GERVONTA DAVIS’ and Teofimo Lopez’s recent breakthrough wins shook up boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound rankings.
Vasilily Lomachenko came up against a younger and bigger man in a weight class about three divisions above his natural home as Lopez stunned the Ukrainian.
It shot the masterful southpaw down the pecking order, with Davis’ stunning knockout against Leo Santa Cruz also moving him into the top ten.
Suddenly everybody’s P4P list – where skills and attributes are measured with weights out the window – had to be rewritten.
Giant heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury will never fight little Loma or Japan’s own pocket rocket Naoya Inoue so how do we know who is the better and more complete fighter?
We don’t. And we never will. But it’s painfully fun to try and work it out.
1. Terence Crawford – WBO welterweight champion – 36-0
A three-weight world champion with the brains to box in either southpaw or orthodox stance and the power to win 27 of his 36 fights early.
Lightweight, super-light (undisputed) and welter have all been conquered and a super-fight with Errol Spence Jr should have happened by now but was delayed by boxing politics and Spence’s October 2019 car smash.
Feared champions like Ricky Burns, Ray Beltran, Victor Postol, Julius Indongo and Amir Khan have all fallen at Bud’s sword and poor Brit Kell Brook is next up.
Crawford is 5ft 8in and naturally slim and could lose some of his best attributes going up any bigger, so the hardest thing for the softly spoken Nebraska ace is finding worthwhile opponents for him to face.
He is lined up against Britain’s former welterweight world champion Kell Brook in his next fight as the pair headline in New York this month.
2. Canelo Alvarez – middle and super-middleweight champion – 53-1-2
Quite rightly the Mexican legend is the clear leader at the top of many boxing fans’ lists but the controversial draw in the first Gennadiy Golovkin fight – and the failed drugs test before the second – have muddied the water for others.
It is spectacular that the flame-haired boy who started his career at the super-lightweight limit of 10st won the WBO light-heavyweight title from Russian powerhouse Sergey Kovalev, with a brutal body shot stoppage up at 12st 7lbs, last time out.
The 30-year-old has been accused of cherry-picking vulnerable opponents like Rocky Fielding and aging icons like Shane Mosley.
But the vanquished names on his CV – like Khan, Miguel Cotto, Golovkin, Danny Jacobs and Kovalev – should stand the test of time.
And the fact Floyd Mayweather outpointed him so handily in 2013 should just remind the world how good ‘Money’ was.
Canelo still has the two belts at middleweight as well as the WBA’s ‘Regular’ super-middleweight strap, but the vacated his light-heavy crown.
3. Tyson Fury – WBC heavyweight champion – 30-0-1
There are marks against Fury’s name also. Mainly the horrendous decision win over John McDermott when his professional career was just taking off and a lengthy doping ban that coincided with a hiatus due to mental health problems.
But three of Fury’s performances either side of that 1000 day absence deliver him a top spot in this list.
The dismantling of 10-year champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, on his adopted home German soil was immaculate. It might have been less entertaining than Anthony Joshua’s win over the old master, but it was also three years earlier and much more one-sided.
Then came the two performances against Deontay Wilder, the original draw came after two lapses in concentration with clear signs of the 28st he ballooned up to still loitering around his waist.
And the second was a marvellous ‘up yours’ to those of us who doubted he had the power to out-bang the planet’s biggest puncher.
If The AJ fight can be made and Fury can dominate the unified boss, he will confirm his status as the finest heavyweight of his era and perhaps a few others also.
And his earlier mistakes will continue to fade with time and be overshadowed with unquestionable wins.
4. Naoya Inoue – WBA and IBF bantamweight champion – 20-0
As mysterious as he is monstrous. Japan’s brutal finisher has battered his way through three divisions already and left his opposition in a heap.
A light-flyweight king inside six pro fights, super-fly boss by outing eight and now the unstoppable force at 8st 6lbs.
A terrifying 16 of Inoue’s wins have come inside the distance and four of his last five bouts didn’t reach the fourth.
Filipino veteran Nonito Donaire did take the 27-year-old the distance last time out in a November classic, showing younger future rivals how The Monster might be beaten.
But the 5ft 5in mystery man with the granite hands looks like carrying on his rampage unimpeded for now.
He moved to 20-0 after knocking out Jason Moloney on his US debut.
5. Vasiliy Lomachenko – 14-2
As an amateur, Loma racked up a 396-1 record – and avenged that solo defeat twice, for good measure.
