As of September 21, 2017, there is no pound-for-pound king in boxing.
With Floyd Mayweather retiring again after knocking out MMA star Conor McGregor earlier this month and undefeated unified light heavyweight champion Andre Ward inexplicably retiring later in the month, boxing officially has no pound-for-pound No. 1.
The list of “maybe bests” is intriguing but lacks a star with the proper credentials. Undisputed junior welterweight kingpin Terence Crawford, unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, lineal middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and the winner of the December 9th showdown between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux are the most likely candidates to fill the void.
Crawford (pictured) appears the most likely to ascend to the throne. He has already won lineal championships at both lightweight and junior welterweight. He is a spectacular mixture of ring savvy and technical glory and he can fight orthodox or southpaw better than most fighters can out of one stance.
But Crawford’s resume has yet to be exalted with the name of a fellow great. He is almost always a heavy favorite and has yet to move up to welterweight where other excellent fighters await to challenge his claim to greatness.
Middleweight monster Gennady Golovkin had a chance last weekend to solidify his standing among the rest of the elites, but failed to convince the judges he was better than former 154-pound titleholder Canelo Alvarez. The bout ended in a draw leaving many to wonder which man was the true king of the middleweight division.
Alvarez came close to the upset, but after starting strong and finishing even stronger, the 27-year-old Mexican was handed a split decision draw versus Golovkin, leaving many people angry over the decision. Alvarez fought better than expected against Golovkin but didn’t separate himself as the main attraction at middleweight, much less the most elite fighter in all the sport.
Lomachenko has only fought ten professional prizefights. He is 9-1 and has not avenged the loss to Orlando Salido. Lomachenko appears to have all the tools to become the best fighter on the planet, but his resume is seriously lacking anything to suggest he deserves the honor of being hailed the most elite fighter in the world.
He’ll get his chance in December. Rigondeaux is by far the most underrated fighter in boxing. He is undefeated in 17 professional fights and has a far superior resume to Lomachenko’s. Voting panels seem to dismiss his craft based on personal preference more than anything else. They do not yet admire the careful Cuban’s style as he has yet to face a fighter who could defeat him.
With Mayweather and Ward gone, who will ascend the mountain?
Most likely, voting panels at The Ring Magazine and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board will tab Crawford or Golovkin the top fighter in the sport. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one man slotted to each of the respected outlets’ top spots.
But the truth of the matter is that boxing fans will have to wait and see over the next few months to determine who the No. 1 man really should be. With Crawford, Golovkin and Alvarez waiting for their next fights to be announced, don’t be surprised to see the winner of Lomachenko-Rigondeaux leapfrog everyone else. For Lomachenko, a win over Rigondeaux would legitimize the staunch support he receives from the boxing community. For Rigondeaux, the win would at long last bring the respect and admiration the man truly already deserves.
2017 has been a great year for boxing, but perhaps more than anything people will remember it as the year two of the greatest fighters ever retired—Mayweather and Ward. Boxing will miss both men as it searches for its next pound-for-pound king.
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