Over the course of the past few years, Boxing’s pound-for-pound list has become somewhat of a controversial topic, scour the internet and you’ll rarely find a list that resembles another.
The main reason why I assume the lists vary is due to the lack of clear criteria, so to provide a ranking which has no confusion I will first detail my personal criteria ordered from the most to least contributing factor.
Quality of opposition
Titles (Especially at multiple weights)
Manner of victories
#6 Guillermo Rigondeaux
Record: 17-0 (11 wins by KO) 1 no contest
Notable Wins: Nonito Donaire.
Titles Held: WBA, WBO, & The Ring super bantamweight world champion.
Rigondeaux has been robbed of the chance to add more notable names to his record because multiple fighters have blatantly avoided him, Carl Frampton vacated his belt and moved up despite having no issues making weight.
Scott Quigg & Abner Mares have been in and around Rigondeaux’s weight division but none of them have ever pursued a fight with Rigondeaux, Leo Santa Cruz reportedly wanted $3m dollars subsequently pricing himself out.
At one time Nonito Donaire was ranked as the best fighter outside of Floyd Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao, Rigondeaux took him on as an underdog and displayed his technical superiority by defeating Donaire with relative ease.
He may not have the most fan friendly style but there is no doubt Rigondeaux is almost the complete fighter, a true master of ring control and almost technically flawless.
#7 Vasyl Lomachenko
Record: 9-1 (7 wins by KO)
Notable Wins: Gary Russell Jr & Nicholas Walters.
Titles Held: WBO featherweight world champion & WBO junior lightweight world champion.
After losing to Orlando Salido in his second professional fight Lomachenko has bounced back strong.
Top prospect Gary Russell Jr couldn’t keep up with Lomachenko’s dancing feet, Roman Martinez was flattened with a well timed right hook, & Nicholas Walters was battered into submission by a constant barrage of combinations.
Whilst Lomachenko’s style seems to be catching fans attention, the world awaits a fight between Lomachenko & Rigondeaux which will provide each fighter with the chance to put a concrete world class name on their record.
#8 Manny Pacquiao
Record: 59-7-2 (38 wins by KO)
Notable Wins: Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley.
Titles Held: WBC flyweight world champion, IBF super bantamweight world champion, The Ring featherweight world champion, WBC & The Ring super featherweight world champion, WBC lightweight world champion, IBO & The Ring light welterweight world champion, WBO welterweight world champion, & WBC light middleweight world champion.
Summarizing Pacquiao’s career in a few simple paragraphs is too complex a task so instead, I will justify his placement.
I don’t have a multitude of currently active fighters without questionable losses or lack of recognized names on their records to choose from, so I’ve had to go with a guy who’s past achievements have been exceptional.
A 10-time world champion in 8 different weight divisions. During his prime, he took on future Hall of Fame Boxers climbing the weight divisions with his captivating offensive style.
#9 Leo Santa Cruz
Record: 33-1-1 (18 wins by KO)
Notable Wins: Abner Mares & Carl Frampton.
Titles Held: IBF bantamweight world champion, WBC super bantamweight world champion, & WBA featherweight world champion.
A gritty win over the talented Abner Mares thrust Santa Cruz into the spotlight.
Carl Frampton handed Santa Cruz his first loss two years after the Mares fight, the pair rematched 6 months later Santa Cruz avenged his prior loss and in turn handed Frampton the first defeat of his career.
Santa Cruz & Abner Mares will meet again in October of this year.
#10 Sergey Kovalev
Record: 30-2-1 (26 by wins KO)
Notable Wins: Nathan Cleverly, Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal
Titles Held: WBO, WBA, & IBF light heavyweight world champion.
Another Eastern European KO machine, Although he came up short against Andre Ward twice (albeit under controversial circumstances) Kovalev is still one of the best fighters on the planet.
Kovalev first announced himself on the world stage in his stunning stoppage win over Nathan Cleverly, since then he’s beat Jean Pascal on two occasions and out pointed the legendary Bernard Hopkins in a technical fight which showcased Kovalev’s ring IQ.
There’s still plenty of time for Kovalev to rise up the list in the coming years, a fight with Adonis Stevenson which has been brewing for some time could now be more likely bringing two quality power punchers together in what would be an intriguing fight.