So his new 14-2 pro score makes it seem like he was a hype job in a vest, who couldn’t handle the leap up from the unpaid ranks.
But the 32-year-old genius lost a world title shot in just his second pro fight and then raced to become a three-weight champion inside 12 bouts and the world eating out of his small but rapid hands.
A natural 9st fighter, it looked like he was fighting a 11st behemoth when he lost to 23-year-old Lopez and the brilliant young American is already looking to move up.
A drop in divisions will help Loma regain his rhythm and a fantasy fight with Top Rank promotional stablemate Inoue would rocket either minute master up higher.
6. Oleksandr Usyk – 18-0
The finest heavyweight at the 2012 London Olympics (Anthony Joshua won gold at super-heavy) and the undisputed cruiserweight king by July 2018.
The Ukraine southpaw now wants to join Evander Holyfield’s exclusive one-man club by becoming the undisputed king in the top tier too.
At just 6ft 3in, without Tyson Fury’s size or Deontay Wilder’s one-punch KO power, it will not be easy and his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon left him with too many bumps, bruises and unanswered questions.
But, like gym-mate Loma, if the ball-juggling, horse-riding mastermind can topple the bigger boys in the playground, he will rise through the P4P listings.
He made good progress by beating veteran Dereck Chisora on points, and maintained his WBO mandatory status for Joshua’s belt.
7. Teofimo Lopez – Undisputed lightweight champion – 16-0
The Brooklyn sensation doesn’t snatch Loma’s old No1 spot just for that one dominant points win, but he rockets into the list and looks on course to further his case.
The scintillating second-round KO of Richard Commey that earned him his IBF crown was either a fluke or a warm-up, to the Loma toppling, and it proved to be the latter in spades.
A rematch looks unnecessary and the champ has discussed trying his luck up at super-light.
With Top Rank stablemates Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez soon to clash for all four 10st belts, 23-year-old Lopez could reach immortality in record time.
8. Josh Taylor – WBA and IBF super-lightweight champion – 17-0
In just 16 fights, the Tartan Tornado became the fighting pride of Scotland.
Six of Taylor’s last eight opponents were supposed to have been serious tests for the fearless 29-year-old.
But only last year’s 12-round fight-of-the-year contender with Regis Prograis seemed to take him out of third gear.
Ohara Davies was made to quit, ex-world champ Miguel Vazquez was stopped for the first time in his illustrious career, America sent red-hot prospect Ryan Martin over to halt the runaway freight train, he was sent packing in seven and Ivan Baranchynk lost a unanimous decision after being dropped twice.
Taylor’s form makes him the heavy favourite to beat WBC and WBO champ Jose Ramirez as soon as that undisputed decider can be made.
And then the Ben Davison-trained southpaw looks more than capable of packing on some more muscle and attacking the welters above him.
9. Manny Pacquiao – WBA welterweight champion – 62-7-1
Even at 41 – with more defeats than some his P4P contenders have had competitive fights – Pac Man deserves his place on the list.
An eight-weight legend who started off stuffing rocks into his pockets just to fight at 7st 10lbs way back in 1995, is still beating elite welterweight opponents 25 years later.
When he was still dreaming of decent meals instead of medals and belts, the Filipino lost his 12th fight.
But he now has the scalps of Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Adrien Broner and, as recently as July 2019, welterweight KO artist Keith Thurman.
But, if the southpaw hero takes up a bout with Conor McGregor next, a money-spinning right he has more than earned, he slides right off this list and frees up a space for a serious star still making meaningful fights.
10. Gervonta Davis – WBA super-featherweight champion – 24-0
Tank Davis had threatened to burst onto the P4P discussions had it not been for weight and disciplinary problems.
He first won the super-featherweight title in 2017, aged just 22, but lost it six months later after missing weight.
In 2018 he became a two-time champion and this year stepped up to lightweight to win the WBA ‘Regular’ title against Yuriorkis Gamboa after again initially missing weight.
For his PPV debut against Santa Cruz, he promised to be more professional and delivered as he successfully stepped back down to super-feather.
His performance in the ring was even better as he closed the show with a devastating left uppercut.
Reigning now in two divisions, with the right management the Floyd Mayweater-promoted protege could become the standout.
He has the power and punch selection to trouble anyone and the size to move up as Mayweather also talked up a super-fight with Lopez.