Boxing Pound for Pound Rankings: Errol Spence Jr. deserves consideration as best in the sport
Spence is moving on up after his thorough destruction of Mikey Garcia
Long a champion of the eye test when it comes to his standing among the pound-for-pound greats in the sport, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is finally building enough of a resume to change the conversation.
Spence'sMikey Garcia on March 16 was impressive enough to ask an important question: How much longer do we have to wait before giving "The Truth" serious consideration for best fighter in the sport?
The answer, apparently, is not long at all. In fact, right now would be perfectly justifiable. Yes, Garcia moved up two weight divisions to boldly challenge Spence, who had legitimate advantages in size and reach. But the manner in which Spence executed such a surgical beating spoke more about his remarkable skill advantage over Garcia when the two drew more than 47,000 into AT&T Stadium in Texas than it necessarily did his size.
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Spence near-perfect combination of defense, power punching and a mastery of distance left Garcia void of options offensively. Although Garcia was certainly brave and defensively responsible enough to survive the 12-round distance, trying any harder than he had against Spence to win likely would've sent him packed via knockout.
That's the dilemma opponents of all size face against Spence, who stomped on any thought that he couldn't box as well as he can stalk and punch with such a demonstratively clinical effort.
One day, should the powers that be in boxing do what's right for the sport and not necessarily their own short-term business preferences, a showdown with fellow unbeaten champion Terence Crawford will be the best fight the sport can produce. If we're being honest, it also might be this generation's answer to classic welterweight showdowns like Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns and Felix Trinidad-Oscar De La Hoya.
Until then, the debate is out as to which one has shown to be better up to this point when one combines resume, recent performance and the controversial eye test. While Spence remains just a half step behind the likes of Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko on this writer's top 10, it certainly wouldn't be unjust to believe Spence is, right now, the most talented and dangerous pugilist the game has to offer.
|1. Vasiliy Lomachenko||12-1, 9 KOs||Light, junior lightweight champion||--|
| A recent injury to fellow titlist Richard Commey saw Lomachenko forced to stay busy against mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla on April 12. Here's to hoping Mikey Garcia will return to 135 pounds to give Lomachenko the defining challenge of his career. |
|2. Terence Crawford||34-0, 25 KOs||Welterweight champion|
An April 20 pay-per-view date opposite British star Amir Khan should help "Bud" continue to build his brand and hold off -- for now -- the cries for promoter Bob Arum to find a way to attract big-name PBC opponents.
|3. Errol Spence Jr.||25-0, 21 KOs||Welterweight champion|
| The sky is the limit for the dangerous southpaw, who has no shortage of attractive options for later this year including Manny Pacquiao, Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman.|
|4. Oleksandr Usyk||16-0, 12 KOs||Undisputed cruiserweight champion|
|Originally expected to make his heavyweight debut in May against the dangerous Alexander Povetkin, Usyk's short-term future is in question at the moment. Whether he takes one more fight at cruiserweight or not, he remains a potentially difficult out for any top heavyweight.|
|5. Canelo Alvarez||50-1-2, 30 KOs||Unified middleweight champion|
| The Mexican superstar will continue to challenge himself against the best in the game when he faces fellow titleholder Daniel Jacobs on May 4 with a trilogy against Gennady Golovkin at stake for the fall. |
|6. Gennady Golovkin||38-1-1, 34 KOs||Middleweight|
|GGG, who turns 37 in April, ended a long free agency period by officially singing with middleweight-rich DAZN. Following what's expected to be a soft comeback this spring, Golovkin will likely face the winner of Alvarez-Jacobs later this year. |
|7. Nayoa Inoue|| 17-0, 15 KOs||Junior bantamweight|
The Japanese "Monster" continues his assault on a third division when he faces Emmanuel Rodriguez in a 118-pound unification bout as part of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. At just 25, Inoue is among the most dangerous punchers in the sport.
|8. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai|| 47-4-1, 15 KOs||Junior bantamweight champion|
|After closing out 2018 with a pair of stay-busy fights in his native Thailand, the best 115-pound fighter in the world returns to Los Angeles on April 26 for a must-see rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada in what's sure to be a fight-of-the-year contender. |
|9. Mikey Garcia||39-1, 30 KOs||Unified lightweight champion|
| Despite a one-sided loss to Spence, the future is still bright for Garcia -- especially should he consider moving back down to lightweight or junior middleweight. A fight against Lomachenko at lightweight, while difficult to make politically, remains one of the most attractive in the sport. |
|10. Leo Santa Cruz||36-1-1, 19 KOs||Featherweight champion|
|Santa Cruz continues to stay busy with big opportunities ahead in such a loaded division. Look for a long-awaited unification bout against Gary Russell Jr. before 2019 comes to a close.|
Dropped out: Anthony Joshua
Honorable mention: Anthony Joshua, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Daniel Jacobs, Jarrett Hurd, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Donnie Nietes, Sergey Kovalev
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