Pound-for-pound rankings: Did Canelo Alvarez jump Terence Crawford after latest win?


Canelo Alvarez put on a show against Callum Smith on Saturday to become a unified super middleweight champion. The unanimous decision victory showed off Canelo’s abilities as he outmaneuvered a much taller fighter with an unmatched heart, finding the key range that let him capitalize on every mistake. But was that win enough to vault Alvarez ahead of Terence Crawford on the list of best pound-for-pound fighters in the world?

Some on the ESPN panel felt it was, and they moved Canelo into the No. 1 spot in their rankings.

“Canelo looked absolutely spectacular on Saturday night, dominating a top fighter who was supposed to present a challenge for him,” Eric Raskin, host of the Showtime Boxing podcast and columnist for Ringside Seat magazine, said. “I don’t know if he’s ‘better’ than Crawford right now, but based on the evidence against Callum Smith, it’s at least a close call. And the gulf between their respective resumes over the last three years is vast enough to make up for any slight skill edge Crawford might possess — even in a pound-for-pound comparison where ability matters more than resume.

“Off a performance this one-sided against an opponent this credible, I think the time has come to elevate Canelo over a Crawford who hasn’t seemed motivated to prove his greatness since moving up to 147 pounds.”

Others seem to think that Crawford still has it all and deserves to be at the top of the list.

“I’m not going to move a guy who beat someone who he was supposed to beat, a guy who was exposed,” Teddy Atlas said. “He’s going to stay right where he belongs. Crawford hasn’t done anything to lose his position.”

Ultimately, it was close, with some members of the panel changing their votes and giving Alvarez the nod. However, that shift was not enough to dethrone Crawford, who still maintains his place and will enter 2021 as the pound-for-pound king.

Despite not fighting, Tyson Fury moved up this month, thanks to a combination of a new panelist and a bit of delayed change of opinion after Vasiliy Lomachenko’s and Oleksandr Usyk’s most recent fights. Even after his strong victory this past weekend, Gennadiy Golovkin remains at No. 10 and is now tied with Gervonta Davis for the final spot on the list.

Our ESPN panel also grew by one this month with the addition of Michelle Phelps to our roster. She joins Timothy Bradley Jr., Joe Tessitore, Cameron Wolfe, Raskin, Andre Ward, Atlas, Nick Parkinson, Ben Baby, Eric Woodyard, Kel Dansby, Bernardo Pilatti, Charles Moynihan and Salvador Rodriguez.

More rankings: Divisional rankings and ESPN’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results are through Dec. 19.

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: 54-1-2, 36 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (champion), super middleweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Callum Smith, Dec. 19



After beating Callum Smith by unanimous decision, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez says he’d take a rematch with Gennady Golovkin.

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: 27-0, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Danny Garcia, Dec. 5

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. TYSON FURY     Previous ranking: No. 8

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

7. VASILIY LOMACHENKO     Previous ranking: No. 6

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

8. OLEKSANDR USYK     Previous ranking: No. 7

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

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
NEXT FIGHT: March 13 vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez

T-10. GENNADY GOLOVKIN     Previous ranking: No. 10

RECORD: 41-1-1, 36 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Kamil Szeremeta, Dec. 18

T-10. GERVONTA DAVIS     Previous ranking: NR

RECORD:24-0, 23 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight and junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO6) Leo Santa Cruz, Oct. 31

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 (8), Jermell Charlo (6), Josh Taylor (3), Mikey Garcia (2), Shakur Stevenson (2)

How our writers voted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phelps: 1. Canelo, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Lopez 5. Inoue, 6. Davis, 7. Fury, 8. Jermell Charlo, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Golovkin

ESPN experts’ poll

First place: Crawford (6), Alvarez (6), Inoue (1), Spence (1)

Second place: Crawford (7), Crawford (6), Inoue (1)

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

Fourth place: Spence (7), Inoue (3), Lopez (3), Fury (1)

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

Sixth place: Usyk (6), Lomachenko (3), Fury (2), Alvarez (1), Golovkin (1), Davis (1)

Seventh place: Lopez (4), Lomacheko (3), Usyk (2), Fury (2), Estrada (1), Pacquiao (1), Beterbiev (1)

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

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

10th place: Golovkin (4), Fury (2), Pacquiao (2), Davis (2), Lomachenko (1), Stevenson (2), Taylor (1)

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