Boxing Pound for Pound Rankings: Andre Ward cements standing as best in the world
Unbeaten Mikey Garcia returns to the top 10 as Sergey Kovalev falls out with second defeat
If there was any doubt regarding Andre Ward's status as the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, the unified light heavyweight champion's resoundingin Saturday's rematch likely put that to rest.
As with their first meeting last November, when Ward won a wildly contested decision, the theme of controversy returned in their second meeting, albeit in a different form when body shots from Ward teased low. But the eighth-round stoppage victory by Ward of a fading Kovalev instantly became the most impressive of his increasingly great career.
Ward, 33, remains the sport's most adaptable fighter outside of Floyd Mayweather, and showcased his ability to disarm a big puncher in Kovalev and wear him out by boxing evenly over the first half of the fight. It was high-speed chess at its finest as each fighter traded stiff jabs, mauled on the inside and fought to control distance.
In the end, Ward not only outlasted Kovalev, he showed a tremendous instinct to finish him off after winning the strategic and mental battle. After the fight, he talked up a desire to challenge for a cruiserweight or even heavyweight title against the right fighter in the perfect situation.
Kovalev, 34, just barely falls out of the top 10 after his second straight defeat, this time by knockout. It's back to the drawing board for the dangerous puncher, who could see a return to the P4P fold with a strong return.
|1. Andre Ward||32-0, 16 KOs||Unified light heavyweight champion||--|
|Forget talks of moving up in weight just yet, Ward has one more marquee light heavyweight challenge to pursue and that's mercurial lineal champion Adonis Stevenson.|
|2. Vasyl Lomachenko||8-1, 6 KOs||Junior lightweight champion||--|
The two-time Olympic gold medalist is simply operating on higher level than his competitors. His brilliant artistry has become a joy to behold. A rematch of his only loss against Orlando Salido would be a welcome fight.
|3. Gennady Golovkin||37-0, 33 KOs||Middleweight champion||--|
|The unified champion looked human for the first time in barely outpointing Daniel Jacobs in March. But it's possible the result helped him land the most important bout of his career in September against Canelo Alvarez.|
|4. Terence Crawford||31-0, 22 KOs||Junior welterweight champion||--|
|Crawford can simply do it all and appears ready to chase the big dollars at welterweight. He will need a big-name dance partner to help him become a star. It's time for Top Rank to offer Manny Pacquiao the kind of money he can't refuse.|
|5. Errol Spence Jr.||22-0, 19 KOs||Welterweight champion|
|Let the Spence era begin. He's long, tough and intelligent. Even more, he can punch. Spence appears to have a long run ahead of him high up this list.|
|6. Roman Gonzalez||46-1, 38 KOs||Junior bantamweight|
|It might be difficult to justify seeing "Chocolatito" go from P4P king to sliding down this list after one contested defeat. But the challenges are proving more difficult the higher Gonzalez moves up in weight. He'll get a second chance against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on Sept. 9. |
|7. Manny Pacquiao||59-6-2, 38 KOs||Welterweight champion|
At 38, Pacquiao has remarkably retained his speed and boxing ability. But his matchmaking is starting to become soft. A July bout against unknown Jeff Horn will get prime exposure on ESPN, but offers no gain in terms of his P4P ranking.
|8. Keith Thurman||28-0, 22 KOs||Welterweight champion|
|"One Time" will miss six months with an elbow injury, fresh off his title unification victory over Danny Garcia. Spence continues to call out his name with hopes on finding out who the best welterweight in the world is.|
|9. Canelo Alvarez||49-1-1, 34 KOs||Middleweight champion|
|Finally a full-fledged middleweight, Alvarez showcased just how much he has grown as a boxer/puncher in a shutout victory over a lifeless Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May. Now comes the real test in September against Triple G in boxing's most important fight of 2017.|
|10. Mikey Garcia||36-0, 30 KOs||Lightweight champion|
|The three-division titleholder came back with a bang from a lengthy promotional dispute. Now he'll move up in weight again to 140 pounds to face Adrien Broner in an anticipated summer showdown.|
Missed the cut: Sergey Kovalev, Naoya Inoue, Guillermo Rigondeaux, James DeGale, Leo Santa Cruz
Dropped out: Sergey Kovalev
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