s take a closer look at the top fighters inside the ring. Below is the latest Pound for Pound rankings update after Davis’ win in April.
1. Naoya Inoue
Undisputed bantamweight champion (21-0, 19 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 1
At 29, the Japanese “Monster” is operating at the peak of what is becoming an all-time great career. The three-division champion added undisputed status at 118 pounds to his resume by finishing an overly cautious Paul Butler to become the first four-belt champion in divisional history. Inoue is expected to move up to 122 pounds next, where there are no shortage of elite foes.
2. Errol Spence Jr.
Unified welterweight champion (28-0, 22 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 2
The only fight that makes sense for Spence is an undisputed showdown with WBO champion Terence Crawford for all four titles. The good news is that talks continue behind the scenes for a possible superfight this summer, which became more likely once talks for a Spence fight against Keith Thurman at 154 pounds died down.
3. Terence Crawford
WBO welterweight champion (38-0, 28 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 3
No one has ever questioned Crawford’s talent. But the 35-year-old promotional free agent pulled out of talks to fight Errol Spence Jr. in November for the undisputed welterweight championship. “Bud” scored a thunderous knockout of David Avanesyan in his lone appearance in 2022 as eyes continue to look for the unification matchup.
4. Oleksandr Usyk
Unified heavyweight champion (19-0, 13 KOs | Previous ranking: 5
Usyk’s professional run has been as decorated as it has been perfect. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion even has a strong argument for best fighter in the sport after defeating Anthony Joshua in their August rematch. Unfortunately for fans, an undisputed title bout against WBC champion Tyson Fury continues to allude Usyk despite how easy it appears to make.
5. Dmitry Bivol
WBA light heavyweight champion (21-0, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: 6
Criticized at times for playing it safe in the past, Bivol was anything but in his career-making victory over pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez. The 175-pound titleholder was even more explosive in a convincing shutdown of unbeaten Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in November.
6. Tyson Fury
WBC heavyweight champion (33-0-1, 25 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 7
The 34-year-old “Gypsy King” chose to stay active in a largely unnecessary trilogy bout against Derek Chisora in December. The problem now is Fury hasn’t shown any signs of actually wanting an undisputed title bout against Oleksandr Usyk as he continues to make seemingly disingenuous accusations at the unified king for avoiding him.
7. Canelo Alvarez
Undisputed super middleweight champion (59-2-2, 38 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 4
The former P4P king is still the undisputed champion of one of the sport’s hottest divisions and among the best boxers in the game. But it’s clear at 32 that Alvarez is slowing down just a bit, some 18 years into his pro career. A decision win over mandatory foe John Ryder in May confirmed that Alvarez seems determined to secure a Dmitry Bivol rematch at 175 pounds.
8. Gervonta Davis
Secondary lightweight titleholder (29-0, 27 KOs) | Previous ranking: NR
It’s about time “Tank” is finally getting his due as one of the most dangerous and well-rounded boxers on the planet. The efficient sniper finished unbeaten Ryan Garcia with a body shot in Round 7 of their April superfight and continues to make a case for being the next breakout star in the sport.
9. Shakur Stevenson
WBO junior lightweight champion (20-0, 10 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 8
Fresh off of blanking of Robson Conceicao last fall, Stevenson moved up in weight and finished unbeaten Shuichiro Yoshino in April to announce himself at lightweight. Although it’s likely Stevenson will continue to be avoided, he has declared his hopes of facing the May 20 winner of the Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko undisputed title bout.
10. Devin Haney
Undisputed lightweight champion (29-0, 15 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 9
If back-to-back victories in Australia over George Kambosos Jr. wasn’t enough to convince those that “The Dream” is among the best pure boxers in the game, a May 20 showdown opposite former P4P king Vasiliy Lomachenko feels like the perfect next challenge. Haney holds all the belts atop arguably the sport’s most exciting division and is only getting better at age 24.
Dropped out: Vasiliy Lomachenko
Honorable mention: Lomachenko, Stephen Fulton Jr., Artur Beterbiev, Jermell Charlo, Juan Francisco Estrada