When you talk top pound for pound, it's the boxers who are so great that they transcend their division, as their eminence resonates through the sweet science overall. With Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, arguably the top boxer in the game, fighting Saturday night against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim, it's the perfect time for DAZN News to take a closer look at a half dozen of the pound-for-pound best in the sport today.
How do you mention top pound-for-pound fighters without Canelo's name being the first to roll off the tongue? A four-division world champion, the 30-year-old boxing sensation's last three fights have come at three different weight classes and resulted in three victories with three different world title wins. There was the December drubbing of Callum Smith in December, when he walked down and dominated the bigger man to become the reigning unified super middleweight world champion. Prior to that, Alvarez launched a scintillating left hook-right hook combination to drop Sergey Kovalev with a thud and take his WBO light heavyweight title in November 2019. In May of the same year, Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs) used precision punching and elusive defense to execute a sound unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs, as he once again became a unified world middleweight champion at his wheelhouse weight of 160 pounds. If that's not the best sample size of what it means to be a true top pound-for-pound boxer, what is? Canelo keeps redefining his greatness.
Making history has to be a component of being the top pound-for-pound boxer. And you'd be hard-pressed to name someone making history, well herstory, better than Claressa Shields right now. The undefeated three-division world champion faces unbeaten IBF junior middleweight champion Marie-Eve Dicaire next Friday, March 5. A victory and Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) will become the first boxer in the four-belt era to become an undisputed world champion in two weight classes, as she enters the bout as the reigning undisputed world middleweight champion as well. In an Instagram post earlier this month, Shields wrote about Canelo being a source of motivation as a four-division world champ — a feat that she's honing in on now, too. Simply put: Shields has to be a staple on anyone's pound-for-pound list.
For a long time, Terence Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko spearheaded the debate over pound-for-pound supremacy. Well, only one of those greats is still reigning as a world champ. At 37-0 with 28 KOs, Crawford has now strung together four dominant defenses of his WBO welterweight title, having seemingly gotten better with each bout. Ultra competitive with a noted mean streak, Crawford has been known to not only want to defeat opponents, but beat them up as a proving point along the punishing way. That being said, "Bud" lays legitimate claim to being the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport today.
Teofimo Lopez Jr.
If Lomachenko was long thought to be arguably the pound-for-pound best, then how can you not make a case for Teofimo Lopez Jr. at this point? After all, Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) completed "The Takeover" with his unanimous decision win over Loma last October, when he outboxed his rival and proved that he is as skilled of a boxer as he is an explosive puncher in becoming the unified world lightweight champion. At just 23-years-old Lopez's legend as a pound-for-pound force will only grow from here and that's a scary prospect for anyone at lightweight, junior welterweight and possibly beyond.
They call him "Monster" for a reason. The unified world bantamweight champion demolishes his opponents, as he racks up wins and pulverizing knockouts attached to them. Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) earned some major chops by overwhelming four-division world champ Nonito Donaire to become the unified bantamweight champ in November 2019, before defending his crown with a seventh-round KO of Jason Moloney last October. That's just a sample of this "Monster" and the reign of terror he's capable of.
Errol Spence Jr.
There was never any questions about "The Truth" and his skillset or power as a world champion. The only question was how Spence would bounce back from a devastating one-car crash that he suffered in October 2019. Well, Spence might have put that question to bed permanently by dominating former world champ Danny Garcia via unanimous decision to retain his WBC and IBF welterweight titles in December. Add that to the fact that Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) has defeated the likes of Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter and Garcia in succession and his name more than belongs perched high on anyone's top pound-for-pound mentions.