Whether you were a fan of his or not and whether you will miss him or not, it is undeniable how Andre Ward left a big hole in the sport when he announced his pretty much out of the blue retirement earlier this week.
Going out on top, on his own terms, having never lost a single pro fight (Ward last losing any fight back when he was just 12 years old!) the self-proclaimed “S.O.G” enjoyed one fine career. The biggest question that has been brought up by many boxing people since Ward’s departure at the age of just 33, is this: who is now deserving of taking his spot atop the mythical – but much debated and talked about – pound-for-pound ratings?
Ward was almost universally recognised as No.1, but even he had his detractors, from those who claimed he wasn’t actually the p-4-p best. Other names, according to other people, were put forth as being more worthy. And, like just about anything in sport, or in life, it’s all down to opinion and nothing more.
That said, here is a new top-10 pound-for-pound list you may or may not agree with:
1: Terence Crawford.
Unbeaten light-welterweight champ, currently 32-0. Has no apparent weaknesses. Coming off a stunning KO over a dangerous fighter in Julius Indongo. Many experts do not see Crawford, in his prime right now, losing. Ever.
2: Gennady Golovkin.
Unbeaten middleweight king, currently 37-0-1. A long-reigning champion who has willingly fought everyone he has been able to lure into the ring with him, no matter what his rival’s style was. Might not have too many years left but remains the man to beat at 160. May even move up to 168. In the opinion of most deserved to win his defining fight, against Canelo Alvarez; also a pound-for-pounder.
3: Vasyl Lomachenko.
Once-beaten super-featherweight champ. Incredibly just 9-1 as a pro. Compared by many to the greats, including Muhammad Ali. Getting better and better all the time. Doesn’t just beat opponents but makes them quit. Next fight could be a defining one, against fellow pound-for-pounder Guillermo Rigondeaux.
4: Canelo Alvarez.
Currently 49-1-2 and in the opinion of some the best middleweight out there. Many people felt Canelo outsmarted Golovkin and will beat him in a return. Beaten only by the superb Floyd Mayweather. Arguably the biggest star in the sport today. No-one will argue over his status as pound-for-pound No1 if he beats GGG in the anticipated return.
5: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, AKA Wisaksil Wangek.
Currently 44-4-1 but winner of his last 17, all but two of them by stoppage. An absolute beast at super-flyweight and very possibly set for a long reign of terror. Tough, strong, powerful and relentless. Can anyone beat him?
The next five:
6: Keith Thurman, welterweight, 28-0.
7: Errol Spence Jnr, welterweight, 22-0.
8: Guillermo Rigondeaux, super-bantamweight, 17-0.
9: Mikey Garcia, lightweight, 37-0.
10: Sergey Kovalev, light-heavyweight, 30-2-1.