There is no doubting the incredible talent of heavyweight king (WBA/IBF/WBO) Oleksandr Usyk, nor is there any doubting how his talent and his skills are more than capable of living up against the big guys of the sport. Usyk, at 6’3” and a little over 220 pounds, is arguably the best heavyweight in the world right now – only Tyson Fury is in any real position to be able to argue otherwise; and if these two do fight, it will be Fury’s sheer size and bulk that will be his biggest assets, not his boxing brain. Simply put, Usyk’s boxing brain is, well, it’s Lomachenko-like. Usyk’s ring I.Q is like no other active heavyweight’s. Usyk is really in a class of his own.
Not too long after Usyk’s brilliant win over Anthony Joshua, the question was asked: is there anything Usyk cannot do? After some head-scratching, the sole minus to Usyk’s game that this writer could come up with was the fact that he lacks one-punch KO power as a heavyweight, he cannot take a big dude out with one shot (at least he hasn’t yet shown that he can, but might be there be even more to Usyk’s still improving game!?) That aside, Usyk can do it all. He can sure take a punch, he proved that in the Joshua fight. Usyk can hit with stunning accuracy, he has a gas tank to die for, he has incredible accuracy and he can hit with sting and pop. Usyk, too has superb foot movement, a good variety of punches, and he can fight going backwards as well as coming forwards.
Usyk also has the old-school mentality the great ones had. There is no ducking and dodging from the southpaw Ukrainian, nor does Usyk shy away from taking the biggest fights of his career in the other guy’s backyard. Basically, there is nothing to not like about Usyk. But is he the best fighter in the world today?
Pound-for-pound lists are always subjective, and they can also be a lot of fun. Right now, we boxing fans have some superb fighters to applaud and cheer on. We have Canelo Alvarez, we have Naoya Inoue, we have Terence Crawford, we have Josh Taylor, we have Errol Spence. And we have Oleksandr Usyk. Canelo is the consensus choice for pound-for-pound #1 and not too many readers of this site seem to have a problem with that. Canelo has, after all, won belts at four weights and he has some excellent wins on his record. But if Canelo is #1, then Usyk is #2.
Having cleaned out an entire division after a mere 16 fights, Usyk has now gone on to win three of the four major heavyweight titles after just THREE fights. And Usyk, as we know, has skills that are truly majestic. Can anyone beat him? Again, maybe Fury – the 6’9” approx 270 pound man-mountain can – but even here, Usyk is capable of making those who have the temerity to doubt him eat their words the way he made Joshua eat those straight left hands.
For what it’s worth, here is a Top-10 pound-for-pound list you may or may not agree with.
1: Canelo Alavarez
2: Oleksandr Usyk
3: Naoya Inoue,
4: Terence Crawford
5: Josh Taylor
6: Errol Spence
7: Kazuto Ioka
8: Teofimo Lopez
9: Juan Francisco Estrada
10: Tyson Fury