The race for inclusion among the pound-for-pound best boxers in the world has taken an interesting turn in recent months.
Not only are the multiple names in discussion for the top overall spot, there’s a group of talented fighters — including Stephen Fulton Jr., Jermell Charlo and Gervonta Davis — on the outside looking in who could just as easily be included among anyone’s top 10.
A long-time stalwart to this list, former P4P king Vasiliy Lomachenko, returned last week after nearly one year away serving his home country of Ukraine in the ongoing conflict with Russia. Although Lomachenko was able to outpoint unbeaten Jamaine Ortiz, a former sparring partner, he was forced to work harder than usual in order to do so, which opens up questions as to whether it’s time for youth to fully be served in the lightweight division.
Undisputed 135-pound king Devin Haney makes his debut on this list after a pair of convincing victories over former champion George Kambosos Jr. in Australia. That, combined with Lomachenko’s recent win, likely sets up a four-belt showdown between the two in 2023, although another name on this list — former two-division champion Shakur Stevenson — could be in the running for next after recently moving up in weight.
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The division that could most use P4P clarity is heavyweight, which continues its renaissance run in recent years. The dream of an undisputed champion in boxing’s true glamour division could become a reality next year provided Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury agree to square off. Recent injuries to Usyk, coupled with Fury’s bizarre behavior of juggling retirement teases while calling out a new fighter seemingly every other week, hasn’t helped matters.
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 Lomachenko’s win in October.
1. Naoya Inoue
Unified bantamweight champion (20-0, 18 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 1
The Japanese “Monster” needed just two rounds to finish off 39-year-old legend Nonito Donaire in their June rematch to unify three of four titles at 118 pounds. Inoue’s power remains scary, but his technique and I.Q. are often overlooked. Up next is a four-belt bantamweight unification on Dec. 13 against Paul Butler.
2. Errol Spence Jr.
Unified welterweight champion (28-0, 22 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 2
Despite a 17-month layoff and surgery to repair a detached retina, Spence returned looking better than ever in his demolition of Yordenis Ugas to unify three of four world titles. The only fight that makes sense next is an undisputed showdown with WBO champion Terence Crawford, which has fallen apart for 2022 amid negotiations.
3. Terence Crawford
WBO welterweight champion (37-0, 27 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. Closing in on a one-year layoff, Crawford will instead defend his title against David Avanesyan on Dec. 10.
4. Canelo Alvarez
Undisputed super middleweight champion (58-2-2, 38 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 4
The combination of a light heavyweight title loss to Dmitry Bivol and an uneven decision win over 40-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin in their trilogy has Alvarez slipping just a bit at age 32. Left wrist surgery is expected to keep him out until at least May 2023, if not September.
5. 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. An undisputed title bout against Tyson Fury will have to wait until 2023 as Usyk recovers from nagging injuries.
6. Tyson Fury
WBC heavyweight champion (32-0-1, 24 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 6
With unified champion Oleksandr Usyk idle nursing multiple injuries, the 34-year-old “Gypsy King” has chosen to stay busy in a seemingly unnecessary trilogy bout against Dereck Chisora on Dec. 3. Along with constant threats of retirement, it has been difficult to gauge Fury’s true intentions as of late.
7. Shakur Stevenson
WBO junior lightweight champion (19-0, 9 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 8
Although he was stripped of his two 130-pound titles on the scale, Stevenson still turned informer Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao in September. A move up to lightweight is next and the 25-year-old phenom has already called out undisputed champion Devin Haney.
8. Devin Haney
Undisputed lightweight champion (29-0, 15 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. NR
It’s about time “The Dream” received his flowers as one of the best boxers in the game. The 23-year-old made a strong case for consideration in the Fighter of the Year voting with a second straight decision win over former champion George Kambosos Jr. in Australia. Haney can simply do it all.
9. Vasiliy Lomachenko
Lightweight (16-2, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 7
After sitting out for nearly one year while serving on the frontlines of the conflict in his native Ukraine, the former P4P king nearlyagainst former sparring partner Jamaine Ortiz in October. Lomachenko made the necessary adjustments to secure the win and keep hope alive for a showdown against Devin Haney.
10. Dmitry Bivol
WBA light heavyweight champion (20-0, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: 9
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. Bivol acted the part of the bigger man and failed to show Alvarez any respect in the manner that he fought him. A Nov. 5 return against unbeaten mandatory challenger Gilberto Ramirez is up next.
Dropped out: Stephen Fulton Jr.
Honorable mention: Fulton, Jermell Charlo, Gervonta Davis, Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev