Pound-for-pound: Terence Crawford still king; Gervonta Davis makes a move


Terence Crawford scored his eighth consecutive stoppage victory with a tremendous fourth-round TKO of former welterweight world titlist Kell Brook to leave no doubt he’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Or is he?

ESPN Boxing writer Ben Baby believes that until Crawford faces the elite at welterweight, there’s another fighter that deserves the top spot.

“‘Bud’ Crawford has a pretty strong case to be the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter,” explains Ben Baby. “He picked up another notable victory last weekend against Kell Brook, a one-sided bout that many anticipated.

“However, boxing’s politics have placed a ceiling on Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., who is the only other current welterweight who is at Crawford’s level. But because both fighters can’t or won’t get in the ring to face each other, neither should be crowned the top pound-for-pound guy. That leaves Canelo Alvarez, who is the sport’s top seller and who is now a free agent after his split with Golden Boy Promotions. Even if a couple of his fights are controversial, Alvarez has some of the best wins in the sport and is currently unmatched.”

Kel Dansby, ESPN’s social media editor for combat sports, also voted Alvarez at No. 1 for one simple reason: quality of opposition.

“Despite Crawford’s stellar TKO victory over Brook, Alvarez remains the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world in my list due to his superior résumé,” says Dansby. “Although he isn’t undefeated, his lone loss coming at the hands of Floyd Mayweather, Canelo has managed to distance himself from the field by daring to be great and overcoming some of the toughest fighters in multiple weight classes.

“Canelo is a four-division world champion spanning between junior middleweight (154-pounds) and light heavyweight (175-pounds). He owns victories over at least two future hall-of-famers, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto, along with a win and a draw over a then top-10 pound-for-pound fighter in Gennadiy Golovkin. Both Crawford and bantamweight unified champion Naoya Inoue, Canelo’s current threats to the No.1 spot, have yet to defeat a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter. And with his newfound ability to navigate the boxing landscape as a free agent, it may be hard for anyone to amass the resume Canelo is building.”

Naoya Inoue gained some votes after a dominant victory over Jason Moloney, but not enough to overtake Alvarez for the No. 2 spot.

Another fighter getting recognition on the list is junior lightweight and lightweight world titleholder Gervonta Davis. And while he didn’t get enough votes to make the top 10 after a tremendous KO victory over Leo Santa Cruz, it seems to be a matter of time until he becomes one of the featured fighters on the P4P list.

“On my pound-for-pound list fighters must have accomplished a championship or several championships and ‘Tank’ Davis has done that,” says Timothy Bradley Jr., a former two division champion and current ESPN boxing analyst. “When I look at has last performance he showed me he is more than a puncher. He showed mental toughness, patience and an underrated ring IQ. He is without question a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.”

ESPN Deportes boxing writer Salvador Rodriguez agrees with Bradley that it is time to give Davis his due.

“I think the fight against Leo Santa Cruz was exactly what Gervonta Davis needed; it brought out the best of him,” explains Rodriguez. “Santa Cruz is a very good and very disciplined fighter and Davis defeated him in a brutal and electrifying way.

“Undefeated, with a 24-0 record and 23 victories by KO, Davis could be considered the best current 130 pounder and the second or third best at 135 pounds, behind only Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko.”

Our ESPN panel members — Timothy Bradley Jr., Joe Tessitore, Cameron Wolfe, Eric Raskin, Andre Ward, Teddy Atlas, Nick Parkinson, Ben Baby, Eric Woodyard, Kel Dansby, Bernardo Pilatti, Charles Moynihan and Salvador Rodriguez — share their lists.

Don’t forget to check out our divisional rankings, which are updated weekly, and ESPN’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results are through Thursday, Nov. 18.

1. TERENCE CRAWFORD     Previous ranking: No. 1

RECORD: 37-0, 28 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO4) Kell Brook, Nov. 14

2. CANELO ALVAREZ     Previous ranking: No. 2

RECORD: 53-1-2, 36 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (champion), super middleweight (“regular” titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO11) Sergey Kovalev, Nov. 2
NEXT FIGHT: Dec. 19 vs.Callum Smith

3. NAOYA INOUE     Previous ranking: No. 3

RECORD: 20-0, 17 KOs
DIVISION: Bantamweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO7) Jason Moloney, Oct. 31

4. ERROL SPENCE JR.     Previous ranking: No. 4

RECORD: 26-0, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Shawn Porter, Sept. 28
NEXT FIGHT: Dec. 5 vs. Danny Garcia

5. TEOFIMO LOPEZ JR.     Previous ranking: No. 5

RECORD: 16-0, 12 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oct. 17

6. VASILIY LOMACHENKO     Previous ranking: No. 6

RECORD: 14-2, 10 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD12) Teofimo Lopez Jr., Oct. 17

7. OLEKSANDR USYK     Previous ranking: No. 7

RECORD: 18-0, 13 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Dereck Chisora, Oct. 31

8. TYSON FURY     Previous ranking: No. 8

RECORD: 30-0-1, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Deontay Wilder, Feb. 22

9. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA     Previous ranking: No. 9

RECORD: 41-3, 28 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO11) Carlos Cuadras, Oct. 23

10. GENNADIY GOLOVKIN     Previous ranking: No. 10

RECORD: 40-1-1, 35 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Oct. 5, 2019

The formula

The rankings are based on a descending points system, with a first-place vote receiving 10 points, a second-place vote receiving nine points and so on. A tie goes to the fighter with the highest ranking and then the one with the most votes at that ranking.

Others receiving votes: Manny Pacquiao (8), Artur Beterbiev (7), Gervonta Davis (6), Josh Taylor (3), Jermell Charlo (2), Mikey Garcia (2), Miguel Berchelt (1), Shakur Stevenson (1)

How our writers voted

Atlas: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Lomachenko, 5. Spence, 6. Usyk, 7. Pacquiao, 8. Lopez, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Fury

Bradley: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Fury, 8. Usyk, 9. Davis, 10. Stevenson

Ward: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Fury, 4. Inoue, 5. Spence, 6. Usyk, 7. Lopez, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Estrada, 10. Davis

Tessitore: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Lopez, 4. Usyk, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Alvarez, 7. Spence, 8. Estrada, 9. Fury, 10. Berchelt

Parkinson: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Lopez, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Spence, 9. Golovkin, 10. Taylor

Baby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Fury, 6. Usyk, 7. Lopez, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Golovkin

Wolfe: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Fury, 7. Usyk, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Pacquiao, 10. Golovkin

Woodyard: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Usyk, 8. Fury, 9. Estrada, 10. Golovkin

Raskin: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Lopez, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Spence, 7. Estrada, 8. Fury, 9. Taylor, 10. Pacquiao

Dansby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Fury, 7. Usyk, 8. Beterbiev, 9. Jermell Charlo, 10. Lomachenko

Moynihan: 1. Crawford, 2. Spence, 3. Alvarez, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Golovkin, 7. Lopez, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Garcia, 10. Fury

Pilatti: 1. Inoue, 2. Crawford, 3. Lomachenko, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Estrada, 7. Golovkin, 8. Alvarez, 9. Davis, 10. Pacquiao

Rodriguez: 1. Canelo, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Usyk, 5. Spence, 6. Fury, 7. Lopez, 8. Estrada, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Davis

ESPN experts’ poll

First place: Crawford (9), Alvarez (3), Inoue (1)

Second place: Alvarez (7), Crawford (4), Inoue (1), Spence (1)

Third place: Inoue (9), Alvarez (1), Lopez (1), Lomachenko (1), Fury (1)

Fourth place: Spence (6), Inoue (2), Usyk (2), Lopez (1), Lomachenko (1), Fury (1)

Fifth place: Lopez (6), Spence (3), Lomachenko (2), Fury (1), Usyk (1)

Sixth place: Usyk (4), Fury (3), Lomachenko (2), Alvarez (1), Spence (1), Estrada (1), Golovkin (1)

Seventh place: Lopez (4), Usyk (3), Alvarez (1), Spence (1), Fury (1), Lomachenko (1), Estrada (1), Pacquiao (1)

Eighth place: Lomachenko (4), Fury (3), Estrada (2), Spence (1), Lopez (1), Usyk (1), Beterbiev (1)

Ninth place: Estrada (2), Beterbiev (2), Davis (2), Lomachenko (1), Fury (1), Pacquiao (1), Golovkin (1), Taylor (1), Garcia (1), Charlo (1)

10th place: Golovkin (3), Fury (2), Pacquiao (2), Davis (2), Lomachenko (1), Taylor (1), Berchelt (1), Stevenson (1)

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